We are seeing something quite disturbing going on in this country. Each day we are losing our rights, and most people don’t even realize it. The problem is accelerating. We see more and more blatant actions by the government, and people must stand up and do something. The latest action is the establishment of so-called “free speech zones.”
The prime example of this government overreach comes from the actions of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and its attempts to get a Nevada rancher to remove his cattle from public lands. Many people confronted law enforcement officials to peacefully protest the actions, but the protesters were told they could only speak out in certain areas.
Here’s the report from ABC 13 News in Las Vegas:
It’s frustrating that the reporter, during her Skype interview, immediately put the rancher on the defensive by posing the idea that public “safety” is a valid reason for restricting First Amendment rights. That is always the fallback position for the government… that they are doing these things for our own good.
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said in the report that he contacted federal officials about the conduct of the BLM in Nevada.
Most disturbing to me is the BLM’s establishment of a ‘First Amendment Area’ that tramples upon Nevadans’ fundamental rights under the U.S. Constitution.
To that end, I have advised the BLM that such conduct is offensive to me and countless others and that the ‘First Amendment Area’ should be dismantled immediately.
No cow justifies the atmosphere of intimidation which currently exists nor the limitation of constitutional rights that are sacred to all Nevadans.
The limits on free speech are not just for those on the ground. The BLM also established a “no fly” (anti-free speech) zone over the controversial grazing area, so that news helicopters cannot cover the story.
Although the actions of the BLM are the most outrageous, examples of the erosion of our constitutional rights are widespread. As reported in an Associated Press story on GOPUSA.com, colleges around the country have come under fire for trying to establish “free speech zones.”
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education says about six in 10 colleges nationwide have policies that violate First Amendment rights — and about one in six impose “free speech zones” like the policy at issue in the Virginia (Community College System ) case — even though such restrictions rarely survive constitutional challenges.
Free-speech advocates find it troubling that, despite the court rulings, many public colleges persist in squelching student expression.
“Colleges and universities are supposed to be a marketplace of ideas and should be encouraging debate,” David Hacker of the Christian legal advocacy organization Alliance Defending Freedom said. Instead, he said, too many are worried about offending someone.
“If you go through four years of college and haven’t been offended, you should ask for your money back,” said Robert Shibley, senior vice president of FIRE. He said the only people who support speech restrictions “are those on campus who think it will make their jobs easier.”
America is one big free speech zone. That principle is one of the foundations of this country. It’s up to all of us to make sure the government (whether that means federal, state, or some kind of governing organization) knows it!