The Quiet Passing of the Trespass Bill
March 17, 2012 § Leave a comment
Last night a friend informed me on newly passed H.R. 347 bill, or more commonly known as the Trespass bill. I quickly researched the bill and was astonished at the findings.
Section A defines the offense, section B defines punishment, and section C defines terms.
This is the meat of the bill:
“Whoever…knowingly, and with the intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions…or attempts or conspires to do so, shall be punished as provided in subsection (b). (b) The punishment for a violation of subsection (a) is—(1) a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than 10 years, or both, if—(A) the person, during and in relation to the offense, uses or carries a deadly or dangerous weapon or firearm…(2) a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both, in any other case. (c) In this section — (1) the term ‘restricted buildings or grounds’ means any posted, cordoned off, or otherwise restricted area—(B) of a building or grounds where the President or other person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting; or (C) of a building or grounds so restricted in conjunction with an event designated as a special event of national significance; and (2) the term ‘other person protected by the Secret Service’ means any person whom the United States Secret Service is authorized…”
After reading the new law I grabbed my 3×5 handy Constitution and double checked the 1st amendment which read “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech…or the right of the people to peaceably assemble…”
Let’s say I organize a protest outside (“grounds”) the 3/4 candidates events when come to Texas near the end of May and due to our rowdiness, the candidates say we are disrupting their affairs and, since they all have Secret Service protection and, of course, since this is Texas, one of my fellow protestors has a firearm (or two!) on him, he could receive up to 10 years of imprisonment and a fine.
What of me, the organizer, who is not of age to possess a firearm? Will I be charged with conspiracy? Will I too receive up to 10 years or a fine?
Firstly, unlike 99% of bills introduced and passed in Congress, the Trespass Bill was less than two pages and thus provided for an easy read, even for those not interested in law or political science. Secondly, the bill received bipartisan support with only 3 representatives (Keith Ellison of Minnesota, Paul Broun of Georgia, and Justin Amash of Michigan) voting against it, 40 non votes and unanimous support in the Senate. Who said Washington lacks bipartisanship?
Thirdly, with all the protesting that has occurred since the Occupy movement, why the hell wouldn’t the media cover such a thing? Isn’t the media’s role to expose and keep in check government? Day by day it’s becoming more evident the media serves corporate and government (the two are basically one in the same) interests.
First it’s FISA, then Patriot Act, then section 1021 and 1022 of NDAA, and now it’s this. This is how it starts, folks. The government promises safety in exchange of your privacy and liberty; such an exchange is not apart of the social contract theory.
(I am sure I missed other laws too but you get the idea)
We must demand something different from our elected officials. This bill, in my opinion, places anyone with SS protection above the 1st amendment and threatens, along with the above bills, our liberties and rights. What other restrictions can we expect in the future on speech and protest? Is blogging about this illegal, too?
Whether or not the law will be implemented is another thing. But one can only find out.
Please voice your grievances to your reps via email, mail or phone about this egregious bill and the upcoming invasion of Iran.