On Sunday, April 6 2014, the Bureau of Land Management of the United States took David Bundy into custody.
The BLM said he failed to comply with multiple requests by BLM law enforcement to leave a temporary closure area on public lands. The closure area is outside of what is euphemistically referred to as First Amendment Zone. Other names used for such zones are “protest zones”, or as opponents affectionately call them “Free Speech Cages”. Technically they are Free Speech Zones.
Part and parcel the zones are designated areas where citizen may actually practice they First Amendment right of free speech, with government approval. Government agencies use such happy descriptions as “The First Amendment areas are designated by the government for people to express their free speech rights about the subject”.
The BLM claimed that Mr. Bundy (and presumably any citizen finding themselves in opposition to Gestapo tactics) failed to comply with requests to leave an area which was outside of their “Free Speech Cages”.
The rest of the story, as presented by the Bundy family, that witnessed the take-down of David, present a different interpretation of events. They say David was filming BLM activities from the side of the road. They claim that BLM muscle put David on the ground at the point of a high-powered rifle under the teeth of a guard dog. Then the BLM dragged his carcass of to jail. Kind of like them dragging the carcasses of the Bundy family off to be sold at auction.
By now, my views of the incident are clear and apparent. The jackboot boys of the BLM stepped way off the line of constitutionality and decency. However, setting aside my bias, the truth lies somewhere between the BLM claims of being victims of a misunderstanding and the Bundy family standing up for their presumed rights.
I want to delve just a little deeper. I want answer to the whole idea of “Free Speech Zones”, because the concept sounds so completely foreign to what Americans think, feel and believe about freedom of speech.
In the late 1930s, over 75 years ago, the Supreme court heard a case, on appeal, where a political boss and all around scoundrel had prevented union meetings from occurring. The Supreme court upheld the lower court decision. Basically, the political/mob boss was told he could not restrict freedom of assembly and speech.
Several other cases were held during the 1960s, principally around segregation policies, were heard by the Supreme Court. The court shifted slightly, ruling that picketing did not warrant the same degree of protection as routine free speech. The courts began limiting the means of expressing free speech. There is volumes to be read on these several cases, far more than I can cover in-depth here, but suffice it to say the Supreme Court abridged free speech.
Subsequent rulings followed those opinions. Colleges and University were afforded mildly broader powers to manage free speech. As with all court rulings, men reach into their personal bags of imagination to interpret the courts opinions.
Soon Presidents and even candidates were using the court ruling to limit the access of protestors to controlled events. For example, at one presidential gathering an observer was forced to move away from the view of cameras and the president. As one police officer reported “Secret Service told local police to confine ‘people that were there making a statement pretty much against the president and his views.”
In other words Free Speech Zones were procreated, birthed, and growing to adulthood. It was a breeding ground for aborting free speech.
The Supreme Court, well outside of any jurisdiction under the Constitution. developed criteria for establishing Free Speech Zones. Although, the Supreme Court had ZERO authority to establish any such analytical guidelines, the resultant guidelines were not entirely bad.
The guidelines were to be used by agencies and other public bodies to assist them in establishing zones. For a fair share those guidelines did in fact protect some aspects of free speech.
Now, having provided that history as abbreviated as possible, let us return to the case of the BLM accosting the Bundy family…and with them 100% of the citizens of the country.
The zones were intended to be strictly for practical purposes; provide safety and public peace. The BLM spokesman in the Bundy arrest matter even said the arrest was for public safety purposes. Yet, they offered no evidence that such public safety issue existed.
Now, here is a description, taken from Wiki-pedia, of one of the cases before the Supreme court, as used by one justice on the prevailing ruling. “A key piece of evidence, countering the State’s claim that the singing from the jail turned the peaceful assembly into a riotous one. There was a film of the protest; the judges watched it with rapt attention. The film showed that it was peaceful until the police joined in.”
The correlation I am drawing is that filming took place and the activity was peaceful…UNTIL…the police joined in. Or, in this case until the BLM jackboots arrived.
Now, if I may offer one additional tidbit to the tiring tedium of BLM abuse. From other court rulings we read:
“Speech that is otherwise protected may not be disallowed solely because the audience finds the message offensive, even where members of the audience react to the speech in a disruptive manner. To disallow speech on such grounds would violate a First Amendment ban otherwise known as the “heckler’s veto.” In such circumstances, while there may be a legitimate need to take action against the disruptive members of the audience, the speech itself must be allowed to continue.”
“[I]t is firmly settled that under our Constitution the public expression of ideas may not be prohibited merely because the ideas are themselves offensive to some of their hearers, or simply because bystanders object to peaceful and orderly demonstrations.”
What then to we gather from all of this?
The BLM had no merit in taking David Bundy captive, for the sole purpose of silencing him. And, that was the sole purpose. The foundation of the case by the BLM is not built upon a solid footing. In fact, it is not even built upon a foundation of sand. At best, it is built upon a foundation of mud…that surely shall dirty us all, if not opposed in strenuous manner.
That Is The Way I See It.