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Submitted: Oregon Law Would Jail War Protesters as Terrorist

nullard (541520) writes | more than 11 years ago

User Journal 9

I just submitted the following article. If it is rejected, feel free to have discussion here.

Oregon is considering a law that would label protestors who disrupt traffic as terrorists. They would face 25 to life. So much for freedom of assembly. According to the article even the police union is opposed to this one.

I just submitted the following article. If it is rejected, feel free to have discussion here.

Oregon is considering a law that would label protestors who disrupt traffic as terrorists. They would face 25 to life. So much for freedom of assembly. According to the article even the police union is opposed to this one.

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on the other hand... (1)

SomeGuyFromCA (197979) | more than 11 years ago | (#5673994)

Without stating my attitude re: war, because it really has nothing to do with this: (whee!)

1st amendment> "or the right of the people peaceably to assemble"

There is a valid case to be made that disrupting traffic (including ambulances and other emergency vehicles) is not 'peaceably' assembling. Just cos you aren't hitting people doesn't mean you're being peaceful.

Calling yourself a protester doesn't give you a blank check to trespass or block traffic. You look like a kid throwing a tantrum, "I won't stop screaming till Mommy buys me this toy/lets me stay home from school/doesn't take me to the dentist."

Protest by disruption is not an effective political strategy: it will turn people against your methods, which will turn people against your cause.

I'm from San Francisco. City Hall has a great big lawn. They wanna hang out there, or in Golden Gate Park, or on the beach, and wave signs and sing "blowin in the wind", I'll cheer them on. Whether or not I agree, it's their view, they have a right to have it, and they have a right to state it.

But their right to swing their fists ends where my nose begins. And what they're doing is comparable to hostage-taking. It is brute and petty.

Now, so far as whether it is terrorism - looks to me like they're shutting down the City's roads for an "ideological or political cause". (quote from dictionary.com)

What would you call it?

Re:on the other hand... (1)

Alsee (515537) | more than 11 years ago | (#5674420)

What would you call it?

I'd call it obstructing traffic.

I'd assume there is already a law against obstructing traffic, and that is the law that should be used against them. Somehow I doubt obstructing traffic carries a 25 to life sentence.

Why the heck is everyone so busy trying to pass NEW laws against things that are ALREADY illegal? At least this time they didn't add "on the internet" to an old law.

-

Re:on the other hand... (1)

IndependentVik (582582) | more than 11 years ago | (#5674435)

And what they're doing is comparable to hostage-taking. It is brute and petty.

See, it's really not (comparable to hostage-taking, that is) and the fact that you would compare the two at all speaks volumes about how ridiculously coddled people in this country (I'm assuming you're also an American) really are.

I'm not sure I agree with protesters who block traffic, but it's hardly terrorism they're committing. They're not blowing up buildings, they're not physically attacking people: this isn't exactly the granola-munching IRA here. To call this terrorism is to belittle the seriousness of real terrorism. There are already laws on the books for blocking traffic, why not use those to arrest people and give them six months in jail to think about it? Because it's much cleaner to label somebody a "terrorist" and throw them in jail for 25 to life, that's why.

Also, don't forget that if you're accused of terrorism, you can be stripped of your consitutional rights to due process. Suddenly you're an "enemy combatant". Just ask Pedilla about that one.

Back to the subject of being coddled I brought up earlier, it seems like no one in this country can take any hardship at all anymore. The military folks are being asked to make the ultimate sacrifice while nobody else is being asked to do squat. Hell, even the fiscal cost of the war is being passed to the next generation. Heaven forefend the rich don't get a big, fat tax, after all. They might have to make the sacrifice of saving up a whole extra six months to buy that yacht.

Oh, and to quote you again . . . Protest by disruption is not an effective political strategy: it will turn people against your methods, which will turn people against your cause.

Sometimes it's all people who feel like they're not being listened to have left (without becoming violent). Those sit-ins they had to protest segregation at eating establishments all those years back--those were certainly disruptive. They interrupted commerce and prevented more than a few people from going on with their daily lives. I ask you, weren't those protests effective? Would you have labeled them terrorists?

