In response to Amanda and Melissa’s comments on their recent adventures with right-wing’s attack machine, the response has been predictable. When they post examples of death threats leveled against them, the braintrust at protein wisdom writes:
The speech is protected; there is no right, on the other hand, to protection from the fall-out that such speech might provoke.
Errr … no. There is absolutely a right to protection against violence and threats of imminent violence. Consider 18 USC 875
© Whoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication containing … any threat to injure the person of another, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
Which means that when people send emails threatening rape, murder or other violence, they broke the law. If a mob is allowed to beat or threaten anyone who speaks out against them, speech isn’t free.
But Dan Collins is baffled about this. He asks
So, must people who feel compelled not speak out against abortion because some lunatic might grab a rifle and shoot an abortion provider?
No. Must those who support equal rights or access to birth control silence ourselves for fear that Bill Donohue’s allies will silence us with violence?