"Free Speech" vs. "GET THE H*LL OUT!"


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Drjones
December 31, 2002, 04:51 PM
Where do we draw the line? How many openly American hating people must we tolerate before we deport them?

Do we deport them at all? Would that still make us a "free" country? You don't agree with us, so we're going to kick you out...

There is clearly a difference between disagreeing with the govt, country, etc. and simply hating it. I just read a letter to the ed. in my newspaper and the man writing the letter heard someone else saying how the US is a modern-day Hitler, Stalin, etc. That is sick. We're not perfect, but come on!

Do we have to tolerate NON-CITIZENS who come here and spout Anti-American garbage?

This says it eloquently:

"It's the soldier who salutes the flag, serves the flag, whose coffin is draped with the flag that allows the protester to burn the flag!!!"

With THAT in mind, flag burners make me want to do illegal things to them. How DARE they. Someone gives their life for a cause, only to have another USE that cause to spit upon it! Bah! :cuss:

So basically, I guess my question is; where do we draw the line, if there is one at all?

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Derek Zeanah
December 31, 2002, 05:04 PM
It's easy to say "my speech is protected but yours is not." Unfortunately, it's the unpopular speech that most needs defending. That includes morons in KKK outfits, and those who embrace Maoist ideals with the assumption that they'll be the ones in control, blissninnies who are scared of anything more dangerous than a pencil (including matches), and those who ccan only offer critiques of the "horrors" of the modern day without suggesting anything constructive to improve the situation.

Remember -- if we limit speech it won't be people like you and me that get to draw the line, it'll be the Schumers, Feinsteins, Clintons, and the rest. Speech like that sucks, but it's better than the alternatives.

King
December 31, 2002, 05:20 PM
I agree with Derek, although I don't appreciate some of what gets said by some Americans (including flag burning), I do support their first amendment right to have their say. That said, I have no problem with someone who desecrates our flag and verbally abuses our country getting their butt kicked for saying it either.

If one truly hates this country, they should get out. I don't see deportation in general terms as a possibility. However, I would like to see those with terrorist leanings, ties or politics deported if possible (assuming they have had some due process under the law).

As they say....America...love it or leave it.

Poodleshooter
December 31, 2002, 05:31 PM
You can SAY anything you like. IMHO, the dividing line is when something is given to a terrorist organization (money, assistance,time,etc). At that point you have crossed the line between free speech and treason. The critical issue is to properly decide what organizations are truly terrorist organizations.
Why should we find it mysterious that noncitizens come here and express their hatred of our country? Our citizen professors and celebrities have been doing the very same thing for decades.

westex
December 31, 2002, 05:37 PM
Anyone should be able to express any opinion they desire. However, they should be careful where, to whom and how they do it. Others may take offense and if so they may desire to express their counter opinion in stronger terms.

I know some actions have been interpreted by our courts as "freedom of speech" but in my opinion actions will cause a lot more potential problems than true speech ever would.

TheOtherOne
December 31, 2002, 06:07 PM
I'm with Poodleshooter, even though it may be horrible stuff and I might completely disagree, people are allowed and should continue to be allowed to say what they like. It's only when they act upon it and that action is illegal that something needs to be done.

JPM70535
December 31, 2002, 07:35 PM
Freedom of speech is just that. Whether or not we agree with the statements made by the speaker, his right to make them is absolute.

That having been said, Physical acts such as flag burning do not qualify as speech IMO. If one lives in this country he is free to criticize it , but if his speech advocates the destruction of the US or its citizens, then as far as I'm concerned he should at the very least be deported......Pronto

faustulus
December 31, 2002, 07:53 PM
If someone is in the country on a visa, then in effect they are guests of that nation. We can ask them to leave anytime we like.
Should we, I would say usually not, after all they are going to say it one way or another.

2dogs
December 31, 2002, 08:01 PM
Anyone, citizen or not should be able to say what they want.

I believe that to become a citizen of this country, you used to have to be able to speak the language and swear your allegiance to the USA. Is this still true?

All illegals should be deported. Anyone who is not willing to learn the language and swear allegiance should be deported. All illegals should be kept out. IMHO.:p

Pretty accepting guy, eh what?

PATH
December 31, 2002, 10:22 PM
The First Amendment must be protected as vigorously as the Second and all the others.

4v50 Gary
December 31, 2002, 10:28 PM
The Supreme Court does it pretty well. Some rules though that are easy to follow. No fighting words. No libel or slander. Free speech also depends on the forum (public, semi-public, private) and even if is public, it's subject to reasonable time, place and manner restrictions.

What I disagree with is the application of the full scope of civil liberty towards non-citizens. For instance, an illegal immigrant crosses the border and because (s)he intends to stay, the Constitution protects him/her. A tourist has been here for 25 days and will be leaving in another month. No intent to stay so no Constitutional protection. I'd simplify it that any foreign national without a work or student visa or not here because of an immediate relative who is born here (infant child situation) isn't allowed Constitutional safeguards.

mnealtx
January 1, 2003, 02:33 AM
I agree that speech should be protected...

BUT...

