I’ve seen multiple reports of a riot (erroneously called a “demonstration”) going on in Portland, OR while the police stood by and watched.  The police claimed they were concerned that enforcing the law would “inflame the situation”.  This seems to me a very good opportunity to discuss two important rights protected by the Bill of Rights.

First, let’s look at the right to demonstrate or protest.  While there is no right to demonstrate or protest in the Constitution, your right to peaceably assemble and to petition your government from a redress of grievances is.  What happened in Portland was neither.  Witnesses said these “protesters” took over the street, damaged property, and threatened drivers, none of which are a peaceable assembly.  Reports are that these people where not petitioning their government, but were rioting in an angry and childish response to a shooting earlier in the day.  They were not requesting justice, they were throwing a temper tantrum not targeted at those they believed had committed a crime, but at whatever bystanders they could impact.  In short, this was criminal and anti-social behavior condoned by the government of the City of Portland, OR.

The second right has to do with police action.  While not punishing criminal behavior might, and I emphasize might, prevent a short-term “inflammation” of the situation, it is most definitely a prescription for long-term lawlessness, violence, and tyranny.  So what does this have to do with your rights?  Federal courts up to and including the supreme Court have opined that the police do not have a Constitutional duty to protect you and this is true.  However you do have a Constitutionally protected right to protect yourself, including with arms.  We’ve been told for decades that we don’t need firearms to protect ourselves because we have police.  The riots in Portland are merely the latest in a long line of evidence of the fallacy of that statement.  Even if it was the polices’ duty to protect you, who else can you guarantee would be there when or if you needed that protection?  Once again we see these illegal laws infringe on our right to keep and bear arms and are not meant to protect us. Instead, evidence shows they are meant to control us.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

Declaration of Independence

While governments are created to protect our rights, once again we see our government more interested the optics of a situation than protecting our rights.  Government police seem more concerned with how the criminals will react than protecting the rights of innocent victims caught up in the situation.  This is not a government of laws.  This is not even democracy.  It’s tyranny, it’s oppression, and it’s a Thugocracy.  So the next time you hear about the right to protest, remember that right can only be legitimately exercised as long as you do not infringe on the rights of others.  Protests must be peaceable or they are not protected by the First Amendment.  And the next time someone tells you that you don’t need arms to protect yourself because we have police, remind them that the police don’t have a duty to protect you.

Author: Paul Engel

Paul Engel founded The Constitution Study in 2014 with the goal of helping everyday Americans read and understand their Constitution. Author, blogger, podcaster and speaker, Paul writes and podcasts at http://constitutionstudy.com. You can also find his books at http://amazon.com/author/paulengel

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