If I've learned anything while writing my first blast, it’s that you should be thankful for your freedoms. Personal liberty means so many different things to so many different people — whether it’s the freedom to go to class without being drug tested, or the freedom to discuss your feelings on gun control. Something that may not affect you at all could be disturbing another’s freedom across the country. Stay up to date and be grateful that you live in a nation where you can make your opinions known!
- We are all ambivalent about adding our employers and co-workers on Facebook, right? We don’t want to stress over the photo or status we posted and who will see it. For good reason. A former “Teacher of the Year” in Florida voiced his objection to gay marriage on Facebook and subsequently faced the loss of his job. Jerry Buell claimed that he was exercising his 1st Amendment rights, but his school wasn’t buying it. The Lake County School Board asserted that he violated a code of special ethics. They also feared that gay students would feel intimidated or scared when entering his classroom. Fortunately for Buell, the superintendent of his school district decided to reinstate him in his teaching position three days into the school year. The ACLU also supported him in his right to post these statements, but certainly did not agree with the content of them. Unfortunately for Buell, his wife won’t let him go on Facebook anymore. What a buzzkill, eh?
- I’m sure none of us would feel very comfortable being pulled out of a college classroom to piss in a cup…and oh yeah, have to pay $50 out of pocket for it. This is the procedure that Linn State Technical College was employing before the ACLU intervened mid-September. As a technical college, Linn State claimed its students needed to operate heavy machinery and therefore could not be under the influence. Do you think these students are being stripped of their money and their fourth amendment rights, or is Linn State right to drug test them when public funds are going toward their education? A federal judge sided with the former and placed a temporary block on the school’s program.
- In Miami, a federal judge has blocked enforcement of a law that restricted what physicians are allowed to say to their patients about guns and was pushed by gun rights supporters. If doctors violated it, they could lose their medical licenses and be fined up to $10,000. Fortunately for the medical community, in this case, free speech for doctors and patients prevailed.
- When transit police in San Francisco killed a transient man armed with a knife in a BART station in early July, it sparked protests. A month later, when BART shut down cell antennas in several of its SF stations during rush hour to prevent on-site protests, chaos ensued. Whether you were in San Francisco in late August, as I was for Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival, or watching from a TV set at home, it was hard to miss these BART demonstrations. Using the communication “kill switch” to prevent an uprising as the first order of business was undoubtedly a bold move. Were SF and BART officials ensuring public safety, or limiting its citizens’ First Amendment rights? How can America denounce censorship in other countries while similar practices are employed at home?
- Republican Michele Bachmann has some serious beef with HPV vaccines, and she didn’t try to hide it in the recent GOP presidential debate. Bachmann is currently supporting the claim that it’s a violation of personal liberty to require a vaccination, especially because she is a mom, and to have innocent little 12-year-old girls be forced to have a government injection through an executive order is just flat-out wrong. It’s up to you to decide whether her belief that this mandatory vaccine is dangerous is justified, or if she is simply spreading panic.
That's all for now liberty lovers! I look forward to keeping you in the loop on all the important issues. As always, stay up to date by reading the blog, joining us on Facebook and following HeadCount on Twitter.