OK, I realize that’s a bit of a sensationalist headline, but bear with me. The Missouri State Highway Patrol of course didn’t say anything about the content of the protesters’ signs. Instead, they claimed that the protest was a “public hazard,” since there had supposedly been five minor traffic accidents on the freeway below as a result of the anti-Obama signs on the overpass:
“Charges were filed against two men for their protest against President Obama in St. Charles County. Police were called to the overpass of Interstate 70 where the protesters were reportedly holding up signs in St. Charles. The Missouri State Highway Patrol said the protest distracted drivers, causing five minor accidents on I-70 near Fairgrounds Road so they asked the group to move anywhere beside the overpass. The troopers then arrested Marc Messmer for refusing the trooper’s order to move and resisting arrest. Jimmy Weed was also arrested for refusing the order. The men claimed their ‘Overpass for Obama’s Impeachment’ is free speech.”
The police claimed that this group of people holding up signs and raising awareness of the campaign to impeach Obama was distracting drivers below on the freeway. They claimed that there had been five “minor” traffic accidents as a result. What constitutes “minor?” And is that true, or did someone in the police department make it up? Perhaps an outraged Obama supporter below called the police and claimed that there had already been accidents because of the protest on the overpass.
Who knows, but the police chose not to divulge any details about these alleged accidents, and the protesters themselves stated that they had seen nor heard any the entire time they were there.
But who cares if there had been distracted people on the freeway who might have swerved and hit others. That’s their responsibility, not the protesters’.
The police are acting like there aren’t any other distracting signs on a freeway. What about all the giant billboards with scantily clad women? Do those distract you while you’re driving? If you got into a “minor” traffic accident because you were “distracted” by the billboard, would you call the police and tell them that the billboard needs to be moved because it’s causing accidents? They’d laugh at you.
Try calling the advertiser and complaining. They’d tell you, “Get over it. We have a 1st Amendment right to free speech. If you get into an accident, that’s your fault, not ours.”
Somehow, all the distracting traffic signs, billboards, radar gun-wielding cops on the side of the road, and bumper stickers are all fine, but a group of people who are voicing their opinion about Obama are a “public hazard.” I don’t buy it.