Should protestors be charged as

Avatar for cl_mssugaree
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-22-2003
Should protestors be charged as
9
Thu, 04-03-2003 - 5:35am
terrorists?

Some Oregon Legislators seem to think so and have proposed such in Senate Bill 742.

Briefly-

The bill defines a terrorist as a person who "plans or participates in an act that is intended, by at least one of its participants, to disrupt" business, transportation, schools, government, or free assembly.

Critics believe this is an effort to discourage demonstrations and free speech.

Proponents believe it is necessary because of the damaging riots and disruption and money it costs cities and businesses. They cite the WTO riots.

Isn't this just an extension of FACE? Would you support the bill? Tweak the Bill? Prefer higher penalties or jail time for those who purposefully interupt the citizenry and daily life? Is there a particular problem in having to devote resources to minding these protests and guaranteeing them their 'rights' while it may endanger others rights?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Thu, 04-03-2003 - 7:12am
I totally support the war and dislike the ideas of the peace protestors. However, I am also a staunch supporter of our inherent Right of free speech. As long as these protestors are only marching and screaming their anti-war gibberish then they should not be punished. We should ignore them much as we ignore an annoying fly. But if they begin to destroy property or harm other people then they are breaking the law and should be punished. I don't like legislation such as the one cited here because it tends to open the crack to shutting down our right of free speech. That can be very dangerous. From war protestors it can mushroom into shutting down Message Boards such as this one.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 04-03-2003 - 9:24am
I think this is an example of knee jerk legislation, similar to hate crimes in that it is really a redundant addition to the criminal code. There are already proscriptions against the behavior of violent or obstructive protestors with the standing criminal code, why add special motivation oriented caveats? I think this is a dangerous precedent that lawmakers short sightedly seem to try to foist on us. Too much legislation, too much controlling behavior.
Avatar for lmanney
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 04-03-2003 - 11:56am
Why would you assume that this would be targeted ONLY at anti-war demonstrators? Theoretically, this could be used to prevent anti-abortion protestors from holding rallies and pretests in front of abortion clinics, it could be used to end stiking workers from picketing, ect. Either everyone is allowed to protest anything (even if you personally disagree with it) or no one can protest anything. What country would you rather live in?

Leah

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 04-03-2003 - 1:13pm
Precisely!
Avatar for cl_mssugaree
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-22-2003
Fri, 04-04-2003 - 6:18am
Not just to midhusband but stemming from his point of redundancy:

So, is there a problem with redundancy with FACE legislation and should that lead to its being eliminated? Is this the precursor of the slippery slope or is it a special category?

FACE is The Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act of 1994 law, which protects

crisis pregnancy centers, abortion clinics, physicians' offices, other reproductive health clinics, churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, and other religious buildings.

"by establishing Federal criminal penalties and civil remedies for certain violent, threatening, obstructive and destructive conduct that is intended to injure, intimidate or interfere with persons."

TO read up on FACE:

http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/248.html

Separately, have judges misused this statute in order to create so-called buffer zones around abortion-performing clinics?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 04-04-2003 - 8:56am
It is a mis-use, in my opinion. The problem I have with this type of law it not with the content of the law, but that it cites specific persons, groups, or entities as deserving of a unique level of protections. It diffuses the constitutional guarantees of equal protection, implying that some deserve higher levels of protection than others.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 04-04-2003 - 9:53am
iT'S ALL ready an established principle that "freedom of speech" does not mean "freedom to riot or destroy", I think this new proposed law is too vague. It would make someone a "terrorist" for simply blocking traffic or picketing a building (but as I understand it trade union picketing would be somehow exempt.)

If people riot they can be dealt with without new laws that might be used to limit freedom of speech, although I can understand the frustration of the people in Washington. We had a similar "free speech event" in LA when the democratic convention was here.

:-)

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Sun, 04-06-2003 - 10:39am
My problem with protestors is that they use their *right* to protest and endanger our citzens in the process.

Should they have the right to pull needed police officers off their posts to keep these protests safe? These officers are needed elsewhere ---

Do they have the right to put these officers and citizens at risk when the protests turn ugly?

Do they have the right to block traffic including emergency vehicles? Do you want to be the patient in the back of an ambulance trying to get to a hospital but instead sitting in traffic that can NOT move?

Being opposed to this war is fine with me ---- BUT protest it in a way that is safe and makes sense.

Marching in the streets and causing chaos accomplishes NOTHING worthwhile.

That being said --- I think there is a huge difference between protesting/marching and creating total chaos and inciting riots.




Edited 4/6/2003 10:48:05 AM ET by sandy9193

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 04-07-2003 - 2:41pm
it's the cost of doing business, in my opinion. There are already laws in the US criminal code with which all these actions can be charged. Making up a new law everytime something annoying happens diffuses the value of the law.