Un-American law


Regarding "Arts Festival Spawns Free-Speech Challenge" (June 17): It's distressing to learn that Pennsylvania has a law on the books that is designed to restrict free speech within the confines of its state parks. This is an ugly and unnecessary law, and one which should be repealed with all deliberate speed. This is not Arizona, after all. Here in Pennsylvania, birthplace of American democracy, home to both the Declaration of Independence as well as the Constitution, such a law is anathema.

If, as Witold Walczak of the American Civil Liberties Union speculates in your article, the law has gone unchallenged up until now because Point State Park is the only urban park in the system and that "small-group demonstrations are uncommon in rural parks," then why have we taken such an extreme step as restricting a provision of the Constitution for such a rare occurrence? Is the implication here that urban parks require the curtailment of liberties because of the higher likelihood that city dwellers might express their views? And even if you buy that noxious proposition, why include all the rural parks? Talk about a slippery slope.

Indeed, urban or rural, rare occurrence or not, the ultimate question is, why are we restricting a provision of the Constitution?

The ACLU needs to challenge this law on general principles. With our role in American history, Pennsylvania doesn't need to be stinking up its books with this kind of tyranny.

Swisshelm Park

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