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Open Letter to Colorado:

In the midst of current crisis, as Americans, we must remember 3 things. 1. Communication - Keep the Dialog Open: In the final analysis, there is much more that unites us than divides us. We are all human. We all want safety, security, and freedom to live our lives according to the dictates of our own conscience. We want and deserve to be treated equally before the law. We cannot let the differences we have be used to divide us and destroy our lives. This is not to say that there aren’t significant issues that need to be discussed and changes to be made. However, when communication ceases, each side is left with their own assumptions and that creates a void of information which fills with misunderstanding and quickly spirals downward. 2. Offense/Insult Should Not be a Matter of Law: From public-decency laws to politically-correct speech codes, mores and customs have been written into punitive rules and regulations. The US Declaration of Independence assumed inalienable rights and the US Constitution was designed to the protect them. However, there is no right to be found that protects one from insulted or being “offended”. In fact, as the 1 st Amendment guarantees Freedom of Speech, one could say that there is a positive right to be insulted. Giving government the right to use force to prevent some citizens from being insulted by the speech of other citizens is unconstitutional and ends badly for all citizens. 3. All Speech Should be Protected: Judge Andrew Napolitano correctly argues that even hateful, hurtful, and harmful speech is protected. He notes that in Brandenberg vs. Ohio “The Supreme Court unanimously reversed his conviction and held that all innocuous speech is absolutely protected, and all speech is innocuous when there is time for more speech to rebut it. The same Supreme Court had just ruled in Times v. Sullivan that the whole purpose of the First Amendment is to encourage and protect open, wide, robust, even caustic and unbridled speech” (Opinion, 15 Jul 20, Fox News). There is no Constitutional basis for prohibiting hateful, blasphemous, or profane speech. Some people seem to think that if a thought isn’t spoken, it ceases to exist. More often, the unspoken thought “festers” in the mind and resentment builds. When people are not allowed to express themselves the emotional pressure builds and then, given the right circumstances, can explode into a variety of violent protests and riots. Additionally, from a policy level, who is to say what speech should or shouldn’t be allowed? Nearly everything that can be said can insult someone somewhere somehow sometime! Put a little more seriously, by the Roman poet Juvenal, the question is “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” (Who watches the Watchers?). These three ideas won’t solve all of our problems, but they can help them from getting worse. In Liberty,

Victoria Reynolds

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