The limits of free speech


Kaylee Pierce

We all have the right to free speech. We should feel free to speak our minds and stand up for what we believe is right. But when does it go too far?

Having the right to free speech is a right to which we are accustomed. We can stand up for what we passionately believe in. We can organize rallies and protests because we have the right to free speech. People come together and unite as one using the power of free speech. But as recent actions indicate, sometimes it can be taken too far.

We can rally and march our way through our lives. It is great to be united for a common cause, but there is no good reason for using words as weapons. Words can be just as dangerous as a weapon of mass destruction.

Charlottesville is a great example. People went there and protested. They gathered in a park protesting the removal of a statue. However, they willingly misused their freedom of speech. They got a rise out of people using Nazi and KKK slogans – a guaranteed way to get some blood boiling. From the beginning, nothing good was going to come out of this. It was too controversial but they went ahead anyway and well, we all know what the result was.

They believed they could do this because of their right to free speech. But when someone has the intention of going in and stirring trouble, freedom of speech becomes a weapon. A very powerful weapon.

We know we tell ourselves words can’t hurt us. I mean “sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” But while they can’t physically hurt us, they can certainly contribute to a hurt we see far too often in violent protests.

What if we used our freedom of speech to unite? What if we protested and marched in peace? We have freedom to speak our minds. Why does it have to be dangerous? If you feel so passionate you are willing to stand up in a crowd for what you believe in, you have the right to protest, rally, march, speak your mind. We need to think before we speak and use freedom of speech responsibly.