Friday, November 18, 2011

The Bill of Rights

This document is known as the United States Constitution. I have copies of it in my car, as well as several locations in my home. It comes in handy when watching the news, or fact checking a crime related drama. And sometimes, it just makes comforting reading. The entire document was put together by people, who, like you and I, were vastly different in many ways. That is, all except one. We ALL believe in the Right of Freedom of Speech, that Right which gives you the Freedom to Peaceably Assemble to air your grievances. That's the called the First Amendment. It appears in the Bill of Rights, a section of the Constitution which has expanded over the years, sometimes into contentious territory. But never has anyone, on either side of whatever debate, officially condoned the emasculation of the First Amendment. That is until now.

By their silence, the Mayors, the Members of Congress, the Senators, and even the President of the United States, all stand complicit of the worst sort of treason possible; the treason of Indifference. The treason of watching it all go wrong, while standing aside and collecting a salary paid by the people they were sworn to protect, but don't.

Then there are the "Foot Soldiers” and “Pawns", who, under the banner of "Authority", beat, pepper spray, and arrest those who exercise the Rights which these same "Authorities" are sworn to uphold. These are the ones who later espouse the all too familiar, "I was only following orders."

So let's begin with the first order. If we are to play by the rules, then let's start with the first one; the First Amendment to the Constitution. For those in power, and in need of reading this document, which is the cornerstone of our Republic, I have printed it here, with the First Amendment highlighted for their convenience.

The 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.

Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Amendment VII

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

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