Three British Teenagers Arrested For Mocking Floyd Death

England flagI have written for years on the crackdown on free speech in FranceGermany, and England though hate speech laws and speech regulations. As many on this blog know, I am unabashedly against limits on free speech and have opposed most public and private forms of censorship for decades.  This often means that, like everyone in the free speech community, I find myself opposing actions against some of the most obnoxious, juvenile, or hateful people in our society.  That is the case with this story.  Three British teenagers have been arrested for a Snapchat video mocking the death of George Floyd.  It was a deeply offensive and stupid act, but the question remains whether society is criminalizing a wider and wider scope of speech.

The teenagers posted the mocking Snapchat video the horrific death of Floyd, who had a knee pressed on his neck as he begged to breathe. It is a scene that still horrifies most of us. Yet, these three idiots took to Snapchat to make fun of the tragedy.

They have received death threats over the posting and outrage grew as the pictures were shared on social media.

We recently discussed how jokes are increasingly viewed as hate speech on campuses.  We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in Europe (here and here and here and here and here and here and here ,and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). We have seen comedians targeted with such court orders under this expanding and worrisome trend. (here and here and here).

This obviously is neither funny nor even comedic satire.  It is horrible.  However, the solution to such bad speech is more speech.  We denounce the students for their lack of empathy or humanity in mocking such a tragedy.  Yet, England has been plunging deeper and deeper into speech controls (here and here and here and here and here and, here and here and here and here and here).

Arresting stupid teenagers for tasteless Shapchat parodies creates a chilling effect for all forms of speech. The question is what crossed the line between from the merely tasteless to the outright criminal. It is a highly subjective standard on what jokes trigger the criminal code.  As I previously discussed, France bars incitement to racial discrimination, hatred, or violence on basis of race, origin, ethic group, religion or national identity. That includes such statements in private communications. In the United Kingdom, you can be arrested for language deemed “threatening, abusive, insulting” or “likely to cause[] harassment, alarm, or distress.”

The impact of these laws was evident in a recent poll of German citizens. Only 18% of Germans feel free to express their opinions in public. 59% of Germans did not even feel free expressing themselves in private among friends. And just 17% felt free to express themselves on the Internet.

225px-BrandeislThat is what a “chilling effect” means.  It silences large numbers of people who fear that they could be the next subject of a criminal charge.  I will repeat again the words of Louis Brandeis in his concurring opinion in Whitney v. California (1927) when he declared “If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the process of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.”

55 thoughts on “Three British Teenagers Arrested For Mocking Floyd Death”

  1. Great Britain risks precisely the kind of disorder it ostensibly wants to prevent by unleashing Hobbes’ “Leviathan” – the mailed fist of the State – on three foolish and inconsiderate teenagers. The British won’t be cowed by this – they will simply be more careful and persist in just such behavior an over-reaching State wants to abolish. The result will be more pervasive bigotry, and since over-policing hasn’t succeeded in eliminating crime, it’s possible that future bigotry will be conducted with both more caution and more violence.

  2. That one holds communist (liberal, progressive, socialist, democrat, RINO) views does not amend or, otherwise, nullify the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

    Americans enjoy the freedom to speak what Everyman, the King, the General Secretary, et al. do not favor.

  3. Here is my best antifa imitation. Not an antifa member or social justice warrior but will do my best to state an accurate representation of their views on free speech.

    No free speech for nazis.

    A nazi is basically anyone with whom we disagree (i.e. includes anyone with dissident views).

    So their speech is violence, per se.

    Anything we do as a reaction to such is self-defense.

    This self-defense justifies anything we do including destruction to property or an assault on our opponents.

    I am missing anything? I want to be fair and accurately represent their views.

    Unfortunately there are few old style liberals (such as JT) who support a traditional understanding of free speech.

    Here is another issue. I have always wondered why these brave masked ultimate warriors only attack while masked and in mass numbers. Never seem to attack people and properly in areas where people are likely to be armed.

    antonio

  4. George Floyd…came home..
    To his wife and family…
    After choked to death by a Mini Commie.
    The commies took to stealing…
    When he got that empty feeling..
    After serving in the conflict overseas.

  5. I would like to know if in these European countries and others that pass laws restricting speech, whether they view free speech as a right granted by the state (and thus can be regulated) or whether it is an inalienable right of a person (and thus harder to regulate in theory)?

