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Stop Running Over Protesters

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Nicole Derosia ’17

More stories from Nicole Derosia '17

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I recently watched a video on an incredibly right-wing website about protesters “justifiably” being run over for obstructing traffic. The comments about said video included things like, “They deserve it,” or, “What do they expect, I would run them over.” Meanwhile, I’m sitting there seeing and reading this and the only thing that comes to mind is, no. No. Nothing about that video, that post, or the comments, NOTHING about that is remotely okay. I proceeded to think about the reasons for protesting and for running over these people from multiple angles.

By standing in the road, these people are obstructing traffic. However, the point of a protest is to petition the government to listen to your concerns and to represent you. People then argue that the representatives in Congress are supposed to bring forth your concerns, but let’s be real. If they disagree with you, then they won’t bother to mention your idea. They were elected, and with them, their own set of beliefs with which they will direct themselves, regardless of your opinion or your stance in politics. This is why people protest; the whole of the government, as well as the country, now know concerns that they either agree or disagree with, and so, these problems can be known by many on a national level, thus warranting the governments attention.

People choose to protest or march in public places or the roads because (I’m assuming) of the fact that they are public. If you want your protest or march to be known, you won’t go marching in the middle of the woods with no one around. Simply put, this is a way to get the public’s attention, whether positively or negatively.

The video did include the (very) few people that occasionally would jump on a car attempting to break the marches or protests. Come on protesters; I completely believe in what you are doing, but that does not give you the right to inflict personal property damage to that car. And drivers, that DOES NOT give you the right to run them over. It does, however, give you every right to call the police; peaceful protest does not encompass physical acts of aggression.

Basically, there are two points that I wanted to make from these instances. Protesters, you have a constitutional right to peacefully petition the government for grievances; this does not include violence or forcing yourself or your beliefs upon someone else. In doing so, you are violating other peoples rights in the same amendment. You are also creating the potential for property or personal damage to the drivers, as well as a hazardous situation, which are both unacceptable. You petition to voice your concerns PEACEFULLY, and hopefully, the government will reflect that.

Drivers, you have no right, under any circumstances whatsoever, to run over a protester utilizing their first amendment right. NONE. There are several other solutions to insensibly running people over because they cause a minor inconvenience to you. If you don’t agree with what they are protesting, then protest yourself! These protests and marches have been very well publicized, and many people know about them. If you know there will be a march or protest in your area, find an alternative route. Sure that might take a few extra minutes, but at least you aren’t running them over with intent. Yes, intent. You chose to do so, and if anyone is hurt or killed as a result, the law defines this as murder. If they are hurt without intent, then its manslaughter. Both result in jail time, so the lesson to be learned here is that you shouldn’t run people over. If the protesters become aggressive or violent, call the police; it’s their job to keep the peace, not yours.

Ultimately, both the protesters and the drivers were in the wrong at some point. Protesting is a right, but people can easily take advantage of that in the wrong way, and this is unacceptable. Driving is a privilege, and people take advantage of a license so readily that it is astounding that so many people still have them. In a time of such great unrest in our country, causing more problems is not the solution to fixing problems.

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Stop Running Over Protesters