Re:on the other hand... (1)

SomeGuyFromCA (197979) | more than 11 years ago | (#5674604)

really not (comparable to hostage-taking, that is) and the fact that you would compare the two at all

"I will obstruct you and keep you here until you bow to our wishes."

There are already laws on the books for blocking traffic, why not use those to arrest people and give them six months in jail to think about it?

Ask the police that.

no one in this country can take any hardship at all anymore

There's a difference between the hardships that stem from the war and the hardships that stem from people's reactions to the war.

Those sit-ins they had to protest segregation at eating establishments all those years back--those were certainly disruptive. They interrupted commerce and prevented more than a few people from going on with their daily lives. I ask you, weren't those protests effective? Would you have labeled them terrorists?

No. Because they disrupted the very eating establishments that wouldn't let them in in the first place.

Re:on the other hand... (1)

IndependentVik (582582) | more than 11 years ago | (#5675738)

"I will obstruct you and keep you here until you bow to our wishes."

Yea, that's just like hostage-taking commited by terrorist organizations, except in this case you have the power to get out of your car and kick some hippie ass until they go away. Certainly, in the strictest sense, you could use the word "hostage", but I'm sure people who have actually been held hostage at gunpoint would claim that there's a slight difference in the two circumstances.

Ask the police that.

You mean why they don't arrest protestors who aren't committing overt acts of violence? I'm not sure what your point is, but first of all the police unions don't want this law and second of all protestors have a long history of getting arrested without physically hurting anybody. There doesn't need to be any idiotic "protestor as terrorist" law.

>> Would you have labeled them terrorists?
>No. Because they disrupted the very eating establishments that wouldn't let them in in the first place.


I think the writers of the bill would disagree with you there: "Dubbed Senate Bill 742, it identifies 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."

Sounds to me like those negro troublemakers were terrorists through and through.

I think you're a little quick to throw your support in the direction of yet another overly broad bill that gives more power to the police than even you would like.

Sounds like Toronto... (1)

checkyoulater (246565) | more than 11 years ago | (#5674336)

The Toronto Police Services Board (Civilian body that controls the Police Department), along with the Toronto Police Department are trying to convince city council to adopt a similar measure. They want protesters to register first with the Police department, and get a permit for a protest by the police.

Without even mentioning that this goes againt the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, it also makes it quite simple for the Police to stop protests which they don't agree with. For example, OCAP [www.ocap.ca] can forget about ever getting permission to protest again, along with the multitude of other poverty groups.

I swear we are getting more like Soviet Russia and China every day. Tow the company line of the government or have your rights systematically stripped right before your eyes. I just hope that the Supreme Court realizes that this city bylaw infringes on our Charter rights.

Ahem (1)

mattACK (90482) | more than 11 years ago | (#5676305)

THIS is why I joined the ACLU. They may take on strange cases from time to time, but you can always rest assured that they will take on evil like this.

only one problem (1)

Shymon (624690) | more than 11 years ago | (#5678683)

The problem here is NOT that they want to punish people who disrupt a public road while protesting, but that they want to lock you up for 25 years to life. THAT part is unconsitutional, ya know the whole excessive punishment thing? in any event you do not have the right to clog streets with your protests, sure you can demonstrate peacefully but the second you cause the distrubance to another person you are violating THEIR rights and as such should be punished.

It is the protesters road too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5684918)

If protesters want to use the road to stand in, rather than to drive on, that is their right. After all, it is public property. It belongs to the protesters as much as it does the people driving.

If the government wants to stop the protesters then they can start by not pissing people off so much that they feel like they need to go stand in the middle of the road.

I can tell you one thing, if you silence people and then take away their right to protest, you will get terror like you have never seen before. The reason this country is so nice to live in, up to now, is that we can get out and be heard. Take that away and the people will do whatever it takes to be heard again.

Even if it means to resist with force those who try to silence them. If push comes to shove, there will be blood in the streets of America. I personally guarantee it.
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