I guess we have today’s what country are we living in again, anyway? article.
What I find scary, though, is that over the last year or two I’ve become extremely conscious of what I say in public. I’ve become aware that an offhanded, sarcastic comment or joke could result in arrest if the wrong person is listening and takes it seriously. I’ve learned that it isn’t about what you mean–it’s about how the folks around you decide to interpret what you say and represent it to others, and people can be really stupid and/or mean.
Remember the news article about the drunk loudmouth who got a Muslim doctor kicked off of a plane leaving Canada because he declared to the flight crew that the doctor had been engaging in “suspicious” behavior? (This “suspicious” behavior was his prayers.) Yeah, the flight crew really has to respond to any charge of suspicious behavior–they don’t have much of a choice. I blame the drunk ass, not them. But if it were me and I suspected this was a drunk loudmouth out to make trouble, I’d say, “okay sir, but we’re going to need you to stay behind and give testimony to the police, too.” Then see if he suddenly decides those prayers weren’t so suspicious after all. And if he does continue to press those charges and it’s determined that he did so just to cause trouble for this guy and the flight crew, then charge him for it as appropriate.
I just never expected that here, in the US, we’d start to become actively afraid of who might be listening when we speak and how what we say might be interpreted. Not just because we might annoy someone or whatever, but because, like the guy in the article above, we might get arrested and hauled off to jail just for calmly expressing an opinion. I’m not one of those people who seems to think that “freedom of speech” means being as loud, obnoxious, and offensive as possible, usually on someone else’s dime and time. But I hold the concept dear.
I truly hope this trend reverses and doesn’t continue in this direction.
Above link found on FARK.