I do like the solution that the Louisiana governor back in 89-90 had. (Was it Buddy Roemer? One of you native Acadians correct me if I'm wrong)

Anyhoot, he recognized the fact that the Supreme Court had protected flag burning as a free speech issue... then stated that anyone that kicked the butachkis of a flag burner would be punished.....

....by a $5 fine :neener: :D :D :D :neener:

trapshooter
January 1, 2003, 03:00 AM
If you give an idiot a soapbox, then you'll know where he is and what he's up to. Take away the soapbox, and he goes underground.

Seeker
January 1, 2003, 05:03 AM
The First Amendment must, absolutley, be protected! Everyone should be able to say whatever they want - and if I don't like what I hear I have every right to ignore them or voice my own opinion.

Others may take offense and if so they may desire to express their counter opinion in stronger terms. That's fine unless, by "stronger terms" you mean violence. No one has the right to initiate violence against another.

That having been said, Physical acts such as flag burning do not qualify as speech IMO. hmmm.... what is the proper way to dispose of a flag? Burning, IIRC. So since you wouldn't fail in your duties to properly treat the flag, I'm guessin' you're opposed to people burning the flag in protest. Being opposed to free people protesting what they believe to govt on the wrong course flies in the face of the First Amendment. The American Flag is a symbol of Freedom it is not Freedom. There is a great big difference here. As the symbol of Freedom you are free to do with it whatever you want (provided that the item in question is your personal property and if burned it must be done in a safe manner so as to not allow the spread of fire). If it becomes the symbol of an oppressive govt that denies you your Rights of Property, Life, Liberty or the Pursuit of Happiness then it is no longer a symbol of freedom, and it becomes the symbol of tryranny and blood may well need to be spilled to feed the roots of the Tree of Liberty.

The flag, truthfully, is a symbol and can be done away with. Freedom is everything!

btw Ol' Glory flies at my house 24x7, and is well lit at night, and I wear the colors (since 1990) on my arm everyday for the rest of my life.

Drjones
January 1, 2003, 07:02 AM
anyone that kicked the butachkis of a flag burner would be punished.....

....by a $5 fine

You mean are given $5?:evil:

TheOtherOne
January 1, 2003, 10:39 AM
All illegals should be deported. Anyone who is not willing to learn the language and swear allegiance should be deported. All illegals should be kept out. IMHO.

Swear allegiance, yes. Learning English however should not be required. Diversity is one of the things that makes this country such a great place. I don't think we should force everyone to be the same.

Tamara
January 1, 2003, 11:23 AM
I'd simplify it that any foreign national without a work or student visa or not here because of an immediate relative who is born here (infant child situation) isn't allowed Constitutional safeguards.

So we could hold them without trial? Search their rooms while they were out and tap their phones? Deny them legal representation and "encourage" them to confess if held? :eek:

That would make the U.S. a real primo tourist destination. Right up there with Murmansk and Karl Marx Stadt. ;)

Tamara
January 1, 2003, 11:25 AM
Let me get this straight.

If someone says or does something that pisses you off, that you find stupid or annoying, then you feel you should have the right to physically assault them?

And you allege that you carry a gun in public?

Sean Smith
January 1, 2003, 11:47 AM
Tamara,

To be precise he said he'd like to, not that he would or should.

I honestly don't care what people say. Who CARES if some halfwit hates America? If he does nothing but whine and help keep Starbucks in business buying half-caff soy milk lattes, I couldn't care less. Stupid people pay taxes, too, and statistically they pay more if you think about it. :evil:

2dogs
January 1, 2003, 12:02 PM
Learning English however should not be required. Diversity is one of the things that makes this country such a great place.

OK, well let's at least make them pay for their own "multi-lingual" signs, forms etc.

And, God yes, I should worship at the alter of diversity- but why should my tax dollars pay to cater to someone who refuses to learn the predominant language of this country? Not to sound hackneyed but, my grandparents were immigrants- they learned the language and became citizens. If they didn't want to then they could have stayed where they came from.:fire:

Tamara
January 1, 2003, 12:15 PM
OK, well let's at least make them pay for their own "multi-lingual" signs, forms etc.

Dude, there's a world of difference between passing yet another unconstitutional and unenforceable law about requiring everybody to learn English and providing forms and streetsigns in every language from Arabic to Zulu.

2dogs
January 1, 2003, 12:47 PM
there's a world of difference between passing yet another unconstitutional and unenforceable law about requiring everybody to learn English and providing forms and streetsigns in every language from Arabic to Zulu.

Did I say anything about passing laws requiring English? What I said was learning English should be (in fact is) a requirement for citizenship.

What I also said is that if anyone wants to stay in this country without learning the language then either let them try to get along on their own in their own language or let them foot the bill for the cost of providing services in their language.

From www.ins.gov:

"Welcome to the naturalization home page. Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is conferred upon a foreign citizen or national after he or she fulfills the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The general requirements for administrative naturalization include:

a period of continuous residence and physical presence in the United States;
residence in a particular INS District prior to filing;
an ability to read, write and speak English;
a knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government;
good moral character;
attachment to the principles of the U.S. Constitution; and,
favorable disposition toward the United States. "

It doesn't require more laws- what it requires is that the Communist junta now in power enforce the laws of this country that actually do something to make it a better place, rather than more nonsensical "sensible" gun laws and laws against kids shooting people with french fries.

