As distasteful as flag burning is, if a protester wants to burn an American flag, then have at it. And if a protester wants to burn a cross, well, that’s offensive, but the whole point of free speech laws is to protect offensive speech, not pathetic bromides spouted by smarmy fools.
But…there is a line, and a burning Molotov cocktail is clearly across that line. There is no purpose for a gasoline bomb other than destruction, and that is not protected by our natural and God-given right to speak freely.
The federal government says it was arson. The protester charged with igniting a Molotov cocktail outside the District of Columbia police station during the recent race riots says it is protected First Amendment speech. Jarrett Jeremy Pace, on the night he set the fire, had said on Facebook he wanted to “burn a 12 station to the ground!” The number “12” is street slang for police. But now, Mr. Pace argues in federal district court he was speaking metaphorically, that he actually tossed the firebomb on the street near the Fourth District police station rather than at it, and that his action was not meant to burn the station but rather to express solidarity with George Floyd and protesters in Minneapolis.
Let’s give his lawyer some credit for an interesting defense!
But it also illuminates the Left’s profound misunderstanding of speech. The saying that “Our violence is speech….your speech is violence” is unfortunately an accurate portrayal of their belief. Even Brandenburg v. Ohio isn’t going to protect him, because that burning Molotov cocktail isn’t advocacy, it is a clear and unambiguous threat. Well…hopefully, because if our youthful miscreant gets the right judge, he might just get off.
It’s an interesting question though. Personally, I am a fan of uninhibited speech, because the quotation from Justice Brandeis is more true than ever…”Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.” But that’s not what the Left wants. Their speech is intended to shroud their true purpose in layers of obfuscation, and that is protected by a compliant media.
Imagine if the true origins and intentions of BLM and ANTIFA were the topics of discussion on the evening news and the Sunday talk shows and were the subject of journalists’ investigations, rather than what we have today…a concerted effort to limit speech about the reality of those organizations.