As I Expected

As I expected, some, perhaps most, of my readers disagreed with my viewpoint on the last post. I’d like to offer Robert at My Tumultuous Adventure a link to his post on the subject. I recognize that there are plenty of laws to support his point of view.

So we have rights, some mentioned in the Bill of Rights, but those rights are now subject to being hedged in by laws and regulations. I submit that if I need a permit to exercise my 1st Amendment rights, that makes those rights into privileges subject to approval of whoever is issuing the permits. On this we will have to continue to disagree.

The use of tear gas, pepper spray, and pepper balls to disperse a riot seems justified when public safety is an issue. Close in spraying of pepper spray to punish people is not. It was use of force in a situation where no force was called for.

While the first comment on the previous post goes places I think are completely over the top, the second seems so willing to restrict the right to assemble and protest as to make the right meaningless. I feel the same way about permits to carry a firearm. If it’s a right, who gets to decide if I can exercise it?

5 thoughts on “As I Expected

  1. It seems to me to be the same mindset as 'bans'. Don't like 'X'? ban it!
    There are many things in this country with which I disagree. But I'd disagree with banning it or regulating it or licensing it more.
    Doing so gives the government more arbitrary power. Slippery slope and all that.
    I'd rather witness an unbathed, tattooed, useful idiot than a pristine sidewalk, guarded by some JBT.
    The meme should always be toward individual freedom. And personal responsibility.

  2. Like I said in the comment, and in my post, you do not have a right to block a public walkway. That belongs to everyone. If you want to use it to the exclusion of everyone else you need a permit. If, on the other hand, you want to stand or sit in such a manner that you are not blocking the walkway then you are all good (and the protestors could have done this…the only thing it would have cost them was a news story that earned them sympathy). I don't think that's unreasonable. We don't live in a society of unrestricted freedoms, and we never have. That way lies chaos.

    This is a tricky issue for me because it walks right into the wall of my mainly libertarian ethical structure. How does one deal with a person who, while not actively using physical force against you, is restricting your freedom (in this case my freedom to use the walkway). The easiest way would be to go around. But what about in situations when that is not an option? Does everything come to a stand still until the person blocking the way gets what they want?

    For me, I say the walkway is for walking. If I can't go around, and they won't move, and I must go forward then I default to using the thing for the purpose it was intended, and if that means harm comes to someone misusing the thing then it's on them.

  3. Oh, and thank you for the link.

    Also, I largely agree with you. My issue is that, like it or not, public property is communal property. I don't like that, but it's a fait accompli. There have to be some kind of rules governing how it is used.

  4. RobertM: If the sidewalk is blocked and you can not otherwise go around, as in your offered scenario, and your self-imposed decision not to gently (or not so gently) move the blocker aside brings you to a standstill, the only options are: Wait until he moves or invoke the Force of Government to clear the sidewalk for you.

    But the third option is the one to which I subscribe: Your Right to anything ends when it bumps up against my equal Right.

    In your scenario I would politely ask the blocker to move…once with my words.

    The second time I ask will not be verbal, and it will clear the sidewalk.

    His Rights are not superior to mine, he has no moral Right to impede me or diminish my Rights.

    He has taken the position that his Right is superior to yours.

    The sooner our Countrymen return to a mutual respect for the Rights of one another, the better. Until then, I would counsel everyone to defend their Rights, because no one will do it for you, and calling upon a third party to defend your Rights (the police) is a far greater threat to Liberty than handling it yourself.


  5. This is a great discussion.

    There is a use of force continuum that all law enforcement is obligated to follow. The lowest rung is physical presence and use of the voice. Yep, the mere presence of a uniformed officer in such a circumstance as seen here is a use of force, especially when coupled with voice commands (disperse, stop, leave, etc.). When that force option fails then it is legal and ethical to then ratchet up to the next level. That's generally hands on and use of pepper spray. In most use of force policies I've seen those two are equal. If the initial use of force was lawful then the following jump up the force spectrum is also legal. The main question is whether or not the initial encounter was lawful. In this case I believe it was so when the lowest level of force failed then the use of pepper spray was objectively legal and ethical. If protesters ignore or refuse to acknowledge the commands the officers are obligated to gain compliance in an encounter where their initial use of force was justified. They cannot simply walk away absent a finding by higher authority to stand down. It can be argued that command should have re-evaluated the situation (assuming they didn't) when the initial presence and commands failed but the use of force as shown was entirely reasonable given the facts as presented.

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