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Journal memfree's Journal: Speech is only "free speech" when at odds with policy?(more) 17

This is a week old, but I've only just read the Economist article. I understand the need for crowd control, but the idea of _selective_ crowd control really irks me.

Basically, this guy, Mr. Bursey, is arrested for being anti-war in a Pro-Bush zone. He'd faced similar charges *years* ago after he'd done the same thing during the Nixon/Vietnam era, and they were dismissed by South Carolina's Supreme Court. When history repeated itself and the new charges were dismissed, our leaders sought out new ways to criminalize his behavior.

To quote the article:

  1. The prosecutors say that Mr Bursey was not in a special âoefree-speech zoneâ that was set up for protesters half a mile from the hangar. The pro-Bush people did not need to be there because they were not protesting. Mr Bursey told the cops, defiantly, that he was under the impression that the whole of America was a free-speech zone.


After NeMon'ess pointed out that Bursey will not be given a juried trial, I looked around a little, and immediately found some more links on the story. All but the last take similar positions. My apologies for not starting off with more details. Thanks to NeMon'ess for pointing this out!

  - Trial Started Tuesday. Bursey contends that the charges have changed "That wasn't what I got arrested for"

  - Trial delayed (for technicality).

  - PA Op-Ed doesn't like Ashcroft, mentions Bursey.

  - The Charlotte Observer's coverage is less sympathetic, and cites the fine to be 1/10th the price reported in other papers.

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Speech is only "free speech" when at odds with policy?(more)

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  • ...he was under the impression that the whole of America was a free-speech zone.

    Ummm...So was I.

    That kind of defeats the purpose of protesting if you are only allowed to protest in an area half a mile away from that which you are protesting.
    • This seems to be standard policy. When the GOP National Convention came to Philadelphia in 2000, there were endless reports about how the only legal protests were to be in a designated parking lot far off from the convention -- where no one had to actually see or hear them. They also arrested hundreds of kids for a week, then dropped the charges. I almost don't mind that stuff when they're simply giving _everyone_ a hard time.

      No wait, I do still mind it. Arbitrary arrests are always bad -- even if dole
  • This is nonsense. First Amendment Licensing is just as stupid as Second Amendment Licensing, or any of the others.
    • Well ... on 2nd Amendment stuff, I do see a point in restricting weapons that would cause more harm to your friends than to your enemy. I mean, if North Korea or, better yet, if China attacked with long range weapons, I'd really rather have trained professionals performing long-ranged responses than to let people like myself launch a personally owned 1960s-style ICBM back at our enemy. And if the enemy attacks with ground troops, then I'd do more harm to my own side than theirs by detonating my smaller, p
      • Well, the only arms that the fed. government was told to keep their hands off of were arms that a basic infantryman would carry and this has been established through the documentation of the discussions about Amendment II at the time and some court cases afterward.

        Part of the intent was protection of property from invaders (local and foreign), another part was protection against tyranny.

        Then the Reconstruction Amendments were coaxed from the States and guess what? They have the same limitations as the fe
        • Where can I get information on this? I knew that California, Texas, and Vermont each had periods of being sovereign nations (some claim that, technically, the U.S. is an addition to Vermont) but Illinois?
          Please, tell us more.

          • Sorry, need to look it up elsewhere, but I wil try to remember to ask a co-worker who might know more. He was once the CSM of ILARNG and he would know kmore about that Navy.

            The sub was moored in Chicago and I toured it with a group from Church when I was a kid. No idea any more when the Navy was begun or if it is still around. For some reason I am remembering it was defense against someone from across the lake, but I can not remember who (or how accurate that is).
          • Illionis Naval Militia

            To this day (I think) all State of Illinois Military Orders/Directives, etc. are titled "Military and Naval Department".

            This per that retired CSM mentioned in another response.
  • denied jury, june 9th []

    South Carolina Progressive Network [] Mr. Bursey heads this group.
    • Thanks for this info. I posted my complaint almost as soon as I'd finished reading the Economist link. I particularly like the letter to Ashcroft (in case the link moves off the front page it is here []). It's a shame so few people signed it.

      If accurate, the part that troubles me most is this bit: "Mr. Bursey reports that he was told that he had to either put down his sign or leave the area. In other words, it was not his presence in the area but his presence holding a sign that was expressing a politica
      • You're welcome. I'll definitely check back on July 23rd or sooner to see what's happened. I'm annoyed but not surprised by this coming from the JUDGE:

        "Marchant gave lawyers until July 23 to file legal briefs and said he will rule about a week after that. "If the defense prevails, in all likelihood the government will dismiss the charge," he said from the bench."

        So the law won't be overturned, damn it.
  • so long as we keep the 2nd. Many people will listen to you, probably listen to you more closely, if you carry a gun.
    • As much as I favor broad protection for gun ownership, I generally discount people who use them in a threatening manner. Oh sure, if they're pointing the gun *at* me, I'll probably agree to any demands at that particular moment, but as soon as I or someone else can remove the threat, my main interest becomes *denying* those demands.

      For the case in question, I'd have applauded the Secret Service for killing the guy on the spot if he was waving a gun instead of a sign. It wouldn't have mattered why -- it j
      • He figured there'd be a round of mass deaths, then retaliatory deaths, and there after we'd have a REALLY polite society.

        Can a singleton society be considered polite?
      • The problem with thinking along that line is...
        What do you do during and after. Hire MeatWagon Dan?
        Think people get up in arms over costs of normal trash pick up.
        And what about spot shortages?
        "Bob you were late with the ammo shipment.
        That's Rude!" Blammo!

        • There are *lots* of problems thinking along those lines. But it's far more fun to defend an outrageous idea in which you have no personal investment -- an idea you _know_ is stupid -- than to defend something that really matters, like why it is wrong for the government to arrest a guy they don't like while leaving others who are doing the same thing alone.

          The moral of the Bursey affair seems to be : Would-be assasins can go right up front if they've got props in favor of current policy, but those who hone

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson