Oh, it's that time of the year again, when the store shelves are overflowing with candy and Halloween costumes. Once again this year, Party City’s biggest seller for scariest mask is that of Governor Rick Scott. His uncanny resemblance to Skeletor is unbelievable. To those of you who don't know who Skeletor is, he’s a character from the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon. This guy has been scarring the crap out of people for decades.
Recently, I had the privilege of attending the U.S. Customs & Immigration ceremony where 169 individuals, from 29 different countries from around the world, relinquished their respective citizenships to become U.S. citizens. The ceremony was moving, and in my opinion, it should be a requirement for high schoolers to attend in order to graduate. It was a reminder of our rights as Americans, that sometimes we take for granted. How impressive it was to see people from so many different Countries, like Australia, the Bahamas, and Canada to name a few, switching citizenships. While watching the ceremony, I could not help but think, how scary it must be to leave your birthplace, and come to a foreign land, to start a new life. Both of my grandparents immigrated from Ireland, leaving their friends, family, and loved ones behind, to pursue the American dream.
One of the people being sworn in was a fine lady by the name of Patrice Vera Caban. She came from Costa Rica, and it took her many years to fulfill her dream of becoming a U.S. citizen. One of the many requirements to become a U.S. citizen, is to perform community service. Patrice, together with her husband Robert, and 12-year old son Brandon, volunteered numerous hours at various PBA and POAT charity events. Patrice and Robert have also enrolled their son Brandon in the Young Marines, which instills the discipline and core values, which represent this great country of ours, into young adults. Patrice is normally a quiet, unassuming, and humble individual, but on this day you could see the pride of her well-earned accomplishments. Some of the questions she was asked on the citizenship test, I would challenge most U.S. citizens to answer, such as, “how many voting members does the House of Representatives have?” Or, “what year was the U.S. Constitution written?”
Again, congratulations to Patrice and to the 168 new U.S. citizens. Attending this ceremony got me to thinking a lot about another one of our rights that most take for granted, which is the freedom of speech. Our founding fathers, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, whom felt it was extremely important, created the Bill of Rights, and made sure the first right given was the freedom of speech. Both Jefferson and Madison wanted to protect the fundamental human liberties, which they believed could be abridged by the government. On December 15, 1791, the first Congress passed the Bill of Rights. Sadly, this right is not guaranteed in other parts of the world. Just 90 miles off shore from this country, in Cuba, people have been put in prison or executed for having a difference of opinion and speaking out against their government.
One of many reasons why we broke away from the English king and English rule was for the right of freedom of speech. It became important for these early patriots, and those who came after, to be able to speak out publicly with their opinion, freely and without fear of retaliation.
Out of these concerns arose the importance of the freedom of speech, without this guaranteed freedom, unpopular opinions would be hidden out of fear of retribution, and progress would come to a screeching halt.
Justice Thurgood Marshall stated, “Above all else, the first amendment means the Government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content.” I believe everyone should take the time to read the Bill of Rights, and remember, just because someone has a difference of opinion, it does not mean they are a bad person. It just means they are exercising their God-given right to have a difference of opinion.
Congratulations to the MDPD top cops for May, Kendall District’s team police unit, who, after a horrific shooting of a child, went into a crime-ridden area and with the assistance of the community, and made over 63 arrests to clean it up. We here at the PBA thank you for your hard work and dedication.
Also, a shout-out to MDPD Marine Unit Officer, Moe Smith, who, along with Officers Joaquin Garcia and Oscar Aguilera, responded to a call for a capsized boat, pulling four citizens from the ocean to safety, who surely would have perished had it not been for these officers. We here at the PBA salute you. Your hard work does not go
unnoticed. These officers received the department’s “Exceptional Service and Life Saving Award” for the month of May.
As our friends in the news media say, if you see good stories about officers, send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, so we can share it. See you next month, and stay safe!