Americans were horrified by the senseless killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, by a white Minneapolis police officer. At the same time, Americans were horrified by the indiscriminate looting and vandalism that accompanied the ensuing demonstrations in scores of cities across our nation.
Sadly, the destruction, as well as the violence directed at police forces attempting to maintain order and protect lives and property, were dismissed by many in the media as an unfortunate by-product of frustration and anger of protesters.
To be fair, many peaceful demonstrators, black and white, decried the violence and attempted to prevent more destruction.
There were reports that organized extremists instigated looting and participated in burning down stores, churches, and even a police station.
[In-person and virtual rallies held to condemn racism]
Unable to distinguish between legitimate protesters and criminal vandals and looters, police were put in an impossible situation, and, in some cases, ordered to stand down while lawlessness prevailed, and cities burned.
In our country, peaceful protest is protected. All citizens have a right to be heard. But the message of the protesters was undermined by the violence and mayhem that occurred.
The medias treatment of Black Lives Matter protests, often describing them as mostly peaceful, while labeling nearby rioting mobs as uprisings, was clearly at odds with what America witnessed on their television screens.
Even more stark was the medias selective reversal on COVID-19 mandates. Aided by politicians and talking-heads, organized BLM protests were enthusiastically endorsed throughout the media. In contrast, earlier public positions and protests by business-owners, churches and organizations advocating for opening up the nations devastated economy were roundly condemned.
[Peaceful Juneau vigil held for George Floyd]
Both groups were exercising their First Amendment right to protest unwarranted or unlawful government authority. Yet, the reaction to them by the public, local authorities and the media was often diametrically opposed.
Amid nation-wide coronavirus fears, citizens were publicly shamed for not wearing masks or observing social-distancing guidelines.
After months of complying with hunker-down orders, financially strapped shop owners were arrested or cited for re-opening non-essential businesses. Their crime: allowing employees to go back to work in order to support their families.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio directed the NYPD to arrest violators in large groups.
This is about stopping this disease and saving lives, he said.
Black Lives Matter protests were treated quite differently.
In a nation where funerals, church services and large gatherings were prohibited, the massive demonstrations of people across America were given a pass. Many demonstrators openly ignored health warnings to wear masks or exercise social-distancing.
Hollywood, predictably, joined the chorus of protesters and contributed money for funds to bail lawbreakers out of jail. There were few consequences for criminals the few arrested were released within hours of their arrest.
Two newspaper editors were forced to resign for daring to publish op-eds deploring the destruction or suggesting that federal troops be used to curb violence.
As protests continued, along with public memorial services for George Floyd, it became abundantly clear that
Covid-19 mandates werent meant to be applied to everyone just those not demonstrating for an acceptable cause. Governors and mayors across the country encouraged and joined the BLM protests all the while insisting that other large gatherings remain strictly forbidden for health reasons.
Just weeks before, Alaska shop owners objecting to health mandates were widely criticized for putting the lives of their fellow citizens at risk in the pursuit of profits.
Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, who joined peaceful protests, also thought lives were at risk, but not in the way you might think. During a recent community radio address, he elevated Black Lives Matter protesters to hero status by saying I see people who are risking their lives to protestin spite of a pandemic.
That comment diminishes the sacrifice of thousands of real heroes in our countrys history who risked and lost their lives defending the constitutional right of all Americans to protest.
The coronavirus doesnt distinguish between conservative and liberal protests. According to some, apparently our First Amendment rights do.
The complex and deep-seated issues facing our country wont be solved by quelling debate and limiting personal freedoms of those expressing opinions with which we disagree.
Win Gruening retired as the senior vice president in charge of business banking for Key Bank in 2012. He was born and raised in Juneau and is active in community affairs as a 30-plus year member of Juneau Downtown Rotary Club and has been involved in various local and statewide organizations. Columns, My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire. Have something to say? Heres how to submit a My Turn or letter.
