Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

My Daughters’ 1st Amendment Rights

The 1st Amendment to our constitution reads as follows:  “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.”  These things are guaranteed, freedom of speech, freedom to peaceably protest, freedom of press, freedom of religion, and the freedom to complain to the government.  This applies to ALL United States citizens.  I repeat, this applies to ALL US citizens.  While there are limitations to the 1st Amendment (not being allowed to yell “fire” in a crowded theatre, hate speech, etc.), there are no limits (including age) as to US citizenship.

Children born in the US or on US properties, are born US citizens.  Children adopted internationally, as were my daughters, who are naturalized through processes at a US embassy of the country adopted from, or go through processes of citizenship back on US soil, ARE ALL US citizens, no matter if 6 months of age, 12 years old, or 40 years old.  But I want to stick with the fact, that children are considered “citizens”, which means that they are also guaranteed their 1st Amendment rights.

There is no age limit to be able to speak freely.  Yes, they must be 18 to vote.  Children in most states must be at 16 years old to drive a car.  Adults must be 21 to drink alcohol and children must only be 18 to smoke tobacco products.  Gun ownership has its own age rules and it is only getting more confusing.  But to stay on track on this post, there is no age limit for the 1st Amendment.

Tomorrow, March 14th, is the first of three planned “protests” to bring attention to something that has existed for decades, but brought to national attention twenty years ago as a boiling point that should never have been reached, violence in schools that led to the massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado.

While many people want to point fingers and blame at weapons of choice, the thing that cannot get lost, while the spotlight is on the most current event, is that for twenty years, our country, our government, and even we as citizens, have done nothing to reverse the direction that violence in schools have taken.  Even the slaughter of kindergartners and 1st graders at Sandy Hook was not enough to get more of a usual response of “thoughts and prayers”, talk about it, forget about it, repeat.

But for some reason, there is a different feeling coming from the senseless tragedy that occurred a month ago in Parkland, Florida.  As usual, the adults are doing the same thing as always, “thoughts and prayers”, blame, our government reps talk about it, and as usual, it appears we are once again at the same point as always, ready to move on, to wait for the next massacre.

What does not help, is that our President took to two televised opportunities, one, meeting with those affected by violence in schools, and the other in a meeting of senators to challenge them to come up with a solution or solutions that he would approve, acknowledging how dire things have become.  He promised families something would be done.  The president called out representatives who could be afraid or intimidated by the National Rifle Association.  It seemed like things were finally going to be going in the common sense direction.  Strict and enforced background checks, increased age limits for long guns to match handguns, banning bump stocks.  We all saw the intent and heard the hope from the president.

But he lied.  Either he had no intention all along, or after meeting with the NRA, he “changed” his own mind, which is kind of ironic considering he had just called out several senators on television for not standing up to the NRA.

The bottom line, here is where we are at following the tragedy in Florida, back at the beginning of the next cycle, waiting for the next act of school violence.  And I am purposely writing it that way, violence.  Because I do not care what weapon is used.  We as adults are letting our children down while we worry about ourselves and what we want.  In the mean time, more children have died in school violence.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing, over and over and over and over and over, and expecting a different result.

I was bullied all throughout elementary and junior high school so I understand violence in school.  I graduated in 1983, probably one of the last years that school violence was not put in the national spotlight.  Fights and other acts of violence were not dealt with using weapons for the most part.  But a few years later, my high school had metal detectors installed after weapons had been discovered being brought to school.  Now, many schools not only have metal detectors, but Student Resource Officers or policemen.  Is it really not that obvious, that violence had increased to the point that armed police officers now patrol our schools, instead of finding a way to deal with the violence itself before it gets to the point of an actual event?  At this point, without addressing dealing with the violence, dealing with the weapons of choice is a moot point.  And while we as adults continue to spin our wheels, protecting our own interests, our youngest citizens tomorrow will exercise their right to speak an peaceably protest.

For 17 minutes tomorrow, March 14th, many students, none forced to do so, will exit their classrooms, and assemble outside, to remember the 17 victims in the Florida school massacre a month ago.  Yes, it will get a lot of media attention.  And that is the point.  The adults, our government have already moved on.  Parkland is now history.  But it is not history, and tomorrow children will remind us that we have not done enough, and the children have not forgotten.

