August 25, 2017 by JImbo
I keep hearing this bullcrap and figured I’d give you some ammunition (so to speak) for when you are arguing with facists on either side of the political divide.
Actually you CAN yell “fire” in a crowded theatre. You just have to deal with any consequences if you give a command. (If you yell “RUN!” and someone was hurt running out or something)
Nancy Pelosi is referring to the original Schenck vs the United States (1919) case of course. He said that yelling “fire” was a “clear and present danger.”
However, later this was modified in Brandenberg vs Ohio (1969) which made it clearer, saying that only IMMINENT ACTION was a true danger.
Imminent action was cleared up in Hess vs Indiana (1973) to something with a definite timeline and action. For example, if you say “Tonight, I want Artie and Tom need to go to Sam the Black man’s house and kill him.” That would be imminent action. It is a defined (illegal) action that will happen at a reasonably specific time.
However, if you say “Someday we need to get rid of President Trump”, that’s not. It’s neither imminent or a specific action. The when is not clear, the who, nor the how. Therefore it is protected speech.
Now is yelling “FIRE” an imminent action? Technically no, because without an action, you could just be yelling for an unrelated reason. There is no person, location or action. But a good lawyer could argue that there is an implied action involved. People are conditioned to take an action on using that word, just like yelling “DUCK” makes them move, even if you meant the bird. People may THINK you were yelling at them even if you were talking to your friend.
None of this applies to the ACTUAL debate we are having however, which is that Nancy Pelosi is saying that the IDEAS of any group she doesn’t like is somehow an “imminent threat.” No, simply being racist or whatever is not an imminent action.
Wanting to have sex with someone doesn’t automatically make you a rapist. Wanting a car like the one your neighbor has doesn’t make you a car thief. Wanting to have a lot of money doesn’t make you a bank robber.
You need a specific (illegal) action and a timeline. Call it “hate speech” if you want, but it’s not illegal and it should never be. It’s everyone’s right to say dumb things.
I could argue that ANTIFA as Communists are a threat because Communism always leads to mass murder. The death count for Communism is near 100 million in the last century. That of Nazis is less than 6 million. So, arguing for Communism is WORSE than arguing for Nazism if we just go by what they COULD do SOMEDAY if they managed to get power.
For that matter, BLM chanting “Fuck the Police! Fry the pigs like bacon!” about police officers is free speech too. It’s racist yes. It’s hateful yes.
However, it doesn’t say WHO will do the action or WHEN. It doesn’t even directly say murder (or cannibalism), although again it could be implied. They COULD be just angry with police… and hungry for some breakfast at the same time.
Hope this helps in your discussions over what is and isn’t considered free speech. Not that angry hateful people will listen. However, you will know the truth and a few people speaking truth to lies and hate can make all the difference.
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