Monday, May 4, 2015

What Price Exercising Free Speech for the Sake of Giving Offense?

If the American Freedom Defense Initiative wanted the world to pay attention to them, they certainly got their wish. By arranging an event that would focus heavily on an exhibit of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, this organization may have established one of the most extreme cases of exercising free speech solely for the purpose of giving offense. However, while the speech may have been free, the exercise came with a price. According to an ABC News report by Emily Shapiro, that price amounted to $10,000. This is the amount of money that the organization paid out of its own budget for security. According to Shapiro's report:
Security included security officers, uniformed officers, SWAT, FBI and ATF, Joe Harn of the Garland Police Department said at a news conference.
Now, I am not a constitutional scholar and/or expert; but I have tended to assume that the right to free speech does not include the right to incite violence. Thus, the question arises as to whether or not the American Freedom Defense Initiative expected violence and expected it because they knew that the images they were exhibiting would incite it. If that were, indeed, the case, why were federal, state, and local authorities taking fee-for-services to allow such provocative behavior?

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