Image: Michael Heil, Liberty Hangout
On Friday, April 20th, 2018, Liberty Hangout at Kent State University hosted their first official event on campus. Mimicking Steven Crowder’s famous “change my mind” videos, the club held a Gun Control = Gun Violence, Change My Mind event.
After producing two viral videos on campus that showed how ignorant students were on the subject of firearms, the club’s president, Kaitlin Bennett, was eager to have a discussion with Kent State students and educate them on the matter.
The event was held outside on Kent’s Risman Plaza between 11am and 4pm. Over the course of those 5 hours, the members had very alluring discussions with those that disagreed with them on the issue of gun control, and had more than a few admitting that they walked away with a different perspective.
One student, however, was so repulsed by the event that he let his hands do the talking.
John Marcinkiewicz, a student at Kent State University, approached the table at around 3:15pm. Marcinkiewicz held a conversation with the Liberty Hangout club members for about 15 minutes, making remarks such as “Let’s just replace all guns with dildos.” The club members presented Marcinkiewicz with a fact sheet on guns, and he recanted by pointing at the Gun Control = Gun Violence, Change My Mind sign and saying, “How about you change that sign to ‘I’ll prove you wrong just to prove me right.’ How about we change that to ‘confirmation bias’ for you bud?”
Heil responded, “We’re giving you facts. All you’ve given us so far is we should ban the AR-15 because it’s high capacity.”
Mikey Diederich, a member of Liberty Hangout at Kent State, jumped in, “You have a fact sheet right there. We’re giving you numbers.”
Marcinkiewicz then angrily crumpled up the fact sheet, to which Heil said, “We’re just trying to start a discussion.” Marcinkiewicz proceeded to throw the paper to the ground, and then swung at the cameraman, Nathan Murphy. Murphy lunged backwards, and Marcinkiewicz hit the camera, knocking it to the ground and breaking it.
Marcinkiewicz attempted to walk away, but Diederich and Heil chased him down and told him he would have to pay for what he did. Diederich then began recording on his cell phone, capturing Marcinkiewicz apologizing for breaking Heil’s camera, stating he didn’t have enough money to pay for it, and offering him what Heil approximates to be $12.
Officer Shauntya Brown quickly arrived on the scene to assess the situation, after Heil had already collected all of Marcinkiewicz’s information. With numerous eyewitness testimonies and a video to backup his story, the officer told Heil that he could either press charges against Marcinkiewicz or handle it through Kent State’s Student Code of Conduct. Heil told the officer he didn’t have the time or money to drag this through court, and he needed his camera replaced ASAP since he is a film student. The officer recommended going through Code of Conduct, and that the University will more than likely make Marcinkiewicz pay Heil for a new camera, or have the cost of a replacement added to his tuition. Heil, Murphy, and Diederich had to file police reports later that evening, detailing everything that occurred.
Heil told Liberty Hangout afterwards, “It’s unfortunate that while trying to inform others on a very important part of the freedom that we as Americans have, someone would get so violent. It’s one thing to have a different opinion, it’s another to get angry when hearing the other side. This behavior should not be tolerated by Kent State, and at the end of the day, I just want a functional camera to continue my digital media production major. If the school does right, they will make him accountable for his actions and have him pay for a new one.”
According to Kent State University’s Code of Student Conduct, physical violence falls under one of 27 prohibited conducts on the campus. As such, sanctions may include but are not limited to alcohol or other drug education course, community service, counseling referral, disciplinary dismissal, disciplinary probation, disciplinary suspension, educational workshop, letter of apology, monetary fine, no contact order, campus access restriction, residence hall restriction, revocation of student organization recognition, restitution for damages, warning, and/or anything else deemed appropriate.
It is currently unknown what charges the school will levy against Marcinkiewicz, and if an expulsion or suspension will be on the table. Liberty Hangout reached out to the Kent State Police this afternoon to see what progress has been made in the proceedings, and they told us they would know more on Monday. We will update the story when we find out more from Kent State Police and Student Code of Conduct.
To help Michael get a new camera ASAP so he may resume making videos for Liberty Hangout and his college courses at Kent, please contribute to our GoFundMe.
Click below to watch the full footage of the incident.
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