NavyJack – Defending Freedom of Speech Against Violent Attacks from the Left
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” – 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States
There are a significant number of public speakers on both the left and the right that I personally disagree with. As an Oath Keeper, I do not have the latitude to determine what speech is worth defending. This article will review the responsibilities of citizens to defend free speech and address what is legal and what is not legal with regard to exercising the right to freedom of speech and the right to peaceably assemble. This article will also review the false narrative that the 1st Amendment somehow provides protesters with the right to use actions other than peaceful assembly and speech to protest against the actions, policies, politics or speech of others.
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The Bill of Rights makes no distinction on what is acceptable or unacceptable speech. The U.S. Supreme Court has made it perfectly clear that all speech and all freedoms of the press cannot be regulated by the Federal Government or by the States unless that speech meets one of the following conditions:
- The speech promotes intentional libel or slander, or
- The speech is a criminal threat, or
- The speech is directed to inciting imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.
The courts have long recognized specific limitations when it comes to speech, such as prohibitions against slander and libel. Many States have laws regarding libel or speech that intentionally slanders. There are no Federal restrictions on libel or slander.
Both Federal and State laws recognize that criminal threats constitute a crime. A criminal threat, sometimes known as the terrorist threat, malicious harassment, or by other terms, occurs when someone threatens to kill or physically harm someone else. Criminal threats are made with the intention to place someone in fear of injury or death. However, it isn’t necessary for a victim to actually experience fear or terror. Rather, it’s the intention of the person making the threat that matters.
In 1969, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Brandenburg v. Ohio that; “The constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a state to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force, or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.” This ruling is the standard for all subsequent cases brought before the court and is the law of the United States. Only speech that poses an imminent danger of unlawful action, where the speaker has the intention to incite such action and there is the likelihood that this will be the consequence of his or her speech, may be restricted and punished by law.
Contrary to popular belief, the United States does not have laws against “hate speech” unless that speech is a criminal threat to place someone in fear of injury or death or is directed to inciting imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.
“The 1st Amendment does not permit protesters to block access to buildings, areas of assembly, roads or bridges. It does not allow protesters to infringe on the rights of anyone.” – NavyJack
The Current Situation
The political left and those who subscribe to leftist anarchist and antifascist organizations have taken it upon themselves to limit free speech of those that do not subscribe to their political beliefs. They have begun enforcing their own “hate speech” beliefs with force and with violence. These individuals and organizations are promoting violence against any individual or organization that they disagree with. They are seriously violating the U.S. Constitution and our laws. They are supported by politicians, law enforcement personnel and judges that have taken an oath to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic. These individuals and these organizations are domestic terrorists:
18 U.S. Code § 2331
(5) the term “domestic terrorism” means activities that—
(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;
(B) appear to be intended—
(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
(C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.
Law enforcement personnel, politicians and judges that refuse to uphold our laws are enabling terrorism. It is time to prosecute all of these individuals for their crimes. It is also time to eradicate these so called “antifascist” organizations based on their promotion of terrorist activities. Because of our large number of current and former law enforcement officers and military personnel, Oath Keepers has a role to play in bringing these criminals to justice. We also have a responsibility to protect and defend the 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States from domestic terrorists and their enablers.
What can we do?
First, we must not shy away from stating that the individuals and organizations responsible for these crimes are “domestic terrorists”. They are committing crimes and they are currently going unpunished. Every Federal, State and local law enforcement officer and judge in the United States is responsible for enforcing 18 U.S. Code § 2331. Demand this law be enforced. Do it in writing. Speak up at city and county meetings. If you are a witness to a terrorist threat, report it and demand a copy of the report. In every case where an Oath Keepers associated with Operation HYPO filed a police report regarding planned or threatened criminal or terrorist activity, law enforcement personnel took at least some action. Call the local news stations and make sure they get the story right and that blame is placed where it belongs. At least try.
These snowflakes are coming for you pic.twitter.com/mtCPWYk9SK
— ✊ #DisruptJ20 ✊ (@DisruptJ20) February 1, 2017
Second, we must be good citizens that recognize the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and defend the rights of all citizens to exercise their right to freedom of speech, to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. The right to peaceably assemble does not include the right to infringe on the rights of other citizens. It does not allow for the blocking of access to buildings, areas of assembly, roads or bridges. Peaceful assembly in no way allows for protesters or demonstrators to break the law. This lunacy must end. The politicians and the police departments that allow such behavior must be chastised for their complicity in restricting the rights of those inconvenienced by these actions. When we observe or are inconvenienced by these types of actions, we must be willing to file a report against those responsible. We must demand accountability of our elected leaders and law enforcement personnel. Take names. Take pictures. Get badge numbers. Demand action.
— Antifa DFW (@AntifaDFW) January 25, 2017
Third, as citizens and Oath Keepers we are obligated to intervene and render aid to anyone that is being subjected to an assault, terrorism or other criminal activity that could result in bodily harm. It is your duty. We all have varying levels of ability to provide this assistance. At a minimum, we must be willing to summon law enforcement and provide witness statements. If your physical condition, training, weapons readiness and experience permit, you must consider intervention and the potential use of force necessary to stop an attack against another citizen. Every state provides the ability for a citizen to intervene to stop an assault against another person. Only that force which is required to stop the assault should be used. If you are in possession of a legal firearm, make sure that you know the State and local restrictions against brandishing or threatening to use that weapon against an assailant to stop an assault.
I fully expect to get a rash of comments that we should just let the police to their job and not intervene. Baloney. If the police fail to do their job, which is not at all uncommon in the current protest and riot situations, you cannot be a good citizen and an Oath Keeper if you do not at least do what you can to stop the attack. I am not asking you to jump into a street fight that is 10 to 1 against you to save another citizen from further bodily harm. I am stating that you have a responsibility to do what you can, even if all you can do is scream at a police officer at the top of your lungs to do their damn job.
Now I know we have a lot of members that are police officers that may take offense to my statements above, and if any of you are one of the officers I am referring to that fails to render aid in these situations because of “orders”, you should be offended. You took an oath to protect and serve. To the rest of you, I am your most ardent supporter and I will risk my life to save your life without hesitation.
I am not asking anyone to go out and look for trouble. I am not asking you to seek out these violent protesters and intervene. I am stating that you have a duty to render assistance to the best of your ability if you witness an assault. I am stating that you have a duty to report criminal and/or terrorist activity. I am stating that you have a duty to go to city and county meetings and demand that these terrorist activities cease and the perpetrators be arrested, charged, convicted and sentenced. Until we all recognize our duty as citizens, the violence will continue and left unpunished, will escalate further.