Westchester lawyer says tone down anti free speech rhetoric after Tucson

People under stress, suffering in grief, reacting to tragedy, all manage their emotions in different ways, which is why no one should be making any great changes in their lives at such times.

This week, a gunman opened fire in Tucson killing six people, including a little girl and a federal judge, and injuring 14 others, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.  It was a senseless, irrational, unexplainable act which once again exemplified that bad things happen to good people.

Yet, amid the tragedy of this shooting, we are hearing from presumably intelligent people screaming about curtailing fundamental American rights, especially the right to free speech.  Can someone, anyone explain to me why when there is a tragedy many lawmakers look to blame the Bill of Rights which has withstood the test of time for more than 200 years.

Some members have Congress have called for the creation of a crime making it a federal felony to threaten a federal lawmaker. Why?  Are they more important than you and I?  I think not, as did the forefathers of these United States which guaranteed each of us a right to free speech. 

All words have power and no one knows that more than a writer or journalist; it is how we make our living.  However, deleting our ability to use words as we desire will not modify the irrational behavior of a mentally ill person.  Modifying our right to free speech will not eradicate  the pervasiveness of evil which blackens every society.

While it is true that words give rise to action, the US Constitution assures each of us the absolute right to free speech and prohibits Congress from making any such modification which would limit that liberty:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

 Instead of turning up the rhetoric about laws that will never come to pass, why not just focus on the emotions of the day……recognize that it made no sense and pray for the shooter and the victims because anything more is just an irrational knee-jerk rant.

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