On March 20, 2011, Florida Pastor Terry Jones burned a Quran. This directly led to terrorists invading a United Nations compound and killing eight innocent people. Jones is protected by the right of free speech, but should he be?
The first amendment in the U.S. constitution guarantees citizens the right to speak freely without censorship. I am not arguing that what Jones did is not protected by the amendment, but instead arguing whether or not this amendment needs to be reviewed.
In World War II free speech was limited if what you said could “inspire the enemy.” Why limit this to WWII? Shouldn’t this be the case for every war? Jones is a nut job and what he did resulted in eight innocent lives being lost because he enraged a group of terrorists.
The terrorists certainly should garner most of the blame, they are the ones who reacted in such a violent manner, but Jones knowingly provoked an unstable group of people. By doing this, Jones must have known that there would be reactions by a group that is known for having a short fuse.
As a country, we should step back and look at the message that we are sending. We are unwilling to revise a 235 year old document because it is what the founding fathers drew up, even if it hurts our country in the process.
We need to be protected from people who do such outlandish things, but instead we stand behind them. The idea that we need to protect our free speech is rubbish. We are allowed to say what we want, to an extent; we are protecting something that is not even truly there. There are already laws limiting what we can and can not say. It is illegal to yell fire in a theater, it is also illegal to threaten to take the life of the President. Why is it that I am not allowed to yell fire in a theater, but I am allowed to burn what is considered the Bible of a nation? Both put lives in unnecessary danger. Both are absurd and would only be attempted by people who are not thinking straight.
Jones obviously can not go to prison for this, but we need to protect people from similar events in the future. There are extremists to every party, and this was just an example of one extremist poking another one with a stick. Who are the people that had to pay though? Innocent United Nations workers, some of which were beheaded.
There is a direct link between what Jones did and the eight murders in Afghanistan, and I believe that Jones should have to serve time in prison for what he did. Jones did not kill eight people, but neither does the person who yells fire in a theater. As a country, we are once again in a time of war, perhaps we should start treating it like one and protect the innocent people trying to make things right overseas.
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