To The Daily Sun,
On Tuesday, May 6, I and the local multitudes who read The Laconia Daily Sun headline on that day, were horrified to read that the Gilford School Board is being ruled by a tyrannical dictator who has suspended the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in her school board meetings. You know the one, the one ratified into the 'law of the land' way back in 1791, that became part of our "Bill of Rights," that deals with our right to free speech!
The issue is the assignment by the Gilford High School teacher of the ninth-grade honors class of a book that has questionably pornographic material in it for children of that age. The School Board even admitted that in previous years, when the same book was assigned to students to read, parents were warned about it ahead of time, and given the chance to opt out. But this year someone from the government messed up and forgot to warn parents about this, before the fact, and before the damage was done.
Those parents;' rights were violated in this instance, pure and simple. That fact alone is enough to demand the school board cut everyone a little slack who objects to this inappropriate material, and adjusting the meeting rules accordingly. To not do that was arbitrary and tyrannical, and on top of everything else, for that School Board chairman to order that Mr. Baer be arrested and hauled off to jail, was abuse of power, and she must be removed from office immediately.
Mr. Baer (one of the parents of one of the children involved) and others have every right to be upset, because he and his family were denied the opportunity to prevent his daughter from being exposed to this kind of very inappropriate material before it happened. The board chairman exercised extremely poor judgment in setting such restrictive rules, when she should have known this issue was going be a hot topic.
Obviously, any charges against Mr. Baer will be thrown out of court, even by the most incompetent judge. In America, school board chairmen are not kings. In monarchies, where kings rule, the people serve the king. That's the way they do things there. However, here in America, all government officials serve the people. That's how we do things here.
Our local school boards are executive ruling bodies, but they work very well when they operate the closest to the people. But many times they forget who they work for. They don't work for the teachers, they don't work for each other, they don't work for the unions, and they don't work for the governor. They work for the people, and in some larger jurisdictions, those taxpayers pay their salaries. If any public officials aren't comfortable serving the public, and be the servants they are hired to be, they should resign or be removed from office immediately.
And the policeman involved, Lt. James Leach, of the Gilford Police Department, should be ashamed of himself for arresting a fellow citizen who was simply exercising his rights. You didn't uphold the law, mister, and you didn't protect the rights of anybody. You symbolically violated the rights of every citizen in this country who has ever been arrested trying to exercise their right to redress their grievances. I shudder to imagine what you might do, or what might happen if an over-zealous Army general were to issue an illegal order to you, demanding that you shoot unarmed protesters that might be disobeying some arbitrary ruling by a power-hungry politician.
This kind of tyrannical behavior by self-appointed governmental dictators is increasing every day, at every level of government, and it must stop now. There may not be many of us who are willing to put our lives on the line, but, for the future of our grandchildren and great-grandchildren, there more than enough of us. And we can make a difference.
Think about it — we surround them. And there are thousands more of us than there are of them. There are enough of us to make a difference. But we don't have much time left.
However, as long as government is going to continue to violate our First Amendment rights to free speech, to peaceably protest, and redress our grievances, we shall continue to thank God almighty for the Second Amendment. Don't doubt me.