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Freedom of Speech and Responsiblity
In America, we pride ourselves as a nation of freedoms and liberties many countries do not possess. We have a right to speak out against authority, we have the right to express our most controversial opinions and we get to do this without fear of repercussion. This is the United States of America and we do hold these truths to be self-evident, for the most part.
Social media has helped us elect presidents, start online riots, rally up boycotts and send the White House a plethora of “emergency” petitions. We can pass hoaxes off as truths and conspiracies off as realistically intriguing. We spit out every idea, no matter how inane, around the world with one click of a button. Facebook and Twitter have given us a free outlet for marketing as well as a real-time status watch. I mean, we know everything there is to know the moment it happens, yet we still struggle to be appreciative and civil. Some of us, more than others, still find a way to disrupt what could and should be a good thing by acting like tantrum-throwing toddlers.
Some of us have yet to learn that posting a “selfie” in the bathroom wearing nothing but a bra and panties has taken away any rights the owner once had to that photo. Many still struggle to remember that publicly threatening another person on the World Wide Web is considered a felony. The majority of these offenders are adults, not hormonally challenged teens. Yes, there it is; American adults are incapable of showing restraint in public places. The internet, though entered through your filthy bedroom, is indeed a public place.
As a country looked upon by others as cocky and arrogant, it would seem the most patriotic thing we can really do is gather some self-control. As we dance around half-naked or verbally abuse others for the audience that is our world, perhaps we should pause for a moment and ask ourselves if it’s really worth it. Is it worth showing weakness in our system? Is it worth proving to the other countries that we, the United States, are not quite as “united” as our name suggests? Even the countries who have a lower percentage of English speaking adults have access to translators, online. Why hit send on a disrespectful, oftentimes obscene, response to someone when it is surely unnecessary? Is the ego of the American so inflated that “one-upping” and “last-wording” is commonplace? Do we not respect ourselves enough anymore to keep our private life private?
Our First Amendment right does not justify ridiculousness. Just like anything dangerous, words should be regulated by the operator; I am sure our founding fathers did not forget to add that to the Constitution- they assumed we, as a nation, would know how to act like grown-ups. My third-grade English teacher used to say this regarding the use of the semicolon, and now I say it to all the irresponsible internet users abusing his or her rights: Just because you can, does not mean you should, so use it responsibly.
- Local man arrested after Facebook threat to 'shoot up' schools | Local & Regional | Seattle News
Police have arrested a 19-year-old Skagit County man who threatened on Facebook to "shoot up every school within a 100-mile radius" if his gun rights were taken away after the Connecticut school massacre.