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Tag: First Amendment

What are they thinking?

What are they thinking?

By G. S. Norwood When armed civilians take to the streets, what are they thinking? The news out of Kenosha, Wisconsin, is bad. A 17-year-old boy, armed with an assault rifle, killed two protesters and wounded a third. I wanted to finish up this cycle of protest-related blog posts by trying to answer the question: What are they thinking? Peaceful Protests or Armed Militia? To get to that answer, I’ll recount a conversation I had online with two men who…

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Ripe for protests

Ripe for protests

By Jan S. Gephardt We were ripe for protests. We should have seen them coming. Some of us undoubtedly did. The COVID-19 pandemic stripped all the systemic problems and weaknesses in our racist, inequitable society bare. They stare us in the face every day of our transformed lives. Every news cycle, the horrors pile up. Cascades of catastrophe An ever-changing number of states show uncontrolled spread of COVID. We’ve recorded more than five million cases of COVID in the USA….

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With disrespect for all: When authorities attack journalists and protesters

With disrespect for all: When authorities attack journalists and protesters

By Jan S. Gephardt American authorities attack journalists and protesters? That just ain’t right! As the First Amendment says, “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of . . . the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” Freedom of the Press has met The Right to Peaceably Assemble in the streets of many cities all over the USA, this summer. And both…

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The importance of Freedom of the Press

The importance of Freedom of the Press

By Jan S. Gephardt Today my First Amendment series shifts its focus to the importance of Freedom of the Press. Of the “four freedoms” enshrined in the First Amendment, I take this one especially personally. My first paying job was writing stories for a local “shopper” newspaper (back when those existed). Journalism was my undergraduate minor (only because my school didn’t offer a major). I’ve been a freelance or staff reporter for several publications over the years. And I taught…

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Freedom of Speech Part Two: Not a crime but not okay

Freedom of Speech Part Two: Not a crime but not okay

By Jan S. Gephardt Do we really have as much freedom of speech as we think? Do we have more than we realize? Or have we misunderstood the whole concept? Two weeks ago, I started a series of posts on the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Last week I discussed “When Speech is a Crime,” exploring the exceptions to the First Amendment. Now might be a good moment to remember what the First Amendment actually says. In my…

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Freedom of Religion: Is the First Amendment an aspiration, or reality?

Freedom of Religion: Is the First Amendment an aspiration, or reality?

By Jan S. Gephardt Freedom of Religion: do we really have it? During our passage from Juneteenth to the Fourth of July this year, I’ve been thinking a lot about the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights. And especially the specific freedoms it enshrines. The “Defund or Abolish the Police” movement has driven me (along with many others) to take some long, hard looks at the institution of policing, its history, and what it could become, if remade in a better way. But—also in…

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