Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Can free speech cross the line?
Recently, a group of antiwar protestors stormed a gathering of students paying tribute to the victims of 9/11 in San Francisco. They arrived chanting anti-American slogans, denouncing the Iraq War,and stomping on an American flag...and this was all during the moment of silence. Last year, in Jena, Louisiana, a noose was hung from a tree at a high school, which led to the subsequent beating of a white student by a group of black students. In Oregon, a grotesque man runs around standing up for the rights of pedohiles and giving tips on where to locate young girls. What do all of these events have in common? Many people argue that they cross the line when it comes to free speech. But does the constitution really protect things like this? The first example, when protestors interrupted a gathering paying a tribute to the victims of 9/11 is definetely not protected free speech because it interferes with the rights of others. The students gathering had their rights interfered with, yet some people claim what the protetors did was protected by the constitution. The fact is, its not, and what those people did was despicable. First of all, paying tribute to 9/11 and the American flag have absolutely nothing to do with the Iraq War. People who are against the Iraq War should be the most disgusted by this because it makes them look like they don't respect this country. Everyone from all walks of life and politcal affiliations should be condemning this because it is absolutely a violation of free speech. As for what's happening in Jena, it could be argued whether the hanging of a noose is protected free speech or a hate crime. In my view, its a hate crime because it incites violence against African Americans and was a catalyst for racial fighting at the school. The people who hung it knew exactly what it would do. However, the assault of the white teenager was even more illegal. I really don't see any good guys in this situation and as far as I'm concerned, everyone should share punishment. Then there's the pedophile. What he does is just terrible. The government should ask itself this: if an Islamic extremist came into the United States and started photographing potential targets and sending information on how to carry out an attack to cells around the world, would he be arrested? You bet. Because this freak says things that are so harmful and has encouraged this kind of behavior, he should be arrested. Now I don't want to sound like someone who wants to limit free speech, because I'm anything but. There's a lot of people on the far left and the far right who want to silence each other, but that would be the worst thing we could do. If you feel strongly about something, then I strongly encourage you stand up or speak out against it. But if it harms the rights of others, it goes from being "free speech" to harmful rhetoric or actions.