Speech doesn’t hurt anyone. Speech may cause joy, sadness, outrage, laughter or drowsiness. But hurt — physical pain or loss of property, no.
On July 13, 2020, a woman took a fatal bullet for saying “All Lives Matter.” Bernell Trammell was standing on a street corner in Milwaukee with a Vote Trump sign and was shot dead! Speech doesn’t hurt anyone? Murder has been banned since the 13th century B.C. — think Moses and the Sixth Commandment.
Now speakers get assaulted, lose their job or become socially banned for hate speech. Yet the “crime” lays with the speech’s recipient, not the speaker. One can simply ignore the insult, or laugh it off, or respond with like for like or just walk away. It now depends on the recipient to determine if a crime has been committed — the same words can be “innocent” or “guilty.”
Our First Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech.” There are no qualifiers in that — it says no abridging the freedom of speech. We do have laws that prohibit defamation, slander or libel but they are seldom enforced as the charges depend on so many complexities that finding sufficient evidence is rare. With that exception, our Constitution authorizes us to say damn-near anything without punishment … until now.
Until now when the puffed up, self-righteous Left condones murder, assault, wanton destruction justified by attacking those with ideas opposed to their ordained version of the truth. There is no laughing off a bullet.
Changing another’s beliefs with speech seldom works. Certainly we have all tried arguments to do just that, with little or no effect. Those rioting seem to know that and have gone to extortion, intimidation and felony crime to alter beliefs. These acts may create a backlash that will eventually result in either law enforcement or vigilantes exacting their version of “shut up” — igniting more violence.
Strangely, officials when sworn in to office, commit to upholding the Constitution — a Constitution that protects the people from individuals and mobs. No more. They turn away.
These same officials, unable or unwilling to protect the people, black and white, from harm now proclaim these riots are “peaceful protests.” They blame their opposition and the police for the mayhem. They attempt to neuter the police by banning tear gas or pepper spray, while concurrently demanding the police force be disbanded.
These cities under criminal siege refuse help when they are unwilling to protect their citizens. They prohibit the federal government from doing so either, again violating their sworn duty.
Now the use of federal force to defeat the criminals is deemed unconstitutional by the liberal officials in cities where destruction and deaths soar by the day. The rioters have pallets of bricks at their disposal, guns, ammunition, ball bearings with sling shots, power tools to defeat fences — all appearing magically.
These terrorists, see those in Portland, for instance, are not citizens of the neighborhood protesting for weeks but an organized, armed force in pursuit of overthrowing our government. Ever wonder what the terrorists do all day waiting for dusk when they turn to mayhem? Where do they sleep, eat and assemble to get organized? Who pays them, perhaps a per diem? Someone recruits, trains, funds and guides them in their terror. This is sedition!
It is classical Marxist tactics to terrorize the people while destroying the police.
One wonders about the threatened citizens reticence to intervene. They have not yet assembled to defend themselves from Antifa violence.
Still, gun background checks have soared as have gun purchases. The FBI reports that 3.9 million requests for gun checks occurred in June, more than any other month ever. This, the FBI reported, resulted in 2.4 million gun sales. Are our citizens preparing to defend their family and home when the police are neutered?
No one knows what motivates buyers, but certainly preparation for self-defense ranks high. With weapons on site, means for self-defense is at hand. To date law enforcement has supplied the protection from looters, arsonists and extortionist when the politicians, many of whom appear to side with the terrorists, allow them to do so. The mayors and governors side against their own people by ignoring the guerilla violence.
The elected leaders torture the First Amendment, prohibiting the abridgment of speech. They excuse violence while supporting those who assault and kill those speaking in opposition.
Frank Leister grew up in Charlotte, attended Georgia Tech, and worked 34 years for IBM. He advised school districts on technology implementation until moving to Charleston, where he is a docent for the Edmonston-Alston House and active in the Coast Guard Auxiliary.