speech

WEST MONROE, La. — Freedom of speech, in the land of the free, is not guaranteed. Despite the wording of the First Amendment, claiming that “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech,” there are countless laws across the country designed to do exactly that. One glaring deprivation of rights and a clear violation of the First Amendment happened in Louisiana this month after an 18-year-old college student was arrested — for swearing near an elderly lady.

Jared Dylan Smith was booked into jail on a ‘disturbing the peace through language and disorderly conduct’ charge on April 8, according to the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office. To be clear, Smith was not engaged in conversation with the 75-year-old woman, nor were any words directed toward the woman. No, he was simply arrested for the alleged ‘crime’ of cursing near her.

According to the complainant, in a statement on the probable cause affidavit, she said Smith was standing next to her when he yelled an expletive and “clearly disturbed her peace.” Smith reportedly denied yelling the expletive.

As Louisiana law states, one can be arrested for disturbing the peace by “addressing any offensive, derisive, or annoying words to any other person who is lawfully in any street, or other public place; or call him by any offensive or derisive name, or make any noise or exclamation in his presence and hearing with the intent to deride, offend, or annoy him, or to prevent him from pursuing his lawful business, occupation, or duty.”

Feel free now?

READ MORE:  Man Arrested For Calling Police Racist in Facebook Comment Receives $35K Settlement

If found guilty of swearing next to an elderly woman, Smith could face up to 90 days in jail.

In the land of the free, a person can be kidnapped and thrown in a cage for arbitrary sounds made with their mouth that cause harm to no one.

Aside from this being clearly asinine, it’s well established by the Supreme Court to be unconstitutional.

In Cohen v. California, the U.S. Supreme court upheld a citizen’s First Amendment right to wear a jacket to court that read “Fuck the Draft,” the court held:

“WHILE THE PARTICULAR FOUR-LETTER WORD BEING LITIGATED HERE IS PERHAPS MORE DISTASTEFUL THAN MOST OTHERS OF ITS GENRE, IT IS NEVERTHELESS OFTEN TRUE THAT ONE MAN’S VULGARITY IS ANOTHER’S LYRIC. INDEED, WE THINK IT IS LARGELY BECAUSE GOVERNMENTAL OFFICIALS CANNOT MAKE PRINCIPLED DISTINCTIONS IN THIS AREA THAT THE CONSTITUTION LEAVES MATTERS OF TASTE AND STYLE SO LARGELY TO THE INDIVIDUAL.”

What’s more, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in City of Houston v. Hill, that police must tolerate even more abusive speech than an average citizen. The court concluded that “in the face of verbal challenges to police action, officers and municipalities must respond with restraint,” and added that, “the First Amendment protects a significant amount of verbal criticism and challenge directed at police officers.”

Here at the Free Thought Project, we feel there are no such things as ‘bad words’ but, rather, certain words some people don’t like to hear.

The arbitrary nature of government enforcing laws that dictate what vocabulary a person can use is as ridiculous as it is tyrannical. Sadly, it remains a part of society.

READ MORE:  Army Major Says "Everything's in Place" to Round Up Antiwar Dissenters for Military Detention

Have we learned nothing from history?

Telling people what words they can and can’t say to ‘protect’ others is chilling. Freedom of speech does not come with terms and conditions as words alone, less the obvious yelling “fire” in a movie theater, cannot cause physical harm.

The act of being offended is a choice taken by those who hear certain words like the 75-year-old woman in this case. Limiting or changing language, or throwing an 18-year-old college kid in jail, does nothing to stop someone from offending in another manner or being offended.

Americans who support this kid getting thrown in jail for his words should heed the legendary George Carlin’s advice below.

 

SHARE
Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor at Large at the Free Thought Project. Follow @MattAgorist on Twitter, Steemit, and now on Facebook.
  • Gordon Klock

    In the comment sections on other sites reporting on this story, there are a disturbing number of people who applaud the idea of people actually being sent to jail, for the ‘crime’ of uttering old Saxon verbs, referring to lower bodily functions, in public….(& this kind of mean spirited, falsely ‘moral’, willful ignorance, has always scared & angered me)…..
    Perhaps it’s cause, I once almost received a severe beating as a teenager, for openly discussing history, (no “cuss words”), in a crowded grocery store, & after one hysterical accusation by an easily offended woman, & most other customers, straight away formed a lynch mob attitude toward me, without having any idea what I was even talking to my friend about, (we barely managed to get out of there, leaving our purchases behind)…

    • Bruce_Mitchell

      I have noticed those peculiarly popular comments as well. We should start rebutting those comments by posting the US Supreme Court decisions referenced in this article of Matt’s. That’s what I’m going to do from now on.

