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September 17, 2012 at 4:00 PM

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Libya, Middle East violence, free speech

No apologies

The United States will not apologize for protecting free speech. All speech, even reprehensible speech, is protected by the United States Constitution. The U.S. bans no speech

Protecting the right of a person to speak their mind without fear of government reprisal is not an acceptance of that particular view. It is the protection of that person’s guaranteed right to free speech, nothing more.

Ideals like free speech cannot be diminished by the work of a hateful, racist, idiot who in no way represents America nor has any influence in America. The United States stands for ideals that don’t burn away with a burning flag in the street, either. We will defend the right of this moron to speak, we will not defend what that moron says.

Actions speak much louder than words. Reacting violently to reprehensible speech is something we will not protect. Four families are forever changed by the senseless deaths of their loved ones in Libya. I doubt a single Muslim family was affected in such a way by that stupid video.

— Trevor McDowell, Tukwila

Broad free-speech latitude, but there are limits

A recent, crassly made movie inciting a fringe element in Libya resulted in the death of our ambassador and three other consulate staffers. This invokes the question: “What limits should be applied to our First Amendment rights for “freedom of speech” in our Constitution?”

I strongly believe that broad latitude is needed to ensure that free speech is not curtailed or limited in our society. However, to suggest that there should be no limits would be foolhardy.

The frequently used example is the prohibition to cry “fire” in a crowded theater. Such an action would clearly create a clear and present danger to theater attendees with predictable severe injury or loss of life.

The same criteria I believe should be applied to distributing a movie ridiculing Muhammad or espousing the burning of the Quran. Clearly, to any reasonable person, ridiculing or tramping on the sensitivities of those holding differing spiritual values is an invitation for serious trouble.

Special caution should be exercised in defaming the values of societies that have a history of violent retaliatory actions. The infliction of harm and death on citizens of the country originating the defamation is predictable.

For this reason, any person insensitive enough to provoke such a response should be considered to have performed an unlawful act and subject to appropriate punishment.

— Stanley Graves, Lynnwood

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