A number of protests across the country in the wake of recent elections have impacted communities and interstate commerce. At what point do your rights to peaceful protest end and enforcement of anti-rioting laws come in effect? Should peaceful protest be allowed to disrupt use of public roads and thereby impede commerce?

Owatonna, MN Correspondent-Peace is the absence of conflict. Not necessarily the absence of violent conflict, just conflict in general. If someone attempting to operate their business by selling goods from a storefront or transporting those goods to consumers via public roads is prevented from doing so by protestors blocking sidewalks or roads, then a conflict exists. Public safety issues also come into play if roadways are blocked or if too many people attempt to occupy a too small space.

The term “peaceful protest” is a bit of an oxymoron because protesting implies an outburst of action, emotion, or speech, either for or against an issue, an individual, or a group. However, this country has come to accept peaceful protests as those protests where the protesters do not cause violence or participate in violence or do not verbally assault those against whom they are protesting or the authorities. Disruption of commerce and blocking of traffic are relatively new protest tactics.

Plenty of public parks, malls, squares, plazas, and other open gathering places exist for the express purpose of holding large numbers of people. Peaceful protests are best done in these large gathering spots, which gives any protest the best chance of remaining peaceful. Cities around the country can be persuaded to build or designate specific open areas as protest zones where any group can gather to peacefully protest. This could avoid protesters feeling the need to infringe on private spaces such as businesses or dangerous public spaces such as roads. Only if the protesters stray from a designated area should the authorities be allowed to act to keep the group from infringing on the rights of non-protesters.

The U.S. is a nation of laws, and anyone breaking the law should expect to be arrested or cited for breaking that law. That means peaceful protesters who, by their actions, block roads and/or disrupt businesses or individuals who are attempting to peacefully operate their businesses or go about their lives, are at least guilty of trespassing or loitering or endangering public safety. At this point, anti-rioting laws should be enforced.

Prescott Valley, AZ Correspondent-The right to peacefully protest should end when the cause being protested is illegitimate, irresolvable, nonnegotiable, borders on anarchy and contributes to the complete breakdown of the rule of law.

There is a fine line between what constitutes a justifiable protest and what presents serious conflicts with the rule of law. Protesting the results of an election that was clearly decided by a large number of voters throughout America is not a decision to be challenged and transformed into chaos.

When facilities and public places such as roads, bridges, buildings and means of transportation are affected by protestors and day-to-day interstate commerce activities are severely impacted, then anti-rioting laws must be put into effect. If bodily harm and other criminal acts are involved as well as looting, theft and destruction of private property, then the laws must certainly be put into play and enforced.

The results of the recent elections have spurred on protestors to pursue their dissatisfaction with the final outcomes, and many non protestors and innocent bystanders have suffered at the hands of those protesting.  Condoning and indirectly encouraging protesting, which has come in a suggestive manner from the present administration has only served to stir the animosity and will of the protestors to continue with their chaotic actions.

Now, with the encouragement of the current president, there appears to be no end to the politically charged mayhem, which seems to have spilled over into more heinous and dangerous individual acts against law enforcement officers, other law enforcement officials and organizations throughout the country.

Those who are protesting in large numbers are more than likely being paid to riot and have little to  no concept of who and what is  behind the promotion of such rebellious behavior. They are simply being instructed to riot for riot’s sake while they push an ideology that they have little understanding of or the necessary thinking skills to decipher.

The process is emotion driven and initiated through indoctrination. Most protestors simply repeat the words and actions of the outside sources that have influenced them to think and behave in the way that they do. There is little to no understanding as to what is right and wrong. Level headedness and accountability are just not part of their overall objectives, and never will be.

To counteract the lawless and mindless behavior of protestors, the specifics of their protests need to be examined and put right back in the hands of the protestors themselves.  Needless protests and those participating in them need to be challenged and questioned as to why they believe the way they do.

Protestors must be inspired to question those who have propagandized them whether it has come through an individual, the media or other protestors.  They must be motivated to further query the sources that have influenced their beliefs, and they must be made aware that they are in the minority.  They must acknowledge that a large proportion of Americans think in direct contrast to the way they do. Development of critical thinking skills and taking responsibility for their own actions can make a huge difference in the way protestors view and interpret their unending and mindless causes.

One of the few ways to counter such protests is through enforcement of anti-rioting laws. Protestors must never be allowed to shut down whole local, state and federal systems that govern commerce. Until those who are rioting understand that their actions are wrong, they will continue to behave in the way that they do.  As long as protestors are empowered and emboldened, the protests will continue.

There must be consequences and accountability for outlandish protest behaviors.  Lawlessness must not be condoned or allowed to continue. If protestors refuse to obey anti-rioting laws, then they must be forced to acknowledge the ramifications of their actions, which are likely arrest, prosecution, and jail or prison time.  The nonsense needs to stop and law and order swiftly restored.

Gastonia, NC Correspondent-The right of the people to peaceful protest is one of the most sacred our Republic enjoys, and it is truly one that sets us apart from much of the rest of the world.  Thousands can amass, fueled by a single purpose, to give voice to their discontent with policies or perceived injustices.  They can chant, sing, wave signs and give speeches as they wish to call attention to their cause, without fear of jack-booted thugs wading into their midst with cudgels or worse.

However, in the last few years, a subculture has grown up within the protesters that is determined to push this envelope.  Armed with smartphones recording every moment, they confront the riot police, commit petty crimes, assault one another and innocent bystanders and do their best to provoke arrests and the sort of physical use of force that makes for great TV and viral videos, always carefully edited to make the instigators look like victims.

Here in Charlotte during the recent riots, the police showed remarkable restraint, perhaps too much so, allowing the thugs to block major freeways, keep tourists and business travelers imprisoned in their hotels and cost downtown businesses thousands in lost revenue and goodwill.

The line must be drawn.  It will cause even more protests, but the unwavering but even-handed imposition of order will win out in the end.  Teach them like children, if need be. If you march peacefully and stick to the rules, you can do as you please. If you block freeways and set things afire, you will wake up in a holding cell with a lump on your head and zip ties on your wrists and ankles.

The media cannot and should not be controlled, but if public officials and the business community exert their influence, and if alternate news outlets continue to present the whole story, they’ll have no choice but to tell the whole story and stop being a fifth column for the rabble-rousers.

Sheffield Jamaica Correspondent-We all want to have a say as to what happens in the country we live.  That’s fine.  We are also privy to voicing our opinions and demonstrate gross disgust for new developments.  In light of the recent elections, it was quite obvious that a lot of Americans demonstrated that right, in the form of a protest.

I’ll never protest and for two good reasons. I find it foolish and a waste of time and I do believe that irrespective of how often we protest, our efforts go unnoticed.  The recent protests carried out were seemingly “peaceful,” but I’ll say there’s no peaceful protest. Whenever these so called riots disrupt public space and even prevent the normal daily activities, anti-rioting laws should take effect to squash such revolts.

Life goes on. If an entire country decides to protest, it should not be done in a way that will prevent children from going to school, businesses from operating, and people like me from going wherever I want without hindrance.

What in the world are they protesting for? Irrespective of what political decisions are made, they were decided by the vast majority.  The world needs to grow up.  These ‘peaceful’ protests do not solve our problems but actually create more.  Say NO to protests!

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