:banghead:

David Scott
January 1, 2003, 12:52 PM
It is possible to love your country and still deplore the actions of the people running it. George W. Bush is not "America" just as Bil Clinton was not "America". Interesting that verbal attacks on Dubya are considered "unpatriotic" while attacks on Clinton were "moral high ground". Im my opinion, creating a system of star-chamber secret courts and curtailing civil liberties is a bigger betrayal of public trust than extramarital sex.

I'm not ashamed to call myself a patriot, nor am I ashamed to say that I believe the "war on terror" is being used as an excuse to set up a government just one small step away from fascism. My patriotism is not for a President or political party, it's for the Constitution that allows me to question them when I believe they're wrong. The same attitude in China would get me a cell next to the leaders of Falun Gong.

Flag burning? I see it as an expression of outrage over government policy. I don't think it's an effective technique, but I understand why some use it, and I think it qualifies as protected speech provided the burner buys his own flag.

2dogs
January 1, 2003, 02:03 PM
Dude

Tamara

Does this mean I can call you "Babe"?:D

pax
January 1, 2003, 02:55 PM
You know, people who advocate violence in response to mere speech make me just want to punch them in the chops! :neener:

Say what you wish. If I don't like what you have to say, I either won't listen, or I'll say what I wish, as persuasively as I can. But I won't point a gun at your head for saying it, and I won't hire someone else to point a gun at you for it either.

As for flag burning. Seems to me that even most of the flag burners have forgotten the original reason folks were burning the flag. So I'll put it here, just because I can. The thinking was that the proper way to treat a flag which has been dishonored, is to burn it. So, if the acts of certain public officials (notably the president) have despoiled what the flag stands for, burning the flag is a powerful statement which says, "This flag has been dishonored."

Of course, now when people burn flags, they are saying, "death to America" or "I hate the President" or expressing hatred for what America stands for. Nevertheless, when the flag-burning protests first started, they were a powerfully American way of expressing a valid viewpoint.

pax

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. -- Beatrice Hall [pseudonym: S.G. Tallentyre], 1907 (many times wrongfully attributed to Voltaire)

GinSlinger
January 1, 2003, 03:28 PM
"I could say to you that you do not serve the public good--that nobody's good can be achieved at the price of human sacrifices--that when you violate the rights of one man, you have violated the rights of all, and a public of rightless creatures is doomed to destruction."
-Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged p. 452, For the New Intellectual, p. 98.


Distasteful speech was what the First amendment was designed to protect. No-one would think of infringeing speech such as "I love my mother", or "The government is right". It is the speech that challenges ie "Bill Clinton is a liar" or "GWB wages war for oil" that needs protection. When one comes across an individual expressing thoughts that make you angry try calmly discussing the issue to possibly "set this person straight". Or, just ignore them.

My RKBA and other political thoughts enrage my employer, my father, and even some of my "friends". Should they be allowed to vote my right to speech away from me? Should the Brady Bunch shut down THR as being somehow "unAmerican"?

Please, how can one support one type of non-inflamatory free speech, and not another?

GinSlinger

G-Raptor
January 1, 2003, 03:56 PM
First off, all citizens and legal residents have the right to say whatever they want, up to and including saying nasty things about other people or the government. However, we all recognize that threatening violence, or inciting others to committ violence, is a no-no.

Legal visitors (those with valid visas) also have the right to speak their mind. However, when they use that freedom to promote violence against the citizens or the government, they become "unwelcome guests" and should be sent home.

Illegals only have the right to leave. If they don't want to get booted out, they should shut up and be quiet - although this is usually not a problem.

Raoul Duke
January 1, 2003, 04:22 PM
Tammara, I wasn't sure whether you put this in your post in jest or not:
>>So we could hold them without trial? Search their rooms while they were out and tap their phones? Deny them legal representation and "encourage" them to confess if held?

That would make the U.S. a real primo tourist destination. Right up there with Murmansk and Karl Marx Stadt. >>

I hope you'll forgive me if you said this in jest, but you do realize that this is happening as we speak?

ahenry
January 1, 2003, 04:49 PM
If someone says or does something that pisses you off, that you find stupid or annoying, then you feel you should have the right to physically assault them? With qualifications, absolutely. Ever hear of fighting words?


Where in the world did the idea that there are no consequences for ones words come from?! Just a matter of a few years ago people grew up and lived their lives with the clear understanding that everything they did and said had consequences. Our nation has been greatly harmed by the loss that concept.

nemesis
January 1, 2003, 06:41 PM
Learning English however should not be required.

Balderdash! That is pap.

One of the many reasons that this country is in jeopardy today is that there is no longer sufficient incentive for immigrants to become an active part of our nation. Why should they? They can just bring their own here.

That is happening on our southern border, where I live. We have countless numbers of people here who despise America and give their alleigance to Mexico. Why should they enjoy the privileges of this country when they won't accept our common standards?

