Saturday, August 25, 2012

Freedom of Speech or Freedom to be a Psycho

Current events and public sentiment mystify me. Sometimes a thing is only right and just until it blows up in your face. Here is what is currently causing my nose hairs to twitch.

Recently there was public outcry over the detention of a former marine, Brandon J. Raub, who made some off kilter and well, violent remarks on Facebook. The sentiments were anti-government or anti-establishment I believe. Something to the effect of a revolution coming, day of reckoning. Saying he was sharpening his axe to sever some heads. The FBI and local police dept had some concerns for public safety as well as the man's own mental stability. They held him for questioning and a psychiatric evaluation. People are outraged. They have set up donation pools for him. He has had his right to free speech violated. How dare big brother step in?

Other side of the coin. Recognize this guy?
Colorado shooting suspect James Eagan Holmes sits with public defender Tamara Brady during his first court appearance in Aurora, Colo., on July 23, 2012.  (RJ Sangosti/REUTERS)'
This is James Holmes. The man responsible for the Aurora "Batman" mass shootings. Currently there is public outcry because a month or two before the incident, he made undisclosed and vague threats against the school establishment. The threats were reported, he was kicked off campus. Cue public outcry. Why wasn't more done? Why wasn't this maniac pulled from the streets and locked up before he hurt someone? The police knew he made violent statements, yet they did nothing.

Have you seen the problem with these two stories? If Mr. Holmes had been detained at the time of his statements, would there have been public offense and outrage at his detention? Would his rights have been violated? Why is it only after someone follows through with the violent and awful things they say, then... then it's no longer freedom of speech.

Here's a crazy idea. If you say violent, radical, psycho things... people should treat you like a violent, radical, psycho. I'm no law professor. I don't have a fine knowledge of the constitution. I just don't think we should have the right, or as a society should tolerate, the violent rantings of madmen. Much less hold them up as torchbearers for the freedom of speech. Freedom of speech should protect those who wish to oppose the ideas of the government. You can disagree vehemently without threatening to kill others or start a war. I'm pretty sure the founding fathers did not intend to the first amendment to be the freedom to be a psycho.

1 comment:

  1. Really good. Political correctness has gone too far. And you're right, if someone would have intervened w/ Holmes, he (or others) might have been in an uproar about that - he hasn't hurt anyone (yet), leave him alone, etc. We can't win.