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Where Free Speech Clashes With Society

April 11, 2002

John Balzar, in his April 7 commentary, "The Cussing Canoeist Can't Make a Wrong a Right," made an excellent point about a man in Michigan who got away with yelling profanities around small children: The court maintained Timothy Boomer's 1st Amendment right to swear in a park setting--but it would never tolerate swearing in the courtroom.

I saw a similar 1st Amendment dimension in "Video Game Maker Finds Shock Value" (Business, April 7), about the video game "Grand Theft Auto 3." In this game, a driver picks up a prostitute and later murders her. Take Two Interactive Software and other producers of extremely violent games will also use the 1st Amendment argument against any effort to censor them.

It's depressing to see the free-speech argument used to defend actions that embarrass, humiliate or dehumanize the members of our society who are young and/or economically powerless. They are considered unimportant compared with, say, judges and software game developers.

Karen Muehlberger

Pasadena

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