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Showing results for tags 'freedom of speech'.
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Time to talk about this again. A 17 year old girl has been arrested in relation to comments she made on Facebook about a 15 year old boy who died suddenly. BBC I believe that police interference in our lives should only happen when absolutely necessary; to protect people from violence, theft, and other very serious crimes. Arresting someone means using violence against them, and this should only occur in grave circumstances. In the conservative political atmosphere that prevails in the UK and over here, criminalisation has become an over-used tool for social engineering. Want to make people less racist? Make saying racist things illegal. Want to promote social cohesion and harmony? Make saying offensive things illegal. It is a tool which is used far too casually, and far too frequently without considering what it entails. It is firstly the use of force against innocent people (as they must be considered until they have been proven otherwise), the psychological distress of being subject to this process, and the host of other restrictions and sanctions that arrest and criminalisation often mean. The law has long strayed over the bounds in which it ought to operate. It ought to have very limited interference in speech and expression, if any at all. It may be argued that offending someone, or causing them distress or alarm, are forms of violence, and I would agree with this, but physical violence is a much more serious form, and its use by the state against innocent civilians should be used sparingly and only when most necessary; furthermore its use must by proportionate to the crime. In cases such as this one, the response of the law is not in reasonable proportion to the supposed crime. The girl's comments may have been hurtful, offensive, distressing to someone (equally, they may not have been, and it may be that someone has just decided that they could be) but this does not justify the use of force and the power of the law against her. She, and everyone else, ought to be able to speak their mind, no matter how much offense this may cause, without fear of reprisal from an overbearing state that thinks the way to create a compliant, prosperous, and peaceful society (such are their ends) is to use repressive laws as a form of social engineering. Do you think the actions of the state in this case are justified? Why?