Please read the following:

As the US began to grow, immigrants started flowing into this new land of opportunity. Immigrants from Europe and Asia made up the majority of the newcomers. Thousands of miles of ocean separated the newcomers from their old homeland. The remoteness from their roots made it a little easier to ‘cut the ties’ from the homeland and assimilate into a new ‘American’ culture. For the last several decades immigration (illegal and legal) from Mexico has increased significantly and is now a major source of immigrants. But the closeness of Mexico made the acceptance of the American culture a lower priority than in the past. In many cases crossing the US–Mexican border is as easy as moving from state to state. In less than a days drive, someone can leave anywhere in the southwest and be in Mexico. The closeness of ones homeland makes acceptance of their new homeland less critical.

Drjones
January 1, 2003, 06:49 PM
Drjones,
Let me get this straight.

If someone says or does something that pisses you off, that you find stupid or annoying, then you feel you should have the right to physically assault them?

And you allege that you carry a gun in public?


Tam, I was reading over my replies, and I do not know what I said that could have caused anyone to infer this about me.

Of course I do not think or feel that way.

However, if someone exercised their right to free speech by saying or doing something grossly offensive and/or disgusting, I wouldn't be too upset if someone else exercised their ability to smack 'em a good one.

A perfect example are the scum who picketed with all those signs at Matthew Shepards' funeral: you know, things like "God hates fags" and other sweet sentiments. :cuss:

If any sort of harm were to come to people like that, I wouldn't cry.

Again, this is NOT to imply that anyone should have the RIGHT to do it...

Or if someone says "your sister is a _____ . " Would you really be surprised if they got a black eye or two???

doseyclwn
January 2, 2003, 01:30 AM
While I may regard flag burning as distasteful, I can't see the logic in saying "It's okay to beat them up for it". I definitely don't believe the government should have any more right to stop that than I believe they should be able to stop me from carrying a firearm to protect myself. I think the community they live in/protest in can deter that via their attitudes.

I like what pax had to say about the original intent of flag-burning. Most protesters today have no idea what they are protesting against. They want to be cool like Cheech and Chong and they believe protesting is a part of this. Most of those folks could probably care less what happens to an Iraqi civillian or to an afhghani civillian. Some of them do. They burn flags to 1)Look cool and 2)Make people look like idiots by going after them physically.


One example. Here in Richmond, VA, the World Church of the Creator had some meetings at some local libraries. Local NAACP activists got all in an uproar about it and there were hundreds of protesters at the meetings, causing all kinds of chaos. What if they all decided that these White Supremacist wackos weren't worth their time and ignored them, no news coverage no protests. My guess is the group wouldn't last too long. People that do crap like that feed off of publicity.

That being said, I do believe illegal immigrants should be shipped back.

grampster
January 2, 2003, 01:30 AM
g-raptor has the essence of it: Illegal Aliens are ILLEGAL. They have the right of due process just prior to getting the boot. Nothing else. Arrest them, bring them before a magistrate, demonstrate probable cause, provide a trial and deportation or legal status depending upon the evidence. No school, no welfare, no false allusions, no nothing except due process.
Diversity......Bah, double bah. America does not stand for diversity. That is a bunch of Liberal Crap. Have any of you who promote that BS ever actually looked up the meaning of that word in the dictionary? What America truly is is a bunch of diverse people who came together and abrogated their diversity, tried to blend in and become American. We are a "melting pot". The implication of that is that it is a dish that is made up of many and varied ingredients, but it is in fact, in the end, a NEW dish by itself. That is not diversity. The implication of diversity is of separation not unity. It is like the buffet before you heap it on your plate and stuff it in your pie hole. America is after the meal is over and it is well tucked away and nourishing the body and the spirit. People who promote diversity, want to tear us down. Be careful about continuing the misunderstanding of this word. Teddy Roosevelt wrote and posed the question that if a man leaves his homeland and comes to America and refuses to assimilate into our American culture, what is he? Roosevelt posited that he was "nothing". He no longer was what he was because he ran away from there. He was certainly not an American because he refused to be one of us. Roosevelt said it would be better for that man to "be set adrift in a boat in the sea". The American culture is strong because our varied backgrounds, beliefs and cultures have given us a wide history and perspective. This is what makes us strong, E Pluribus Unum, from the many, one.
grampster, end of rant!

2dogs
January 2, 2003, 01:51 AM
grampster

Ah, the wisdom of (I assume) age.;)

Nicely put.

Mark Benningfield
January 2, 2003, 01:56 AM
Hello All.

As I understand it, the Constitution confirms the fact that the people have certain rights that the government may not infringe upon. So, as I see it, only the government may violate a person's civil rights. The First Amendment says that the government may not lock you up for saying what you want, or printing it, or publishing it. That does not mean that you do not have to pay the social penalty for saying it, printing it, or publishing it. If someone were to burn Old Glory in front of me, I would punch him square in the mouth. I am not violating his protection under the First Amendment, because the First Amendment protects him from the government, not me. What I am doing is assaulting him, for which he can seek redress in the state courts. At which point, it is up to the jury to determine whether or not I am guilty of assault. That's just fine with me. You see, I don't think the Constitution needs any interpretation. The men that wrote it were well-educated men. They wrote exactly what they meant to write. Nothing more, nothing less.

