Freedom Of Speech
by Michelle Hill – occupynewhampshire.org/2012/05/29/freedom-of-speech/
While at the first rally, the one sponsored by National Nurses United (the union which paid for the buses to get us to and from Chicago), I found my brand new phone didn’t work. I couldn’t get or receive texts or phone calls. So I asked one of the police officers why our phones were being blocked. He responded with “there are too many people trying to use their phones at once. No one is blocking them.” Frankly, I didn’t believe him. Later in the week I overheard two officers talking. One was saying how glad she was cellphones had been blocked. The other nodded his head. I believed this officer to be telling the truth.
Unfortunately, blocking cellphones became the norm.
By blocking cellphones live tweets weren’t sent, people couldn’t call one another, and there was a dearth of Facebook status updates. It seems to me by blocking our phones, the police (or whomever was the guilty party) curtailed Freedom of Speech since phones are no longer just for voice communications.
Speech is our most basic freedom. To curtail it, for any reason, is not only unconstitutional, it’s a sign of fascism. For city police to participate in such behavior is totally unacceptable. For any police to participate in the silencing of speech is totally unacceptable.
I wondered why my brand new phone didn’t work but others did. I saw cops and paramedics on their phones. I saw other Occupiers on their phones. So maybe the technology used worked only on new phones. I’m not that tech savvy so I can’t answer my own question. But what I can say is I felt stifled. I could not reach the woman I was supposed to meet so we never connected that day. I felt uninformed without my twitter updates. When the rally moved I couldn’t find where the climate people went because of the dearth of text messages.
By blocking our phones, the Chicago Police Department (or whomever was the blocker) seriously curtailed the freedom of all in the area, including emergency personnel. And this is NOT acceptable.
Slowly are rights are being taken away under the guise of “safety”. It’s time we let our public safety officials know they have crossed the line, that too many of our freedoms are being taken away. We must make a stand against tyranny, against the police state, against fascism and take back the rights accorded to us by the Constitution. Peacefully. Non-violently.