Lubbock’s tax on free speech: ‘We paid police $1,625 for security for that march; why pay if they were watching us anyway?’

March for Life participants had a myriad of reactions to the Lubbock Lights’ story that Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas had supplied the Lubbock Police Department with an intelligence dossier, a watch list, of participants and organizers of the January March for Life. Most notable is, “I’ll wear that with a badge of honor.” Several expressed disappointment at not being included and resolved to work harder.

Commentator and former councilman Paul R. Beane took to the air on KFYO AM790 subbing in for Chad Hasty. Beane interviewed Mayor Pro-tem Steve Massengale Tuesday morning. Massengale holds the seat Beane formerly held. The veteran radio host instructed Massengale to “Put me on your Planned Parenthood watch list.” Beane isn’t alone in that sentiment.

But the response that gives us pause comes from Chalon Goodley. Chalon was one of the watch-listed Pro-Life Thirteen and an organizer of the Lubbock March for Life.

Lubbock and Planned Parenthood have tacitly colluded to create a tax on free speech

“We paid the Lubbock Police Department $1625 for security for that march. Why pay if they were watching us anyway?” Goodley said when I met her for the first time three nights after posting the column about the watch list.

In fact, Goodley says she paid double the fee required by the city of Lubbock in order to ensure the safety of March for Life participants. Goodley says she would have used the sheriff’s department if she’d known of Lubbock Police Department’s stance against March for Life organizers. It’s taking her money while at the same time circulating a watch list of members of her march that upsets Goodley.

It smacks of an extortion racket, doesn’t it?

“We paid twice the required amount for extra security. If we were on their watch list why did they take my money? It was my choice to pay double to make sure my people were safe. Why didn’t LPD inform me it had a conflict?”

It is within Chalon Goodley’s question that we find the reason for the Planned Parenthood prepared watch list: to create barriers to free speech by driving up the cost to the organizers. Planned Parenthood’s goal is to stop the protest by amplifying the risks, and thereby the price, with a watch list conveniently provided to police.

… reason for the watch list: to create barriers to free speech by driving up the cost to the organizers.

The city of Lubbock and Planned Parenthood have tacitly colluded to create a tax on free speech. It is a tax on the civil liberties of “undesirable” groups like Pro-Life protestors. When March for Life organizers asked for permits, they were told they would have to pay for Lubbock Police Department security if they wanted to exercise their constitutional right to free speech and assembly. This is a long-standing city policy, but security costs is a tax on free speech, and the city determines the amount of the tax with Planned Parenthood’s watch list considered in the calculation and influencing the final assessment.

It smacks of an extortion racket, doesn’t it? They have you leveraged. If you want the permits you are required to pay for law enforcement security, i.e., a tax on free speech, in order to to exercise your constitutional rights. But all the while LPD is passing around a watch list prepared by your enemies helping to both create and exaggerate the perception of risk that determines how much security (tax) you’re paying for in the first place. It’s a vicious cycle and Planned Parenthood plays to it expertly with its watch list.

How much does police security cost that doesn’t demonize innocent citizens? Asking for 13 friends.

In any other context, one might demand a refund. In Lubbock, you have to worry about who’s list you’ll end up on if you complain.

How much does police security cost that doesn’t stigmatize and demonize innocent Lubbock citizens? Asking for thirteen friends.

By the way, there was a counter-protest known by police to be planned the same day as the March for Life. One wonders how much the counter-protest paid for its security? Or did it? Who made that decision? How much money does Planned Parenthood pay for its insider treatment? Or are insiders charged nothing? How equitably is Lubbock’s tax on free speech assessed?

This is a policy issue driven by the incivility of a contemptuous city council waging an ideological war with its own citizens.

Watch listing innocent citizens could be a profitable racket for the city of Lubbock.

Can just anyone supply a watch list to be circulated by the Lubbock Police Department? Do all watch lists get the same distribution as Planned Parenthood’s watch list? And most important to many, how does one get her name removed from the watch list?

At a minimum, the public, and those watch-listed, deserve to know from the chief how LPD handled this intelligence document prepared by an hostile organization targeting innocent Lubbock citizens. We’d like to ask the chief these questions and we have asked for an interview. The chief has twice refused to interview claiming LPD does not maintain watch lists despite the fact that it was in an LPD email we found it. It is a bad sign for the police and for the public when a chief ducks the media for fear of having to handle tough questions about how the Planned Parenthood watch list was handled by his department.

Or perhaps I’m just on a “do not talk to” list.

Planned Parenthood watch list given to Lubbock Police Department
The Pro-Life Thirteen as they appeared on the watch list.

But ultimately, this isn’t a police matter, our police are better than this or we’d not even know about it. This is a policy issue driven by the incivility of a contemptuous city council waging an ideological war with its own citizens. When Pro-Life supporters kept the city council late expressing their convictions on the sanctuary city ordinance the council responded with abuse and ridicule. With all that we’ve seen and heard from a council adverse to anyone supportive of the ordinance, one can only imagine what has been said behind closed doors.

Meanwhile the only evidence of violent acts are the homicides perpetrated by Planned Parenthood every week. Something the Lubbock city council refused to do anything to discourage.

The city of Lubbock’s tax on free speech disguised as a security cost is a municipal government attack on civil liberties. Attacks on free speech are on the rise in all corners but when they arise from unholy alliances between city and pseudo-governmental bodies the rights of citizens are sure to suffer.