Read the original here:
Opinion: 1st Amendment rights apparently only apply to the left - Juneau Empire
- I'm a First Amendment scholar and I think Big Tech should be left alone - The Conversation US - January 23rd, 2021
- Letter to the editor: Put the First Amendment first - Daily Mississippian - January 23rd, 2021
- Napolitano: Does the First Amendment restrain Big Tech? - Daily Herald - January 23rd, 2021
- Do Critics of Police Have the First Amendment Procedural Protections That Nazis Get? - Reason - January 23rd, 2021
- Ask the expert: The First Amendment and free speech - MSUToday - January 23rd, 2021
- Letter: To everyone, including friends and family members, who feel First Amendment rights are being denied - Sumter Item - January 23rd, 2021
- Knight Institute Urges Supreme Court To Preserve Ruling That Trump Violated First Amendment 01/25/2021 - MediaPost Communications - January 23rd, 2021
- Do Social Media Companies Have Too Much Power Over The First Amendment? - WFAE - January 23rd, 2021
- What the First Amendment Really Says About Whether Trump Incited the Capitol Riot - Slate - January 23rd, 2021
- Ask the Lawyer: There is no First Amendment right to social media use - The Oakland Press - January 23rd, 2021
- Permit Requirements for Filming in National Parks Violate First Amendment - Reason - January 23rd, 2021
- Does the First Amendment protect you on social media? - RADIO.COM - January 23rd, 2021
- Simpson sues Board of Elections, claims dismissal violated First Amendment rights - Greensboro News & Record - January 23rd, 2021
- What does the day after Section 230 reform look like? - Brookings Institution - January 23rd, 2021
- Twitter and Facebook Just Proved That Deplatforming Works - The Nation - January 23rd, 2021
- Afternoon Briefs: SCOTUS will consider cheerleader's First Amendment case; former AG dies at 88 - ABA Journal - January 5th, 2021
- No Blanket Protection for Internet Platforms - The Wall Street Journal - January 5th, 2021
- Walsh Vetoes Ordinance That Would Restrict Police Use Of Tear Gas, Rubber Bullets - WBUR - January 5th, 2021
- Happy new and old year: 2020 just won't go away when it comes to first amendment issues in 2021 - Hopkinsville Kentucky New Era - January 5th, 2021
- Far-Right VA State Senator Claims huge victory for the First Amendment and for open access to government for all Virginians. Except That the Court... - January 5th, 2021
- Will You Save Money On Hospital Bills With New Price Transparency Rule? : Shots - Health News - NPR - January 5th, 2021
- "I am asking Washingtonians and those who live in the region to stay out of the downtown area on Tuesday and Wednesday and not to engage with... - January 5th, 2021
- Julian Assange Extradition to U.S. Blocked Over Mental Health Concerns - The New York Times - January 5th, 2021
- The First Amendment is under siege and most Americans know it - The Central New York Business Journal - December 30th, 2020
- First Circuit Creates Exception To Massachusetts Wiretap Statute Based On First Amendment Rights, Allows Citizens And Press To Record Police Activity... - December 30th, 2020
- First Circuit Appeals Court Reaffirms Its 2011 Decision: The First Amendment Protects The Recording Of Cops - Techdirt - December 30th, 2020
- New Year's Eve In The Year Of The Coronavirus - The Rhino Times of Greensboro - The Rhino TImes - December 30th, 2020
- On Religion: COVID was year's top religion story. But which story? - Tahlequah Daily Press - December 30th, 2020
- How Lin Wood Became a Pro-Trump Conspiracy Theorist - The New York Times - December 30th, 2020
- The Year That Changed the Internet - The Atlantic - December 30th, 2020
- Section 230 Isn't A Subsidy; It's A Rule Of Civil Procedure - Techdirt - December 30th, 2020
- 7 Recommendations for the New Year - Contracting Business - December 30th, 2020
- Smith: Small steps to bring hope and wonder - The Register-Guard - December 30th, 2020
- Court Enjoins Enforcement of Combatting Race and Sex Stereotyping Executive Order for Federal Contractors and Grantees - JD Supra - December 30th, 2020
- COOMBES: Put the First Amendment first - University of Virginia The Cavalier Daily - October 12th, 2020
- Did the First Amendment to the Constitution lay the foundation for an authoritarian state? - The Indian Express - October 12th, 2020
- First Amendment Right to Record Child-Protection Visit to Your Home - Reason - October 12th, 2020
- First Amendment scholars weigh in on legality of Terminal Tower Biden Harris light display - cleveland.com - October 12th, 2020
- Use of Trademarks in Creative Works & Lanham Act Liability - The National Law Review - October 12th, 2020
