Free speech is a right established in the Constitution of the United States of America. This is a common defense used by the controversial Westboro Baptist Church, the most famous group of protesters, who can be found at many events- from concerts to funerals.
The question arises, however, how far should the right of free speech extend? I have heard this question posed in many journalism classes. The right comes with risks, but at the same time, there are many opportunities for free speech to be used for good.
Recently, the leader of the Westboro Baptist Church, Fred Phelps, passed away, but it certainly did not stop the followers from protesting at a Lorde concert. However, as they exercised their free speech, there were other exercising theirs.
Counter-protestors were also present, holding signs with messages for the members of the Westboro Baptist Church.
The signs held simple messages, one of the most shared being a plain sign that said simply, “Sorry for your loss.”
This counter-protest got coverage in the New York Daily News, which spread through social media. Without a right of free speech, this chain of events would have never occurred.
Overall, the founding fathers may not have planned on people taking liberties with the right of Free Speech, but in the end, the results seem to be opportunities for great acts of humanity.
By Aimee Cash; Edited by Wahida Ifat