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2011s Edition of Free Speech

The Washington state Supreme Court has struck down a Snohomish County car honking ban as an intrusion on free speech rights.

The court ruled 6-3 Thursday to overturn the conviction of an Arlington woman for honking her car horn in front of her neighbor’s home at 6 a.m. The woman was upset after learning that the neighbor had complained about her chickens.

Justice Debra Stephens wrote for the majority that Snohomish County’s law prohibits all honking except for purposes of public safety or as part of sanctioned parades or public events. She says that would bar drivers from honking in support of American troops or to celebrate a wedding.

She says a law that prohibits honking to annoy or harass someone likely would be OK.

Dare we even bring up what the Founder’s would think, or have done? Perhaps we should look at another couple of cases so we can get our bearings straight and prepare for debate. Although pending judicial review in either a lower court or in the Supreme Court of the United States, cases that deal with lying are being heard; as well as those cases dealing with talking discrimination.

Without going into a treatise or sharing any mega-notions with you let me first share what my version of Freedom of Speech literally means to me. I believe that when the Framer’s were actually sitting and debating, even to the point of choosing what words would be included – it wasn’t a matter of one either can talk or one can’t talk.

When we look at all provisions that constitute this phrase, “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press…” Without question there had to be during that time some pressure that the Framer’s felt either during their present day circumstances, or historically they felt should be addressed first and without haste.

There certainly were social, behavioral, religious, and political considerations that were debated; however, just to take speech into consideration we all should see brings a lot of baggage with it. If we consider what was written – at that time – and look at what “abridging” actually meant it should therefore be an additional guide.

Consequently when we consider the meaning of the word abridging we mean: To shorten, edit, condense, reduce, abbreviate, cut, shorten a text, cutting something short, to reduce in scope or extent; restrict somebody’s rights by trying to deprive of rights and privileges from them.

Actually I believe that it goes far beyond shortening or reducing what someone says. I firmly believe that the III, IV, V, and VI Amendments are in fact relative to freedom of speech. And just as Thomas Jefferson stated: “Rights executed without conscience are useless.”


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