Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Muzzling Free Speech

Readers may be aware of the raid about a week ago on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints near San Angelo, Texas. This story from Fox News does appear to show a disproportionate use of power against a group that apparently had given no threat of armed resistance.

Potentially even more disturbing than the armored personnel carrier and massive militaristic police presence is the allegation that video and photographs taken of the police were seized during the raid. This appears to be a clear violation of the First Amendment, and is a disturbing precedent.

This group may have been involved in illegal and immoral activities: I do not know. Seizure of proof of police activities, regardless of what the holders of that proof have been accused of is extremely alarming, and appears to prime the pump for only the government-mandated officially approved voice to be heard. If this type of thing is allowed to stand, secret police squads cannot be far behind.

And it's only waterboarding. It's not real torture.


Tam said...

You have to wonder what the response of the "If you have nothing to hide, what are you worried about?" crowd is going to be to this news...

HollyB said...

John and Tam,
did y'all miss the line in the story that these materials were seized under authority of a "search warrant"?
And it was my understanding that these precautions, the APC, the body armor, etc are used when serving any search warrant or making any seizure.

Having served an internship with TX Child Protective Services, and having conducted MANY joint investigations with CPS when I supervised Sex Offender Parolees and they committed NEW offenses against their own chirrens, I can state: any and all assistance from Law Enforcement agencies is always welcome.
Seizing children can be DANGEROUS. Since one of the girls taken from the compound is Pregnant and 13 g'damn years old, let's not call these LEO's jack booted thugs, QUITE yet, and can we hold off on accusing them of burning the Constitution?

These items were legally taken. Plus, I doubt, since it was in the middle of a SEARCH, that they even LOOKED at what they were taking. Y'all are giving the LEO's waaaay too much credit. They were told to take photos and film, so they gathered up photos, film, photo cards, film canisters, whatever was listed in the warrant.

I realize I'm comin' at this several days after the children were removed from the compound and you wrote the blog as the story broke, but I get tired of seeing stories where Law Enforcement is accused of abusing the Constitution,when they are NOT.

It is difficult, even in West, bygawd,Texas to get judicial authorization to remove this many children. And in light of the fact that they are having to run DNA test to determine parentage of these children due to the confusing conditions within this compound...I'd say removing these children was the correct action.

I don't think this is a witch hunt as the Mothers are trying to portray it to the media. I think eventually, there will be plenty of evidence of sexual abuse besides this one pregnant 13 y.o. But even if she is the only pregnant one...even ONE pregnant 13 y.o. girl is one too many. That is a SICK, perverted environment and it will take YEARS for those children to be restored to a semblance of normalcy.

HollyB said...

If you'd like to read a copy of the affadavit for the Search and Arrest warrant you can go to, click on any FLDS story and find a link to the affadavits in the green side bar.
The photos were necessary b/c of confusion over parentage and b/c there are so many pregnant and underage mothers on the YFZ ranch.
Also, the APC and body armor were necessary b/c of the armed guards at the Ranch.

J.R.Shirley said...

"APC, the body armor, etc are used when serving any search warrant or making any seizure"

Uh-uh. Tam and I have had many friends in the law enforcement community for years. APCs are not the norm for most search warrants! Neither Tamara nor I believe in rape...whether of children or of the Constitution. I don't think either of use are not saying there might not be something worth investigating here.

We ARE decrying the militarization of police agencies in the U.S., and extremely cautious of FURTHER inroads against every citizen's freedoms.

And not just those Jews, homosexuals, communists, Seventh-Day Adventists, and gypsies...

J.R.Shirley said...

"I don't think either of use are not saying there might not be something worth investigating here."

Er, sorry. That sentence is basically incomprehensible, isn't it?
Should have said, "I don't think either of us are saying there might not be something worth investigating."

Bag Blog said...

I agree with you. I don't think child abuse is okay, but heavy-handed police tactics and taking small children who are not in any present harm...hmm, well it is all very worrisome.