First Amendment being Violated

John Vang, Reporter

Before the First Amendment was created we had no rights, but instead ruler, a king, who made and enforced the laws. If you disobeyed you were killed, if you obeyed you were spared. You had no right other than being alive and working under the king. Fortunately, the First Amendment was created. To be able to express yourself without any restrictions is amazing and the First Amendment guarantees us all that right. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of press, and freedom to petition are all guaranteed to us through the First Amendment. Despite our guaranteed freedom, the First Amendment is being violated all around the world.

The documentary “Live Free”, by Alex Capogna is about him traveling around countries and asking others what they think about the First Amendment. Although his documentary is meant to find out others opinion on the First Amendment it also shows how the First Amendment is being violated. During his journey he encounters an issue in Boston. While on the freedom trail he holds a sign asking for volunteers to find out what they think about the First Amendment but is approached by an officer who tells him he cannot do this. According to the First Amendment, Alex can do this, as it is the freedom of speech guaranteed to him. However the officer ordered him to stop and even ordered him to stop recording. The officer even used some force but not much was seen because the camera was put down. When Alex filmed the KKK rally there were several people who said that the KKK should not be allowed to do their rally. However it is their right to speak. The KKK, even though many people disapproved of their ideas and personal beliefs, they have the right for freedom of religion and freedom of speech.

According to the police Alex was protesting by holding up the sign. “You can’t protest here. Can you please turn off the camera?” Alex refused to because he was doing nothing wrong.

At the KKK rally, some unknown member said that gay marriage should be banned.

Even in history has the First Amendment been violated. In 1984, there was a case where a student was prohibited from publishing a paper because it had inappropriate stuff on it by his principal. On April Fool’s day David Leeb decided to play a prank on the school newspaper by putting in hilarious news instead of actual news. The principal reviewed this paper and did not agree with it so as a result he prohibited the Leeb from publishing his paper. Violating his rights Leeb took this to court. The First Amendment states that we have the freedom of press, yet Leeb’s principal undeniably violates this right by not allowing Leeb to publish his paper. Another case in 1986 involving Fraser and Bethel School District also violates the freedom of speech. Fraser was taken to court by Bethel School District because of his speech, “I know a man who is firm he’s firm in his pants, he’s firm in his shirt, his character is firm but most of all, his belief in you the students of Bethel, is firm.” The school sued him for inappropriate use of words especially in school. The words “firm in his pants” caused the teachers and parents to lose their minds! However Fraser claimed that this was a violation of his rights, The First Amendment, and of course he was correct. Unfortunately the supreme court were in favor of the school and ruled that they did not violate the First Amendment but in reality they did.

Leeb challenged the censorship. “This goes against my First Amendment rights.”

Recently two student journalists got arrested because they were supposedly disturbing peace when they were actually only doing their job. A student photojournalist at Tufts University was arrested and charged with disturbing peace while he was on an assignment. Student journalist Nick Pfosi was shooting photos when the crowd became aggressive and pushed towards the barricade of the motorcycles and police. Pfosi was arbitrarily pulled out from the crowd and cuffed with zipties. According to the First Amendment the police had no right to do that because Pfosi had done nothing wrong. He only took photos and took down notes on what is happening. A similar case also occurred in New York. Student journalist Desiree Mathurin, a student graduate was arrested due to traffic obstruction. However, she was in fact moving and obeying the officer’s command yet she was still charged with it.

Mathurin said, “So I was moving, taking photos, I guess Iwasn’t moving fast enough.” She got arrested for obeying to the officer’s command and her freedom of press! All of which violates the First Amendment.