Why the "Anti-Occupy" law really isn't such a bad thing

Sometimes, we have to follow strict rules for our own good — even when free speech comes into question.

FLORIDA, August 4, 2012 — Earlier this week, fellow Communities at the Washington Times writer Paul Samakow devoted an article to a most interesting new law.

Passed overwhelmingly by both houses of Congress and signed by the president several months ago, the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act has ruffled many feathers. Essentially, the Act mandates that individuals who purposefully enter restricted zones are committing a federal offense.

Also, protesting is now completely banned within the vicinity of events which the Department of Homeland Security declares as being of great importance.

Violating this law when the Secret Service is present can result in a prison sentence of up to ten years. Yes, you read that correctly.

The revised rules of the game do not allow for rabble rousing or otherwise disruptive conduct at, say, a presidential debate. The same would go for a rally.

Samakow, a highly noted D.C.-area trial lawyer, believes that the Act “chips away our First Amendment rights. Its motivation is 100 percent politically based, as it was designed to silence those who would protest around politicians giving speeches.”

There is a strong incentive for elected officials to support FRBGIA. However, the law is of benefit to all of us. Before you hurl a rotten tomato at your computer monitor, do allow me to defend my opinion.

Over the last few years, grassroots political activism has surged. With this has come an upswing in emotionalism, particularly the sort that might lead to heated confrontations. America does not need televised scuffles between partisan factions at the feet of our most prominent leaders. The best method of fostering as safe an environment as possible is to remove prospective protesters from the scene entirely.

I am a committed proponent of free speech. However, like anything else in life, it must be held within the bounds of reason. If more of us were to understand this from the get go, then laws like FRBGIA would not be necessary. It is a true shame that we as a society have fallen to the point of needing the Feds to tell us how to behave decently.  


This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Joseph Cotto

Joseph F. Cotto is a social journalist by trade and student of history by lifestyle choice. He hails from central Florida, writing about political, economic, and social issues of the day. In the past, he was a contributor to Blogcritics Magazine, among other publications. He is currently at work on a book about American society.

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