The Bill of Rights is the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution. It spells out Americans’ rights in relation to their government.  Moses and the people of Israel were given the 10 Commandments, Americans were given the Bill of Rights, both are pretty big deals.

The Bill of Rights guarantees civil rights and liberties to the individual; like freedom of speech, press and religion. It sets rules for due process of law and reserves all powers not delegated to the Federal Government to the people or the States.

And it specifies that “the enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

The 10 amendments that are now known as the Bill of Rights, were ratified on Dec. 15, 1791, thus becoming a part of the Constitution.

The first of those 10 Amendments, containing what many call the “Big 5 Freedoms,” and reads as follows:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

The second session of the 72nd General Assembly reconvened at 9 a.m. May 26 and recessed again on the night of the 28th due to an outbreak of riots and demonstrations.

More riots and conflicts with law enforcement occurred over the next few days. In the name of protesting the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, public and private property was defaced and destroyed, police officers were ridiculed and assaulted, and vehicles and property were vandalized.  What a travesty.

The Democrats at the Capitol were claiming the Legislature was adjourned out of solidarity for the demonstrators (i.e. rioters), while in reality the Capitol was vacated to protect Legislators and staff from blatant violence (including seven to nine gunshots fired at the Capitol building Thursday evening).

Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, call what happened in our Capitol City what it was: criminal activity.

Unfortunately, the most prominent Democrat supporting the demonstrators has called for no criminal prosecution for any of the destructive activities claiming “ … insurance will pick up the cost of damage to public and private property.”

As I understand the statutes, all of the following acts that occurred during the “demonstrations” in Denver are criminal acts: defacing public and private property, destruction of public and private property, assaulting police officers, wantonly discharging weapons in public, vandalizing personal and law enforcement vehicles.

I could continue with this list, but I think you get the point: none of these acts fall under the “right of the people peaceably to assemble” guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. While many of the Democrats continue to tout solidarity with the demonstrators, my Republican colleagues and I do not. We support the Constitution and the Bill of Rights; we do not support criminal activities.

I also find it ironic (perhaps hypocritical), that the very folks who criticize others for painting all blacks, Muslims, (or fill in the blank) with the same broad brush, quickly place all police in the same group and advocate killing them.

I will be the first one to admit that not all law enforcement officers are blameless; none of us are perfect.

For those that are, feel free to toss the first stone. I commend all the law enforcement officers, from those on the streets to those who had to barricade the doors inside the Capitol, to keep it from being destroyed, for their amazing restraint.

I am afraid I would not have been so tolerant.

So, where to from here?  By the time you read this, I figure we will have been chastised again on racism. I just wish everyone could focus more on the 10 Commandments and less on the 10 Amendments. And, it would really be good if everyone could keep Matt. 7:12 foremost in their minds: “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (New King James Version). But then, I guess you need to be careful of what you wish for.

Hopefully, we will get the budget balanced, and get the School Finance Bill passed and go home for the summer.  This session has gone on far too long. It has been historical, just not that enjoyable.

Feel free to call my office in the Capitol at 303-866-2747 or send me an e-mail wilsonforhd60@gmail.com or james.wilson.house@state.co.us.

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