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Instead of balancing free speech and privacy in its Massachusetts buffer-zone decision, the Supreme Court has chosen to bolster the protection of stalkers at the expense of our right to be reasonably left alone. The Constitution certainly gives you the right to free speech and free association, but not the right to get up in my face and demand I pay attention. Your right to tell me what you think is important but does not include the right to make sure I listen to you. Just because someone chooses to appear in public, for whatever reason, does not mean he or she surrenders any expectation of unencumbered legitimate and peaceful navigation.

However, the Supreme's decision leads me to wonder what position the Court (and legislatures) might take if gun control advocates were to picket potential gun store customers in the same way abortion clinics are harassed.

Perhaps, it is time to adopt the tactics of the unreasonable if we are condemned to live in an unreasonable world.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Well Since SCOTUS Just Prior Unanimously Affirmed (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slowbutsure, G2geek, Joy of Fishes

    triple the abortion buffer zone distance for protesters of itself, there would be a logical focus of protest. I'd expect the potential for violence would at least initially be lower than at gun dealers.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 01:19:27 PM PDT

    •  The unifying detail (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      johnny wurster, VClib

      For McCullen v Coakley and the rule concerning protesters at the Supreme Court seems to be that a public sidewalk can't be included as part of any buffer zone where you ban protests.

      •  I think the abortion protesters... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sunbro, Joy of Fishes

        qualify as STALKERS and should be subject to laws that protect against stalking.  Their tactics are exactly the same.

        They stalk the women that that go to Planned Parenthood clinics for whatever reason.  They have also demonstrated they will stalk and have even killed employees and Doctors that work in those clinics.

        The republicons moan, the republicons bitch. Our rich are too poor and our poor are too rich. Ferguson Foont

        by Josiah Bartlett on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 02:34:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think they qualify as stalkers (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          johnny wurster, VClib, Pi Li, G2geek
        •  JB - read the stalker statutes (6+ / 0-)

          Most patients coming to an abortion provider come once in their lifetime. Stalking statutes require that a specific individual "stalk" another specific individual over multiple occasions over a period of time. How could those required elements of the crime of stalking ever be present at an abortion protest?

          "let's talk about that" uid 92953

          by VClib on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 03:09:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  They are stalking a class of people (0+ / 0-)

            instead of individuals.  They harass and intimidate any person entering or leaving a medical facility they believe provides abortions.  They collect license plate numbers and then publish home addresses.

            They are no different from stalkers and a good attorney should be able to make that case.

            I am looking for ways to protect the patients and workers at those facilities.  

            The republicons moan, the republicons bitch. Our rich are too poor and our poor are too rich. Ferguson Foont

            by Josiah Bartlett on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 07:56:44 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  JB - I think you can make a stalking case (0+ / 0-)

              regarding the clinic staff if protesters are following them, taking their pictures, and posting them online. I think it is very difficult, if not impossible, to make a stalking claim on behalf of the patients. Stalking is a crime focused on a single individual.  

              "let's talk about that" uid 92953

              by VClib on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 09:36:24 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  only if the clinic protesters do things such as... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joy of Fishes, Josiah Bartlett

          ... take down the license plates of patients' cars and then make any attempt to contact the patients at home against their will.

          I helped send a real stalker to prison years ago, and believe you me, you don't ever want to deal with one of those, they are a nightmare from hell.

          We got the future back. Uh-oh.

          by G2geek on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 04:38:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  oh did they now? most interesting! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joy of Fishes

      The good ol' "mee* vs. thee" thing again.

      Seems to me it would  be appropriate to take the current decision as overcoming the prior decision, and make full use of it.  Not just peacefully but also politely because the videos of that will go viral as hell and we need to be impeccable.

      ----

      *"mee":  spell it with a double "e" at the end to emphasize a selfis attitude; in spoken usage, pronounced "meee!" to emphasize the "e" sound.

      We got the future back. Uh-oh.

      by G2geek on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 04:36:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "the right to get up in my face" (8+ / 0-)

    In a previous decision, the Court has ruled that a floating bubble zone requiring people to stay eight feet away from you unless you invite them closer is constitutional.
    It's not 35 feet, but it's not in your face either.

  •  balancing act. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib

    competing constitutional rights require a balancing act which means you do not always get what you want, but you get what you need ( Rolling Stones).

  •  The right to be reasonably left alone (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    johnny wurster

    is in the Constitution.... but unfortunately, it's in the reserve clause......

    •  There is no reasonable right to be left alone (4+ / 0-)

      if you are in a public place.

      "let's talk about that" uid 92953

      by VClib on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 03:10:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  and that is long overdue for some serious... (3+ / 0-)

        .... test cases to establish boundaries of harassment, stalking, and the like.

        (VCLib, sorry to be a deliberate PITA with this, but some of our "agree to disagree" points do make for useful public debate.)

        Following a pedestrian with your car?  Following another car with your car?  Waiting outside someone's house and then following them?  Following them with a video camera and recording their every activity?  Following them with a parabolic mic or shotgun mic and recording their every word?  

        Following them and haranguing them?  Following and haranguing via a bullhorn?  Following them and giving a running commentary on everything they've done that day so everyone around them hears about their entire schedule?  

        Following them and giving commentary to others around them about details of the person's private life?  Following around a parent who is with their kids and reading vulgar literature out loud, which literature is also "protected speech"?  Following someone around and reading out loud violent literature which is also "protected speech" and describes various forms of murder and mayhem in graphic detail?

        Following them for days without stopping and then posting a "highlights" video on YouTube?  Following around someone who has asthma, while smoking a great big cigar and making sure to be upwind of them?  Following around someone who is in a wheelchair or otherwise disabled, and lecturing them about "surplus population"?  Following around someone who has clinical depression and reading "protected speech" literature about suicide?  Following a black family around and reading KKK material out loud?  Following a Jewish family around and reading Mein Kampf (which BTW comes off copyright next year) out loud?

        The problem is that the "no privacy in public places" doctrine was established under far different conditions notably with regard to technology and the comparative degrees of sociopathic behavior within a society.  

        We got the future back. Uh-oh.

        by G2geek on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 04:53:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  There is no right to be left alone on public (0+ / 0-)

    sidewalk.

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