27 Feb 2012

Students fight National Defense Authorization Act

Author: Kelsey Rentner | Filed under: BGSU, Bowling Green City Council, Local stories, Localizing story, Spring 2012, Student Contributor

By Kelsey Rentner

Protesters flooded the Bowling Green City Council meeting on Feb. 21 in efforts to fight against the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).


Protesters met at the City Council meeting on Feb. 21 to fight the National Defense Authorization Act. Photo by Kelsey Rentner.

The NDAA has caused controversy around the nation because of one of its provisions that enforces that the government has the right to detain any American citizen whom they suspect is involved with acts of terrorism. These suspects will not be given a fair trial before confinement.

BGSU freshman Daniel Johnson, founder of the student group People Against the National Defense Authorization Act (PANDA) spoke at the City Council meeting asking council officials to claim that they are not part of the NDAA. Johnson, accompanied by other group members, also asked that officials do not become involved with any military investigation of citizens or students.

According to Johnson, the Constitution is destroyed by the NDAA.

“The government has the right to take anyone from anywhere without telling the accused why they were arrested, which violates the Third Amendment. Arresting individuals for suspected comments violates the First Amendment,” said Johnson.

Johnson gathered 500 signatures petitioning the council to review the Constitution in order to change their decision. In an interview, Johnson said he also received national help from the “Ohio Oath Keepers, Rhode Island Liberty Coalition, Tenth Amendment Center in Florida, Liberty Round Table in Nevada, the Minister of Truth YouTube blog and music producer John Kocalis.”

Council officials saw this petitioning as the wrong approach, stating that this is not a local government issue, but rather a state government issue.

Fourth ward incumbent Greg Robinette said he was “offended and disagreed” with PANDA. He said that the NDAA defends the constitution. After reading his prepared speech against PANDA, Robinette then thanked the group for being passionate about the issue and standing up for their beliefs.

Even though the issue was not resolved at the City Council meeting, Johnson informed officials that future strategies would be discussed among the group.

One strategy “is to put a ballot initiative similar to the Ohio Health Care Freedom Amendment, which would allow voters to override council decisions,” Johnson said.  The other strategy, according to Johnson, is to pressure local members of Congress to co-sponsor bills of the NDAA.

The agenda also included a discussion on road repairs. Council agreed to fixing roads in Bowling Green as well as renovating Needle Hall in City Park.

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