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Reader's View: Words have consequences, good or evil

Webster lists free speech as "the right to express any opinion in public without censorship or restraint by the government."

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The May 19 “Local View” column in the News Tribune, headlined, “ Those who fight free speech are not the good guys ,” was apparently in defense of free speech as given in our Constitution. It did not really define free speech, though, but did much quoting of Founding Fathers.

Throughout the history of the human race, people have used lies, propaganda, and outright fabricated "facts" to influence public and personal beliefs and opinion. This is not the free speech our Founding Fathers (or Mothers) were thinking about.

Webster lists free speech as "the right to express any opinion in public without censorship or restraint by the government." Simple, eh?

However, radio-show host Alex Jones found out it's not so simple. After the elementary school shooting in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, Jones propagated the theory that the government staged the shooting with actors, that no children actually died, and that parents were paid hush money. The parents of the murdered kids were outraged and sued not only Jones but the makers of the AR-15 that the shooter used, which was aggressively marketed by Remington. Jones was ordered to pay $1 million to parents.

Whether it is neighborhood gossip, the posts of Q-anon and its “shamans" on Facebook or Twitter, or on a Nazi or anti-Jewish poster in 1930s Germany, words have consequences and effects, either for good or evil.

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Perhaps this biblical commandment might clarify: "You shall not bear false witness."

Mark Roalson

Hoyt Lakes

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