Could you imagine if you lived in a country like North Korea where you couldn’t express yourself? Just saying something derogatory about Kim Jung Un can get someone thrown in prison or killed. There wouldn’t be enough prison space if everyone who said something negative about President Trump were thrown in. This is the beauty about living here and being protected under the 1st Amendment.
The thing about Freedom of Speech though is that it also comes with freedom of consequences. In other words, just because we can say about anything we want, doesn’t mean it’s a clever idea because there might be negative consequences as seen by Rosanne Barr recently with losing her highly rated television show over a racist’s tweet. She had the right to say what she wanted but, in the end, she’s paying the price so are all the other people who were involved with the show.
Although the Left tries to muddy the waters, so-called “Hate Speech” is also protected under the 1st Amendment. We have the right to say mean things to other people even if it hurts their feelings; it’s not a cordial thing to do but it’s protected speech. How in the world could we regulate “Hate Speech”? Should I face a $100 fine for calling someone ugly? Should I be put in jail for calling someone the “N” word? Would an African American be subject to jail time if he or she used the “N” word or would it just be a law geared towards white people? Any Liberal who believes we can regulate “Hate Speech” doesn’t have a clue about the 1st Amendment.
I have the freedom to say things about someone else’s mama and if the person doesn’t like what I said, he can respond back how he likes except for causing me bodily harm. It wouldn’t matter that he was provoked, he would be up for assault charges. Even though it would’ve been stupid and mean of me to say what I did, my right to say it is protected, his right to attack me isn’t. He could even get in trouble for threatening to kill me. In legal terms it’s considered a “Criminal Threat” where someone could get a slap on the wrist up to a three-year prison sentence.
The 1st Amendment has other limitations as well in that it doesn’t protect someone who says or does something that puts someone else in imminent danger. We’re not allowed to yell “Fire” in public places if there isn’t one because someone could get hurt trying to run away from the false alarm. You can’t yell out that there’s a bomb especially at airports. The bottom line is Freedom of Speech is extremely broad but if what we say puts someone else in danger or even perceived danger, then we will face the appropriate consequences under the law of endangerment.
Endangerment is a type of crime involving conduct that is wrongful and reckless and likely to produce death or grievous bodily harm to another person. There are several kinds of endangerment, each of which is a criminal act that can be prosecuted in a court. In some U.S. states, such as Florida, substantially similar language is used for the crime of Culpable Negligence. Normally there is a fine involved but, in some states, based on the degree of negligence, a person can get up to three years in prison.
One last thing, business establishments can put any guidelines they want on what they consider improper language because they have the right to create an environment for their employees and customers that is family oriented. Let’s face it, when you have children with you at dinner, you don’t want someone at the next table cussing up a storm. So even though there’s a 1st Amendment, a business has the authority to remove someone who is upsetting other customers by their actions or words.
I mentioned it above but it’s worth mentioning again, along with freedom of speech is freedom of consequences. We can’t just say anything we want and believe there will be no negative consequences. Many politicians have been taken down just by things they’ve said in their past. Many entertainers have lost their A-List status because of things they said or tweeted. Freedom of Speech is a powerful right thus it comes with tremendous responsibilities.