The First Amendment: Void Where Prohibited

My last political post provoked such a pleasant conversation, I thought I’d favor the virtual world with my virtual thoughts on McCain’s VP pick. I was going to title it “Palin by Comparison” or “Palin Around” (depending on how the name is pronounced, which I still don’t know). But, in the first place, other people have that covered and, in the second place, something weird is happening on my home turf that doesn’t seem to have been generally talked about.

The Minneapolis Police Department and the Ramsey County Sheriff’s department engaged in a series of raids this morning, targeting several houses in Minneapolis in anticipation of the Republican National Convention across the river in St. Paul. (See the report here; some video from one of the raided houses here.)

The targets of these raids do seem to have been engaged in something serious: political activity not approved by the RNC. Let’s hope they learn their lesson. If people just go around peaceably assembling, criticizing the government, excercising free speech, where will it stop? Fortunately there are friendly people out there with submachine guns and nicknames like “The Terminator” (no, I’m not making that up) who are prepared to stop it so we don’t have to ask that question. Or, it seems, any others.

[Some more details here.]

[Seen at Glenn Greenwald’s blog at]

About JE

James Enge is the author of the World-Fantasy-Award-nominated novel Blood of Ambrose (Pyr, April 2009). His latest book is The Wide World's End. His short fiction has appeared in Swords and Dark Magic (Harper Collins, 2010), Black Gate, the Stabby-Award-winning anthology Blackguards and elsewhere.
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4 Responses to The First Amendment: Void Where Prohibited

  1. al_zorra says:


    There was a television journalist that got roughed up in Denver by the moonlighting Denver cops acting as hotel security. He and his crew were trying to get footage of Big MONEY lobbyi$t$ going in for private meetings with dem$enator$.

    Free speech in this nation much?

    Love, C.

    • JE says:

      Abusing law enforcement to further abrade civil liberties: something both the DNC and the RNC can agree on… Arrgh.

      • Anonymous says:

        I think you guys are just reading all this wrong.

        Another development over the past half-century that deters civil-rights violations is the increasing professionalism of police forces, including a new emphasis on internal police discipline. Even as long ago as 1989, we felt it proper to “assume” that unlawful police behavior “would be dealt with appropriately” by the authorities, but we now have increasing evidence that police forces across the United States take the constitutional rights of citizens seriously. –Justice Scalia

        So you see, the police just don’t do that kind of thing anymore. And on the rare occasion they maybe do just a little, the police will get it sorted out so it won’t happen again probably.

        –Jeff Stehman

        • JE says:

          Well, AS is not exactly my go-to guy on civil liberties. But I think what he says is actually true of some police forces. Apparently the Mpls. raids were spearheaded by Ramsey County sheriff Bob Fletcher, who’s an elected official and seems to be engaged in some sort of political theater. I can’t believe this will go over well with voters in Ramsey County, be they Republican or Democrat.

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