Another attack on personal freedoms

Michael Patton, Staff Writer

This whole idea of needing a permit to assemble before your government on the Capitol Square has taken a turn for the worse.

Recently, people playing music on the Capitol Square during the Farmers’ Market were told to file for a permit every time they perform, even though their performances are often impromptu. Also, Capitol Police have delivered citations to people at their homes and businesses for these offenses.

These two incidents are frightening. In the Constitution, founded over 200 years ago by honorable people who escaped tyranny by traveling 3,000 miles to find freedom, it states that Congress shall make no laws restricting “the right of the people to peaceably assemble.” The founding fathers would be troubled to know that free expression is under threat in our society over 200 years later.

 Madison’s new Capitol Police Chief, David M. Erwin, blatantly violates our Constitution. As he does so, his handlers as well as our courts look the other way. This is the same chief who, as a Marine, took an oath “to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic.” Instead of defending those liberties we have, he is using heavy-handed tactics on those he swore to protect. Who truly is an enemy to the state?Why is Chief Erwin resorting to Gestapo-style tactics on unarmed non-enemy combatants? He may have left the Corps but he still took that oath, like so many others before him have. Why are the people we choose to elect who are supposed to uphold the laws of our land, choosing to ignore these obvious attacks on the very fabric of our government, our way of life? What many before them risked their life and limbs dying to defend, our Constitution.

If these attacks on our personal freedoms continue, I fear that it will set a precedent for future infringements until the day comes when we see Capitol Square, State Street and the surrounding areas closed off in a similar fashion to the Forbidden City in Beijing. Eventually we can enjoy watching Soviet style parades with formations of troops and tanks marching around the block with Leninist style flags waving in the breeze, a breeze that would be a deathblow to freedom. It will take more than peaceful protests and drum banging to defy that.