Our part of Minnesota enjoyed a wonderful Independence Day celebration this past Fourth of July. It was great to enjoy the parades and other festivities celebrating the birth of our great country.

Our freedom of speech is a serious matter, however we continue to see that right abused. On July 6, local law enforcement arrested six individuals who went far beyond what most would consider a reasonable exercise of speech guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution.

The individuals were charged with a variety of criminal acts. The behavior that resulted in the charges included blocking public roads, employing spikes to cause flat tires, blocking entry into private property, employing sleeping dragon obstructions that were endowed with feces and the possession of illegal narcotics.

The six arrests included the following criminal charges:

• One gross misdemeanor obstruct legal process with force

• One gross misdemeanor fifth degree narcotics

• Four gross misdemeanor trespass on critical infrastructure

• Two citations issued for misdemeanor trespass

Those arrested included two Californians, one from Wisconsin, one Iowa resident, a visitor from Massachusetts and one Minnesotan. They were detained in the Aitkin County Jail for processing and eventually released.

During detention, a number of their cohorts occupied the county courthouse grounds. During the occupation, the area around the memorial to Aitkin County law enforcement officers who lost their life in the line of duty was defaced. The graffiti demonstrated contempt and shameful disrespect for local peace officers that died in the line of duty.

The message this group sent to the people of Aitkin County and especially those with family and friends involved in public safety was quite clear: utter contempt and disrespect for those who sacrificed their lives to keep our community safe.

I don’t always enjoy putting back on my old journalist hat but, as a former newspaper publisher, it’s important that the public is exposed to all the facts. It seems in fashion today for local, regional and national media to focus primarily on glorifying those who oppose the construction of Enbridge Line 3.

In the tradition of a famous radio voice from the past, Paul Harvey, I will say, “for the rest of the story” and pictures, visit the Northern Lights Alliance Task Force Facebook page.

Dale Lueck (R) is the state representative for District 10B.

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