Oh those paid protesters …

Well, no one has ever said or intimated that the Arizona legislature occasionally pursues legislation that is obviously unconstitutional or based on assumptions that have little to do with fact ;-). On the other hand, heck, in many ways, it could be argued that the AZ legislature, historically, refuses to be confused by the facts. 

 So, here we have legislation (in the form of SB 1142 – go to http://azcapitoltimes.com/news/2017/02/22/arizona-senate-crackdown-on-protests/)  that, as best I can understand it, is intended to serve as some kind of deterrent to the wave of paid protesters who plan, incite, and/or act out violently at protests. As Senator Steve Farley of Tucson points out in the interview with Fox News (go to http://video.foxnews.com/v/5337349706001/?#sp=show-clips)  this legislation has so many problems, including the aspects that allow for seizing of assets through RICO, that it will probably inevitably fail constitutional muster.  

But, from my read, that is not the point here. The point here really seems to be that you still have some folks who believe that this phenomenon of paid protesters inciting violence is so prevalent that we gotta do something about it, beyond the criminal statutes we already have on our books. 

Well, here we go again. This all smells of the crap promulgated during the campaign and, while I am not shocked, I can’t believe folks are still believing this stuff.  How about an alternative explanation? The vast majority of people who protest are not paid, are non-violent, and are exercising their constitutional right. Those few who get violent are, generally, stupid and/or can’t control themselves.  And, they don’t have to be paid to act that way.  This notion that there are so many paid protesters that we have to do something about it and that this legislation will somehow act as an effective deterrent?  Whew.

To me, this is a great example of how propaganda, no matter how misinformed, that was promulgated during the campaign, seems likely to produce consequences that I don’t think most Americans want; that being, needless legislation that chips away at a fundamental right in our country – the right to peacefully assemble.  Supporters of such bills may be quick to point out that this bill has nothing to do with peaceful protests, that its’ stretch is limited to violent acts committed by paid protesters.  Wow, those supporters are a trusting lot.  For me, this type of legislation may very well have the undesired effect of not only suppressing dissent when one does not like the nature of that dissent but overreaching to the point that planning dissent can be easily misconstrued as intent to incite and plan violence.  Sorry, but this legislation has unconstitutionality written all over it, or at least, it seems to me, it should.

 So, anyways, here is just one of many cites that counteract the notion of the alleged wave of paid protesters, going back to those good ole daze when a certain candidate was alleging that HRC and Obama, and the DNC, were behind paying protesters to commit violence.  http://www.snopes.com/paid-protesters-donald-trumps-inauguration/

Of course, my concerns and fears may be misplaced.  As always, I could be wrong …

2 thoughts on “Oh those paid protesters …

    1. Indeed, Mr. Richardson. And now, the bill has been scuttled, though that does not stop those who’s scuttled it from emphasizing that the proposed legislation is has been so misinterpreted. Geez Louise …


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