My thoughts on this issue began back at the beginning of July. My local Gannett-run newspaper is attempting to get more “locals” involved and have staffers writing blogs on their site. On July 2, public service editor Doug Schneider posted about a judge ruling in the lower Hudson Valley of New York on freedom of speech and anonymity on message boards. I spent a lot of time thinking about the article involved and what my actual opinion on the matter was.
Today I was reminded of the same anonymity while reading the responses online to an article about a local village and its firefighting union and a contract that the village cannot afford. My concerns in the matter are not towards the contract, the village officials, the firefighting union, or the reporter that covered the most recent meeting. My concerns are that those who are making comments seem to be getting out of hand and I believe a lot of the courage, or in most cases idiocy, they are displaying comes from their anonymity.
No where in the First Amendment is there a guarantee of freedom of any kind of speech. There are some rules. Your freedom of speech should not cause harm to the greater good. This may have been an easy call back when the founding fathers put together the Bill of Rights but I don’t believe it is as easy now. Also, there is no guarantee that you can say whatever you wish about whatever you want without allowing those you affect with your comments to know who to respond to.
In other words, if you have the “balls” to stir the pot, at least put your name on the final dish.