45 words which remain Essential to democracy 

Four years ago during my junior year of college, I officially decided to major in journalism. At that time, I had no idea what I was signing up for.

I was knee-deep into my courses, taking one of the more difficult classes of the major -- media law. The first day you are required to commit the First Amendment to memory. Right down to the two semi-colons.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

While all 45 words are essential to Democracy, the portion which pertains mostly to my career path, is the part which addresses that there shall be no law to abridge the freedom of the press.

Over the last week, we have seen protests and riots unfold for justice of the lost lives of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. We have also seen an attack on journalists documenting the events, and ultimately an attack on the First Amendment.

From being arrested, shot with rubber bullets, and some permanently injured, more than a dozen journalists across the nation have been attacked by police officers while serving in the publics' interest.

Just up the interstate in Louisville, one reporter and the camera crew with WAVE 3 News were directly shot at with what was thought to have been rubber bullets initially, but were later found to have been pepper bullets.

"I'm getting shot! I'm getting shot," the reporter can be heard yelling with a clearly visible camera and reflective press vest.

At one point, the in-studio broadcaster asks who the police are aiming at after an officer with Louisville Metro Police clearly aims his gun at the camera and begins to fire.

"Directly at us," she responds.

Last Friday, when I was planning to write this column, the subject matter was going to be entirely different. Discussing attacks on journalists was never my intention.

But as riots and protests continued through the weekend, I felt compelled to address it.

As the events will continue on, I will be compelled to report them, preparing for whatever may come.

Regardless of anyone's stance on any matter, regardless of race, political leanings, ethnicity or personal preferences, the right to peaceful protest and the right to a free press is one guaranteed by the First Amendment.

And now, nearly two years after obtaining my degree in journalism, I know what it is I signed up for: protecting individual's right to free, honest and unbiased reporting.

It can be best summed up through a quote written by Evelyn Beatrice Hall.

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

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