107 Isn't this a First Amendment case?


Tom Garrett 4 years ago

Do I think that pornography is protected by the first amendment?


Do I think that NAMBLA should be protected by the first amendment?


Do I....

Well, you get the idea.

Do I think that Sarah Childs, who lives in Denham Springs, Louisiana has a right to put up a set of Christmas size lights on her roof that give the finger to the next door neighbors she believes stole her dog?

You bet I do!

On the other hand, do you think that the police in Denham Springs, the lawyers for Denham Springs, or the powers that be in Denham Springs think that what Sarah Childs did is protected speech?

Take a guess.

You don't have to agree, of course.


Tom Garrett 3 years, 12 months ago

Hey! We won another one!

Here's the quote: "The case of the unconventional holiday lights has been settled, city and American Civil Liberties Union attorneys said Friday afternoon."

Guess who lost? And notice the wording.

"The city will not take action against her for the display, according to the settlement which was reached in principle Friday, attorneys said."

Yeah, right. Guess why the city won't be taking action? And why they are paying ACLU costs?

U.S. District Judge James J. Brady heard testimony Monday on Childs’ request for a preliminary injunction forbidding authorities to interfere with her right to display the fingers display.

That hearing was scheduled to resume next week, but the attorney for the city sent a letter to the judge Friday saying the hearing is no longer necessary.

“The parties request that the court enter a 60-day dismissal order and will be filing a joint motion to dismiss” the case of Sarah Childs v. City of Denham Springs, according to the letter signed by city attorney Scott Huffstetler.

The city assured Childs that there will be no action taken against her for the light display. It also "maintains it did nothing to violate Childs’ right to freedom of speech."

Ho! Ho! Ho!

We believe that. The city just found a warm place in its heart for a woman who was exercising her right to let her neighbors know what she thought of them.

The city, by the way, has claimed all along that it did not threaten Sarah Childs even though a Denham Springs police officer arrived at her house and threatened her with criminal action if she didn’t remove the lights. Nor was it a threat, they say, that she was told that she risked "having to pay a fine of $300 or $400" of she didn't take it down. Nor was it a threat that she was issued a citation for “obstructing the flow of traffic,” “disturbing the peace” and “simple assault.”

No, of course not. I wouldn't feel threatened by that, would you?


Tom Garrett 3 years, 12 months ago

Ron, what worries me is that it sometimes seems that some people in government never took a government course. Or a history course. Or an ethics course.

Understanding the first Amendment at its most basic level--allowing people to say what they think--is not rocket science. Imagine trying to charge someone with “obstructing the flow of traffic,” “disturbing the peace” and “simple assault” for putting up a sign on her house saying what she thought of neighbors? That's nothing less than despotism, trying to stamp out freedom and liberty with threats.

I wonder? When a store in Denham Springs, Louisiana puts up a big sale sign and the traffic gets heavy as people come in to take advantage of it, do they charge the store with “obstructing the flow of traffic,” “disturbing the peace?" When people in Denham Springs, Louisiana put up beautiful Christmas displays that everyone likes to drive around and see, and the traffic gets heavy, do they charge those people with “obstructing the flow of traffic,” “disturbing the peace?"

What boneheads! Get a book. Better still, get a map. Learn what country you're in.


Ronald Hamric 3 years, 12 months ago

Tom, During the Clinton administration, when he signed the Assault Weapons Ban, I felt so helpless at not having a venue with which to express my dissatifaction with that legislation. What I did, which caused a bunch of soul searching prior to taking that step, was to hoist the American flag upside down from the flag pole attached to the chimney of my home. It was nothing more than my "individual statement" realtive a given issue. I see this ladies approach in much the same vein. Needless to say I got a lot of attention doing what I did, but it afforde me the opportunity to explain to some folks just what the meaning of flying the colors inverted meant in past history, plus a discussion of the issues that brought me to take such an approach. The sign this lady used is universally understood and I assure you, she made her point .But there are many among us who would deny us that right of expression if it is contrary to their own socio/political ideology. The fight for our freedoms continue on many fronts.


Tom Garrett 3 years, 12 months ago

You know what it is, Ron? It's political correctness versus freedom of speech as plain as the nose on your face. We just have too many people who think that others should be trained apes, too many people who think that their way is the right way, and so everyone should do it that way.

This kind of stuff has been creeping up on us for a long time, and not just in the form of an infringement on free speech. What that town tried to do to that woman is an obvious infringement of a right, but there are other infringements too, ones that have been going on for too long without anyone doing anything about them.

I see this in a similar light to counties, towns, and cities that pass ordances that say someone has to mow his grass. Who says so? WHY does someone have to mow his grass? It's his grass, it's his property, and it's his choice. the question of what a piece of property should look like is not a matter of black and white, of right and wrong, of absolutes; it's a matter of TASTE. What you like I may not like. Who says that I should live my life your way?

Answer: All too often the city says I should.

Look at things like sign ordinances. Where does some town get off telling a business owner what kind of sign he should have? If it does not interfere in some way with the quiet enjoyment of property, where is the Constitutional authority to do such a thing?

I tell you, our rights are being eroded away every day, and they are being eroded away by the exact same people we put in office to work for us.

There's got to be an answer to all this. I just wonder what it is. Where do we start?

There's a thing known as "catastrophe theory." It works like this: For a long time there is a provocation without any reaction, but suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere at times, there is strong, violent reaction (that's the "catastrophe").

Example. One we've all seen. You come upon a loose dog. The dog reacts with all the signs of anger, but does not attack. That goes on for a long time. Then, for no apparent reason, the attack occurs. Something triggered it, often something we missed. In a dog, the sudden laying back of ears is often cited as a sign that the triggering event has occured and your best bet is to go elsewhere--in a rush.

The Boston Tea Party is an example of human action of the same kind. People will take it, and take it, and take it, but when that triggering event comes along....

To get Biblical, this kind of thing, something that can be borne only so long, was seen a long time ago. The common way of putting is "the straw that broke the camel's back."


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