What is the “right of free speech?” That’s been the question since the founding fathers first penned the first amendment.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The fabulous first amendment, “guaranteeing” freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to assemble, and to petition the government. The words are all there, simple and clear, unfortunately our understanding of them is neither clear nor shared.
First, this little beauty says “Congress” shall make no law, it doesn’t say anything about your mother, as mine so often reminded me. As many of us with well-soaped mouths will attest’ the first amendment is far from a guarantee of protection. What the first amendment actually does is make it much tougher for the US Government, and through the 14th amendment, state county and municipal governments to shut people up. The citizens of these United States, as well as those of other countries are “free” to speak their mind, and free to suffer any consequences. Because the first amendment is at best quite limited in it’s protection.
The first amendment won’t stop a bullet, nor a swift punch in the nose, nor a suit of libel or slander. It certainly won’t hold back the soap cake of doom or the jeers and guffaws from friends and family or, for that matter, any passing stranger. It’s no protection against an angry mob or a quiet, yet endless, parade of sign bearing offended protestors.
An ambassador, and several others were killed by an angry mob in libya yesterday. In a sense they were killed over free speech. They were killed because of a 13 minute movie “trailer” called “The Innocence of Muslims” released on the Internet. That was wrong, as vile as it was ignorant and a great tragedy. However, mostly it was due to an incredibly stupid or malicious use of the powers of freedom granted to us in the United States.
Just like a certain bible totin’ preacher in Florida, hate and evil have the power of free speech as well in this country. Free speech is expensive, really expensive. The cost is, not just the good guys get it, Nazis also get it, Skinheads get it and child molesters get it. It’s no good unless everyone gets it. Which is why “Sam Bacile” an “American-Israeli film maker” made a two hour sick rant against the religion of Islam. A film designed to inflame rage in the religion’s supporters and thereby damn them even more in the world’s eyes. That’s why only the trailer made it to the net and why it was deftly translated to Arabic.
“Sam Bacile” says he’s in hiding now. Typical throw the stone and run away behavior of those who incite others to violence and watch gleefully from the shadows. “Sam Bascile” says the movie cost 5 million dollars donated by “more than 100 Jewish contributors. Oh yeah, “Sam?” If any of that were remotely true, you all got seriously rooked. Calling this piece of trash amateurish is an insult to amateurs everywhere. Pieces of floor show through the chromakey sand and the “actors” are insipid buffoons reminiscent of some drunken uncle “coochie cooing” a very tolerant baby.
But that wasn’t the point, was it “Sam?” Production values didn’t matter at all, did they? All that really mattered was that it looked like a movie made by an angry Jewish boob. People who already hated Muslims who saw the “trailer” would cheer and say “see I told you so!” Muslims extremists who saw the same footage would be enraged, maybe even enough to riot and kill. Score four for “Sam.”
The fact is no one knows who actually made or financed the movie, there’s no prior trace of “Sam Bacile” or his “more than 100 Jewish donors.” They are hoping it doesn’t matter, they didn’t make it to expose the “truth about Islam.” They made it to expose bare and hurting nerves even further. They made it in the name of violence. They made it in the name of horror. They made it to entertain, or possibly enrich, themselves as they watched gleefully from the shadows.
When you shout fire in a crowded movie theater is that Free speech? What happens to the shouter when grandma is trampled in the rush? “Sam Bascile” knows, I wonder if the clearly recognizable actors do? I wonder if the members of the crew do? I wonder what was going through their heads during production, was it thoughts of the soap cakes of doom or were they in on the “gag?” If so then they’re the real fall guys here. Start running boys and girls, the tar and feathers are warming up, if not the AK-47s. There are going to be more casualties, protect yourselves.
While we can descry the production values, laugh off the stupidity of the screenwriters and poo-poo the any righteous indignation of the audience, we also need to recognize the intent. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen actual evil so close before, it’s chilling. Four dead and counting makes it effective evil and the work of decades to defeat. An infection is afoot. Pernicious, malignant and unrelenting, it seeks only advantage through chaos and death. We are warned and we are wary.
See the trailer here, if only to recognize and expose evil:
Copyright Prentiss Gray 2012