The Right To Assemble Is Not Absolute

On June 6th, the Mayor of our beautiful town, Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey, Paul Kanitra posted a 9:27 video on his facebook page indicating his intent to take pre-emptive legal action against planners of a “pop-up party” on June 18.

See the source image

The “Beach Linkup Pt. 1” occurred in Long Branch, a shore town about 30 minutes North of us, last month. There were about 5,000 individuals who gathered not, as Mayor Kanitra put it, for a nice steak dinner and the views, but intent on creating chaos that they could brag about on TikTok and other social media outlets.

The chaos last month in Long Branch, during which had the makings of a riot, was a repeat of the civil disruption that occurred the previous year in the same town.

But this goes further back to the preceding June, 2020, when a similar pop-up event on Point Pleasant Beach saw rowdy party-gatherers treat the beach, Mayor Kanitra put it, “like a toilet”, twerking, urinating, smoking pot, fist-fighting, boozing it up, and strewing trash around with abandon. It attracted media attention because in the midst of controversy about social distancing, our state’s Governor downplayed its significance.

On his Instagram account,”percc30dick” posted:

There will be no beach party June 18th or 19th‼️‼️‼️ anybody in attendance may be prosecuted & have to answer to the law . I take no responsibility in the event of any gathering, everybody stay home‼️‼️ This is a serious matter don’t take it lightly

“tygoat1” posted:

“They know niggas still going they not letting this stop nobody fr 😂😂. We get it perc not trying to get locked up so let him be. AND THE PARTY MUST CONTINUE 😈”

And “itaintzah” chimed in: “Y’all can get together just don’t act like fools 🤷‍♂️ y’all have the right to assembly”

Well here’s a news flash for “itaintzah”, and all others who parade around signs about the “right to assemble” and abuse the privilege. Kindly read the actual text of the First Amendment. It states the following:

“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.”

Let me repeat that for emphasis: the right of the people peaceably to assemble.

I understand that it may be difficult for people to agree on what it means to peaceably assemble, or assemble peacefully. So perhaps it might be easier to consider the flip side. What constitutes disturbance of the peace? On that I suspect we’d gain more agreement.

Thankfully we’re not as bad as Ocean City, NJ, a shore town about 75 miles to the south of us not far from Atlantic City. Unruly teens roam the boardwalk at night, with no concern about disturbing the peace, fueled by lax underage drinking and marijuana laws once again relaxed by a Governor who somehow fails to grasp the problem here.

Kudos to our Mayor Paul Kanitra, who was successful in getting a Superior Court judge to issue an injunction ordering a group of people to stop organizing unauthorized “pop-up” parties in Point Pleasant Beach. Today the Mayor posted the following on his facebook page:

“Yesterday, I attended a court hearing where Point Pleasant Beach successfully obtained an injunction against most of the “Pop Up Party” organizers and promoters. In addition, we have sent expensive Borough ordinance violations out for breaking our local rules and regulations. As a result, multiple cancellations have been issued by “promoters”. We believe we have headed off this insanity as much as possible. That all said, we are still totally prepared for any situation tomorrow in case anyone attempts to test our resolve. This morning, I went on PIX 11 to explain the situation and highlight the drastic need for the state to deincentivize this behavior and help towns up and down our Shore from ever having to deal with this again. Finally, I will personally be on the boardwalk and in our Police substation all day tomorrow to both monitor the situation and welcome all the families that come up to enjoy our great town!”

A Superior Court judge has issued an injunction ordering a group of people to stop organizing unauthorized "pop-up" parties in Point Pleasant Beach.

About Leonard J. Press, O.D., FAAO, FCOVD

Developmental Optometry is my passion as well as occupation. Blogging allows me to share thoughts in a unique visual style.
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3 Responses to The Right To Assemble Is Not Absolute

  1. doctuhdon says:

    Spot on, Len !

  2. Another update: Given the nature of chaos (not mathematical chaos but disruptive chaos) to seek weak points, disruptors on Saturday at the beck and call of a 17 year-old tried to target Union Beach, which is about 35 miles North of us on the coastline and even further North than Long Branch, but they were intercepted by police.

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