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SapereAude

City plans to bill Florida pastor $200k

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The pastor who planned on burning the Koran (but ultimately did not) is expected to receive a bill for all the security planning the police and fire department did in expectation of the event (which never took place).

What I'd be interested in seeing opinions on is this- if the government's proper responsibility is to protect individual rights is this not wrong?

Beyond a doubt it was a matter of free speech.

It could be argued is whether it was a stupid or ill advised use of free speech.

Is the goverment charging exhorbitant amounts of money to an individual for "protection" when they use their speech in a way that could cause unrest extortion and a circumvention of free speech?

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My vote goes for this being an improper governmental action. Ideally, the government should be funded voluntarily, it can send him a bill, but not force him to pay. In the current system, we are told the services of protection are to be paid for out of the proceeds taxation, not user fees to each person protected in accordance with the type of protection needed. The fact that he needed more protection than someone else is not a valid reason for government to stick him with a bill and force him to pay.

If it were a private security firm, they could sue for breach of contract, but otherwise, I'd say this chills free speech because the more others threaten your life, the more government will threaten your life to "protect" you. If the production of security is to be provided by government, it can be supplied in one "lump" or in marginal units, but it has to satisfy the requirements of equal protection under the law. The fact that more people were desiring to murder this person is just something a proper government has to consider in its operating costs. I see this bill as an initiation of force by the government.

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The question on my mind is: was the security necessary to protect the pastor, or the civilians who would be potentially put in danger because of the pastor's actions?

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What I'd be interested in seeing opinions on is this- if the government's proper responsibility is to protect individual rights is this not wrong?

Government does not exist to protect individuals. It exists to protect individual rights through a monopoly on the use of retaliatory force.

Imagine me, you, and a police officer standing in close proximity...

If I announce that I intend to punch you, and I close my fist and draw back my hand then the officer is justified in stepping between us and/or arresting me to prevent the physical assault, because I have clearly shown hostile intent toward your rights.

If I announce that I am going to call your mother a whore, the officer is not justified in stepping between us or arresting you to prevent your supposedly imminent assault on me.

Edit: small typo

Edited by Jake

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Government does not exist to protect individuals. It exists to protect individual rights

But that's what I said.

"if the government's proper responsibility is to protect individual rights"

If I announce that I intend to punch you, and I close my fist and draw back my hand then the officer is justified in stepping between us and/or arresting me to prevent the physical assault, because I have clearly shown hostile intent toward your rights.

If I announce that I am going to call your mother a whore, the officer is not justified in stepping between us or arresting you to prevent your supposedly imminent assault on me.

Thae question wasn't about appropriate police response to security threats but rather the implications of the government charging people protection money-which seems more in line with The Sopranos than a constitutional democratic republic.

Edited to elaborate

Edited by SapereAude

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The question on my mind is: was the security necessary to protect the pastor, or the civilians who would be potentially put in danger because of the pastor's actions?

I don't see how the flames from a few books would put anyone in danger. Even if a piece of charcoal landed on someone's coat, they could just flick it off and they'd be fine.

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I don't see how the flames from a few books would put anyone in danger. Even if a piece of charcoal landed on someone's coat, they could just flick it off and they'd be fine.

I think he was referring to the assertion by Obama and many others that members of "the religion of peace" might be driven to commit terrorist attacks based on the burning.

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I don't see how the flames from a few books would put anyone in danger. Even if a piece of charcoal landed on someone's coat, they could just flick it off and they'd be fine.

Fair point that. :)

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What about the Imam who's building the WTC mosque? Is he getting billed for all their police protection?

No, that's why I find this so unusual.

It seems a back door way of curbing free speech that the govt doesn't approve of.

You can say things we don't want to to say in theory but we're going to make it prohibitively expensive to practice seems to be the gist.

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The principle of protecting individual rights is achieved in the concrete by actually protecting the rights of individuals. The police are obliged to protect every individuals' rights with favour to nobody.

The Pastor was fully entitled to do as he thought fit with his own property. That action, in itself, was not a threat to anyone. The only threats to others arose from the reaction by barbarians. A more reasonable (but still inadequate) first response is to hold that they are the ones who we'd initially say should be billed because without their actions there'd be no cause for the police presence to defend the Pastor - but in the proper full-context analysis nobody should be billed for the reasons already mentioned: it would create a backdoor vehicle for governments to clamp down on free speech, both that of the Pastor and of protestors not breaking the law. Also, if there were any wrongdoers, eg someone firebombs the church or his home, even then they should not be billed for the work of police or the DA's office because that would set up an incentive for police and prosecutors to drum up business for themselves through wrongful prosecutions on flimsy foundations.

Nobody should be billed in cases like these. The costs have to come out of the general budget, which budget is to be paid for by voluntary means.

JJM

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This is obviously a farce. The event is being used as a justification for extortion of his funds to fatten their budget, or god knows what other bureaucratic nonsense. This is obviously not an appropriate measure by the state. One also has to ask the question....if they had to spend enough extra money for it to be necessary to bill the man "at fault" for that extra planning, what kind of shape is the states law enforcement in? What kind of extra planning, and extra law enforcement do you need for a book burning? I would think that the current resources appropriated to these tasks would be more than enough. An extra squad car or...four at most?

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No, that's why I find this so unusual.

It seems a back door way of curbing free speech that the govt doesn't approve of.

You can say things we don't want to to say in theory but we're going to make it prohibitively expensive to practice seems to be the gist.

It's scary that rule of law is becoming arbitrary.

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I'm not sure how one could possibly get billed for the actions of another group of people--counter protesters or possible terrorists. Additionally, as has been already brought up, there is a good possibility that such billing could actually reduce the practice of free speech. For example, would a modern day Martin Luther King Jr. be billed for all the extra police focus that would be given to him? That would shut down anyone without heavy funding. I think the proper thing that the city should have done was to tell that book burning idiot that the city may not have the adequate resources to protect him and his fools during their event, and that the city would not be spending thousands for the sake of his stupidity.

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