Can the Secret Service Tell You To Shut Up?

Can the Secret Service Tell You To Shut Up?

Andrew P. Napolitano

March 15, 2012

The First Amendment to the Constitution prohibits the government from infringing upon the freedom of speech, the freedom of association and the freedom to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Speech is language and other forms of expression; and association and petition connote physical presence in reasonable proximity to those of like mind and to government officials, so as to make your opinions known to them.

The Declaration of Independence recognizes all three freedoms as stemming from our humanity. So, what happens if you can speak freely, but the government officials at whom your speech is aimed refuse to hear you? And what happens if your right to associate and to petition the government is confined to areas where those of like mind and the government are not present? This is coming to a street corner near you.

Certain rights, like thought and privacy and travel, can be exercised on their own. You don’t need the government to cooperate with you; you just need to be left alone. Other rights, like those intended to influence the political process, require that the government not resist your exercise of them. Remember the old one-liner from Philosophy 101: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there, does it make any noise? Here’s the contemporary version of that: If you can criticize the government, but it refuses to hear you, does your exercise of the freedom of speech have any value?

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2 Responses to Can the Secret Service Tell You To Shut Up?

  1. Rwolf says:

    Free Speech If You Dare?
    Passage of H.R. 347: The Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011 was a police/government Provocateurs’ dream come true.

    A Provocateur need only join a lawful protest—then provoke disorderly conduct or violence; cause bodily harm or property damage at or in (proximity) of a “restricted location” to cause prosecution of innocent protesters under vague terms of H.R. 347. If a protester among others, enters a restricted building or grounds and by violence physically harms someone there; damages property; or is found carrying a weapon, all participants could be imprisoned 10 years and or fined.

    H.R. 347 mentions (restricted in conjunction with—(a special event of national significance). Government can claim ANYTHING (is restricted in conjunction with— (a special event of national significance) for example: any location, proximity, any activity or physical act; any roadway. In 2008 Homeland Security designated the Republican and Democratic National Conventions (special events of national significance).

    Under H.R. 347 Government can now charge, prosecute and imprison anyone that—knowingly enters or remains in: any part of a (Federal—Restricted Building or Grounds) without permission or location under the jurisdiction of the Secret Service—parameters that may change without notice. Visitors that don’t know it is illegal or accidentally enter a restricted building or grounds may be prosecuted.

    Whoever U.S. Government alleges (Intended, Conspired including associates, or In Fact Impeded or Disrupted) the orderly conduct of Government’s business or an official function may be prosecuted. H.R. 347 includes the term (proximity). Innocent protesters standing near a restricted building, grounds or a (special event of national significance) designated by Homeland Security “or otherwise restricted location” may be Prosecuted—For Intent; Conspiring; or For—In Fact Impeded or Disrupted the orderly conduct of government business or an official function.

  2. freedom2fascism says:

    The continued rise of the Statist aristocracy..

    Don’t stand too close, peons. Don’t soil your Overlords with your opinions, peons.

    F**k ’em..

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