Letter to Gazette: “Restrictions can be placed on our constitutional rights”

Today’s Gazette publishes a letter to the editor from James J. Palermo of Florence. He writes,

“Constitutionally protected rights are frequently regulated lawfully. For example, we have the right to bear arms, but we do not permit people to carry loaded guns within city limits, or to carry a handgun without a permit. While we have the right to follow the dictates of our religion, parents have been prevented from withholding medical care for their children on religious grounds. While we have freedom of speech, teachers are not free to use expletives in public schools.

“…what is wrong with subjecting pornography to the same restrictions that society has lawfully imposed on other constitutionally protected activities?

“…I support NoPornNorthampton, as well as Mayor Higgins and Councilors Marilyn Richards and Marianne LaBarge in their efforts to prevent porn shops from moving into sites that are near residential areas, churches, or schools, or that would detract from the ambiance of an established commercial or retail district.”

7 thoughts on “Letter to Gazette: “Restrictions can be placed on our constitutional rights”

  1. Simply because constitutional rights are often regulated by law does not justify such restrictions. While the second amendment leaves us in doubt about the proper use guns (“A well regulated MILITIA being necessary to the security of a free state…”) the first amendment has been clarified over the years. In the original flag burning court case of Texas vs. Johnson, William J. Brennan, Jr. stated “if there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea offensive or disagreeable.” In order to justify regulating this right, the idea expressed needs to be obviously physically dangerous to others (yelling fire in a crowded theater). I simply don’t believe that the secondary effects of a porn store could possibly be physically dangerous to others.

  2. Just because judges rule that some regulation is constitutional doesnt make it so. They are cherry picked by the politicians and pander to whim of the majority. The Constitution was intended to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority and the government.

    The Constitution is very clear. It says Congress shall make no law abridging free speech. It doesnt say unless there is a fire. The second amendment doesnt say you have the right to bear arms unless the city your in doesnt like them, or unless your a felon. And it doesnt say you have the freedom of religion, unless your religion doesnt believe in medicine. But times have changed in ways the framers of the constitution could have never imagined? Well they left behind a mechanism for that, a Constitutional amendment. Problem is you fascists will never get the super majority required. So the judges, the politicians, and you people just pretend its all constitutional.

    Have you read some of these secondary effects? Business failures, gay sex, property values, higher crime in the vicinity? You want to limit free speech based on this? I suppose eyesores should also be illegal.

    For one the reason for the business failures, lower property values, and high crime around these businesses I would argue would be that these businesses are typically zoned into locations that already had these problems. And the gay sex occurring at these businesses (how do you know?) would just occur somewhere else if these places were removed, just as drugs use doesn’t stop when made illegal. Who knows maybe these people would take their gay sex to your neighbors house.

    Freedom is dangerous. But if you carefully consider it, it is worth the risks, and then some. I suggest not worrying about what other people do. Its none of your damn business.

    Oh and for a group that just wants to regulate, and not censor. NoPornNorthampton.org sounds a lot like “Not in my town,” which, yes, is censorship.

  3. Secondary effects are not speech. It’s reasonable and constitutional to regulate adult enterprises that generate them. If someone wants to stick a ‘giant porno store with jack booths’ in my neighborhood, an enterprise associated with drugs, sex crimes, blight and hazardous trash, you bet it’s my business. These things would affect me whether I shop there or not.

    Plenty of constitutional rights are regulated by the government. Try, for example, to store a nuclear weapon in your basement. Alternately, try to deny your child urgent medical care because of your religious beliefs. Wise people, even Supreme Court justices, realize that values compete and have to be balanced. It’s too simple to pick a single value, such as freedom of speech, and say it must trump all others in all cases. Clever people without scruples, such as many porn merchants, love to exploit mechanical rules like that for personal gain.

    Many studies clearly show that secondary effects occur after the adult enterprises move in. They were not preexisting.

    The evidence for sexual activity inside porn viewing booths is overwhelming and discussed at length on our site. See, for example, Kittery, ME and Raynham, MA.

    As the Supreme Court acknowledged in Alameda, there’s a big difference between activities occuring over a wide area and activities concentrated in a single location.

  4. Go to any of these countries and look around.

    A. Communist Cuba (good thing Castro is about to die)
    B. The People’s Republic of China (there your clothes come from)
    C. Iran
    D. North Korea
    E. North Vietnam

    What is the similarity with these countries? The similarity if you may notice is that the government controls as many aspects of your life that is possible with existing technology. These countries are different from America, because in America, you are supposed to be able to do anything you want that to do unless it interferes with other people’s rights.

    I am a Catholic that does not watch porn DVDs. I do this because I have a right to not watch porn. However, any pervert has the right to get porn, because this is a free market economy, and the first amendment protects the freedom of expression. If I could do this, but I couldn’t do that(such as sell porn), then it would not be free expression, because I cannot express something.

    If anything that anybody thought was offensive was banned, then what would and would not be banned? There is no standard that can be used as a line to censor things. Then anything the government thinks should be censored can be proven offensive to somebody, and thus banned. Anything can be banned this way.

    Do we really want the craziest people such as the people in power with the right to say what or what not can be said?

    Remember those who fought those wars for our freedom. Remember those who died for our freedom. Would they want us to throw away our freedoms that were payed for in blood?

    Screw Censorship
    Screw Big Brother
    Screw power mongering Politicians
    God Bless our Troops
    God Bless America

  5. Please see FAQ item number one. We are not advocating censorship or banning. We are exercising our free speech right to criticize the speech of another. That’s something the founders of our country would fully support.

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