I say, "Kudos to our Bentonville High School kids." Congratulations on their "Walk Out," which will probably be the most memorable and significant class period they have ever had in their 12 years of education. It was important because, after they graduate, they will be joining organizations, businesses and corporations that will have clubhouse rules that will limit their freedom of speech.
The graduates will then have to decide their commitment to God's laws, the Constitution of the United States and its First Amendment Right to peaceful assembly and freedom of speech. They will have to make a decision whether to be free to speak or knuckle under to the demands of their chosen organization. Many non-profit and business organizations have valid reasons for maintaining company secrets. So, there will be times when each graduate will have to decide between freedom of speech or losing his position in the organization or worse.
I knelt in sympathy with the students because my own freedom of opinion has been squelched by the Bentonville School Board. A couple of times during the three-minute public comment segments, I was told I could not speak. During one monthly board meeting board president, Travis Riggs said out loud, "Parsons, take your business and go elsewhere."
The student "walk-out" reminded me of a time in 1971 when I was with a busload of Americans and West-German civilians passing through the Berlin Wall on our way to the communist east side. The rules required that U.S. military personnel had to be in uniform so the Soviet KGB could put a tail on us for the day. As we approached Check Point Charlie, a Russian Major stepped on board. He was in his red tunic, black pants, black boots and he had a German Luger hanging in his pistol belt. He was all business, no sense of humor. I was a major, too, but next to him, I probably looked like Polly Anna. He told us that as we passed through the gate, we were forbidden to take any pictures. As we went through the gate you could hear click, click, click. For a tyrant to try to take freedom from Americans just won't fly.
The bus stopped just inside the gate and the Russian Major made us all get out. The East German guards were in grey uniforms and they had a mirror attached to an axle between two wheels and it had a long handle so they could push the mirror under the bus to see if anyone was hanging to the underpinnings. With a lot of laughter, they took the mirror and ran it under the ladies dresses to take a peak, and most of us became ballistic. But, we had been cautioned by our own military police that we had to remain silent because we were to not give the communists any cause to put us in detention. That would create an international incident.
Go Bentonville Tigers!
Lt. Colonel, Jim Parsons (RET)
Bella VistaEditorial on 04/04/2018
Print Headline: Letter to the Editor