Saturday, March 12, 2016

On Freedom of Speech

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." 

 - First Amendment, U.S. Constitution

The trumpkins and others seem to be making a great deal of noise about the Trump Rally shut down the evening of the 11th (last night, to me) in Chicago - idiots on both sides are crying out "First Amendment! First Amendment!"

They are idiots, all of them. 

The First Amendment (and courtesy of the 14th Amendment and SCOTUS, all lesser political bodies) prohibits Congress from (among other things) abridging freedom of speech. 

It does not shield speech from the actions or words of our fellow citizens or private organizations thereof - there are other laws relevant to such things, but by the time those are up for discussion the 1st Amendment is clean off the table. 

Did a government or government agent try to censor or suppress your speech (aka freedom of expression)? If not, you do not have a "speech" case under the 1st Amendment. 

So what about those other areas of law? 

If some large lunged type follows you about screaming "OOOK! OOOK! OOOK!" every time you try to speak, you probably  - depending on local law - have a case for harassment, and maybe to question their sanity in front of a judge.. Not a First Amendment issue.

If you show up in someones living room at two in the morning and start belting out "Eskimo Nell" at the top of your lungs you are not exercising freedom of speech. You are exercising breaking and entering, trespass, possibly burglary and being a bloody nuisance - the homeowner with a shotgun and members of and the local law enforcement agency will have things to discuss with you. None of your actions here are protected by the 1st  Amendment.

If someone puts on a large public event and wishes to exclude a person or class thereof, they can. They are exercising their 1st Amendment rights to control their message. 

Finally, if you go spelunking in bears dens and get mauled after poking the bear with a sharp stick - play stupid games, win stupid prizes. Still not a First Amendment issue.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

No. Genitalia are not a pass for assaultive behaviors.

"It is morally wrong to initiate the aggressive use of force."

That's where I base my take on it. If someone initiates force against me (hit, bite, stab, club, use projectile weapons against me, etc) their gender is utterly irrelevant to the discussion. Bringing an immediate halt to the bad behavior, regardless of gender/race/orientation or wearing of a beanie is at that point the critical goal of the day - by whatever means seem the best bet to do the job, ideally before I qualify for hospital time.

The same goes for a valid (believable to a reasonable person and actually achievable) threat. A person waving a knife and screaming "I'm a gonna stab you" qualifies - a person waving in their hands in the air and screaming "I'm a gonna puree you with my Imaginary Blender of Death" not so much. The knife-waver gets a three-dot discussion, the "Blender-Wielder" gets my undivided attention lest the situation change and a phone call for the kids with the nets.

"Play stupid games, win stupid prizes."

Women are not stupid simply by virtue of being women. Just as with men, some are dumb as rocks and some are geniuses with the majority falling between.

Women are not fragile flowers incapable of homicide, assault, poisoning or a wide variety of other criminal activity that must be protected (because they are too stupid/weak/helpless/vapid to protect themselves) not only from the world but from themselves. Women are, in fact worthy of the same respect we accord any man and - upper body strengthy aside - as tough or tougher as most men.

Women, too, can play stupid games. And earn stupid prizes. And as far as I can tell from the outside, women have a *broader variety* of stupid games available to them amongst themselves and with our cultural set-up.

Just as with men, they may get the stupid prize awarded at random by the fates - or they may try and knife someone and get shot.

"Don't start none, won't be none."

We all know there exist asshats in the world that undermine that statement as a description of reality - but we also know that the *ideal* begins with us. That if we work to avoid initiating either the use or threat of use of force in our own actions (to the extent practical) that the odds of things going rodeo drop off something fierce. The flip side is that one must be prepared for those on a different page.

So. I don't run about randomly hitting folks, nor do I favor others doing so - and that applies to either gender. I don't generally engage in horseplay - the potential for truly exciting response in the case of misunderstanding is generally not acceptable from my viewpoint. Not surprisingly, I don't encourage others to engage in horseplay for that and *other* reasons (unless folks know each other REALLY well, a "playful tap" can have bad or lethal effects on a pre-existing condition...).

And no, women don't get a special "It's Ok to physically abuse GC" license because *genitalia*.

Format Change

Folks who screw with templates and other folks blogs...suck. That will be all.