Freedom of speech is a constitutional right. Should freedom of speech come with any personal responsibility? Some forms of free speech are a criminal offense. Yelling, “Fire”, in a crowded theater is one of the oft used examples.
What about other forms of speech where meaning and links are not so clear? Do we have the right to claim free speech whenever we wish?
In the picture below for example. On the left side window of the SUV is what looks like a revolutionary war silhouette bust. Below it are the words, “KEEP CALM, JOIN THE DARKSIDE”. The license plate identification starts with the letters, MAL. So what?
So what if you are driving along, hearing voices because you chose not to take your medication, or you can not afford to? Happens too often to too many people. Voices are telling them to do something violent. They just don’t know what to do. Then they pull up behind this vehicle and start reading whats on the window and the license plate.
The Revolutionary bust image. Why, that could be you. Keep calm, join the Darkside? What a great suggestion! The license plate with the letters MAL? If you live in the Southwest, you probably know one word for ‘bad’ in Spanish is Mal. Hey, is this a personal message for my eyes only?
Even trying to ignore the voices, one has to wonder the intent of the decor on the back of this vehicle represents? Are they trying to be funny, making a point, or offering a violent suggestion in a round about way?
Back to Freedom of Speech. If someone already unstable reads, and reads into the decor on the back of this vehicle, falls in the abyss, gets a weapon and goes on a killing spree, who’s fault is it?
In the moment, we want to blame Guns. Guns are bad, they are evil, they kill. If we didn’t have guns, most murders could be prevented. There is some truth to this train of thought.
However what about the rest of the circumstances surrounding the mentally ill murderer? Why are they out and about in public with an extremely unstable psyche? Why aren’t they monitored better, so they are not out driving, listening to voices telling them to kill? Maybe the doctor is at fault? The family, the person themselves? Kind of hard to blame the person, they were fine before they quit taking their medicine.
How about the owner of this vehicle? If someone stopped behind them at a stop light or traffic jam read this, and it put them over the edge, is the vehicle owner partially responsible?
We are so good at knee jerk reactions. People are in an uproar, how can these mass murders keep happening? I received a letter from my congressman telling me he demands more and better gun control so no measure of extreme violence can be taken again so easily.
No one wants to address the issue that we have people on the streets who should not be there. They are poor, unwanted, and horrible cared for medically. Taking them off the streets and treating their psyche is a fragile process wrought with problems.
Their civil rights may be violated. Their individual freedom may be infringed upon. Lots and lots of legal hassles involved in taking someone off the streets and putting them in a hospital or sanitarium where they may really belong.
If Civil Rights and Personal Freedoms were not an issue, Money is. Money is the deciding factor when it comes to eliminating mass murder by the mentally ill. So is Money the crux when it comes to treating and caring for the mentally ill and unstable.
Who is willing to pay for their care? Who is going to monitor and advocate for people taken off the streets or otherwise removed from their current way of life in the name of public safety? Perhaps a better question is: Who doesn’t share in the wave mass murders we are read about so frequently?
Let’s admit it. If the mass killings of School Children starting with Sandy Hook Elementary School did not open pocket books, and remove dangerous unstable people from the streets, the killing and wounding of several scores of LGBT people matters even less. Money is at stake. Money is the real issue.