Seeker
January 2, 2003, 02:17 AM
Good Stuf, Grampster!

Tamara
January 2, 2003, 02:35 AM
If, by "fighting words", you mean that Jim-Bob calling the parentage of Joe-Bob's girlfriend into question entitles him to a repercussion-free knuckle sandwich, I gotta disagree with the concept.

IMHO, the only words that should be allowed to trigger legally-sanctioned violence are as follows:

"Sir, you have insulted my honor. I demand satisfaction."
"Sir, I accept your challenge. My seconds will call on yours this evening."

;)

Diesle
January 2, 2003, 03:25 AM
Amen Grampster. Go ahead on wit it.....!

Diesle

Drjones
January 2, 2003, 05:25 AM
Mark B. & Grampster:

AMEN!!!!!:D

ahenry
January 2, 2003, 12:46 PM
I’m with you on the dueling concept. However, I also think that the scenario you described, while somewhat mocking, is perfectly valid if you removed the “repercussion free” part. There is a reason we have a court system and there is nothing wrong with the “assaulted” party taking his opponent to court for damages if he thinks he can win. As things stand today, a man can say anything he wants about something or somebody and if I stand up and pop him in the jaw, I’m at fault (certain locals aside, I’m talking generalities across the nation). You have a better way than measured violence to instill responsibility with ones words feel free to mention it.

This is similar to my thinking on defending my property with deadly force. I do not choose to shoot the man stealing something; he chose to risk the consequences for a wrong action. Hmm, I still don’t think I’m expressing this thought well. Lets see, if you make a habit of walking down the middle of the highway and get hit, did you cause the accident or did the driver (look at the intent of that example, don’t get bogged down in the possibilities)? Similarly, if you make a habit of speaking impolitely to others and get popped in the jaw did the hitter cause the action or did you? Did that clarify anything?

cuchulainn
January 2, 2003, 01:54 PM
For the record: I oppose flag burning. I find it offensive for the same reasons everyone else does.

Every time you are physically violent against someone, you risk killing him. A punch can kill even if the puncher does not intend to kill. To fail to take that into consideration is akin to violating one of the four rules.

Never point a gun at something you are unwilling to destroy = never throw a punch at someone you are unwilling to see die as a result.

David Scott said:

and I think it qualifies as protected speech provided the burner buys his own flag. Bingo. It always comes down to property rights, doesn't it? If it is speech, then it is protected. Period. If it isn't speech, then the flag is property to do with as the owner sees fit.

ahenry said:

This is similar to my thinking on defending my property with deadly force. Actually it is night and day. If the protester owns the particular flag, you would be using physical violence to infringe his property rights (not to mention free speech rights).

To make your "defending my property" analogy even begin to work, you would need to be protecting one of your rights. What right of yours would you be protecting by assaulting a person who did something that offended you?

ahenry said:

Lets see, if you make a habit of walking down the middle of the highway and get hit, did you cause the accident or did the driver (look at the intent of that example, don’t get bogged down in the possibilities)? Similarly, if you make a habit of speaking impolitely to others and get popped in the jaw did the hitter cause the action or did you? To make your analogy even begin to work, the driver would need to see the walker, have the option to hit or not hit him, get annoyed and swerve to purposely hit him with the intent of teaching him a lesson. Such criminal assault/murder would be the driver's fault.

Mark Benningfield:

I would punch him square in the mouth. I am not violating his protection under the First Amendment, because the First Amendment protects him from the government, not me. Nonetheless, you would be violating his free speech rights. As you noted, the right is confirmed, not created by the amendment.

You also would be committing a violent crime by assaulting a person who did not threaten you physically. You would be charged with assault (or worse, even manslaughter) and probably convicted.

Is satisfying a momentary rage worth losing your money, freedom, time, voting rights, gun rights, etc?

ahenry
January 2, 2003, 02:35 PM
How would anything Mark Benningfield or I proposed violate somebody’s right to free speech? Your constitutional right of free speech is protected against gov’t intrusion, not private (as this very board illustrates). We have a system of laws that dictates interaction between one individual and another. We have a constitution that dictates interaction between gov’t and the people. In either of the examples (or analogies) provided, the gov’t is not intruding on anything. Therefore your “Right to free speech” is not being violated.

To make your "defending my property" analogy even begin to work, you would need to be protecting one of your rights. What right of yours would you be protecting by assaulting a person who did something that offended you? Apparently my example was poor. Allow me to clarify. To make my analogy “even begin to work” look at the point I was trying to illustrate (perhaps poorly). A consistent and firm consequence for an action places the onus for those consequences on the doer. In other words, if you pick a burning log and get burned whose fault was it? Clearly that is an extreme as there is no “fault” that can be placed on an inanimate object. But perhaps this time you get my drift? Lets change this situation some. Suppose the law allows for you to spit on somebody every time that person says the word government but at no other time can you spit on a person. If we are carrying on a conversation and I say government and you spit on me, who is in the wrong, you or me?


