First Amendment rights can’t be taken literally

A Monday letter writer believes it would be unconstitutional to charge demonstrators a fee to protest. The rights to free speech and assembly, like all of our constitutional rights, are not absolute in text and have varying degrees of stipulations.

For instance, I am guaranteed the right to pursuit of happiness. But even though it would make me happy to punch some Occupy San Francisco protester in the face, I know I would likely be arrested for assault. The First Amendment is full of checks and balances to prevent its abuse.

Certainly we cherish our First Amendment rights, but we also have responsibilities to our fellow citizens. So many American communities are in financial distress and the Occupy movement is depleting their already crippled general funds. Protesters should be held financially accountable or shut down completely.

Barry Bradley, San Francisco

Perspective on record

Frank Gore of the San Francisco 49ers will soon surpass Joe Perry in gaining the most rushing yardage as a 49er. I would like to point out that Perry played in a 12-game season, not 16 games as in today’s NFL, which obviously adds to this yardage. While the media brings up the impending feat, nowhere have I seen this pointed out.

Perry is second on the all-time rushing list behind the great Jim Brown, who also played in a 12-game schedule. Added to this, Perry and his teammates had to work in other jobs in the offseason to support their families. Today’s athletes train year round in state-of-the-art gyms while earning millions of dollars.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Frank Gore and his running. I’ll be rooting for Gore to get the most yards attainable in his career. But someone needs to include an asterisk behind Perry’s name when mentioning Gore’s record.

Ed Baumgarten, San Francisco

Reduce security spending

America is having its worst economic depression since the 1930s. Millions are out of work and people are ready for change. However, while most of the blame for this downtrodden economy falls to the fat cats on Wall Street, there are other problems involved. The United States spends more on national security than the rest of the worldcombined.

Reduction from this budget must occur in order for America to regain confidence in a government that has forsaken them.

Nick Magyari, San Francisco

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