No one is a more strident supporter of free speech than me (okay, I) but sometimes law enforcement or the courts, I would think, need to use their legal discretion.
A bereaved family is holding a funeral for their fallen son (or daughter) who was a member of the military and has died in a combat zone.
Protestors from something called the Westboro Baptist Church picket the funeral and yell insults and carry signs that say things such as: “thank God for dead soldiers”.
That is appalling of course. But the courts hold that it is free speech under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, thus such behavior cannot be barred.
Nonsense! I say.
Or to paraphrase Charles Dickens: If that be the law, then I say the law is an ass.
Courts and police have some discretion when interpreting and enforcing laws.
It seems to me anyone doing something so reprehensible and inhumane and insulting to human dignity and feeling is guilty of something — at the minimum, disturbing the peace, perhaps assault (even if not physical), invasion of privacy, trespass, disorderly conduct, and so on.
A judge in Missourri held that a law banning such protests would also hinder counter protestors (presumably, members of the bereaved family). Talk about tortured logic and lack of common sense and just maybe analyzing something too deeply.
I see no defense, to include free speech protections, for such abhorrent behavior as to picket and menace a funeral by taunting and insulting the bereaved family members and the memory of the deceased.
To paraphrase again: If the law says otherwise, the law is an ass and should in this instance be disregarded.
I do agree that no one should under the law and constitution be arrested for actual speech — it’s the behavior to which I refer.
The idiot hate group Westboro Baptist Church (not affiliated with other Baptist churches) also harasses gays and adherents to other religions — they are in a sense home-grown terrorists.