You also would be committing a violent crime by assaulting a person who did not threaten you physically. You would be charged with assault (or worse, even manslaughter) and probably convicted. This is not necessarily correct. The Supreme Court has upheld the doctrine of fighting words, and while I think its a risky bit to rely on, the fact that it is part of our law is a fact.

Malone LaVeigh
January 2, 2003, 02:56 PM
I understand why a lot of people get very emotional over a piece of cloth with certain colors arranged in the right way. Many have given a great deal of their lives and energy for the country those colors represent. Those colors have a long and mixed history. The armies that marched behind the US flag won independence from tyranny, freed the slaves, liberated Europe and the S. Pacific, restored an elected government to Haiti, and stand ready to protect us all. On the other hand, they also put down the Whiskey Rebellion, killed the Indians, fought for unpopular dictators in Vietnam, took part in illegal clandestine operations all over the world. This is not to mention Waco, Ruby Ridge, Pine Ridge, Chicago, etc.

All of which is just to say that it's understandable why there are strong feelings across the board about the flag. Why some would want to burn it while others want to beat the snot out of those doing the burning, or have the state handle the matter for them. But when all is said and done, it's still just a piece of cloth. The idea of getting violent over those colors ultimately means exactly the same as Crips and Bloods capping each other over the colors of their hankies. Loyalty to colors is appropriate for high-school football fans. After that, there's no excuse.

Tamara
January 2, 2003, 02:57 PM
Good point on the nature of the Constitution.

The only way getting punched in the mouth for saying something could be construed as violating one's First Amendment rights is if the government implicitly condoned the action by refusing to prosecute cases of mouth-punching for certain words.

I'm of the opinion that once words stop and fists start flying, the interaction between the two people has changed not in degree, but in nature. At what point is it okay to shoot someone who takes a poke at you because you said something he didn't like? I grok your "consequences for words as well as actions" thing, but it's a risky business when the government starts declaring which words give folks a bye on assault charges. Personally, I think "keep your hands to yourself" is one of the basic laws that everyone can agree on.

ahenry
January 2, 2003, 03:37 PM
The only way getting punched in the mouth for saying something could be construed as violating one's First Amendment rights is if the government implicitly condoned the action by refusing to prosecute cases of mouth-punching for certain words. To an extent, I agree. I take exception when, even if the law allows for prosecution of an action, a particular locations' "jury of peers" has consistently determined that getting punched in the mouth for saying a particular thing is acceptable so the DA stops wasting his time trying to prosecute.

I'm of the opinion that once words stop and fists start flying, the interaction between the two people has changed not in degree, but in nature. At what point is it okay to shoot someone who takes a poke at you because you said something he didn't like?...it’s a risky business when the government starts declaring which words give folks a bye on assault charges.I think I agree with the point you are making. I think this is a very tangible reason why we have both civil and criminal courts. Allow a jury of your peers to make this distinction. In fact, there is absolutely no reason one location has to agree completely with another location as to what constitutes “inflammatory” speech. Nevertheless, the ability to “enforce” societal decreed “polite speech” is necessary. In fact, courts used to be the accepted method for determining such questions.

As a related aside, have you ever looked at court records from the early days of this country? Its insane how many times people wound up in court, at least it is from today’s perspective. Once I began thinking about it though, I began to understand things a bit better. “Way back when” it was relatively nothing to let an authority, a la the court, determine all manner of disagreements. It cost little in money, time, friendship, or anything else. Going to court over a disagreement didn’t infer the same negative connotation and it was common to be a opposed to somebody in one instance, and then shortly thereafter side with them in another case. It was hardly more than an agreed upon arbitrator, and an arbitrator that allowed for ones peers to dictate accepted actions and even words. Its too bad things aren’t like that anymore.

cuchulainn
January 2, 2003, 04:08 PM
ahenry,

Strong words from me, but we're friendly here, OK? :)

How would anything Mark Benningfield or I proposed violate somebody’s right to free speech? Your constitutional right of free speech is protected against gov’t intrusion, not private

my (cuchulain's) emphasis Note that I didn't say that physical assault would violate his First Amendment rights but rather his free speech rights, which exist independently of the 1A. There is a difference between the right to free speech and the right to free speech as protected by the 1A.

I did not claim that prosecution would result from your violating those rights (though such laws might exist in some states) but simply that you would be violating them.

I said the prosecution would result from the criminal act of assault (shaky "fighting words" provisions notwithstanding).

(as this very board illustrates). The board is private property (Olegs?). Thus he has both the property right and the free speech right to determine what gets said here, and he even could use physical force to enforce that (though I'm at a loss imagining such a scenario). However, Oleg could not cause someone else's website to omit things that offend him, and he certainly could not use physical violence to do so. He could ask or even demand, but he couldn't cause.

Similarly, you would have the right to use physical force to stop someone from burning a flag on your property or a flag which you own. But using physical force to stop a burning off your property of a flag that you do not own is a violation of the burner's free speech as well as a criminal assault (shaky "fighting words" provisions notwithstanding).

In other words, if you pick a burning log and get burned whose fault was it? Mine. But again, faulty analogy. The log does not choose to burn me.

Do some acts justify physically violent reponse in which the "fault" lies with the initial actor? Absolutely -- threats to life or rights.

