Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The price of free speech can make a winner out of a shameless troll

Living in a free society can be a bummer.

Consider former Rep. Kiah Morris, D-Bennington. Someone (no one knows who) broke into and vandalized her house and car. Someone (everyone knows who; he’s proud of it) bombarded her online with obscene and threatening racist messages such as, “every time you attend a political rally … I will troll the hell out of you. Maybe I’ll bring a friend or three with me.”

Until finally, insecure in her own home, the only African-American woman in the Vermont Legislature quit the seat to which she would have been re-elected last November.

Morris, who did harm to no one, is the loser here. So is her family. So are her constituents who wanted her to represent them. So are the other legislators who valued her participation.

The winner? Her tormentor, Max Misch, a self-described “white nationalist” who will not be charged with a crime for harassing Morris.

A bummer, all because what Max Misch did is free speech.


Politicians need to have a lot of backbone.  Look at the daily torrent of hate speech aimed at Mr. Trump.  He does not resign over it


Anonymous said...

Harassment is not free speech. The problem is with the courts.

Anonymous said...

Harassment is something a politician or for that matter anyone who expects to be in the public eye should be prepared for, there's always someone.

OTOH, there should be a point at which the harasser pays a price. I'd suggest a civil suit demanding nothing more than a reduction in communications. Say requiring them to contact you a maximum of once a week or even a month (for a politician, you should not be able to cut off all communication).

Ideal, certainly not but there should be a way to make it endurable.

C. S. P. Schofield said...

If you are not prepared to have your morals, ethics, and ancestry slandered in the crudest terms, you probably are too thin skinned to be a politician.

Anonymous said...

Yes, politics is a rough=and=tumble game.
Sometimes a price must be paid to maintain essential freedoms.
This case is a shame, but not as big a shame as it would be if we were not free to criticise our political representatives.