    • Guy

      Clearly that would have been wrong on the part of thouse who were somehow offended by your remarks to each other, that were overheard by some morally outraged busybody ! Just like it would be wrong, both by the receiver to react, and the maker of the *Haight Stare,* to give, in a time that it was considered okay to do so. Now who gives a damn ! As long as it feels good, we can do it in the road, and my Iphone has all the right apps !

    • Guy

      Although my ears burn when I hear offensive language in mixed company, feeling that it’s serves no other purpose than to be shocking in value or considered normal by others. That’s my personal hang up, because I was not raised that way to speak, teaching my own children not to as well. This still does not give me the right to do much more than to ask for thouse to pleas stop, or move away from thouse who do ! To resort to violence over it, is just plane silly and as bad as or even worse, than thouse that have a mouth in the shape and countenance of a sewer !

      • Gordon Klock

        I was fairly foul mouthed as a kid, but so were most other kids & many adults, (people being offended by it, actually surprised me at first) as I grew older I came to the conclusion that it shows a lack of vocabulary skills & imagination . (Legal & medical terminology, mixed with a somewhat ‘pornographic’ imagination, can render impressively superior insults, though personally, I have no use for such hostility)….

      • Zackknowitall

        I’m offereded that anyone could find a word offensive

    • Harry Skip Robinson

      We need to ban together and attack such sites in mass. Intellectually destroy their moral arrogance and ignorance. Women are sometimes the worse offenders. They think they are morally superior by faith and intuistion, failing to look at themselves closely in the mirror.

  • Bruce_Mitchell

    Thanks for this article and the US Supreme Court case references. I had forgotten about Houston v. Hill, a very important ruling to remember in this day of easily offended police officers and people who comment that those being unjustly abused by police should remain ‘polite’ in the face of such abuse.

  • Guy

    I sometimes wonder, to what depth as a society have we all seem to have sunk to in the good OL US. OF A. ? Once, it was considered to be boorish and bad manners to curse in mixed company and never done when woman or young people were around ! Now who cares !? As long as the appropriate rating is indicated befor the movie starts, or the music plays, is good enough.

    Women curse like drunken sailors and it’s okay that Billy has two dads and Janny has two moms, all to be considered to be normal, and woe to me, if I say it outloud to be offended by it, because I can then be, jailed, put on trial and sued over my remarks , or worse !

    Courts have ruled, and we as Nation, have lost our rights to be critical of others that offend us in anyway, except for their rights to offend us being now the precedent ! To me it’s sad to see, and will not miss it when I am dead and gone, with my memories of a time and age when we as a Nation had class and the grace to care enough, that it mattered. To a lot of folks, I am an old fart, with old ideas, that are antiquated as compared to the New Modern Societie of 2017. But to me that is were you are wrong, because you allow the Kardashians, Hollywood, Rap and The Liberal Courts, to make the decisions for you, just like you allow cops on kids school campus to hurt your kids, only to be morally outraged after the fact, but by then it’s to late, and now it is you, who has to live with it and suffer the consequence of the dissonance that has persuaded you in the past, to behave yourselves. You have given up your rights to care any more, and to me that is the crime. I hope you enjoy your new found freedoms, to be ruled by thouse who make money off you, and sell you cheap knock-offs, so you can put more faith in your Iphones rather than each other !

  • Zackknowitall

    This law says with intent. I bet he said something after being arrested that will be used against him. I will bet he did not lawyer up.

  • Harry Skip Robinson

    Amazing, when government starts to ignore the constitution, ignorant fascist old ladies like this, who blame the socio-economic decline of our society on their moral values instead of on their participation in a corrupt system. Moral arrogance. Many of these same types have contributed to the economic and subsequent moral bankruptcy by working for the government. They don’t understand the fish rots from the head down principle.

  • patriot156

    Liberal snowflake women or conservative snowflake women?
    Dumb either way.
    While one might should respect the elderly if they haven’t heard F you or some other cuss word then it’s about time.