We know that rights to have limits. The limit to free speech is mostly in how that speech wrongfully harms another. I say wrongfully because speech that rightfully harms another is perfectly fine. If you say someone is a child molester and they aren’t, then you are in trouble. If you say they are a child molester and they are that’s a different story.
The story below is about a woman who encouraged her boyfriend to kill himself. He did and she was convicted of manslaughter. She wants the Supreme Court to hear her case because she says she was within her rights under the 1st Amendment to tell him he should do it. Her attorney points out that she was convicted based on words alone.
“When Carter was 17, she sent Roy a series of texts over a two-week period encouraging him to kill himself. Roy — who had a history of mental illness and had previously made attempts on his own life — killed himself July 12, 2014, after inhaling carbon monoxide in his truck outside a Kmart in Fairhaven, Massachusetts.”
She didn’t actually take any action she only used words. Words are powerful of course, which is why we have a 1st Amendment, but words are still just words. The actions taken as a result of those words is, and should be, on the head of the person taking that action.
We have become a society that despises a bully most of all.
It seems that to take the old fashioned “sticks and stones” stance on bullying makes you the bad guy. To point out that being offended is a choice causes others to rise up against you as insensitive and stupid. Words can hurt of course. Words are very powerful things to stir up the human mind and heart. But are you a murderer because you said something that hurt someone’s feelings? Are you a murderer because someone does something they blame on your words? To be offended, is not objective. It is to say you feel a certain way and then to blame that feeling on another person.
In this case the state also blamed the other person and put them in jail.
I acknowledge that words can hurt feelings but they do not hurt bodies.
Carter’s lawyers said her manslaughter conviction for urging Conrad Roy through text messages to kill himself violates her First Amendment right to free speech.