Friday, September 21, 2007

Teaching the Constitution - maybe I need to rethink this

The past few weeks we have been studying the American Revolution. The kids and I just finished off a 6 part PBS series called Liberty which, in its last part, discussed the Constitution.

I must admit that I am not as familiar with this document as I should be, but after browsing the internet I managed to find the complete text.

Then I entered the twilight zone.

I found a strange string of articles that seemed to point to the US Constitution as being somewhat controversial.

It even seems that law enforcement officers are informed that quoting the Constitution is reason to believe someone is a terrorist! The following law enforcement brochure informs officers that:
If you encounter any of the following call the Joint Terrorism task force.
The brochure goes on to list various terrorist warning signs. Included among the terrorist characteristics are making reference to the Constitution and defending the Constitution. Here is the front and back of the police handout.

I am sure that this is just a rough outline for officers to follow and they would use common sense when choosing who was actually a terrorist threat, right?

But after seeing this video shot earlier this week of a woman being arrested for reading the second amendment in front of the capital building, I am beginning to rethink my assumption.

If you watch the video you will notice that the women being arrested are not Arabs, skin-heads or hippies. Nor do they even look threatening--more like grandmas actually! They appear to be wearing cheerfully pink "red-hat society"-like clothes.

Oh, well, I guess this is their fault for not keeping their old lady traps shut! They just need to shut-up and start loving this war like everyone else!

Perhaps I should not teach the kids about the US Constitution, it seems that the knowledge of such a document may be dangerous to them.

Or maybe I just shouldn't bother teaching it to them because the Constitution is about as useful as a piece of toilet paper these days.


Anonymous said...

That video is really disturbing.

The Constitution has been reduced to a political talking point. A catch phrase to grab the publics' attention and invoke emotion. No one cares what it really means anymore.

Grandma Bettyanne said...

Interesting video, but I can't find any information on the incident. For example, were these ladies arrested for disturbing the peace (during which time) they read the constitution? The video seems a little "contrived" without any data. Freedom of speech does not preclude disturbing the peace. As the constitution reads:
Bill of Rights
Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Were these ladies obstructing other citizens rights to peaceably assemble? Were there conflicting issues? Not enough data to go off the deep end, in my opinion.
I have the constitutional right to speak--but not such that I cause a major disturbance in which I inhibit the rights of others.

Also, I didn't know policemen wore badges with their full names on them... Video seems staged and/or contrived a bit to me.

Luckymom said...

I am surprised that you would suggest that people would create or contrive an event to incite a response from the public.

That sounds a lot like a conspiracy theory to me!

Grandma Bettyanne said...

Far more likely to "stage" an arrest scenario complete with question-asking photographer--this is not a conspiracy. Staging a disruption by using a reading of the constitution is not an exercise of our rights. Where are the facts? What kind of disturbance precipitated police intervention? The freedom of speech, right to assemble issue has the word "peaceably" contained therein. Were they arrested for disturbing the peace; or as they insisted for reading the constitution aloud and thereby causing a disturbance? I don't know the complete facts in evidence--don't seem to be anywhere online. There are always two (or more) sides and you have presented just one...compelling as it appears, it is just one side. You cannot exercise free speech while disturbing the peace; that is an abuse of free speech.