01 December, 2014

Freedom of Speech? Get Your Facts Straight!

I'm really tired of people who are ignorant of facts trying to use those "facts" as an excuse for their behavior. The latest example to illustrate my point is the behavior of 5 members of the Saint Louis Rams at yesterday's game in Saint Louis.  As seen in the picture here, Stedman Bailey, Tavon Austin, Jared Cook, Chris Givens and Kenny Britt came out of the tunnel with their hands raised in the "hands up, don't shoot" pose that has been used by the Ferguson protesters for months now. This was just totally inappropriate for NFL players to do this representing their team and the NFL. People have been on Facebook and the media saying that they have the right to free speech. Oh really? Do they? Not when they are under contract and representing their team and the NFL they don't. This is a clear example of people not understanding what the first amendment is all about. That part about "free speech" means that we, as Americans have the right to speak our minds without fear of the government throwing us in prison for speaking against them. (Although we are seeing this violated currently.) It does mean we have the right to express ourselves. BUT, it in no way gives us permission to say anything we want, anywhere we want without repercussions. For example, I can sit in my home and say, "I have a gun." I would not recommend saying that at a political rally where the President is speaking unless you want to be thrown to the ground and hauled off in chains.  Freedom of speech does not mean that you are free to do or say anything you want. Say you work as a salesperson for a Ford dealership. How long do you think you would work there if your employer heard you say to a customer that Ford sucks and that you'd buy a Chevy?  He'd have every right to fire you on the spot and if you sued him, he would win. Why? Because your conduct and speech represents him and the product he sells. It's the same thing with these Rams players. When they chose to walk out of that tunnel they were not 5 individuals, they were the Saint Louis Rams. Their right to free speech and expression ended when they put that uniform on and walked out onto that field. I am a Rams fan. I've been one a long time, dating back to the late 1960's, but right now, I am ashamed of my team, and I hope and pray that they deal accordingly with these clowns. What they did yesterday was a slap in the face to the Grand Jury, ALL men and women who put on a uniform to protect us as law enforcement officers and to the American judicial system. The facts of this case are clear for anyone who cares to actually read them. Justice was served. You can disagree all you want if that is what you want to do, but not as a representative of the Rams and the NFL. The NFL should deal with these clowns immediately.

Now, let's take this a step further. I watched Al Sharpton giving an interview a few days ago about the Ferguson "protesters" and he said that they were exercising their First Amendment rights. I'd suggest that the "Reverend" AL might what to bone up what that amendment says and means as well. The moment your speech and or actions brings harm to someone else, your rights have ended. Looting, rioting and burning are not protected by the First Amendment. Most people have no understanding of the intent of that amendment. Freedom of speech was written to protect us from an oppressive government.  Anything we SAY or Do that brings harm to anyone else, we are still very much accountable for our words and actions, so we need to choose them carefully. The first amendment gives us the right to PEACEFULLY assemble. What these people are doing is striking terror in the hearts of people... which makes them TERRORISTS. They should be arrested and dealt with as terrorists. As long as they are allowed to run wild and hurt people, this will only escalate. This is not free speech or the expression thereof. This is lawless terrorism and it is time for the government to step in and squash it before it gets completely out of control. 

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