Seriously, as a reader of this post, are you one of the lucky ones who knows what it is like to have gone to school without fear of being shot or stabbed?  Or are you young enough to never know that feeling of being safe?  That is how today’s children go to school.  They have no idea what it is like to go to school without a legitimate fear of being killed.

The school district where my children attend school, is taking the approach of providing a safe, structured, and controlled opportunity for its students to participate in the national walkout tomorrow.  The district has dedicated space to protest, time to do so, and without fear of punishment for leaving class time.  The district is not pushing citizens for exercising their free speech.

The same cannot be said for some other districts such Lewisburg, PA that will serve students with a detention (fortunately that will not be a permanent mark on their record, and the district can still be perceived as being tough on dissidents while standing on the 1st amendment rights of the students), or several districts  in states like Texas who will actually serve suspensions to students who walk out for this protest.  If there is one good response to this particular action, colleges have actually said that participation in the National Walkout tomorrow, and if suspended, most colleges will not hold that discipline against the student applicants.

And of course, outside of the schools, and away from the government, there are the rest of us adults.  And I believe that we all want our children safe.  And  I also believe that most of us adults believe in the rights of the students to assemble tomorrow.  And for those that do not, do so for any possible reasons.  Those that still believe in the “children should be seen not heard” (in other words, have no voice).  There will be those who worry that the fire will continue to be stoked with more fuel so that we continue to talk about violence in the schools, and for some, that means a fear of gun control which I have intentionally avoided talking about in this post.  Of course, the reality, especially for high school seniors, currently 17 or 18 years of age, are going to be voters.  And that is a lot of new voters.  Voters who are now paying attention to the inaction of our government.  Voters who see the money lined in the pockets of our politicians.  Voters who see not the cause of the increased violence in our schools, but definitely see leaders who should be doing just that, lead, and find a solution so that while we protect airports, sports arenas, court houses, we protect our schools with the same efforts.  It is ridiculous that we worry about a bottle of water, or a sandwich going through TSA at an airport, but cannot provide that level of concern when it comes to our children in school.

So, I have encouraged both of my daughters to participate tomorrow.  Realistically, a solution will not happen by the next day, week, or even months later.  But children are willing to do what adults are not.

#ENOUGH

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5 thoughts on “My Daughters’ 1st Amendment Rights

  1. Sherril on said:

    Go Paul. You are so right. I had my share of arrests for protests of civil rights and Viet Nam. I want to see our children and grandchildren standind for what is right.

  2. Comment (2 comments 1. 1st Amendment and 2nd Amendement.

    1st Amendment you stated well, but in my reading of the Federal Papers. Born a Citizen was to keep the British Citizens from Canadaians and Great Britain from coming to America and Coupe d’ Tat our country for the British and not fire 1 shot. Become Citizens. The opposite of what you say.

    2nd Amendment. Congress shall not INFRINGE on the Right of Citizens to BEAR ARMS.

    PERIOD. Infringe means just that.

    That being said I accept your free will and if we Amend these right with either the FED or STATE legislature of 2/3 to suggest change and 3/4 to PASS change. I will go or accept the New Laws.

    But I suspect you and the Liberal Blind Following those getting rich off your labor. You and all KNOW you cannot get 2/3 let alone 3/4. So you PUSH. Correct me if I am wrong.

    So you will USE Fake Polls the do represent the General Public Population (fake). Stating if you ask 1 to even 10,000 of a random survey. It will not represent the General Population. Just a push to force a few on the Many. LOOK here. You and I do not agree and more than likely 180,000 registered voters cannot agree on the Time of Day.

    ARTICLE 5 is how we change our law of American, defined by the Declaration of Independence that Under Nature and Nature’s GOD we are all equal and the Individual is protected by the Majority and the MOB by the Rule of Law the Constitution.

    That is why I SERVED not a FLAG, SONG, STAND or Salute idols, but the Declaration of Independence is “For Which We Stand” does not change over time we all exist on a Spinning Planet at 1100 MPH. Not created by man, country, or business. As do all humans have the same RIGHT unless we are attacked and then and only then do WE defend ourselves. Like any human to save their Children, Wives and Families.

