Inspection- Who Has Less of a Right to Free Speech?

by Ken Carman

 The current case in the Supreme Court has me pondering an important question that seems quite pertinent these days.
  “Who has less of a right to free speech?”
  The case is about buffer zones around abortion clinics. If the Pro-Life side wins: none. If the Pro-Choice side wins: some. I have a different take on this: apparently the oxymoron, “free speech zone,” is perfectly acceptable during political conventions. “Perfectly acceptable” even if that zone is miles away, not just 30 some odd feet. So why do the protesters at Pro-life events have a “right” to be right in the face of those who enter, but during conventions protesters don’t?
  Here’s my position: there should be some fair, minimal, buffer zone during any protest where protesters can protest while businesses, conventions or governmental offices, can still operate. A buffer that keeps protesting from become all about threats, bullying and harassment… or even murder in the rare, but too frequent, case.
  It’s the sane thing to do.
 If anyone steps over the line they should willingly go to jail for their cause, give their real names and make their case in court, if they can… as they did during Nam protests. Be proud of your stance. Judges should allow some pleading of a higher purpose, but also minimal. Once again: stalling or stopping not allowed.
  I don’t see why this is such a hard concept to get.
 Then enters partisan advocate extraordinaire Antonin Scalia, followed closely by his loyal puppy dog: Thomas. Neither are “justices.” They are advocates who have already made up their minds before cases even begin. They have no interest in actual “equal access” or “free speech” for anyone who dares to disagree with them.
 Recent arguments from the Right Wing Advocate in Chief only strengthen my case, which have included his demand all the other justices, and anyone, not call abortion protestors, “protestors.” They’re are to be called,”counselors.” “Counselors” who merely “comfort” those who attempt to enter “quietly” and “in a friendly manner.”
 Anyone who states otherwise is not to be tolerated in Scalia’s world.
 My friend for many years, Drew Patterson, knew better than this. As an escort he helped protect women on their way to clinics: protect them for these same “counselors” who would try to get right in their faces while screaming insults and accusations. There’s a reason why people volunteer to protect those who enter clinics: surrounding them, and it’s not from anyone who could accurately be called “counselors.”
 Antonin Scalia is not a stupid man.
  Antonin Scalia is a well educated man who knows better.
  It’s pretty obvious Antonin Scalia is lying.
 Historically the truth is these are similar to tactics used by those who would block war profiting businesses during Nam, only taken to the extreme with spitting, cursing, threats… threats sometimes carried out by the worst of the worst. The list of murdered doctors, nurses and patients over the years by followers of a supposedly “Pro-Life” movement is indeed long.
 But, back to the “counseling:” taunts at best. Are any of the actual following taunts “quiet” “friendly” comforting counseling?

“Be a man-stop your woman from killing your baby!”

“Mommy, don’t kill me!”

“You are going to be the father of a dead baby!”

“Babies are murdered here”

“Danger! Baby killing zone.”

 I’m sure Dr. Tiller felt “comforted” by bullets.
 If any of that is to be considered just “counseling,” and permissible, then maybe during the next GOP political convention we should consider the protestors “counselors” too and just open the doors wide. There they can also “quietly” counsel delegates how they should vote. You know, in the same “friendly” manner. And maybe during all protests we should just let all protestors knock down front doors, even the Westboros?
 Of course those are very bad ideas. I’m not actually suggesting them. But I wouldn’t insist the Westies be kept miles away either. They have a right to free speech, as sick, and as mentally deranged, as they are. And I certainly wouldn’t corral abortion protestors like animals; as they do protestors during political conventions these days. Keeping them behind fences miles away is the antithesis of “free speech.” Massive sweeps that involve arresting those who simply are passing through is even worse: tis the act of tyrants.
  Yet 35 feet is by no means unreasonable for any protest. Tis rational, common sense. Free speech should never be considered the right to threaten, bully, block and verbally assault people. Especially when such leads to “speech”in the form of bullets.
 But if Scalia’s constant snarky, self serving, partisan pimping, stances on today’s issues prove anything it’s this is no longer about “free speech,” or anything resembling what’s in our Constitution. For Scalia and his puppy dog it’s all about one side having all the rights: the one Scalia agrees with, and everyone else having squat.
 ”Sieg heil,” to you too, Antonin.
 Who has “less of a right to free speech?” Anyone who dares disagree with the advocate in Chief.

                                                    -30-

Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 40 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
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