Free Speech?

I read these tweets and reports of people claiming that SC Justice Michael Stallman’s ruling to essentially evict Occupy protesters is a “blatant violation of the 1st Amendment.”

It seems like if the vocal majority of Occupy supporters read the constitution, they might not feel as bad. Yes, the People have the right to peaceably assemble, but that right is by no means absolute. What I mean is, if I protest McDonald’s by picketing in a McDonald’s lobby, they have every right to have police evict me from that lobby.

The same rules that apply to our government may not apply to private persons, employers, establishments, etc… The fact that Zuccotti Park is a privately owned park and not a public one, should have send up a red flag in the mind of whoever decided to make that the Occupy home base.

As I’ve said before, I’m all for protesting grievances, but let’s be serious… You can’t call legitimate concern for a public’s well-being, infringement of rights.

We (sane public) saw the same thing happen in NOLA leading up to, and after Katrina. The local government enacted a voluntary evacuation two whole days before the storm made landfall. Mayor Nagin said, on air, that the damage would be catastrophic and that, “the storm surge most likely will topple our levee system.” One day before landfall, they ordered a mandatory evacuation, and while an estimated 1 million residents obeyed, 100,000 did not. I’m not referring to the elderly or the financially unable. Should the government bear responsibility for the ill-designed levee? Absolutely. But the able-bodied people that stayed ignored a mandatory evacuation and many suffered.

Not only is sanitation non-existent in Zuccotti Park, but it’s not even a publicly owned area. How can it be infringement of rights if it’s a privately owned park?

As I’ve said before, I support the act of protest for reform, but legitimate request deserve legitimate preparation.

Protest Wall Street, sure, but don’t do it on private property. Peaceably assemble, great, but do it in a place the Constitution actually supports.

It’s “knee-jerk” decisions like these that give the media the ability to paint protesters in a bad light. As a friend recently pointed out, there are plenty of smart people out there, backing the protest. That is true, let them make the big decisions like “where should we stay, who can/should talk to the camera, why the heck are we here?”


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