Limits To Freedom Of Speech
By Amy E. Feldman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Where does your right to free speech end?
Texas teenager Justin Carter was doing what many teenagers do – playing games on line and acting stupid when someone called him insane – to which Carter wrote, “’Oh yeah, I’m real messed up in the head, I’m going to go shoot up a school full of kids” and then added. JK – just kidding. Hilarious. With a sense of humor like that, it’s hard to believe he’s playing video games in his parents basement.
What is actually hard to believe is what came next: a person who saw his comments called police, who arrested him.
While police can’t abridge your right to freedom of speech, there are some limits on your right to say whatever you want whenever you want to. One of those limits is when someone makes terroristic threats, a crime in which a person threatens serious bodily injury with the intent of putting someone in fear or causing public disruption.
The problem for many is that there is no such thing as a sarcasm font – if you type words about killing someone, even the letters jk or lol may not be enough to make people believe you’re really kidding. So Justin Carter, who is in jail awaiting the outcome of trial, learned the hard way what you need to know: freedom of speech has limits. Think before you type.