Man abuses First Amendment to harass military personnel outside armory

It is no secret that veterans and service members alike took an oath “to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Being Americans, we are endowed with many rights that would otherwise be unheard of within the borders of our contemporaries around the world, friend and foe alike.

If there were ever a guideline for how to exercise one’s freedoms, it would probably have to fall within the vein of “do what you want, so long as you don’t harm anyone or take what isn’t yours.” To live by such a guideline would not only be quite prudent, it would likely be the best example of true freedom- the ideals forged by the Founding Fathers and paid for repeatedly with the blood of free men who sacrificed on behalf of our Republic in her nearly 240 years of existence.

Unfortunately, our freedoms -sought after by those in power and taken for granted by those who possess them- are often abused, much of the time for the personal amusement of one at the expense of another. Much in the same realm of the “I’m not touching you” game siblings play with each other, some find it essential to push the envelope of Constitutional rights in an attempt to antagonize those who may or may not have the greatest grasp of said rights.

A recent video that came across the desk earlier today is a perfect example of someone who, while well within their rights, decided to make themselves look like a jackass by poking the tiger for no reason whatsoever.

In the video, the cameraman is filming outside of a National Guard Armory in Santa Rosa, California, doing so from a public sidewalk. After a few California Guardsmen notice him filming, they send two portly Staff Sergeants to deal with him.

After the Guardsmen confront the cameraman, he explains that under the First Amendment, he explains that he has every right to film from a public sidewalk. When the soldiers say he can’t, he corrects them, again re-confirming that he has a right to film there. The soldiers go back inside, calling the California Highway Patrol.

Shortly afterwards, a CHP officer arrives on the scene. He explains to the man that while what he is doing is absolutely legal, it would be an act of courtesy towards the soldiers if he would refrain from filming them and their families as they came in and out of the armory. The cameraman arrogantly says that he will only honor that request if they publicly apologize to him.

The video then shows the result of the cameraman’s so-called “First Amendment test”, showing still images of the two Staff Sergeants who “failed” and the officer who “passed.”

While in this case the cameraman was absolutely correct and the Guardsmen were in the wrong, it doesn’t make him any less of a jackass. His complete disregard for tact and civility in a situation that required both shows that he was merely out looking for trouble.

Much like the individuals who legally walk around downtown in full body armor with a AR15 at the high ready, the cameraman was deliberately trying to stir a hornet’s nest for no other reason than having absolutely nothing better to do with his time. Yes, he was in the Constitutional right- but he wasted valuable time he could have spent actively defending rights under fire in California (such as the 2nd Amendment, which has been under siege in the Golden State for decades), choosing instead to go the easy route by poking the bear on the bunny slopes of Constitutional activism.

By deliberately antagonizing and disrespecting others who are doing nothing to you walk the finest of lines- one that separates true champions of Liberty from those who cause great harm to the cause of self-determination and protection of Constitutional rights. This man cannot be taken seriously, he is no champion of Liberty and Justice by picking a one-sided fight with a bunch of Weekend Warriors. He’s not storming the State Capitol demanding an end to California’s many Constitutional infringements. He’s just a douche with a camera and no real weekend plans.

As someone who took his oath to heard, I firmly believe in defending all rights, not just the ones I agree with. From owning a grenade launcher to growing pot and letting gays get married, you can count me in when there is an injustice to be righted. I’ll stand beside you, behind or in front of you- the sky is the limit.

However, when you abuse and take advantage of your rights to antagonize others, you become no better than the Westboro Baptist Church crowd- you may be well within your rights… but everyone still thinks you’re a jackass.

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  • Andy Wolf

    Andy Wolf is an Appalachian native who spent much of his youth and young adulthood overseas in search of combat, riches, and adventure- accruing decades of experience in military, corporate, first responder, journalistic and advisory roles. He resides in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains with his K9 companion, Kiki.

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