We have all the laws we need to deal with crime linked to protests. The current batch of laws purportedly to deal with crime linked to protests are more about curbing First Amendment freedoms of assembly, speech, and petitioning the government for redress of grievances. From John W. Whitehead and Nisha Whitehead at rutherford.org:
“If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”— George Washington
It’s a given that the government is corrupt, unaccountable, and has exceeded its authority.
So what can we do about it?
The first remedy involves speech (protest, assembly, speech, prayer, and publicity), and lots of it, in order to speak truth to power.
The First Amendment, which is the cornerstone of the Bill of Rights, affirms the right of “we the people” to pray freely about our grievances regarding the government. We can gather together peacefully to protest those grievances. We can publicize those grievances. And we can express our displeasure (peacefully) in word and deed.
Unfortunately, tyrants don’t like people who speak truth to power.
The American Police State has shown itself to be particularly intolerant of free speech activities that challenge its authority, stand up to its power grabs, and force it to operate according to the rules of the Constitution.
Cue the rise of protest laws, the police state’s go-to methods for muzzling discontent.
These protest laws, some of which appear to encourage violence against peaceful protesters by providing immunity to individuals who drive their car into protesters impeding traffic and use preemptive deadly force against protesters who might be involved in a riot, take intolerance for speech with which one might disagree to a whole new level.
Ever since the Capitol protests on Jan. 6, 2021, state legislatures have introduced a broad array of these laws aimed at criminalizing protest activities. Yet while the growing numbers of protest laws cropping up across the country are being marketed as necessary to protect private property, public roads or national security, they are a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a thinly disguised plot to discourage anyone from challenging government authority at the expense of our First Amendment rights.