Freedom of Speech Part 2

I have spoken about Freedom of Speech in the past, but a recent event has caused me to revisit the issue.

If you haven't been paying attention to an event in California, at the University of California Santa Barbara, take a look at this article to get a recap.

Regardless of where you stand on the issue being discussed, the facts remain constant.  One party was legally permitted to express their opinion in a designated spot on the college campus.  The other party didn't agree with the views of the first party.  None of that is in question.

The parties involved are a 16 year young lady named Thrin Short a Pro-Lifer in one corner and Mireille Miller-Young a professor of black cultural studies, sex work and pornography at UCSB.  Let that sink in for a moment.  One woman wants to end the killing of innocent babies and the other wants to take your tax dollars to teach her students about exploitation and the destruction of lives.

When reading this story it would seem we have entered the Twilight Zone and this could only be a Hollywood script.  In fact it appears that we are actually in an opposite world.  Up is down, black is white and right is wrong.

Miss Young claims she had a moral right to denounce Miss Short because she was offended by the images on the signs (Pictures of unborn Fetuses).  This is the same woman who shows pornography in her classroom that is offended by a picture of a fetus.  Really?

Miss Young took a sign (private property) and stormed away.  She is accused of physically assaulting Miss Short as she tried to retrieve her sign.  Miss Young doesn't really dispute the story, she simply claimed she was justified in her actions because she didn't like what she was hearing.

Miss Short and the rest of the protestors were in a Freedom of Speech Zone on the campus.  They had permission to be there and were clearly exercising their First Amendment Right to do so.  Miss Young disagreed.

To make matters worse, the vice-chancellor for student affairs, Micheal D. Young issued a statement to the entire UCSB community.  He "apologized" for the incident by calling the Pro-Life Group extreme, intolerant, offensive and peddlers of hate.  Quite the apology don't you think.  If that is an apology, I would hate to hear what he might say about something he was attacking.

The crux of the problem isn't that you have to agree with either party.  You don't.  It isn't that we aren't constantly assaulted by images and words that offend us on a daily basis.  It isn't.  The Freedom of Speech guaranteed in the First Amendment applies to all.  Yes.  Even if you don't like what is being said, as long as it isn't inciting a riot or causing physical harm the courts have upheld the right to say it.  In recent years, "hate speech" has entered our national consciousness, but it is truly hard to define at this point and remains tougher to prove.

In the end, I would say to Miss Young, her students and Mr. Young, that either Freedom of Speech applies to all or it applies to no one.  You can't pick and choose what you don't like and then it is free game.  A better question is, after this incident and "apology" would it be better for the parents of every child at UCSB to consider removing their children from this school for fear that the young impressionable minds studying here might be sent into the world with a warped sense of right and wrong and a completely wrong view of the rights that the Constitution affords every one of us.

I am thankful every day that I have the right to share my beliefs.  I am also thankful for individuals like Miss Young and Mr. Young to continue to show in the extreme that our work is not done.