Does being offended justify such a physically violent response? No. Does the "fault" of the violence lie with the offensive party? No.

Why is offense sufficient reason for initiating violence? Can the mother of a child shot to death beat me to a bloody pulp to stop me from telling people that her child’s death is not sufficient reason to ban guns? Is her emotional offense any less than yours? Is it any less logical?

To make my analogy “even begin to work” Yeah, that "even begin to work" seemed snide of me, didn't it? I didn't mean for it to be. Sorry :)

cuchulainn
January 2, 2003, 04:10 PM
Tamara:

The only way getting punched in the mouth for saying something could be construed as violating one's First Amendment rights is if the government implicitly condoned the action by refusing to prosecute cases of mouth-punching for certain words.

But it would nonetheless be a violation of free speech ;). It was a violation of free speech prior to December 15, 1791, and the ratification of the Bill of Rights did not change that.

Shalako
January 2, 2003, 04:13 PM
So, maybe you won't punch someone in the mouth for flag burning, but how about this (true story):

On 9-11-01, I returned from a surreal morning at the office where we all heard the news and were sent home. As I pulled into the driveway, I see my neighbor seated in his favorite chair in the front yard, smiling this big ol cheshire cat smile and laughing. He says to me as I get out, "now see what your president gone and done? He done got us into a war, fasheezy. America's greed done finally gots them peoples pissed off enough to fight back! Ha ha, I love it! Payback time."

Well, lets just say I had to draw on the most restraint I have ever known. The guy was just gloating about the deaths of thousands of Americans because he thinks people who work towards the productivity of the nation are greedy. I felt sorry that this guys only fault, other than being lazy, was to merely parrot what Farrakahn had told him to think about being an American.

Is this much different than burning a flag? Free speech right?

-Shalako

cuchulainn
January 2, 2003, 04:17 PM
Shalako:

Well, lets just say I had to draw on the most restraint I have ever known.

I commend you. You honored yourself by placing that scumbag's free speech above your emotions.

Shalako
January 2, 2003, 04:25 PM
cuchulain, I can't take credit for honoring that guy's free speech. I made a conscious choice that I would do the world and America a greater good by continuing my life, contributing to our society, and raising younguns, rather than planting that dirtbag six feet under. Conscious choice regarding my freedom, not his.

Thanks though!

-Shalako

ahenry
January 2, 2003, 04:49 PM
I guess I’m not articulating this right

Strong words from me, but we're friendly here, OK? Course we are. Never thought otherwise.

Note that I didn't say that physical assault would violate his First Amendment rights but rather his free speech rights, which exist independently of the 1A. There is a difference between the right to free speech and the right to free speech as protected by the 1A. Hmmm, maybe I should state it this way. You have the right to say anything you want. Certain things that you might or might not decide to say, should convey the very real risk of retaliation. Your human right to speak as you want, does not absolve you of the consequences of your speech (at least it shouldn’t).

Mine. But again, faulty analogy. The log does not choose to burn me. I realize the analogy is shaky, but look at the intent I was getting at. If an action has clear and well established consequences, and you choose to do that action who is really to blame?

Why is offense sufficient reason for initiating violence? Can the mother of a child shot to death beat me to a bloody pulp to stop me from telling people that her child’s death is not sufficient reason to ban guns? Is her emotional offense any less than yours? Is it any less logical? And I thought I had bad analogies! ;) Of course her position is less logical. In one instance you have words stated in a manner meant to inflame and words that a “reasonable man” would be offended by, being “punished” (I hate to use that term, but...) by a measured amount of violence by the offended party. In the other instance you have a difference of opinion stated in a polite manner and in a way that no normal person would be offended by (at least I am inferring this from your example).

ahenry
January 2, 2003, 04:52 PM
I made a conscious choice that I would do the world and America a greater good by continuing my life, contributing to our society, and raising younguns, rather than planting that dirtbag six feet under. Conscious choice regarding my freedom, not his. And herein lies the problem. Why should a good man be afraid to instill a little “social justice” against a person that wanted to accomplish nothing but offend in a manner that was offensive in the extreme? Nothing says that Shalako should have shot the man, but a good kick in the pants would do wonders for society.

Sean Smith
January 2, 2003, 05:33 PM
The reason you can't come up with a simple, logical justification for your position is because it doesn't exist. You are trying to justify physically attacking people for saying things you don't like. That is a stupid, and generally immoral, position.

To my way of thinking, creating physical confrontations where they didn't need to exist is just being an idiot. It reflects immaturity and a lack of basic good sense. Maybe this makes me less "macho" than somebody who relishes the idea of beating on people who "have it coming." If so, I guess I should start frosting my hair and wearing women's panties instead of boxers. But it strikes me as more of a bully's mentality than something to advocate.

And double stupid if you are wearing a weapon, and thus creating an opportunity where you may have to use it that didn't exist before (this being a gun forum, after all).

ahenry
January 2, 2003, 05:38 PM
The reason you can't come up with a simple, logical justification for your position is because it doesn't exist. You are trying to justify physically attacking people for saying things you don't like. That is a stupid, and generally immoral, position. Absolutely not. This position did indeed exist in this country for many years. Up until the very recent past in fact.