    Either by luck or by design our Const. says “Congress shall pass no law…”. That makes it clear that the fed govt cannot restrict speech. It is an inalienable right and not a right granted by the govt to the people. The idea being that had our Const been written in a manner that free speech was a right granted to the people by the government, then it would be a right that the govt could regulate it. In Europe how is the right to free speech treated? Is it a right granted by the govt or is it considered an inalienable right? In other words do other countries have what we have—a clear statement that the govt “shall pass no law…”. It seems that but for the words, “Congress shall pas no law…” the US would have many laws regulating speech. Any thoughts?

    Hamilton and Madison were against the idea of a Bill of Rights bc they believed persons had these rights without question and that if we started listing rights and left something out it meant the people did not have that right. They believed that people would stick to the intended notion that the federal govt only has the limited power specifically set forth in the Const. Today if there is a problem, Americans think govt “should do something.” Hamilton and Madison did not think that would ever be the mindset of a majority of a free people. Hamilton and Madison were certainly wrong on the Bill of Rights Issue. Thankfully they lost that argument.

    1. George Mason (a Virginian already protected by a Bill of Rights at home) had his friends and political allies hold ratification of the Constitution up until it was amended to include a Bill of Rights. The Framers mare sure to underline Madison’s point in the Ninth and Tehth Amendments – to assure the people that the new Federal Government had a strictly circumscribed set of powers. Unfortunately, that’s gone by the wayside, largely.

    2. Logical fallacy….rights are not granted by government, only privileges are (by definition). The natural rights, supported by English common law cannot be legitimately dispensed with by government…which is why such concepts as making “hate speech” illegal has no legitimacy in a country that claims to support individual liberty. None of the governments at any level in western countries, by the way, supports any policy other than the enslavement of its citizens. The velvet glove over the iron fist is simply being removed…..and in the U.S. the Democrats and Republicans differ not one whit in principle.

  6. British teenagers? That’s JT in his MO of deflecting of what’s going on in the real world. Keeping his base in the bubble. Never mind on what’s happening here.

  7. Stop the presses!!! Breaking news!!!! BOLO!!!!

    BLM is planning to organize riots in 200+ cities, torch black homes, vandalize black owned businesses and kick, beat, slash blacks in black communities to call attention to the true black pandemic within Black America: other blacks.

    https://www.baltimoresun.com/opinion/op-ed/bs-ed-op-0406-black-crime-20200403-lyiri4nzuvbuxks6i2h6mhirtq-story.html

    “Homicide is a ‘devastating plague’ on black communities, and it is time we stop ignoring it”

    “The reality is that homicides in major cities including Baltimore are not race neutral. Of the more than three hundred people killed in the streets of Baltimore last year, just about all of them were African Americans. The shooters (killers) were most likely black as well. This is a devastating plague acutely affecting black communities across the country.

    We must realize that some black people are a much greater threat to other black people than the Ku Klux Klan or the White Citizens’ Councils. The number of blacks gunned down in the streets by other blacks parallels our memories of the many blacks lynched in communities across the United States after Reconstruction. This is a devastating plague acutely affecting black communities across the country.

    The killings continue even as the country faces a coronavirus pandemic that prompted the governor to place the state on a stay-at-home lockdown. No one is to go out unless it is for essentials such as groceries and prescription medications. The killings don’t stop. Again it is mostly black victims.

    And while some people don’t want to admit it, the aggressive law enforcement tactics that some declare overbearing have worked in reducing crime.”

  8. Meanwhile, U.S. police have been attacking journalists around the country: niemanlab.org/2020/06/well-try-to-help-you-follow-the-police-attacks-on-journalists-across-the-country/

    “Australia is investigating a US police attack on two Australian television journalists outside the White House, the foreign minister said on Tuesday (June 2), expressing “strong concerns” about the assault that was caught live on camera.”
    straitstimes.com/asia/australianz/australia-probes-us-police-assault-on-its-journalists

    Maybe Mr. Turley should be concerned about these U.S. attacks on our First Amendment. Trump should be calling on police to deescalate their own violence, but he isn’t going to. Trump gets off on it.

    And our President allowed the use of teargas and flash-bang munitions on peaceful protestors, reporters, and clergy in Lafayette Park in DC, using church property and a bible as a prop to produce a propaganda video:
    “The Episcopal bishop of DC – who oversees the DC church Trump just stopped at – tells the @washingtonpost she is ‘outraged’ and that neither she nor the rector was asked or told… ‘that they would be clearing with tear gas so they could use one of our churches as a prop, holding a bible, one that declares that God is love and when everything he has said and done is to enflame violence. I am beyond. We need moral leadership and he’s done everything to divide us and has just used one of the most sacred symbols of the Judeo-Christian tradition. We so disassociate ourselves from the messages of this president. We hold the teachings of our sacred texts to be so so grounding to our lives and everything we do and it is about love of neighbor and sacrificial love and justice.’ @Mebudde Bishop Mariann Budde ”
    twitter.com/mboorstein/status/1267607428293636096

    Trump is a sick man. May he be routed overwhelmingly on Nov. 3 and indicted for his crimes once out of office.

