Freedom of Disrespect

Since the dawn of America we have had a basic set of unalienable rights. Among these is the freedom of speech, which is simple enough. This freedom allows us to voice our opinions without being persecuted for what we believe which in a whole is a very, very good thing. However, more recently than not, people have begun using this right to disrespect our troops, some going to funerals of fallen heron to protest and bad mount the deceased and their families. In my opinion this sort of thing should at least be regulated by local or even federal agencies. What amazes me about this is that people are using a right which these brave men and women have fought and died to protect, in order to try and disgrace them after death. Talk about a lack of respect…

One example of this occurring is at Sterling Wyatt’s funeral in 2012. Thousands of Westbro Baptist church extremists gathered in order to protest the war in Afghanistan. Thankfully an equal if not greater number of supporters and veterans gathered in front of the venue, forming a human wall in order to respect the family and fallen as well as protect them from the protesters. This is one example of many, in fact, this is such a common problem that there is a group of bikers called “The Patriot Guard” who, consisting of many veterans, pastors, civilians, as well as current and retired law enforcement, attend military funerals around the country in order to pay their respect and block any protesters by any means possible.

Patriot Guard Attending the funeral of a fallen Marine.

An even more common example of freedom of speech being used to blatantly disrespect our heroes is the anti-police movement coming to a head in some communities. These groups of protesters rally together chanting things like, “Pigs in a blanket, fry ‘em like bacon!” as coined by the black lives matter movement. The madness does not stop at protest however, many people are beginning to disobey police orders, sometimes to a painful end, or even harm or kill officers in unprovoked attacks. While I am totally for freedom of speech, I believe that when it comes to berating families of fallen war fighters, or threatening and killing police, something should be done. Our freedoms come with an underlying responsibility to do what is right, should we throw out the moral compass entirely, as we seem to be doing now, we are simply asking for our rights to be revoked or at least hindered.

Black Lives Matter protesters

Some people might argue that these protesters are completely covered by the constitution but I would disagree. If these people choose to use their freedom to deface, threaten, harm and disrespect our law enforcement and warfighters I think we should draw the line. Our government knows darn well that people speaking out like this is only asking for a fight and while one party seems indifferent to the fact, the other, currently in control, not only praises the movements, but actually seems to help them grow. While I have seen our president speak out against some law enforcement multiple times, I find myself struggling to think of a time which he actually defended them. What’s worse is that he has not once attended a military funeral or shown much respect for our troops, let alone defending their families from those who look to attack them emotionally.  While I believe the problem stems from a lack of respect from the people, those in power are certainly not doing anything to lessen the problem.

-Zack S

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About SaintsGOV16
We are students in Dr. Ostroff's sections of U.S. Government at All Saints' Episcopal School in Fort Worth, Texas. (www.aseschool.org).

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