Boyle: Does the Constitution guarantee Asheville ‘occupiers’ the right to camp forever?
Here's an excerpt from John Boyle's column in the Asheville Citizen-Times:
Here in America, we love our rights, and rightly so.
The Founding Fathers laid a bunch of them out in the Bill of Rights, after all, and folks take that stuff pretty seriously.
But here’s a sticking point with rights: None of them are limitless.
You can own guns, but you can’t own a bazooka. You have freedom of speech, but you can’t yell “fire” in a crowded theater. Your right to swing your fist stops where my nose begins.
Sure, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, but that doesn’t mean schools can or should hand out Gideon Bibles to students like stocking stuffers. I think North Windy Ridge Intermediate School learned this lesson the hard way, after a local Wiccan complained about her son bringing home a Bible. ...
Other constitutionally-guaranteed rights — specifically, the right to assemble peaceably and the right to exercise free speech — are taking center stage in downtown Asheville with the Occupy Asheville Movement.
I doubt the framers had “camping out indefinitely in front of City Hall” in mind when they wrote the First Amendment. I’m thinking they thought protesters would get hungry and go home at some point.