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In tonight's paper: Number 6

Written in response to a letter stating that the hate crimes law would cause letter writers to be fined or jailed for expressing their views:

Americans Have Right to Hate

In exercising his right to free speech, Mr. ******* propagated some misinformation in his letter of October 28th.

This country protects the right of free speech for its citizens more fiercely than any other nation in the world. People have exercised this right by criticizing our President, a few going so far as to equate him to Hitler. Others have called Republicans fascists and Democrats immoral or un-Christian. They were not arrested.

On October 28th, President Obama signed the Defense Authorization bill into law. Attached to it was the hate crimes bill, also known as the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, of which Mr. ******* warned us so ominously.

People will continue to exercise their right to criticize our President, a few going so far as to call him a racist. They will not be arrested.

The Westboro Baptist Church will plan their next protest at the funeral of a soldier killed in Iraq, holding signs that read “Thank God for dead soldiers.” They will not be arrested because they will remain on public property.

The signs I’ve seen on... my way to work saying, “Obama is a liar,” etc., will still be there. The owner will not be arrested.

Hate becomes a crime when a man is attacked because he is gay, and beaten so severely that he dies five days later. Hate becomes a crime when a man is dragged to his death behind a car because he is black.

With freedom comes responsibility. And part of our responsibility as citizens is to avoid taking everything we read or hear at face value. We must seek the truth, including the truth that hate speech is still protected speech in this country.

This display has grown to three times this size. I took this picture a few weeks ago, anticipating a blog about free speech. It turned into this letter.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 5th, 2009 01:45 am (UTC)
Go you. Did they publish the photo, too?
Nov. 5th, 2009 02:21 am (UTC)
No, but there was an article about the signs awhile ago. Notice the black spots. Some idiot came in the night and tried to burn them.

He WAS arrested.
Nov. 5th, 2009 02:41 am (UTC)
Dang me... & wow.
I was wondering what the black marks were... Thought it must have been there a while, but that didn't make sense.

Nov. 5th, 2009 03:03 am (UTC)
Re: Dang me... & wow.
The signs were removed for a time and cleaned up, then put back.

Liking the icon, BTW.
Nov. 5th, 2009 03:16 am (UTC)
the icon...
mingbutterfly made it after I told her I wanted to do a close up and make an icon out of the photo... She was inspired. :D

I'm liking it, too.

Nov. 5th, 2009 01:50 pm (UTC)

This is a great letter. Thanks for fighting the good fight.

I find it really exhausting to repeatedly refute people who are deliberately ignorant about facts that are widely available. There never was a death panel provision in the democratic health care reform, but I find myself refuting it. There is nothing about a fish suddenly growing legs in Darwin’s Origin of the Species, but I find myself refuting it. Likewise, there is nothing limiting free speech in the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, but I have a feeling that I am going to be refuting that for some time to come.

When I hear about something that concerns me, I do some reading on the subject. Sometimes I discover that my initial concerns were unfounded. Sometimes I get even angrier. Generally speaking, I try to know what I am talking about. I am not going to say that I always succeed, but I do try.

Regards and Best Wishes,

Donald Eric Kesler
Nov. 5th, 2009 05:40 pm (UTC)
I try to do likewise. Like I said, it's our responsibility. Some prefer to take what they're fed without question.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


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