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What happened to free speech?

Even before the dreadful events of 911, more and more authority figures have been turning expressed FEELINGS into alleged threats!

Thought Police Arrive in United States!
Be careful what you think and write; civll courts interpret "thoughts" as deedsAs predicted by such novels as "Brave New World" and "1984," the thought police have arrived! Violence raging from within schools and communities had prompted condemnation of mere "thoughts." The messages: Don't mess with bombs, don't mess with guns, and don't mess with expressing your non-politically correct feelings and emotions!
For instance, in California, an imaginative "what's in the news" assigned essay resulted in the suspension of a young writer. Why? He chose to pen a fictional scenario of how his own school would respond to a cafeteria rampage.
In West Virginia, outraged parents verbally pummeled a principal who disregarded a middle schoolers "threat" upon a vice principal. The Special Education pupil did not threaten to KILL anyone, it was more like, "I'm going to do it my way no matter what you say." This act of verbal rebellion and juvenile insubordination frightened the female vice principal who called it a "threat."
Who has not had a violent thought? Gavin DeBecker, author of "The Gift of Fear" and an expert on threat assessment for heads of estate said, "words that alarm" seldom nead to "actions that harms." Most threats are manipulative forms of intimidation (i.e. if you don't do blank, I'll blank....). A contexual analysis determines the probability that a "thought" will become real.
Nevertheless, expressing frustration which physicians claim help relieve stress has become a criminal act comparable to shouting FIRE in a crowded auditorium. A shrink's couch provides no sanctuary. Notes may be subpoeneaed and released in WV by a verbal court order without the judge even dismissing their probable contents with the head doctor. Whitewater Prosecutor Kenneth Starr has invited the Supreme Court to rule that certain discussions between attorneys and their clients may be revealed based on a thin allegation of "relevancy" to an investigation. For now, only conversion to Catholicism assures that "getting it off your chest" will not lead to criminal charges or civil charges.
However, the definition of a "threat" has evolved into the one popularized by the women's movement. Fear becomes sonorous with behavior that arouses undesired emotions. The origins of this definition arouse from threats of physical abuse. By broadening the definition to include emotional reactions of another, legal recourse fails to recognize that discomfort varies from person to person. Regulation of non-politically correct comments (conceivably just plain ole' foot in mouth disease!) evaporates First Amendment protection and endangers our basic freedoms.
Thus, after a string of copycat school shootings, feelings, thoughts, and verbal expressions of anger immediately translate into hysterical fears. Obviously , the Bible warns that God knows our every thought and may punish those for impure ones, such as lust, envy , and jealousy, unless covered by the blood of forgiveness. However, the legal system, until now, has concerned itself with penalities for ACTIONS, not impure thoughts or the expression thereof in relavitely obscure settings.
Ironically, the personal independence movement has assisted (along with guns, drugs, and explosives) in society's deterioration. In the quest for "having it all" and "finding myself," children and adults have no support groups, no dependable friends, little parental supervision, and no safe ears into which they may vent. The rally cry of the independence movement equates neediness with weakness. If you can't solve you own problems, then you are unworthy to be a member of a group in the New Society. By branding someone in need of tender loving care with a scarlet letter, they are left to their own demons of inadequacy.
Oddly, this bizarre approach to relationships dominates a society which idolizes sports heroes. We shun overly "needy" girlfriends, boyfriends, neighbors, sons, daughters, husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, and yet where would the quarterback be without the center, the blockers and wide receivers?
Left without any peers or friends, the isolated turn to the only outlet which will not reject them --- at least as long as the cable check doesn't bounce! Entertainment and the evening news tends to glamorize poor role models. The news concentrates on violence, thus those who take control of a situation often have done so through a violent means.
To restore society's sanity, we must reestablish stable friendships and relationships. Instead of wailing for "more space" , we have to be there when someone needs a shoulder, an ear, or even a degree or advocacy and intervention. Not everyone can make either giant steps or baby steps on their own. Not everyone has the benefit of a media celebrity or a talk show confrontation to gain an "opportunity" to change their lives.
Reconnecting with team work and coupling results in the achievement of greater dreams and goals than one person could accomplish. It's an old principle--- God said that man was not meant to be totally alone. He took a rib from Adam and made Eve. Jesus himself proclaimed that we should "love one another."
Society has been loving itself too much and overlooking everyone else!
Tony Rutherford

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