There are rights that are given to everyone in America no matter their race, gender or standing in society. We make sure that no matter what, our rights are protected by the Constitution and its Amendments.
So how can you justify taking away some of a certain group's rights with the Ogden Trece Injunction? It should go against everything that we supposedly believe in.
The injunction was put into place Aug. 20, 2010, and a preliminary injunction was passed by a trial court, even though what it deals with goes against the Constitution. It stops Trece members from associating together or from being able to carry guns, have illegal drugs, be around alcohol and have anything that could be called a graffiti tool in public. The members are given a curfew, cannot trespass or practice any intimidation, and must "obey all laws."
While you can see reasoning behind some of this, how can you justify all of it? Could you stand by if it was your family or friends who were losing rights that should belong to everybody?
Your First Amendment right gives you the right to associate peacefully. The very first thing that was brought up way back when our country was put together is the first thing to be taken away with the Ogden Trece Injunction. Those given the title of a Trece gang member cannot walk together, drive together, stand together or appear together in any way. How would you like it if you could get arrested for hanging out with a friend? Someone you've known for a long time and then suddenly the government says that you better not show up anywhere together or you will get arrested? Care to justify that?
I can understand people's reluctance to have a gang member around with a gun. But the Second Amendment gives you a right to bear arms. No discrimination. If you felt so inclined, wouldn't you want to be able to have a gun?
But if you want to talk to a prosecutor about that, feel free to talk to Mr. Bill Daines, a Weber County prosecutor who spoke to my law enforcement class at school. He says we can't really say what the Founding Fathers meant with the Second Amendment; if you ask him, it was so long ago and things change so much, you can't really argue on that point. Or at least that is what he said in my little time of arguing in school when he visited.
I do agree with illegal drugs being prohibited. That is why they are called illegal, and if you have them, you should be arrested for it. Yet this shouldn't be placed in some injunction because the law already says you would already be arrested if you were to have crystal meth or some other illegal drug with you.
I do not believe in using alcohol; I believe it makes you do stupid things. But it is legal as long as you're 21 years old and under the intoxication limit at which you can legally be arrested. And while I may personally disagree with using any form of alcohol, you cannot take it away from someone else just because they are in a gang.
One of the most ridiculous things to me is the restriction on "graffiti tools." According to the restrictions, the gang members "cannot make graffiti," which again, is already against the law. They also can't "possess any spray paint container, felt tip marker, or other graffiti tools anywhere in public view or anyplace accessible in public."
Really? Please tell me this is some kind of joke, because I wasn't aware that having a marker or spray paint in public was illegal or a threat to public safety. So I suppose that you might want to watch out for the cops, all you hardware stores out there. Keep an eye out for the gangsters that want their spray paint or a marker -- who knows what evil they could do with it?
There are things in this injunction that are already laws. You can't trespass already. Of course you can't intimidate people. If you could already get in trouble for these, why are they in the injunction, to try to make it seem less ridiculous and unconstitutional?
The fact is that you are singling out a specific group and taking rights away that should be theirs. If you are taking them away from a certain group, I would love to see you try to take it from everyone. Because while people may feel good that this injunction targets "gang members," they wouldn't stand for it if it targeted them. And while you may think we can't know what the Founding Fathers meant in the Second Amendment, you tell that to people who carry guns. It goes well beyond unconstitutional and shouldn't be in place.
I do not agree with gang crimes or murders, but I also don't believe this injunction does things the right way. If a crime is committed, by all means catch the person responsible. But do it by the Constitution. Because you flat out can't justify this.
Bryant Studebaker is a senior at Weber High School. He likes swimming and playing water polo. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.