14 March 2011

Right cycles

Something which cycled around after the WBC court decision on facebook seems to be a trumpeting of the second amendment over the first. Far be it for me to start a debate over which amendment is more important, at any point in a society's history, to individual liberties (at this point for us, it is clearly the first, though if we lived in Libya right now, it might not be), but the crucial elements were the glaring flaws in the proposed superiority.

First, it correctly posits that the ruling protects the right of protests held at military funerals, no matter their content. But then it somehow determines that a public protest may be held on private property. It may not. This is referred to as trespassing. Secondly, it somehow would conclude that a military funeral would be held on what is determined to be private property. Again, this is not the case. Military cemeteries are deemed to be public grounds. Third, the court only held that we cannot bar people from protesting, but it made no determinations over what are usually considered reasonable restraints. For instance, people cannot hold their rallies at 4 am, or as aforementioned, on private property, or violate noise ordinances in neighbourhoods that have them. It is often considered sensible (though I'm not sure this is as reasonable as a time or public nuisance law constraint) to place ranges of distance surrounding certain public forums (such as cemeteries, but often including convention centers and other public offices).

In other words, I don't see what people are getting so worked up about here. I probably find the WBC and its underlying message and political goals more abhorrent than the people who are busily running around complaining that there are troops being buried while they spread their words of hatred. And yet I don't particularly care that they're allowed to spread that message in a very public way. If you don't like it, leave them the fuck alone. They will shut up or find something else to do with their time and energy and money than harass people. It's easier to shut the blinds than to go get the shotgun in order to move someone out of your personal view.
Post a Comment