    Try changing the LAW by popularity or Lynching the law for advantage of Wealth or Opinion for power over each and all’s Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness.

    This of course gets Blocked on most blogs because America has become Fake with the pretention that Earth can be owned not Shared with like kind (humans and all living things, except to survive.

    • Isn’t the 1st Amendment great? And I respect your right to your opinion. And that is what it is, just like my opinion is mine. That does not make me “liberal”.

      • True, what I said was not MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE of Free Opinion, Speech or Thought as stated in the 1st Amendment.

        We both know Kent State and why we Close down I-90 and I-5. Murder is not allowed or part of Free Opinion, Speech or Thought even by the Military of the USA.

        A good discussion would be. “Is the first Amendment OPINION of stated Right until AMENDED. Seems to me words like SHALL NOT or INFRINGED have but 1 meaning. Requiring no Opinion, but a right to SEEK Amendment Only.

        Wordsmithing and Opinion are fine for Individual Opiion. The Rule of Law of Article 5. States HOW interpretation other than AS WRITTEN until AMENDED for 2/3 and 3/4 of Legislature’s is to PROTECT by the LAW from OPINION. The fact of the LAW. Not opinion. But surely why opinion, popularity and Mob Rule of a FEW or Power and Wealth of a FEW are not protected. The individual is protected under the LAW from such things. Guess to many want Anarchy of the child saying “NO WAY”

        As Written until Amended is GREAT. 2/3 and 3/4 is just as GREAT to insure the rule of LAW over Opinion. Otherwise confusion and Court Cost and even Revolution or DEFENSE of the Declaration of Constitution. To stop Anarchy and Manipulation for Opinion. Nature and Nature’s GOD does not allow man-made opinion. Why we have Laws. Not politics. Why those who do not Talk Politics with open discussion. Play Politics. Why our forefather and Teddy Roosevelt STOPPED State Militia and national Guard from killing Striking Miner Families and Kent State. Remember SDS a fraction of the Protest taking over the Steering Committee with 90% of planning, and 10% of the body of Protesters. To PUSH exactly what I am saying in General politics.

        Surely I respect you Opinion to PUSH what you Want, Desire or have Emotion For.

        Within the Rule of LAW. Even with the Rule of Law to change it.

        Myself I serve in NAM and Fought to End NAM and any war of Unprovoked Attack and NOT DEFENSE of USA as NSAM 263 and NSAM 273 prove. Even before JFK was shot and while he was on his way to Dallas

        As you know USA lost Viet Nam to our own Declaration of Independence and WE WON ending VIET NAM. I am constantly Blocked for stating fact and honesty. Like the Difference of 1776 Patriotism and Blind Love of Country Loyalty to Mother Country Britain.. Speaking of Wordsmithing and Fake News. Our forefather did not Salute “The Union Jack”, Stand for “GOD Save the Queen” or LOVE the British Empire.

        Kind of makes me ashamed of Learning to Study and Achieve Intelligence not Central Intelligence and not Following Popularity of blind following. Appears Cash Return and Profit has replace Scholarship like Sweat and Genius is dominated by Owning the UNIVERSE and passing it on to your next Generation. Seem that is setting up Earth if it every gets off of Earth for Battle Star Galactica and Star Wars. Maybe why we will FAIL in that effort TOO. Where do I vote for Extinction of SEEKING gold, silvers and now Oil. Sounds like the European Empires WON. Just using America to Fight for Serving this World.

      • The Declaration of Independence is a Document that our forefathers swore to give their Lives For for the STATES (colonies) they represented. It CREATED America and “for which we stand” individual and state rights under a Union Federation. The birth of America and Independence Day, the 4th of July. Opinion?

        The constitution that followed in Article 5 allows for changing America. With 2/3 suggestion and 3/4 Ratification of Fed or State legislatures. That is not opinion the only way to change. You Are American or you Not. Not a lover of parties, opinion, Popularity, MOB, etc. Free Speech and Mind allow you to have opinion. America and American is not opinion. Unless Article 5 is executed.

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