Free speech must be used with care
Stockton Record: Letters to Editor 10/9/12
The right to express our views is a vital and valuable element of our society, but it does not allow anyone to falsely shout fire in a theater, make threatening phone calls, or instigate chaos in the U.S. and abroad. Freedom of speech assumes a level of responsibility. It does not imply the right to willfully do harm.
In the current case of the film that is causing violent uprising among followers of Allah, it could be considered as a hate crime or the equivalent of an act of terrorism. Actors in the film had voice-overs added after they had completed their scripted roles. These voice-overs had a specific intent that was magnified when the film was circulated through mass media. This action suggests a use that goes beyond the realm of free speech, and yet the man behind the anti-Islam movie is having his right to free speech protected.
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Such reluctance opens a huge door of opportunity for irresponsible and reckless abuse of a right. It goes beyond protecting that right, and could allow extreme and dangerous misuse of our privilege. Specific responsibilities and limits to this freedom need to become common knowledge to prevent these types of outrageous acts. As a result of the anti-Islamic film, years of international diplomacy and respect are being converted to hate, violence, and destruction. Without restrictions, responsibility and restraint, this right could be used for other incredible and intentional wrongs.
Ruth A. Radmore
Thank you for voicing your opinion of the way you feel we should watch what we say, otherwise we have to put limitations on our speech. All responsibility of Free Speech resides on the Listener, whoever it is that is receiving the message. Whether I speak with dignity, or blasphemy, I have the first Amendment right, which allows me to speak my mind, regardless of taste.
Now don't get me wrong, there is a line that one crosses, when the listener has any negativity due to what someone else said, should probably go seek some form of therapy. I was raised being told:
"Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!"
We need to stick up for our fellow Americans and our freedom of speech, because we are one of very few country's that protect its citizens speech with law. I would not worry about how a few Muslim cry-babies are rioting and looting because of what was said. The media is using the instability in the middle-east to try to convince us that it would be for our own benefit to get rid of the first Amendment all together.
Ruth, please don't believe everything your little black box tells you. They have a corporate conflict of interest, and its not for our benefit. Down with the Mass Media! Remember, Feelings Don't Exist!
Gregory S. Pitsch