inbound - 2:54 am on Mar 3, 2011 (gmt 0)
Freedom of speech is clearly a very important issue, but it really sucks that it's able to be used to defend that type of behaviour. It's quite different in the UK, where you would be in a criminal court for a whole list of offences if you did the same (breach of the peace, harrassment, hate crime stuff I'm not even sure of...)
My initial reaction was to suggest that freedom of speech be defended when voiced in appropriate settings - but then I thought about the ways in which "appropriate settings" could be manipulated to the detriment of any given party. It's easy to get a very broad concensus on the example above that their views should not have been voiced in that way at that time - but where do you draw the line? I suppose you could exempty freedom of speech as a defence for certain crimes and deal with such people on harassment grounds or something similar.
A question: if someone goes into a bank and says something in a menacing manner which causes a teller to hand over cash (such as "I think god punishes tellers who don't give out free cash with gruesome death when walking to their car") but does not make an explicit demand for cash, can they use freedom of speech as a defence - if not, surely there must be precedents that can be invoked in circumstances such as the case that the original post is about.