      1. Gina Gerbasi is a feminazi who runs a womyns agitprop coven. Her wearing a roman collar makes her no more a cleric than dressing a pig in a silk dress with lipstick – no offense to swine all across the planet

        https://stjohnsgeorgetown.org/clergy-staff-and-leadership/

        “Gini Gerbasi is a graduate of the Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington (with coursework in Anglican Studies at the Virginia Theological Seminary). She is also a graduate of both the Undergraduate and Law School at the College of William and Mary. In her previous life, she worked in public policy relating to poverty and hunger, and as a criminal defense attorney. She was ordained in 2007, and served as Associate Rector at Christ Church in Kensington, Maryland, before moving to St. John’s Lafayette Square in 2012. Gini joined us as our Rector in June of 2014.

        dw_facilitatorseal-2Gini is a certified Daring Way Facilitator. Daring Way is based on the Research of Brené Brown, which explores topics such as vulnerability, courage, shame, and worthiness. Daring Way is a deeply theological approach to life that invites us, as Paul does, to recognize that in accepting our vulnerabilities we can be strong and courageous (2 Corinthians 12:10). In being real with one another, we can be truly free to love God, one another, and ourselves.”

        People might want to give her some feedback

        THE REV. GINI GERBASI, RECTOR

        202-338-1796 ext. 203

        Email: gini@stjohnsgeorgetown.org

    1. “May he be routed overwhelmingly on Nov. 3”

      Your side has lost control of the narrative. Americans are more outraged today than in 2016 when the collective pushed Hillary onto the nation, and they trounced the DNC, the MSM and buried all of their precious polls. These riots have re-elected Trump and assured the US Courts will be jammed with more Federalist leaning Judges than these past 3 years

      Had your side committed to honest discussion they would not be repeating today what they did 3 years ago.

      well done!

    2. ““The Episcopal bishop of DC – who oversees the DC church Trump just stopped at – tells the @washingtonpost”

      you apparently did not receive the memo: Episcopalians broke with Christianity decades ago. That this woman is colluding with @washingtonp… confirms that

      but hey, free speech for all even for break away heretics

    3. Aren’t you glad you live in a country where you can say that and not worry about violating restrictions on free speech?

  9. “If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the process of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.”

    These are big “if’s” nowadays. With the instantaneous speed of the internet, there is no time to expose Trump falsehood and fallacies nor educate his followers who refuse to be “lectured.” Thus, the remedy of more speech is an illusion.

    1. Sod off you patronizing twit!

      The ones who are refusing to be lectured to are the bunch of snowflakes and zombies on YOUR side of the political spectrum – Democrats! It ain’t us Trump followers who are chasing speakers off campuses. It is YOU and YOURS!

      Liar!

      Squeeky Fromm
      Girl Reporter

      1. LOL. The conservatives here regularly tell the liberals to leave because you don’t want to be confronted by opinions you disagree with and by facts that undermine your arguments.

        An honest person would have no problem acknowledging the truth, which is that some people throughout the political spectrum are comfortable dealing with ideas they disagree with, and other people throughout the political spectrum are not.

        1. Committ – according to Tim Pool the right is more likely to read material from both sides while the left lives in a bubble.

              1. LOL at the irony of your evidenceless claim that someone else “back[s] up his stuff.”

    2. No, the remedy of more speech is not an illusion.
      It is an imperfect solution, but there’s nothing new about that.
      Speech has always failed to convince everyone. Flat-earthers, people who reject evolution, … still exist, in spite of plenty of speech addressing their false beliefs.

      1. If the remedy of more speech is not an illusion, it surely is wishful thinking. As you say, some people will refuse to believe what they don’t want to know. History unfortunately evidences that only a blood-letting will make the obdurate come to their senses.

    3. Hey Jeff. If you guys want to end the first amendment, that might just benefit the normal people of America in the long run. the Democratic billionaires who run Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and all the major newspapers will have their rackets hurt badly, but it’s a deal we are willing to consider.

      Be careful what you wish for!

      1. Anonymous – over 300 rioters have been arrested in Phoenix and 12 or 13 in Scottsdale. However, the Scottsdale number is going to jump as there was a lot of idiots putting it on social media and outing each other.

  10. And this is why we had a revolution – Freedom, the freedom to be as dumb or offensive as we want without government interference. The slippery slope we are on began with the heinous hate speech legislation which should have been vetoed and/or rejected by the supreme court.

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