Letter: Too many today don’t understand 1st Amendment

Published 9:23 pm Tuesday, October 10, 2017

In response to “How much longer should country put up with Trump?” published in the Oct. 7 edition of the Tribune:

It has been said that the start of the hype of failing to stand for the national anthem began when Mr. Kaepernick met with a military veteran who may have misguided him.

When a funeral is held, the next of kin are typically seated. To stand “lording” over the seated person and hand the flag down would be in poor taste. The person presenting the flag kneels to be on the same level out of respect to the person.

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If you are at a funeral where the next of kin are not seated, but instead standing, there is no kneeling to present the flag.

I understand what the players are protesting, but the manner they chose to protest is disrespectful.

Francis Scott Key witnessed the vicious battle at Fort McHenry and wrote a poem which was later set to music and eventually became our national anthem.

U.S. Code, Title 36, Subtitle I, Part A, Chapter 3, § 301 National Anthem states, in part:

“persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart.”

The NFL is selective in their enforcement of decorum on the field. They would not allow Dallas (team) to honor five murdered police officers earlier this year. Yet they did allow Kaepernick to wear socks depicting pigs referring to law enforcement.

By the players failing to stand and show the respect to the flag, they are being disrespectful to those who fought for our freedoms through our history, including today’s military members.

These overpaid entertainers need to stop using their employment to protest. Hollywood and sports franchises need to sit up and take notice. People who buy tickets to games, concerts and movies do not spend their hard-earned money to watch protesting or hear the opinions of the participants.

Too many today misunderstand the First Amendment. The First Amendment states that a person has the right to express an opinion or idea without the government retaliating. Period. That is the First Amendment.

It is not the right to say and do whatever you want. It is the right to speak out and not fear retaliation from the government.

The NFL is a private entity, thereby freedom of speech is a non-issue here.

Are innocent people being killed by officers? Yes, there are. We are dealing with individuals (both officers and civilians) and the prejudices and values each have acquired during their lives. There is no easy answer on how to prevent the shootings. Training, training, training. Train those who interact with officers, train the officers and hold those who murder civilians unjustifiably accountable for their actions.

In the meantime, American citizens will continue to exercise their rights by decreasing television viewership and decreasing attendance to games.

Barbara Babb