Protestor's Protest Arrests
Yet another letter to the editor in the paper from a Petrolia resident. This one taking exception to the arrest of protestors during the last two anti- war demonstrations in Eureka. Boy, Petrolia must have more lefties per capita than Arcata. You don't see letters from Petrolia in the paper very often but, when you do, it seems they're always left leaning, to say the least.
That said, civil disobedience isn't exclusively the domain of the Left. The writer properly points out that there was a pro logging protest at the courthouse some time ago where logging trucks took up parking spaces they weren't supposed to park in and the police looked the other way. I wonder if perhaps arrangements had been made by the demonstration organizers to accomodate the parking of those trucks, though? She also has a point that some of the anti war demonstrators were given tickets for what I felt were questionable offenses. One that comes to my mind being a girl ticketed for riding a bike on the sidewalk during the demonstration at the military recruiting offices. Hmmm... I didn't know it was really against the law to ride a bike on a sidewalk.
Where the writer misses the mark is where she said civil disobedience is protected by law. Not quite, says I. civil disobedience, by its very nature, is breaking the law, isn't it? Standing on the sidewalk outside the courthouse with a sign protesting something isn't civil disobedience. When someone demonstrates and intentionally breaks the law, that doesn't mean they should be just ignored and let to continue that behaviour. As long as someone protests within the law, their speech is protected, as it should be. If they break the law, they get arrested. Free speech is one thing but to paraphrase an old saying, "You can't cry theater in a crowded fire house...". Ok, poor example, as that's not what these folks were arrested for but, if you don't want to get arrested, obey all the laws. If you deliberately break the law in order to get arrested and make a point, don't whine about it later.