Author: Juan B

Right to Protest

In light of recent events, Bandolero believes we should take a look at the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America.

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.

It’s amazing how much can be said with so few words!

It has lately been repeatedly said that protesters were exercising their First Amendment rights. Apparently, it is asserted that a “protest” is covered by “freedom of speech”. Bandolero doesn’t see that. A protest seems more appropriately to fall under “petition the Government for a redress of grievances”. In either case, Bandolero cannot find any right to pillage and vandalize property, nor any right to stop traffic, nor any right to throw water bottles and other projectiles at police, nor any right to assault and batter people. Nevertheless, all of these are being embraced as forms of “protest” protected by the First Amendment. It appears that they have overlooked the word “peaceably”. Or, perhaps, they have re-defined the word “peaceably” so that all of those activities are now considered to be peaceful. Bandolero shakes his head in dismay and disappointment. No, they are not peaceful.

Bandolero wonders if there’s any difference between a “protest” and a “demonstration”. In the 1960’s, large gatherings and marches were usually referred to as demonstrations; participants were demonstrators. Their purpose was to publicize things the demonstrators considered to be violations of the rights of, or injustices committed against, certain people, usually black people although native Americans got quite a number of demonstrations. Generally, the demonstrations were done “peaceably”, and served to petition the government for redress of grievances. The recent “protests”, on the other hand, have served to display outrage and express the sentiment, “I’m not going to take it any more!” That may amount to a form of petition for redress. However, there is no Constitutional right to petition for redress by breaking windows, spraying graffiti, throwing hard objects, looting, or assaulting; nor are such activities covered by freedom of speech. They aren’t speech, they are crimes; although, listening to some of the protesters, they seem to be asserting that the commission of a crime is a form of speech. Hmm, Bandolero may need to review his legal history, as he can’t recall whether burning draft cards and/or the flag was finally decided to be a form of speech protected by the First Amendment! Still, those would be victimless crimes, at least! We heard several talking heads assert that the destruction of a few small businesses and the beatings of a few innocent civilians was a small price to pay in relation to the bigger picture of protesting systemic racism in America. As if they never heard the phrase “slippery slope”.

Recently, large noisy rancorous in-your-face antagonistic car-bombing store-looting gatherings of people have been referred to as protests rather than as demonstrations; the talking heads being quick to assert that the violence was insignificant. It seems that the purpose of this shift in terminology serves the purpose of bringing uncivil activities within the scope of what is protected by the First Amendment. This is both unfortunate and dangerous. Nevertheless, it can be seen as an element of the left’s strategy to expand the First Amendment and bring illegal activities within its scope. Bandolero, for one, will continue to oppose this strategy. The First Amendment, and all provisions of the Constitution, must be preserved and protected, not re-defined into meaningless slogans to fit the political correctness of the moment.

Kudos to Kansas

On June 3, 2020, the Kansas Legislature convened in a special session to pass a bipartisan version of the Emergency Powers resolution that was previously sent to Governor Laura Kelly.  The new version, House Bill 2054, prevents the Governor from using emergency powers to seize ammunition or limit the sale of firearms during a declared state of emergency, including for Covid-19.  Governor Kelly said she will support the measure.

Other states and municipalities have taken advantage of “emergency powers” to limit or prohibit sales of firearms and ammunition, brushing aside the Second Amendment of the Constitution. If that’s deemed permissible, then it would be permissible to use “emergency powers” to nullify any other Constitutional guarantees. In fact, it has been used to supersede the First Amendment which prohibits the free exercise of religion. Churches have been prohibited from holding services. It appears that some leaders believe that “emergency powers” can nullify both the First and Second Amendments, without consulting, or obtaining the consent of, We The People.

We are in dangerous times. Be assured that Bandolero will continue to champion the Constitution, its Amendments, and the Bill of Rights. These fundamental precepts of our country were never intended to apply only when convenient, nor without sacrifice. Thousands have sacrificed their lives to protect them and to assure that they prevail over all who would attack or subvert them. Have the people become so complacent that they are no longer willing to stand in support of them? Not El Bandolero! He will always stand in support of our precious rights!

 

When the Looting Starts

A few days ago there was a social maelstrom when the President of the United States posted a tweet that said, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Multitudes of pundits,  talking heads, commentators, so-called journalists, Hollywood celebrities, sports figures and, of course, minority “leaders”, condemned the President’s tweet as a call to violence and a racist dog whistle calling his base to action.

Say what? ¿Dice qué? ¿Cómo?

What makes that remark racial? What makes it an incitement to violence? It appears to be an observation, maybe a statement of the obvious, and perhaps a warning to everybody. If he had said, “When the looting starts, it’ll be the minorities doing it and they should be shot” or if he had said, “When the looting starts, people should start shooting black protesters” then they’d have a valid point.

Maybe he could have said, “If looting starts, people could get shot, and we certainly don’t want that to happen.” No doubt they’d  infer something sinister in that, as well. They’d say, “It’s Trump! It’s code to his base! We know what he meant!”

That’s a big part of how we got a divided country; talking heads who have the public believing that they have such insight that they can tell us what a person meant even though what they said or did pretty well spoke for itself, to anyone with common sense.

Bandolero lays his sombrero on the grass in the cool shade of a cyprus tree where he’s settled for a rest after several hours in the saddle. He lights a cigar, leans back against the tree trunk, gazes across the landscape, and wonders, “¿Es el público realmente tan estúpido?” Receiving no answer after several minutes, he stands and walks to the edge of a nearby canyon. His keen eyes spot an eagle soaring easily in the updrafts, gliding gracefully in wide circles searching for truth. Bandolero cups his hands to his mouth and shouts, “¿Es el público realmente tan estúpido?” He waits anxiously and, after a few seconds, the answer echoes back to his breathless ears.

¡Claro que si!