BLOG PART 2: In this second of a blog series, students in the Communications Department’s Basic Reporting and Writing for Journalism class were asked to evaluate recent commentary concerning the delicate and sometimes contentious balance between First Amendment rights and protecting our human sensitivities, particularly in relation to the recent and ongoing removal of Civil War Confederate statues across the nation.

Graphic illustration by Ross Munroe



If there is a part of American history that we as Americans are not fond of, can we just make it disappear?

The answer is no, we cannot just forget a part of history we do not like. Our past shapes our future.

For example, if you do not like a particular assignment that is required to pass the class do you ignore the assignment and still expect to pass the course?

With the recent activities of some Americans, you can see the attempt to eradicate some of our history that has shaped this country for the better.

Life is about learning from past experiences to help shape you as a person, and the same goes for this country.

The Bible even says, “Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction…” – 1 Corinthians 10:11

It is a part of our curious nature to want to know what happens, when it happens, where it happened, and why it happened. So our history is the answer to this curious nature.

In George Orwell’s “1984” he said, “For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable – what then?”

If we take away our history we are slowly and painfully starving our curious nature of learning and understanding, a healthy and valuable curiosity that God has given us.


I disagree with the removal of the statues completely, and this is coming from a Canadian observer, not a Republican from the southern United States

The removal of the statues seems to me like just another push from the left to further their political agenda, and we all know what happens when the left pushes too hard.

You get an under-qualified, annoying and downright bad president, as we see in Trump. But it doesn’t stop there.

When the left pushes like this all the freaks come out. A perfect example is Charlottesville, Virginia.

This whole statue controversy gave a platform for Nazis and White Supremacists to deliver their rhetoric, which is particularly egregious.

Now is what happened in Charlottesville domestic terrorism? Maybe, the violence that occurred is unacceptable.

But all the people who claim it is terrorism laughed and supported the riots that ripped Berkeley’s campus apart when a Republican speaker came to talk.

The point is the far right and far left are mostly just human trash.

I also believe this issue to be a crime against the history of the United States, you can’t erase the past.

I might have supported the removal of the statues if they were being moved to a museum where they could still be used for historical purposes.

Unfortunately I’ve seen too many videos of random masked people tearing them down and vandalizing them.

I love the one video where they tear the statue down and start kicking it like it’s a real person. That’ll show him.


Is it ethical to physically harm or silence another person due to a difference in ideology, a difference in history, culture?

In other words, within the context of Charlottesville, is it OK to punch a Nazi, a Communist or anyone for that matter just because of their beliefs.

I would like to think that it is unjust and unethical to harm anyone for any reason, however for some, it is justifiable due to their lack of receptiveness to a more moderate tone.

Violence is never the answer, even though the media might spin it a different way for a larger viewership.

It is important in times like these, when divisions seem to be as far strung as anyone could imagine, that we maintain a calm, collected response.

The only way that we can counteract the violence is by meeting peaceably and discussing the issues that we face, not going in armor clad or with facemasks ready to “stir the pot.”

People have the right to speak their mind, without the fear of being assaulted, robbed or murdered.

This is granted to us by our First Amendment and it is what separates our nation from any other civil society on the planet.


Across America, as statues of Confederate figures are being removed from public places, the uproar and backlash are creating more strife.

Rather than learn from the mistakes of America’s past, people are acting out and attempting to shout over anyone and everyone who does not agree with them.

According to the First Amendment, people have the right to assemble peaceably and the right of free speech.

What a great freedom.

At the same time, look at the abominable ways in which people are using this freedom.

The purpose of the First Amendment is to limit the power of the government and allow people to hold the government accountable.

Based on recent actions, can we declare with confidence, “We the people deserve this right”?

Alex Nezam, in a recent column regarding the issue with First Amendment rights, discusses the harm caused by people taking the First Amendment too far.

When peaceable assemblies become violent protests and freedom of speech becomes hateful ranting, what good is it doing?

We need to strive to be a responsible people, not individuals, but a responsible and accountable people deservant of the First Amendment.