Common ground

My conservative friend John Leo notes that freedom of speech shouldn’t be a left/right issue — and, to his credit, discusses the case of Brett Bursey:

If you are worried about the state of free speech in America, consider the case of longtime protester Brett Bursey. Last October the 54-year-old Bursey, carrying an antiwar sign, was arrested at Columbia Metropolitan Airport in South Carolina during a visit by President Bush. He was on public property at the time but was charged with trespassing because he was outside the zone established for demonstrators that day. The zone was on the edge of a highway, a half-mile away from the president, where neither Bush nor the media were likely to notice.

— snip —

Serious discussion about the rights of protesters is out of fashion right now, partly because the media prefer to focus on the low-level complaints of antiwar celebrities. But there are several troubling trends, among them what seems to be a policy of more and quicker arrests, the practice of banishing protesters to faraway sites, and a tactic that Jonathan Turley of George Washington University’s law school calls trap-and-arrest.