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The Texas Shooting Should Not Distort Our View of Free Speech


The Texas Shooting Should Not Distort Our View of Free Speech

Priyamvada Gopal

The gun attack in Dallas, Texas, at a contest to draw cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, evokes memories of the January shootings at the Paris office of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.


Ah, the “S Word: Should.” It’s been my observation that most people’s “view” of free speech depends on whether feel like shooting their mouth off or want someone to stop saying things they don’t want to have to hear. As a part of our political discourse, the concept of “free speech” means about as much as the rest of the “freedoms” we supposedly possess. These are words and phrases that are used to inspire us to admire ourselves for our national greatness and exceptionalism – advertising words. As young Mr. Snowden how freely he feels he can speak.


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Free speech is free speech. Just because it is termed “offensive” by some should not be a consideration. I hear things all the time that I could take offense at, but I dont want them silenced, killed, arrested, ect. Why, because as Paster Niemollar famously said “Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak up for me”. All totalitarian movements start with making certain speech a crime, and there is a reason for that.


Some doubt the official narrative of Charlie Hebdo:-


Now that the news is out that “ISIS” has claimed responsibility for the Texas shootings, I think we can be fairly sure it was a false-flag attack. You can never overfeed the Moloch of perpetual war.


I am confused I thought the supreme court said money was free speech which is it words or cash?


The Nazi Julius Streicher was hung for war crimes after the second world war. He did not commit acts of violence against any one. Was he simply exercising his right to “free speech” when he published his newspaper the Sturmer which acted as a propaganda vehicle for the Nazi party and promoted anti-semitism and war against other nations?

The judgement read in part…

"… For his 25 years of speaking, writing and preaching hatred of the Jews, Streicher was widely known as ‘Jew-Baiter Number One.’ In his speeches and articles, week after week, month after month, he infected the German mind with the virus of anti-Semitism, and incited the German people to active persecution. … Streicher’s incitement to murder and extermination at the time when Jews in the East were being killed under the most horrible conditions clearly constitutes persecution on political and racial grounds in connection with war crimes, as defined by the Charter, and constitutes a crime against humanity.”[15]

Do you think laws related to incitement to violence and persecution should be removed from the UN Charter and do you think that in Rwanda as example those persons who got on the Radio to incite hatred against the Tutsi were simply exercising a right to Free Speech?

One thing I do find interesting is that while so many will run out to defend the right to free speech when it comes to persons like Ms Gellar and organizations like Charlie Hebdo , these same persons do not run to defend Muslims murdered by US bombs because of things they might have SAID.


Who gets the first rope? Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes, or Rupert Murdoch?


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You are a very sharp “cookie,” Ms. Gopal.

I see these same tactics used to undermine premises like Affirmative Action. Put in place to ensure that minorities had access to those fruits formerly reserved exclusively for white males, particularly of monetary means… right wing groups have used them to argue that they show prejudice TO the prior groups allotted all privileges. Conservative courts hold up these inversions of justice.

It’s amazing how often language and its intended premises are being undermined and/or inverted; but then propaganda is a major tool of any militarized state and militarized states rely upon cruel hierarchy. There must be winners and losers with the losers logistically defined as deserving of their fate.

Thank you for pointing these 2 insights out. They are sterling!

“Outcries about free speech that revolve solely around western controversialists and unhinged gunmen declaring insult threaten to narrow our understanding of its value; we are in danger of thinking of all offending speech as brave speech. Without giving quarter to violence even against pubescent graffiti, we must ask what sorts of speech make the defence of freedom of expression truly worthwhile.”


“While the openly tyrannical are obvious targets, in formally democratic contexts free speech is truly only a weapon when it sets its sights upon insidious norms and received ideas rather than sanctioned enemies.”


What a strange comment. This article is showing how free speech is abused to serve the dominant power structure… and you went off on rather absurd tangents.


Of course, if you’re a white male that’s quite easy to say. If you were called the N word or any number of disgusting references now used as descriptors of many women, I wonder if you’d be so “tolerant”? Hate Speech and Hate Crimes are demarcated as such for good reasons.


Excellent comment… but then those that identify with the Dominant Culture (and dominators, in general) never feel the need to examine their own stances. It’s the psycho-social version of “To the victor, go the spoils” along with control of the historical narrative.


