E-mail Scott
Scott's Links
About the Author
Opinion Archives
Social Media:
Facebook
Twitter
Tumblr
Google Plus
YouTube
Flickr
PhotoBucket
Monthly Archives:

January 2010
February 2010
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
July 2010
August 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011
October 2011
November 2011
December 2011
January 2012
February 2012
March 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
July 2012
August 2012
September 2012
October 2012
November 2012
December 2012
January 2013
February 2013
March 2013
April 2013
May 2013
June 2013
July 2013
August 2013
September 2013
October 2013
November 2013
December 2013
January 2014
February 2014
March 2014
April 2014
May 2014
June 2014
July 2014
August 2014
September 2014
October 2014
November 2014
December 2014
January 2015
February 2015
March 2015
April 2015
May 2015
June 2015
July 2015
August 2015
September 2015
October 2015
November 2015
December 2015
January 2016
February 2016
March 2016
April 2016
May 2016
June 2016
July 2016
August 2016
September 2016
October 2016
November 2016
December 2016
January 2017
February 2017
March 2017
April 2017
May 2017

Powered by Blogger
Subscribe via RSS

Friday, June 12, 2015

A very tough free speech case

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

I am a free speech absolutist, but I find this case to be a difficult test. Basically, Anthony Elonis was criminally prosecuted for ranting on Facebook, posting violent fantasies and rap lyrics about his wife, an FBI agent and others. Should his speech be seen as an illegal threat, or protected by the First Amendment?

I am not sure what to think. Elonis' ex-wife certainly felt threatened, and the posts were directed toward her. These were not generic fantasies or lyrics. These were fantasies about specific people, and what Elonis wanted to do to those people. It is now easier for someone to make a real threat and claim he was simply posting rap lyrics protected by the Constitution. Where should we draw the line in a case like this?

This is not like the case of Justin Carter, who spent five months in prison for making a stupid, tasteless and offensive "joke" that was prosecuted by a thoroughly corrupt prosecutor as a "terroristic threat." Someone clearly needs to be in prison for the rest of his life in this case, but it should be the prosecutor and the so-called "judge" that perpetuated this injustice and this frightening abuse of power.

But we have to be careful, especially in the age of political correctness that has gone to a completely absurd extreme. We actually have so-called "college students" claiming that differing opinions cause them to be "unsafe" while the "university" actually encourages this nonsense instead of telling the little snots to grow a spine and deal with the fact that not everyone agrees with them. Since more and more people are fed up with the pathetic whining that speech is "offensive," extreme Leftists have now started to use "safety" as an argument for censorship.

The slope really is slippery.

So where do you draw the line? It is wise to err on the side of free speech, especially given the oppressive atmosphere we are seeing with regard to freedom of speech. This should also be a lesson that posting violent fantasies on social media is likely to only cause you trouble, and it is wise to refrain from doing that. Anthony Elonis' life would have been a lot easier these last few years had he followed that advice.


Below are the rules for commenting on ConservaTibbs.com.

  1. A reasonable level of civility is expected. While it is expected that controversial political and social issues may generate heated debate, there are common-sense limits of civility that will be enforced.

  2. This blog is a family-friendly site. Therefore no cursing, profanity, vulgarity, obscenity, etc. will be allowed. This is a zero-tolerance rule and will result in automatic deletion of the offending post.

  3. Anonymity has greatly coarsened discourse on the Internet, so pseudonyms are discouraged but not forbidden. That said, any direct criticism of a person by name cannot be done anonymously. If you criticize someone, you have to subject yourself to the same level of scrutiny or the comment will be deleted.

  4. Please keep your comments relevant to the topic of the post.

  5. All moderation decisions are final. I may post an explanation or I may not, depending on the situation. If you have a question or a concern about a moderation decision, e-mail me privately rather than posting in the comments.

Thank you for your cooperation.