yelling fire in a crowded theater
We have all heard it, you have Freedom of Speech unless you are yelling FIRE! in a crowded theater; but wait... what happens when the theater IS on fire and people are in danger?
In a 1919 unanimous Supreme Court Ruling, Schenck v. United States, the court made clear that the First Amendment protects freedom of expression, but not dangerous speech. OK, so why are people who are sounding an alarm warning people being silenced and their warning being called "hate speech"?
We are blessed in the United States with our 1st Amendment, we have the right to criticize our leaders, to poke fun at beliefs that we find crazy and even (troubling as it might be to hear) to say hateful things that are offensive. We have to defend the speech we hate, it is actually the most important speech to defend. When I was very little my dad was on the state patrol, the KKK was holding a parade and I remember talking to him and being confused about why officers needed to protect them while they marched. I asked why not just let the people who disagree with them beat them up... Why protect them? He explained to me that once we give power to any group to silence another we have started down a slippery slope. This was the first time I heard the poem from Martin Niemöller.
The right to speak freely is addressed in the 1st Amendment to the Constitution for a reason. We have the right to say what comes to mind and to speak off the cuff without fear of jail. Don't laugh, there are countries where the author of some recent US headlines could have put them-self in serious jeopardy of prison time had they been reporting in/on another country. As you can see from the newspaper clipping the good "outspoken" Pastor was "FINALLY" put in prison for voicing his opposition to the Nazi regime. Now we can all clearly see that he was on the right side of history, but when he was arrested and the article was published things were not so clear to the masses, so silencing him became a necessity for the evil to continue.
Our Freedom of Speech, yes even here in America, is currently under attack, people are losing their job for saying something that is unpopular, and good people are afraid to get involved (same as in the poem).
Tommy Robinson is in prison in the UK, where they do not have Freedom of Speech, for speaking up/ video taping the grooming gangs who were on trial for the rapes of girls as young as eleven. How is it that this happens? It is easy, he was speaking out against a group of men (I use the term loosely) who are responsible for these heinous crimes, 87% of whom are from one country, and they make up only 2% of the population in the UK. Is it politically incorrect? maybe/maybe not... But when it is factually correct: is it hate speech? Does an honest warning to inform and protect others warrant being arrested and thrown in prison? Is it morally correct to warn the population when the media is complicit in hiding the facts from the parents? Is it an imperative to help people understand what they are facing so they can stop it? Is it wrong to speak up to defend the weakest among us? Is it a crime to sound the alarm that needs to be sounded? How long before this happens here?
Why would anyone think it is wrong to yell FIRE! when the theater is burning with people inside?