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Young man admits involvement in chalk event

A young man in Lindeborg may be facing charges after admitting to involvement in what is being called a "chalk event." Sometime in the early morning of Sept. 3, the young man, and possibly others, used chalk to leave messages on the sidewalks of Lindsborg's Bethany College, including the words "make Lindsborg white again," messages espousing presidential candidate Donald Trump, and an outline of a body accompanied by the words "Rest in Peace my friend."

To further complicate the situation, the young man who admitted to the involvement is currently a private in a Kansas Army National Guard unit based out of Wichita. It will have to be determined if his actions are a violation of policy within the National Guard. While the policies allow service members to join any group they wish, they are forbidden to "actively participate" in activities that promote "supremacist, extremist or criminal gang doctrine," according to Katie Horner, director of public affairs for the Kansas Adjutant General's Office.

The incident brings to light the possibility of further politically motivated demonstrations in the coming months leading up to November's election. Freedom of speech is a dearly treasured right for all Americans. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to know, especially when emotional tensions are running high, what is constitutionally protected as free speech and what may land an individual on the wrong side of the law. While it is not clear whether or not this young man will face criminal charges, his situation does draw light to the delicate balance of safety for the public and an individual's right to free speech.

All citizens are guaranteed the right to free speech, as well as the right to a defense if they are charged with a crime. If you are concerned that some actions you plan to take on the grounds of free speech may not be protected, or if you are being charged with a crime of any kind, the representation of an experienced criminal defense attorney can ensure that you are aware of the relevant facts for your situation and can that your rights remain protected.

Source: Hutchinson news, "Guard investigates after Assaria teen admits to involvement in 'chalk event'," Erin Mathews, Sep. 28, 2016

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