Tropical Storm Isaac may wash away the Republican National Convention protesters.

He’s saying that it was a left protest.

That’s the price we pay to enjoy constitutional protections in this country. Some people will abuse their [del]Second[/del] First Amendment rights to break the law and harm others, but should we take those rights away from everyone because of a few bad apples?

Apparently I have brain damage.

Me think that kind protest bad.

No. But we should perhaps subject them to reasonable regulation?

Depends. Can protesting a party convention be considered political speech? Seems awfully hard to regulate that, especially after we so recently decided we couldn’t bar corporations from participating in political speech because it’s one of the most valuable forms of expression yadda yadda.

Throwing bleach on convention delegates cannot be considered political speech.

Sure, but that’s already an illegal act, I should imagine. Be amazed if it isn’t. Either way, that’s separate from the protest itself. Once you want to regulate the right to assemble in order to cut down on potential assault with bleach or other possible violence, then you’re looking at potentially regulating constitutionally protected political speech.

I actually do think reasonable regulation is a wise idea. I’m just darkly amused at the comparisons one can draw between the First and Second Amendment.

I don’t think that throwing bleach on people should be considered protected speech, but as has been pointed out, that’s already an illegal act. I don’t think you need to put limits on protesters because some of them conceivably could commit illegal acts. If they do commit illegal acts, then arrest them. Prior to that point, leave them alone, if they’re peaceably protesting.

In other words, basically what Bosstone said.

Sure, I think they should be arrested for assault and battery. I don’t think they should prosecuted for terrorism though.

Prosecutors disagreed: the perps received the first application of the Patriot Act in US history before terrorism charges were dropped.
Final outcome: they received suspended sentences, fines, community service.

The organization in question was a Minneapolis group called the RNC Welcoming Committee. I caution that wikipedia is a problematic source of information for this contentious and squirrelly subject. That said, an FBI informant was involved who some think was an agent provocateur. If so (and the evidence is flimsy) I disapprove of such official efforts.

Website of the RNC Welcoming Committee. It’s a message board:

ETA: Conflicting info with wiki!

Interview with Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher, which I haven’t read because I don’t really care:

Occupy is pretty transparent. They hold their general assemblies in public and on social networks. Unless the protests are orchestrated by a shadowy cabal (that’d have to be the least organised or effective cabal to exist), I’ve seen no indication that they intend to be violent. Doing so would be totally counterproductive to having their message accepted.