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Posts tagged ‘freespeech’


Where is The Line Between Public Safety, Free Speech, and the Right to Assemble?

As most of you have probably heard by now, BART had turned off cell towers in three stations in an attempt to stop a potential protest from taking place and being organized using cell phones and social media.  A direct result of this announcement came the night after the original protest was planned via a far larger protest that resulted in public violence, property destruction, etc.  (The irony here being that the original protest was practically non-existant and had been planned well in advanc, were the protest against the shut down of the cell towers was unplanned and viral.)

The SFGate did a great story on multiple issues of this entire event(s). SFGate Story on BART Cell Blockage

The summary goes a bit like this: Nobody wins.  That’s right, nobody.  On the one hand it seems clear that restricting a form of speech and communication is not exactly the right course of action, equally so, the destruction of property and impacts to the commuting public in SF is by no means the response.

So, I ask this for the consideration of GovLoopers: “For the sake of public safety, is it right to take action like BART did?”  This is timely, given the on-going riots in London and throughout the Middle East.  (London did the same thing in an attempt to quell rioters.  Egypt, Syria, etc have as well, though “purpose” may have been drastically different…or was it?)

What is the right answer?  Is there one?  This by no means is an easy question, but with the up tick in recent events (even locally with the MD 7-11 flashmob.) What is the solution? Should there be a solution?