Hate speech shouldn’t be free speech


Kelly Snawerdt

Protestors show their opinion on hate speech at the Quad Cities ‘No Hate’ rally.

Kate Kealey, Editor in Chief

The First Amendment is the right to free speech. However due to recent activity, this amendment is being challenged. On Aug. 12, 2017 a riot broke out in Charlottesville, Virginia that started a large controversy over what types of speech the First Amendment protects.

At the riot there were people representing the KKK and neo-Nazi’s. Many of these people were armed with guns or were carrying wielded torches claiming their First Amendment right. During this rally 19 protesters were injured and one was killed along with two Virginia State Patrol Troopers that were killed in a helicopter crash.

After the protest turned into a riot and people were getting hurt, this issue was no longer a matter of free speech.

This riot clearly displayed hate speech which does not and should not apply to The First Amendment. When words and actions affect someone else’s safety, they should no longer be able to be protected under the First Amendment.

On Aug. 16 a protest against hate speech was held at Vander Veer Park and 86-year-old Davenport citizen Ella Ehrecke came to voice her opinion on free speech vs. hate speech.

“We need people to realize they are lucky to be here in our country and that we do not have to fight for our freedom. If you spout hatred, it’s not a proper use of our freedom of speech,” Ehrecke said.

Free speech is very important for writers, journalists and citizens. It is something for people to be grateful for and not use against each other. The protesters from the Charlottesville riot have just as much of a right to voice their opinions as the protesters at the ‘No Hate’ rally.

The issue is the fact that the people from Charlottesville came armed and were involved violence in their message. What started as a simple protest quickly escalated to a symbol of hate.

The protest became a matter of expressing opinion through violence, not speech. This is not, nor ever should be, a constitutional right. No matter how controversial a topic is, hate speech should never be equal to free speech.