- 'Introduction to the First Amendment Museum' topic of presentation - Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel - October 12th, 2020
- Judge amy coney barrett and the First Amendment - Lexology - October 12th, 2020
- A vote for Trump is a vote against the First Amendment - Poughkeepsie Journal - October 12th, 2020
- Trump Admin. Says First Amendment Is Moot In WeChat Case - Law360 - October 12th, 2020
- You Shouldn't Get Sued for Petitioning the Government - Cato Institute - October 12th, 2020
- Reporters Committee welcomes Inasmuch Foundation Legal Fellow - Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press - October 12th, 2020
- FIRST 5: Trump and COVID-19 -- How 'free' are/should we be? - Salina Post - October 12th, 2020
- Candidates and voters alike suffer as yard signs are targeted for theft and vandalism - Burlington Hawk Eye - October 12th, 2020
- Letters to the Editor: The First Amendment in Rio Rancho - Albuquerque Journal - September 21st, 2020
- Texas A&M University Introduces First Amendment Website - Texas A&M University Today - September 21st, 2020
- Attorney on first amendment rights of protesters: The government must protect these rights - RochesterFirst - September 21st, 2020
- Polk County GOP chairperson gathering signatures in support of a Second Amendment Designated County - Grand Forks Herald - September 21st, 2020
- Health officials urge people who attended Trump rally on Saturday to get tested for coronavirus - The Fayetteville Observer - September 21st, 2020
- Potsdam 'toilet gardens' will stay, for now, as federal judge grants injunction in toilet case - NNY360 - September 21st, 2020
- This Week at The Ninth: Informational Injury and Union Dues - JD Supra - September 21st, 2020
- Even with a Recent Lag, Special Interest PACs Enjoy Big Fundraising Edge Over Parties - InsiderNJ - September 21st, 2020
- Readers respond: Racists coming out of the woodwork - oregonlive.com - September 21st, 2020
- WeChat and TikTok Sanctions Not to Came Into Effect Yesterday - JD Supra - September 21st, 2020
- The Oklahoma Meat Consumer Protection Act is Meat Lobby's Response to the Increased Consumer Demand for Plant-Based Options - vegconomist - the vegan... - September 21st, 2020
- Army esports team denies accusations of violating First Amendment, offering fake giveaways - ArmyTimes.com - July 21st, 2020
- FIRST FIVE: Fighting over the meaning of First Amendment freedoms - hays Post - July 21st, 2020
- My View: In Provincetown, strange views of the First Amendment - Wicked Local Provincetown - July 21st, 2020
- John Bolton Gambles That Constitution Will Save Profits on Book That Was Embarrassing to the President - Law & Crime - July 21st, 2020
- Second Circuit Wrecks All Sorts Of First Amendment Protections To Keep Lawsuit Against Joy Reid Alive - Techdirt - July 21st, 2020
- Editorial A flushtrated community: Potsdam trampling on First Amendment rights of toilet artist - NNY360 - July 21st, 2020
- This Week in Technology + Press Freedom: July 19, 2020 - Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press - July 21st, 2020
- Churchill: Troy preacher has the right to offend - Times Union - July 21st, 2020
- More conferences cancel fall sports and other COVID-19 news - Inside Higher Ed - July 21st, 2020
- First Amendment on the street | Opinion | dailyitem.com - Sunbury Daily Item - June 30th, 2020
- Taking a cellphone video of police? Theres a First Amendment for that - Seattle Times - June 30th, 2020
- First Amendment Bars California from Requiring a Proposition 65 Glyphosate Warning - JD Supra - June 30th, 2020
- Read the First Amendment | Letters To The Editor - The Central Virginian - June 30th, 2020
- First Amendment right to protest is in jeopardy in Jacksonville - The Florida Times-Union - June 30th, 2020
- Pence says First Amendment is why Trump campaign held Tulsa rally despite local health officials' warnings - Yahoo News - June 30th, 2020
- Supreme Court hands win to religious schools | TheHill - The Hill - June 30th, 2020
- Letter to the Editor: Remember and Defend the First Amendment - Dana Point Times - June 20th, 2020
- Another look at the First Amendment | Opinion - Franklin News Post - June 20th, 2020
- Death threats protected by First Amendment, attorney says - Alpena News - June 20th, 2020
- Really Pathetic: First Amendment Expert Torches DOJ Efforts to Stop John Bolton Book - Law & Crime - June 20th, 2020
- The First Amendment protects attorneys from compelled speech | TheHill - The Hill - June 17th, 2020
- Protesters are protected by the First Amendment and will not be cited any violations if they remain peaceful - WATN - Local 24 - June 17th, 2020