Today, as I read a Huffington Post article about Kim Kardashian’s Paper Magazine cover and the hilarious responses to it, I was excited by the ease at which people can express themselves today. But just as that thought crossed my mind, I was linked to another Huffington Post article that left me deeply disturbed, and compelled me to write this article.
Apparently, a former contestant from the British version of The Apprentice, named Katie Hopkins, wrote something offensive on Twitter about Palestinians. Now droves of people in the United Kingdom are calling for her prosecution under the Public Order Act 1986, specifically for “stirr[ing] up racial hatred.”
I find it so very sad that people automatically call for the criminal prosecution of others, simply for the words they use. Unfortunately, this phenomena is not restricted to the United Kingdom. As documented here at Saturn’s Repository, free speech is under attack in the United States. People like celebrity chef Paula Deen, former Clippers owner Donald Sterling, and countless others have been blacklisted from American society simply for words spoken. Expressing a bad thought is considered worse than committing certain crimes. If logic follows, such offenders could be prosecuted here just as they are in the UK.
As I finished reading the Huffington Post article, I read the comments readers left and saw a glimmer of hope. At least one person expressed in words exactly as I felt. A Facebook user by the name Helen Gradwell wrote the following:
What has this country come to when we call for a person’s arrest for the things that they say? How many hate preachers have been going round our schools and universities saying much worse and nothing has been done because we don’t want to upset ‘community cohesion’? Free speech is a principal that has been fought for by our ancestors. Yesterday we remembered those who gave their lives for it. Just because you disagree with what this woman says, do not trash our forefathers’ legacy. Disagree with what she says, but defend to the death her right to say it, then go read Orwell’s ‘1984’ and grow up.
Nothing more need be said. Thankfully there are people like Helen Gradwell speaking truth about speech. Others apparently felt the same since this was the highest rated comment on the article. We need more voices like this so that we can maintain Free Speech and overcome the attempts to criminalize it.