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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Tweet To Disaster

Last night, as the widow of a Navy seal killed in action received an ovation from Congress, a former Clinton staffer sent out a tweet used the moment to attack her for allowing herself to be "used as a prop".  The ovation was a highlight of the evening as both Republicans and Democrats gave the crying widow a sustained standing ovation to indicate how much the nation appreciated her husband's and her own sacrifice.  Nevertheless, the hate brigade was out on Twitter attacking her.

Within a few minutes, the tweet was being criticized by people on both sides of the political divide.  Today, we learned that the guy who sent the tweet was fired from his job at a Chicago based consulting firm.

It was swift justice for saying the wrong thing.  It was also completely the wrong outcome.  The fellow who sent the tweet may be a jerk and a boor.  Actually, there's no need to say "may be"; we can agree that he is a jerk.  Still, he has the right to express his opinion.  Even if that opinion is disgusting, he has the right to express his opinion.

The First Amendment protects people against government action in response to speech.  The company that fired the guy is private, so he had no such protection.  Still, a warning to the guy would have been sufficient.  Saying the wrong thing should not be a capital offense. 

The crazy thing is that if the same guy had been arrested for a DUI, he probably would have gotten off with, at most, a suspended sentence or some sort of probation (assuming it was his first offense.)  The DUI might have killed people.  What the guy said, however, only upset some people.  It's not, NOT, the same thing.

America needs to put speech back into proper perspective.  We cannot be a nation that is so sensitive to inappropriate statements that we punish such statements more severely than actual crimes.

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