As a writer and an American, free speech and access to that speech is of paramount importance. That’s why it’s so hard when something like the offensive video that has caused all the trouble becomes the object of defense. This is not the first time that ugly words meant to hurt and harm have arise and we are left to defend the freedom to speak even while we deplore the text of the speech. Truly having freedom of speech means allowing words that we don’t agree with, not censuring that speech, except of course for the yelling “fire” in a crowded room. Some might believe that this vile video is equal to that scream of “fire,” but others worry that any censorship is a step down the proverbial slippery slope. Violence has no excuse, and certainly causing death or injury has no justification in this case. As a writer I’m in the thrall of words, believe in their power, understand their effect, so as abhorrent as this video might be, there has to be a place for dissent, discourse and diversity.
But it appears that this video gave the extremists the very match to start their fires of hatred. We must be sure that our speech is part of the discussion not the blowtorch to innite explosions.