I’ve not written about it because there has been more than enough coverage (for anyone unfamiliar with it Borepatch has a post up that outlines it pretty well here). I will say this, however – given the reading I’ve been doing the last few days on protected speech and the SCt rulings with regards to what constitutes ‘theatening speech’ or ‘inciting violence’ (I recommend a look at Eugene Volokh’s summary), nothing Travis wrote can be considered to be directly threatening or intended to incite violence.
Do I agree with what he has written at times? Nope. He’s on the fringy edge of us anti-authoritarian small government types and his rhetoric sometimes crosses the line of offensiveness.
Does that mean he should be punished for it? Hell no. The point of the First Amendment is to protect speech that causes no demonstrable harm; ESPECIALLY speech critical of our government (read the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers and Constitutiomnal Convention Debates, it’s pretty clear).
This action by the Arlington PD is a capricious abuse of an Unconstitutional (IMO) administrative authority rooted in a vaguely worded and unevenly applied law. Exactly the sort of thing I despise abut most levels of government today – the endless proliferation of rules with little or no necessity for their enactment (and at the Federal level, darned little Constitutional authority – the Commerce and Necessary and Proper clauses have been viciously abused by Congress and overly broadly interpreted by the judiciary). It is apalling.
Do I agree with what Travis said? No. Will I defend his right to say what he said? Yes.
I defended years of ‘Kill George Bush’ signs, Sarah Palin being hung in effigy and groups like Code Pink and Cindy Sheehan reviling our military as their right to free speech. This is no different.