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We do not live in a “free” country

The First Amendment states:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble


“PITTSBURGH — Police threw canisters of pepper spray and smoke at marchers protesting the Group of 20 summit Thursday … The marchers did not have a permit and, after a few blocks, police declared it an unlawful assembly.”

How can “not having a permit” constitute a non-“peaceable assembly”?

I will also note that the AP article from which I quote reads in the complete first paragraph:

PITTSBURGH — Police threw canisters of pepper spray and smoke at marchers protesting the Group of 20 summit Thursday after anarchists responded to calls to disperse by rolling trash bins and throwing rocks.

Which in my opinion misleadingly inclines the reader against the protesters.

However, the protesters were conducting a “legal” march. Now you may say, “no it’s not legal” because they didn’t have a permit, but requiring a permit for a “peaceable assembly” violates the First Amendment as stated above. Thus, the law does not in effect exist and they were ipso facto (or whatever legalese blows your skirt up) conducting a legal march.

Since the “authorities” chose to break up the march, they in fact were the ones committing the “illegal act”, by violating the Constitution.

Now I do not condone the violence or destruction the protesters commenced after having their rights illegally violated, but nonetheless our foremost attention should be at the “authorities” who violated the law, or more specifically the Constitution, first. Otherwise we have no reason to believe that it would not have been a peaceable event.

I bring this up not because this was a particularly egregious example, nor do I think the Pittsburgh authorities are substantially worse than any other, however time and time again the right to peaceably assemble is being abridged by authorities. This ultimately has an enormously chilling effect on freedom of speech and the power of the masses to effect change.

Peaceful protest has been critical to change since the birth of this country, with the most recent examples being the successful anti-war movement during the 60’s and early 70’s. However,  in my view a very calculated course has been taken to curb the effectiveness of this means of expression through the use of permit requirements, designated protest areas, and other techniques. Yes, some of this is in the interest of safety, but much of it in my opinion is to squelch free speech.

Why this hasn’t been more effectively challenged on its Constitutionality I don’t know.

In closing, while certainly no one was killed, do the scenes from Pittsburgh look all that different from the scenes in Tehran?

I think the answer is “no” – and thus we are not a free country.


I will note that there are many examples where the protesters are the first to violate the requirement to be “peaceable”, in that case the authorities are well within the law to quell the violence (they are doing their job, and more power to them). However what is also very typical is for no one to know who threw the first proverbial “punch” as it were. That is, the authorities are quick to say they were provoked as justification to close down a protest. Moreover all it takes is one bad seed for the entire crowd to be declared unlawful (this is not even counting any “he said, she said” police provocation). Thus it is enormously easy to find justification to break a rally. So easy in fact, that it appears to happen more often than not these days when it comes to highly politicized, progressive, protests.

I’ve added “progressive” (meaning left leaning) above because one does not seem to see “Tea Parties”, NRA rallies, etc, broken up very often. I find it hard to believe that these protests are magically more peaceful than left leaning rallies.

1 comment to We do not live in a “free” country

  • hallo mensen in nederland wij mag geen meenigen siuten van mensen mag hier niet worden ge zegt daar ben ik niet mee eens we mogen wel je meening zegen ik heb ook een of twee websit ge maakt als juli ok willen doen dan heel graag .en met dieren prsi het zelfrde we mogen ook geen dieren hebben dat word ge zegt hier in nederland en daar om ben ik juist zo boos over je mag als doen je Mag de dieren. af maken hier in nederland en Buitenland. dat MAG toch .mijn hond is vergiftig als je daar een aangifte doet dan ligt het el een maand of jaaren en dat is niet normaal meer.daar ben ik nu nog kapot van en nu weer ook weer enz. met vrieden lijk groet mevrouw lagerweij uit emmen

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