Everyone Is Entitled To My Opinion-On College Protests

Dear Friends,

by Paul Big Bear

       Opinions, we all have them, and we express them. How do you express yours? One way is in every day discussions, an exchange of points of view, perhaps over dinner and a cup of coffee, at a party or gathering. How many articles and books have been written expressing one’s opinion? A civil exchange of ideas, opinions is a healthy thing, it becomes a dangerous thing when it is no longer a fair exchange of thoughts and becomes a one sided diatribe. Let’s look at what the law says regarding opinions; According to criminal law expressing opinion can indeed become a crime. Riot: a violent offense against public order involving three or more people. Like an unlawful assembly a riot involves a gathering of persons for an illegal purpose. In contrast to an unlawful assembly, however, a riot involves violence. The concept is obviously broad and embraces a wide range of group conduct, from a bloody clash between picketers and strike breakers to the behaviors of a street corner gang. The offense of a riot lies mainly in a breach of peace. Offense requires interference with or resistance to public authority – usually a misdemeanor punishable by light sentences’, penalties are increased for a riot against public authority, and the violation of public authority through riot does not require the formal presence of a magistrate.

       So how long have we had riots; the race riot of 1917 there were 48 killed, but public protests can go back to the War Between The States involving slavery and fare trade more to the point and more visible – women suffragettes.

       As I watch the news and the coverage of campus protests aimed at the violence between Israel and Palestine, I question the “opinions” and how they are being expressed and the reactions of authority, college officials and local law enforcement alike. I further question the teachings that our children are receiving for $100,000.00 plus year tuitions. Are they being taught facts or opinion agenda, at what point did teaching become recruiting. History is fraught with opinion that became one sided belief, many battles and wars have been fought over difference of opinion at great cost monetarily and in lives. The past is history and must be recorded in fact, this is where we turn to learn, and the future is what lies ahead. How we move into the future depends on what we have learned from the past. We must live in the present having learned from the past that is knowledge teaching those we are sending into the future, our children, that is wisdom.