letter to the editor

Protect our right to protest

Mon, 04/25/2022 - 3:30pm

Dear Editor:

As the campaign season ramps up, so does the rhetoric and propaganda from the authoritarian nationalist spewing their lies and half-truths. We see these repeated by a chorus of malcontents in these pages with their angry hateful letters.

Certainly we each have a right to express our opinions and are grateful that the editor and publishers are generously print them.

However, angry words give rise to angry actions. We have seen this repeated over and over as peaceful protesters are confronted by armed vigilantes. According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, right-wing extremists have killed 329 victims in the last 25 years, while “antifa” members haven't killed any.

As the right wing propaganda machine stokes anger with a constant stream of fear and loathing, there are bound to be more clashes. What is clear is we need to stop people, on both sides, from bringing weapons to protests.

There is a law currently on the books that prohibits dangerous weapons at strikes and labor disputes. This law needs to be expanded to include any protest or demonstration. The law is written as follows:

Ҥ9412. Unlawful acts

5.  Dangerous weapons at labor disputes and strikes.  It is a Class D crime for any person, including, but not limited to, security guards and persons involved in a labor dispute or strike, to be armed with a dangerous weapon, as defined in Title 17A, section 2, subsection 9, at the site of a labor dispute or strike. A person holding a valid permit to carry a concealed handgun is not exempt from this subsection. A security guard is exempt from this subsection to the extent that federal laws, rules or regulations require the security guard to be armed with a dangerous weapon at the site of a labor dispute or strike.”

In this time of heightened tensions, it is only reasonable to insist that our legislators change this section of law to include protests and demonstrations in general. Please join me in contacting your legislators urging them to make this change.

Fred W. Nehring