I’m not a fan of censorship. One of our most precious freedoms is that we can say just about anything, including criticizing our government, without fearing repercussions. There are situations, however, when some types of speech go beyond just pushing the envelope, passing that gray area of being provocative and falling smack dab into full-blown antagonism. There are people in the Country who, with their own agendas and without any sense of responsibility, put the rest of us in harm’s way.
Yesterday, the American Consulate in Benghazi, Libya and the Embassy in Cairo, Egypt were attacked by angry mobs. The assault in Libya resulted in the deaths of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three members of his staff. Protestors in Egypt tore down the American flag, replaced it with a flag that said “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet” and covered the walls of the compound with graffiti. The catalyst for these violent acts was an anti-Muslim film which mocked the religion and the prophet Muhammad. I watched a few minutes of the film on youtube. It’s an amateurish, poorly produced piece of garbage, the sole purpose and design of which is to incite hatred and promote disinformation.
The production of this film is attributed to a man by the name of Sam Bacile, who is described as a real estate developer from California. He has made it clear that he will do whatever it takes to further his campaign against Muslims. He also has a supporter in those efforts, Florida’s Reverend Terry Jones. Jones is infamous for his “Burn A Koran Day” which also received more attention than he deserved. His stunt resulted in riots in Afghanistan and the deaths of 12 people. Even pleas from General David Petreaus couldn’t dissuade him from carrying out his mission. He’s become more emboldened as time has passed and his last piece of nonsense was to hang President Obama in effigy.
Last week, during the President’s acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, a 16 year old girl posted, on Twitter, what appeared to be a call for the President’s assassination. By the next morning, news outlets were reporting that the Secret Service, together with other law enforcement agencies, had paid a visit to her home and her school. They found her tweet to be non-threatening and left her to deal with the aftermath of her own teenage angst and stupidity. The same excuse or reasoning can’t be applied to Jones and Bacile, however. They knew what they were doing and what risks they were taking. Their actions were not momentary lapses in judgment. I love the First Amendment and the right to have my say. I also know that you don’t get to shout fire in a crowded theater and think that there won’t be ramifications.
I had to add this picture of the Libyan people and their sentiments.