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Free Speech or Inciting a Riot?

Updated on March 23, 2009

 I've become increasingly disturbed by the chatter that's been floating around among the right wing hate mongers. Don't get me wrong here; their whacked out ideas and propaganda are truly laughable. What concerns me is the number of misguided-misinformed-head in the sand-pick your own label- folks out there who have or may buy into their bullshit. Does anybody recall a dude by the name of Timothy McVeigh? The "ideas" being tossed around by right wing pundits as of late are the very same "ideas" that McVeigh acted out upon when he destroyed the Alfred P Murrah building and ended the lives of innocent men, women, and children.

More recently, a disgruntled individual in Tennessee went on a rampage and burned down a church after being incited by the rants of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glen Beck. I tire of those who defend these blowhards, accusing myself and others of trying to silence free speech. I will stand beside them and defend their right to free speech, but I would also caution them that screaming "fire" in a crowded theater crosses a line from constitutional right into criminal activity.

Here's a taste of what these folks have been up to recently:

First up, from greenisthenewred.com, is roundhouse-kicked-in-the-head-too-many-times nutjob Chuck Norris. Good guys wear black, that's why we generally see Norris in any color but:

Chuck Norris says it may soon be time to violently overthrow the U.S. government, and he’s organizing “cells” around the country. In his column at the far-right WorldNetDaily, he cites the national debt, Obama administration, and a lack of religious values, as reasons for putting out his call to action:
How much more will Americans take? When will enough be enough? And, when that time comes, will our leaders finally listen or will history need to record a second American Revolution?

A popular viral urban legend has been circulating around the "internets" that purports to explain how strong and powerful Chuck Norris is via silly boasts. An example: "Chuck Norris's tears cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried." That one might be true, I could see him holding back his tears because "cancer patients need to suck it up and pull themselves up by their bootstraps"! Norris says that Texas will be leading the new revolution that he calls for; he quotes Sam Houston, he remembers the Alamo, he promises to “run for president of Texas,” and… wait, it keeps getting better! He says he and Fox’s Glenn Beck (who says the Obama administration will put conservatives in FEMA internment camps) have organized a telecast called “We Surround Them,” in which “thousands of cell groups will be united.”

And, from inside the beltway, comes the congresswoman from outside of reality, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Uranus). In response to legislation that she opposes, Bachmann compared Washington, D.C. to “enemy lines” and urged her supporters to become “armed and dangerous” and fight a “revolution” against cap and trade legislation:

BACHMANN: And really now in Washington, I’m a foreign correspondent in enemy lines. And I try to keep everyone back here in Minnesota know exactly the nefarious activities that are taking place in Washington. […]

I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us, having a revolution every now and then is a good thing, and the people — we the people — are going to have to fight back hard if we’re not going to lose our country. And I think this has the potential of changing the dynamic of freedom forever in the United States.


I seem to recall several recent years where peaceful war protesters were attacked and arrested by the police for non-violent protests against the actions of their own government. I wonder what would have happened if they had made statements similar to the ones above? On second thought, I'm pretty sure that I already have the answer to that one. . .

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    • Cris A profile image

      Cris A 

      9 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Free speech does have to be provocative in a way for it to make an impact. But incitng a riot is another thing. Free speech is a double- edged sword.

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