To my way of thinking, creating physical confrontations where they didn't need to exist is just being an idiot. It reflects immaturity and a lack of basic good sense. Maybe this makes me less "macho" than somebody who relishes the idea of beating on people who "have it coming." If the dress fits.... (just kidding). Why is it so impossible for some people to separate the legal ability to do something and the personal choice to do so? I emphatically believe you should have the ability to shoot somebody that is stealing your VCR. Would I advocate you do so? Nope.

Sean Smith
January 2, 2003, 05:45 PM
To make myself more clear: I think it is a dumb thing to do regardless of the legalities.

And I have never worn drag. That I can recall. Sober. Uh, nevermind. :D

Look at it this way: what would you do if someone offered violence to you for saying something they didn't like? If you are like me, depending on the nature of the attack they may regret it, or not be around to regret it. Thus, the idea of being flippant about offering violence to others strikes me as deeply irrational.

ahenry
January 2, 2003, 06:08 PM
To make myself more clear: I think it is a dumb thing to do regardless of the legalities. I agree with that sentiment (except in very rare occasions).

Look at it this way: what would you do if someone offered violence to you for saying something they didn't like? If you are like me, depending on the nature of the attack they may regret it, or not be around to regret it. Thus, the idea of being flippant about offering violence to others strikes me as deeply irrational. That is an excellent question. I daresay that I also could give at least as good as I get. Howsomever, aware of the view that what I say might be offensive to another and that that offense might open me up to the potential of being hurt (or at least having to defend myself) and wishing to avoid such a thing if at all possible, I make every effort to avoid inflammatory comments. Were we all to function in such a manner I daresay our entire society would be a far better place.

JPM70535
January 2, 2003, 06:27 PM
Just a few comments come to mind as I read through the replies and counter replies.

There has never been a group of immigrants who have been catered to as are the Hispanics who innundate our country today.Not only do they come here illegally, but once here they expect to be catered to in their native tongue.

My ancesters came to this country from Germany(legally, under the quota system) Once here they set about becoming American. they learned English ASAP because no one catered to them in German. Their kids went to school and were taught in English, not German. (Sort of a sink or swim scenario) They learned and became citizens and left the German ways behind. By the way, isn't it still a requirement for citizenship that you read, speak and understand the English language? Here in Fl. the voting instructions are printed in Spanish as well as English. Anyone see anything wrong here?

As to the freedom of speech issue, I have no problem with anyone saying pretty much anything they want, but when they advocate terrorism, it ceases to be free speech

Carlos Cabeza
January 2, 2003, 07:16 PM
Anyone been turned down for a job because you aren't Bi-lingual !
PFU ! Nothing is more disgusting to me than to have a breakdown in communication due to a language barrier THAT I"M EXPECTED TO BE ABLE TO RESOLVE ! SEOD !

Tamara
January 3, 2003, 01:12 AM
they learned English ASAP because no one catered to them in German.

They should have moved to the rural or small-town areas of the Midwest, then. Many public schools from Indiana to Wisconson were taught in German up until WWI made it kinda unfashionable... ;)

Matter of fact, letters home from my great-granddad in WWI indicate that troops in his unit (raised in N. IL and S. WI) spoke more German than English and could communicate easily with the guys in the trenches opposite them (when they weren't busy killing each other, that is). :eek:

Mark Benningfield
January 3, 2003, 02:53 AM
Hello All.

I agree with ahenry. The main reason that we are so inundated with sphincter-types nowadays is that the good folks are afraid to confront them about their boorish and offensive behavior in public. Time was, if someone were behaving that way, and refused to accept polite correction, a sound thrashing would serve as both incentive and instruction. Now, I've been in and around quite a few "instructional sessions", and I've never seen anybody die from a punch in the nose. And yes, Old Glory is just a piece of cloth. But they are not burning it because it is a piece of cloth. They are burning it because it is a symbol. And when I think of all the ultimate sacrifice that has been made under that symbol, watching someone burn it in contempt and standing by while they do it is just something I cannot do. I'm not saying it should be illegal. I'm not saying they don't have the right to do it if they want, free from prosecution by the government. But, if they don't want a bloody nose, then they better not do it in front of me. Same thing goes with neo-Nazis, Klukkers, and Skinheads. Sure, they have the right to march wherever they want, but they better have a taste for rotten tomatoes if they march past my house!

cuchulainn
January 3, 2003, 09:22 AM
The main reason that we are so inundated with sphincter-types nowadays is that the good folks are afraid to confront them about their boorish and offensive behavior in public. There is a difference between confronting and criminal assault.

There is a difference between countering offensive ideas and attempting to abridge free speech.

But, if they don't want a bloody nose, then they better not do it in front of me. And if you don't want to go to jail, you'd better not do it.

And when I think of all the ultimate sacrifice that has been made under that symbol, watching someone burn it in contempt and standing by while they do it is just something I cannot do. They died to protect free speech, and you would be attempting to abridge free speech.

Tamara
January 3, 2003, 11:21 AM
'Round these parts, hauling off and punching a perfect stranger in the nose is a good way to get yourself shot.

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