The Right to Peaceably Assemble
How many of the protest marchers actually know why they are marching and what are their expected results? Everything has become a “cause” and demanding “police reform” without substance is simply people walking down a road with no purpose. It is like a child that doesn’t want to eat their vegetables walking outside and demanding “parent reform” without any idea what that even means.
First Amendment to the United States Constitution
“First Amendment” redirects here. For other uses, see First Amendment (disambiguation).
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is the part of the United States Bill of Rights that expressly prohibits the United States Congress from making laws “respecting an establishment of religion” or that prohibit the free exercise of religion, infringe the freedom of speech, infringe the freedom of the press, limit the right to peaceably assemble, or limit the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Although the First Amendment only explicitly applies to the Congress, the Supreme Court has interpreted it as applying to the executive and judicial branches. Additionally, in the 20th century, the Supreme Court held that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment applies the limitations of the First Amendment to each state, including any local government within a state.
It’s been said that what is needed is not police reform but educating the public on how to obey the law. The First Amendment guarantees the rights of citizens to peaceably assemble by the Constitution, which is the Law of the Land in the United States. The First Amendment is also guaranteed by the laws of states and local governments. But knowing the law doesn’t automatically give anyone the right to do as they please and call it their 1st Amendment right.
Before planning to peaceably assemble there are certain things that should be done to ensure that concerns are voiced in such a way as to bring about a desired set of results. Gather the facts of what actually happened so that emotion is not the driving force.
Police involved shootings rarely develop out of thin air. Normally there is criminal activity resulting in police involvement. Whether it’s domestic violence, a traffic stop or criminal activity, police respond and are prepared for the expectation of a possible violent encounter. All too often even a simple traffic stop can escalate into a highly tense situation. When a suspect draws a weapon it changes the dynamics of the situation. Once shots have been fired the end result is quite possibly serious injury or death.
Take the recent case of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky where police were serving a warrant for her arrest. Upon knocking on the door and identifying themselves as police with a warrant a third party at the house fired striking a police officer. Police returned fire and Breonna Taylor was hit and died as a result of return fire by police. Rather than wait for the results of a police investigation, mob violence ensued resulting in rioting and subsequent shooting of police officers. A grand jury was convened and found insufficient evidence to charge 2 police officers, but enough to charge 1 police officer. When this information was conveyed to the public by the Kentucky District Attorney it was not accepted and rioting and public protests continued in Louisville and other cities across the nation.
The same thing happened in May 2020 with the death of George Floyd in police custody. Rather than wait for the facts to be made known public anger led to rioting, looting and innocent lives lost in Minneapolis and many other cities across the nation. When the medical examiner released the autopsy results that showed George Floyd died of a drug overdose, not by asphyxiation from the pressure of the police officer’s knee those results were not accepted either. Officers had been fired and charged, but it is very likely they will be vindicated of wrong doing.
Not all incidents of police involved shootings are the result of wrong doing by police. What happened in Los Angeles, California recently was the ambush of two police officers by a lone gunman who walked up on and fired a weapon seriously wounding two officers in a parked and fully marked police cruiser. Mob violence brought a crowd to the hospital emergency room entrance chanting “We hope they die” as they blocked the ER.
There have been other incidents where police have been targeted and attacked by people demonstrating against police violence which clearly demonstrates the need for the public to learn and be aware of what constitutes law abiding versus criminal activity. A majority of police officers killed in 2020 were at the hands of violent criminals, while a majority of the lives lost to gun violence were at the hands of criminals and not due to police violence.
Besides finding out what the facts are, peaceful protest planners must identify the underlying issue and propose corrective action that will ensure these types of incidents are not repeated. Once said corrective action has been evaluated, assessed and implemented just who is going to enforce it? What are appropriate penalties of violating this recommended corrective action? Must it be signed into law at state or federal level? Educate yourself and think things out to the desired conclusion.
We have to start somewhere, so why not start in the home with parents teaching their children respect for themselves and others and teaching the 10 commandments from the bible as the basis for our Rule of Law (Constitution). Carry this into public and private education where teachers and faculty reinforce the values of right and wrong and what it means to become a responsible individual and a law abiding citizen of our nation. Respect on the job is more than demanding others respect you, but where everyone is required to respect each other. The customer is always right is more than just a saying.
We are all created equal by our creator and endowed with certain inalienable rights – Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness which are stated in our Declaration of Independence. Maybe it’s time to reinforce reading the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States beginning in elementary school instead of sex education with minors? The responsibilities of citizenship begin with me and with you. – I am the Real Truckmaster!