‘The First Thing a Principle Does Is Kill Somebody.’

by Nancy Jane Moore

Bill of RightsFree speech isn’t free.

We have the right in the United States to say what’s on our minds, but speech still has consequences. The old saw — “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me” — is nonsense. Words can do a great deal of harm, even honest words that should be spoken, much less ugly, hateful lies.

The guarantee of free speech in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is a great principle, but as Lord Peter says in Gaudy Night, “The first thing a principle does is kill somebody.”

We’ve seen this in action in recent weeks. What is by all accounts a dishonest and hate-filled video about the Prophet Muhammed was released to the world on You Tube and led to the death of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and several members of his staff.

People died because the U.S. recognizes the right to free speech.

The video may be a scam. The person who made it apparently has a criminal rec