You’re talking State Propaganda. Why do you suppose it is that right wing big money interests always take aim and control over major media, radio stations, newspapers, and TV networks? Control of the discussion–under the guise of free speech (and/or a free, “Democratic” exchange of ideas)–is part of the calculus of total citizen control.


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Wow! That is the exact arguement they made on “Stormfront” (the neo nazi news site) for good old Julies Streicher! Just like I always said, the political spectrum is not a straight line, it’s a circle. If you go far enough to either the left or right all the nuts collect on the bottom and are saying the same thing. I’m afraid good old Julies was in the Nazi government, he was gauliter of Franconia until fired by the NAZI’s ! for overt corruption and brutality. (seizing jewish property and having the owners thrown into concentration camps so he could personally seize the money, marching down the street with a bullwhip and whipping untermenchen, blowing up the main synogogue. The Nazi’s didnt mind that last one, or his calls for extermination. The allies did though. As far as your obvious red herring about the U.N. charter and Rwanda…I happen to know the difference between calling and executing genocide on the one hand, and drawing a cartoon on the other. If someone drew an unflattering cartoon of Jesus and some Christian religious nuts called for their death and actually tried to carry it out…would we even be having this discussion?


No sir you DO NOT know the difference. There are people being killed now in The Middle east just because they are Muslims and your “Champions of free speech” are not speaking up for them. They hide behind their “free speech” so as to encourage it. Just as Schiller did.

Threatening to turn the country of Iran into a “sea of glass” is deemed acceptable free speech in the West while suggesting that “The regime occupying Jerusalem will vanish from the pages of time” deemed a call to genocide.

The Muslim Cleric Al-Awlaki was killed for words he WROTE which the USA claimed would enourage violence against the USA. Where were those defending his right to free speech? Ms Gellar was certainly not one of them , the same ms Gellar who ignored the fact that the Norweigan Brevik was white even as she MOCKED the ones he murdered (children included) as “anti-semites” as if they got what they deserved.

That somehow is acceptable and not on a par with Schiller?

This from a post made by Ms Gellar regarding the shootings in Norway.

Breivik was targeting the future leaders of the party responsible for flooding Norway with Muslims who refuse to assimilate, who commit major violence against Norwegian natives, including violent gang rapes, with impunity, and who live on the dole… all done without the consent of the Norwegians.

Just to add. The Sturmer, that very newspaper run by Schiller ALSO carried Cartoons. They were more than just “cartoons”. Those cartoons were used to deliver his message of Anti-semitism. The vast majority of these “cartoons” used as evidence at the trial did not call for genocide. They WERE virulentley anti-semitic and served their purpose in helping to dehumanize peoples of the Jewish faith.

This is what Mr Schiller was put on trial FOR.

Schiller and Gellar are cut from the same cloth.


Here is my experience with “free speech”: When I was very young and naive, I wrote a letter to a newspaper criticizing the way the US military treated women and homosexuals. I didn’t know the editor would publish the name and location of my workplace. A concerted hate campaign of phone calls to my supervisor ensued, to the point that I lost my job.
In the past, I have also used online comments sections to criticize the military for lack of prosecution for war crimes and torture, civilian deaths, etc., usually to get barraged by some Pentagon troll, standard line is “you should be thankful I fought for your freedom to run your disrespectful mouth…” And those were the “polite” ones.
I respond that “I have the right to free speech” and am met with the trite analogy to yelling fire in a crowded theater.
Yet, neo-Nazis and KKK are allowed their freedom of speech (I guess they are no threat to the status quo), and whenever one Muslim shoots one person, the online comments sections are filled with genocidal quips like “nuke Mecca” and “kill them all!”
What I learned is “freedom of speech” appears to be the exclusive right to those who don’t threaten the status quo, no matter how offensive or extreme their views may seem to others.
But these “cartoon” events serve as a provocation - they know where the “hot buttons” are involving Muslims, and they keep pushing them out of hatred and to provoke a response.


I am not condoning violence in reaction to any “freedom of expression”, but I would like to offer an anecdote:
You would not bash a hornet’s nest like a piñata and expect not to get stung by some angry hornets. It is a matter of common sense. It isn’t as simple as this, I know. But, if “journalists” and satirists, etc., know what they are doing could provoke a violent response, DON’T DO IT! Don’t let innocent people get killed over something you already know could turn ugly.