End to War Doesn’t Stop Protests

The end of the Iraq war has slowed, but by no means stopped, “antiwar” activity. Earlier today there was a protest at the Lockheed Martin plant near San Francisco, in which demonstrators lay on the ground to block access. Thirty-five of the protesters were arrested. The photo below shows one of the demonstrators; they used “arm pipes” to connect themselves together so as to block traffic.
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One of the problems in dealing with protests of this type is that, historically, very few of the protesters have been made to pay any price. Too many judges regard the actions of people like the woman pictured above as legitimate political activity rather than disorderly conduct or malicious destruction of property. Yet making it impossible to operate a plant or get goods on to a ship destroys property, or prevents the creation of property, as surely as throwing a brick through a window. Imposition of even modest fines or court costs on “protesters” who disrupt traffic, etc., would quickly discourage much of this activity. In Minnesota, Governor Tim Pawlenty has advocated imposing court costs on the protesters who habitually demonstrate outside the local Honeywell facility, and repeatedly get themselves arrested. His example should be followed.

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