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By Hilde Kate Lysiak
On 10/3/16, the Borough Council called the 911 emergency line on journalist and Selinsgrove resident Vincent Stoops.
His crime? Mr. Stoops spoke for three minutes past the five minute speaking limit allowed by the Borough.
At the eight minute mark Stoops was interrupted and told to stop. Mr. Stoops refused, saying he had one more point to finish.
A few minutes later the police showed up. Stoops left without any more incidents.
The Borough Manager defended his actions, telling the OSN that rules are rules and they needed to be followed.
But although Stoops had gone over the allowed time, video footage showed that other speakers before him were allowed to talk for over ten minutes without interruption or having the police be called.
What was this all about?
The OSN doesn’t believe a limit on speech is needed since the board meetings in Selinsgrove aren’t exactly overcrowded with people. These speakers are all people who care about the community. Would it really hurt to stay a few minutes extra and hear what they have to say?
At least if the five minute were rule applied equally to all the speakers, the OSN could understand cutting Mr. Stoops off, but because other speakers were allowed to speak for longer than ten minutes it made it look like the Borough members had a personal issue with Mr. Stoops, who is often critical of them.
Is that a reason to call 911? A number for emergencies?
911 number should be used for emergencies only, not to shut people up.
Even if they don’t like what Mr. Stoops has to say, he is still a member of the community and has the right to have his voice heard — or at the very least be given as much time to speak as any other member of the community.