The silencing of non-violent protest

Remember how some anti-Second Amendment/ anti-Bill of Rights campaigners insisted that being placed on a "watch list" or "no-fly list" by an unidentified bureaucrat, without due process, was reason enough to take away someone's right to own a firearm for self-protection or hunting?  Like they did Nelson Mandela's rights when they put him on the list at the request of some pro-apartheid hack in the security services.

 

Here is the story of Will Potter, journalist, who had his Second Amendment rights threatened in that all too familiar way:

 

Journalist Will Potter discusses "the shocking move to criminalize non-violent protest." 

 

It is happening everywhere, all across America, at the federal, state, and local levels.  Instead of the great American tradition of open debate, we have government officials attempting to twist the law to silence dissent -- and when they can't twist it enough, they make new laws to do the job directly.

 

In December, we wrote about the new habit some local officials have picked-up of using men with guns to combat free speech.

 

It's a new-found perk to holding municipal office:  When you don't like something someone says about you, instead of hiring a lawyer and going to court using YOUR money, just file a criminal complaint, have it signed-off on by a municipal employee whose job YOU control, and then have the part-time prosecutor (a lawyer also in private practice) whose job YOU control prosecute the case for you.  Heck, YOU even control the job of the municipal court judge you will be appearing before. 

 

Even if they transfer it to another court, it is still the same law firms chasing the same municipal court appointments.  One year you are the prosecutor in this town, the next in that, or someone in your law firm is -- and it goes for municipal court judges too who are also lawyers in private practice (an unheard of practice across America).  Which one of these attorneys is going to stand up to a Mayor or Deputy Mayor who holds their living in his or her hands each January when they select the attorneys to fill the lawyer-only part-time municipal jobs the property taxpayers will be paying for?  

 

And the justifications that governing officials use for crushing American freedoms are the same whether those officials are on the right or the left:  It's for the country/ for the children; we want to protect business/provide people with a safe space; those words are upsetting people!

 

Once upon a time, Americans understood that speech should be met with more speech -- not by local officials sending prosecutors and men with guns.  These neo-fascists are turning the cities and towns of America into the nightmare visualized in the movie V for Vendetta -- the subject of this monologue from the film:   

 

“There are of course those who do not want us to speak.  I suspect that even now orders are being shouted into telephones and men with guns will soon be on their way.  Why?  Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. 

 

Words are for the means to meaning and for those who will listen, the annunciation of truth.”