For John, BLUF: If you restrict speech someone may eventually come along to restrict yours.
At the Popehouse blog, "a group complaint about law, liberty, and leisure", there is [another] post on free speech and the First Amendment.
The story begins with Erik Loomis, an associate professor of history at the University of Rhode Island. Professor Loomis also blogs at Lawyers, Guns & Money and has — well, had — a twitter account.Here are two of Professor Loomis' tweets:
Last Friday, as the unspeakable tragedy in Connecticut unfolded, Professor Loomis got upset. As described at Twitchy, he tweeted or retweeted violent rhetoric about the NRA, and then began to engage angrily with people who criticized his rhetoric:
First [person] to say the solution is for elementary school teachers to carry guns needs to get beaten to death.Professor Loomis is for gun control and strongly so. He is trying to convey that. I think Professor Loomis has this by the wrong end of the stick. In fact, I strongly disagree with his position. But, he has a right to express his views. He doesn't have a right to expect me to agree with him, or even listen to him.
I was heartbroken in the first 20 mass murders. Now I want Wayne LaPierre's head on a stick.—
Some have reacted to Professor Loomis' exercise of free speech by contacting his boss. That is the wrong thing to do. It is bullying. The fact is, these are speech and not credible threats. Popehat blogger Ken summarizes the situation regarding those who are apoplectic about these tweets:
[I]f you think those tweets are criminal threats outside the scope of the First Amendment, then (1) you're ignorant, probably willfully so, of fundamental American civil rights, or (b) you're not too bright, or (c) you're blinded by partisanship, or (d) more than one of those.Our right to Free Speech is very important, almost sacred. We may not like the words used, but we should be prepared to stand up and support everyone's right to free speech.
UPDATE: I guess this is getting out of hand, given this post at The Other McCain, which was noted at the Althouse blog. There is some data on Professor Loomis' PhD dissertation, not that you would wish to know.
Regards — Cliff