Peaceably Exercising Their First Amendment Rights

The hand-written copy of the proposed articles of amendment passed by Congress in 1789, cropped to show just the text in the third article that would later be ratified as the First Amendment.

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States guarantees to all of us both the freedom of speech and the right of peaceable assembly. With the truly idiotic pro-Palestinian, pro-Hamas demonstrations which have broken out on college campuses, primarily in the more liberal areas, and the forcible resistance to them by college administrators, as the Usual Suspects occupy college buildings and harass Jewish students, but at the more sensible University of Kentucky, things have been different.

Lexington community members stand in solidarity with Gaza at rally on UK’s campus

Abbey Cutrer, Managing Editor | Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Gaza Rally, May 1, 2024, photo by Abbey Cutrer, Kentucky Kernel. How many were there supporting the rally, and how many were just spectators?

Pro-Palestine protestors gathered on Wednesday evening at a solidarity rally for Gaza outside the William T. Young Library at the University of Kentucky.The crowd of over 300 people included students, alumni and community members.

The Fall 2023 enrollment figure was over 34,000, with more than 24,000 being undergraduates. A rally attendance figure of “over 300 people” means that, if I assume 350 as a mid-point between 300 and 400, the rally drew just a whisker over 1% of the student body. I am fairly pleased that such a low percentage of UK students attended this rally.

Let me be very clear about his: I do not in any way support Hamas, or the Palestinians in general, and believe that the Israelis should have expelled every last one of them from Judea, Samaria, and Gaza following the 1967 conquest of the territory. It would have been a humanitarian disaster, but it would have been over 57 years ago, leaving the Arabs with a chance to build their lives again without being under Israeli occupation, and Israel with shortened, more defensible borders.

According to Aljazeera, the retaliation efforts from Israel following the Oct. 7 Hamas attack has resulted in the loss of over 35,000 Palestinian lives. The crowd was protesting these acts of violence.

Even if we accept Aljazeera figures as bearing some resemblance to reality, holding that Israel should not have invaded Gaza is like saying that, once the Allies reached the German borders in January of 1945, they ought to have quit rather than going on and deposing the entire Nazi regime.

“We are a coalition of UK undergraduates, graduates, alumni and community members who are coming together because we believe in a common cause for Palestine and we’re wanting to see UK and our greater community do something,” the coalition’s media liaison Ben Bandy said.

Before the rally began, Dean of Students at the University of Kentucky Trisha Clement-Montgomery handed out cards from the university that said, “As a public university, we must uphold free speech rights — no matter the perspective — while ensuring safety.”

Also listed on the card were regulations demonstrations must follow on campus.

The cards read, “Demonstrations may not:

  • Disrupt classes or use amplified sound
  • Block building entrances
  • Include threats, violence or incite unlawful activity
  • Involve prohibited items (found in AR 9:1)

UK sophomore Asha said that it’s a shame that these cards are telling them “Don’t make your disruption disruptive.” Asha declined to give their (sic) last name out of concern for their (sic) safety.

What, did Asha want to get arrested?

This is the difference. All of the stories we are seeing about disruptions, encampments, and building seizures by the Usual Suspects on Ivy League campuses, neither the Kentucky Kernel, the student newspaper from which the cited article came, nor the Lexington Herald-Leader’s coverage reported any disruption or violence from this rally. This was a rally well within the participant’s First Amendment rights. Just because I strongly disagree with the participants’ positions does not mean I do not support their right to say what they wish.

The Herald-Leader reported:

Ala Hassan encouraged people not to vote for President Joe Biden in the upcoming elections, to show that American leaders do not have them in a “chokehold.”

From her lips to God’s ears! I very much support people not voting for the President’s re-election!

The Kernel also had a separate photo gallery article, which may have told readers more than was intended. From the captions on the twenty-four photos, we are given the names:

  • Nour Shalash (a 7-year-old child);
  • Jenna Shalash (a Transylvania University student);
  • Alyssa Rigney (a UK Senior);
  • Ala Hassan;
  • Kareen Hassan;
  • Mouse Samaan;
  • Layla Hadi Cupps (a 8-year-old girl);
  • Liam Hadi Cupps (a 4-year-old boy);
  • Iman Hassan (a female UK senior)

Other than Miss Rigney, these are all Arabic names, and few appear to UK students; many of the rally attendees did not look as though they were students. There were many wearing the black-and-white Palestinian keffiyeh, which I see are barely different from a Nazi armband.

But, as long as they are obeying the law and the regulations on the private property on which they rallied, I support their rights, if not their silly purpose.
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