I have to tell you, today has been quite embarrassing to freedom of speech on ATS. For those who do not know what I am talking about, this is in
reference to the thread regarding the death of Tony Snow, here
Since it is now serving as an example of how not to exercise your freedom of speech for fear of having your post removed, being handed a warning or
being banned, I see no problem with posting the link to allow others the opportunity to actually form their own opinion of what happened rather than
come to the conclusion those who run this web site want them to come to.
I want some informed moderator or ATS owner to please answer this very simple question for me: Is ATS an arena for freedom of speech?
I am going to go by what I have heard in the past and assume those who said so were telling the truth and say that it is, in fact, an arena for
freedom of speech.
Does freedom of speech have limitations on it that I am not aware of? Does freedom of speech only apply when it isn't "classless" or "politically
incorrect"? Does anything considered "fringe" and "insensitive" need to be immediately censored and forced in to submission to conform to the
popular line of thinking?
I realize that there are things you just cannot say. You can't threaten people's lives. You can't threaten violence. You can't support violent
criminal or terroristic activity. These are things well established as limitations to freedom of speech. I happen to agree with these being
limitations as they imply a direct threat to another human being.
But outside of that, as far as I am concerned, it is fair game.
Expressing your opinion about the death of an individual is not a threat against a human being. Expressing your opinion about the death of an
individual, last time I checked, was not against the T&C of this web site. Yet it is being repeated by moderators time and time again to use class, to
use decorum, to not "make ATS look bad".
You know what? I can't speak for anyone else on ATS, but I can speak for me. I'm not here to make ATS look good. I'm not here to please your
investors. I'm not here to look good for your advertisements. I'm not here to make everyone feel warm and fuzzy inside with my posts.
I am here to express my opinion, no matter how much it may displease any of you, on topics that come up here. I am not going to avoid controversial
topics or controversial responses. I am not going to be politically correct. I am not going to lie or avoid posting altogether because it displeases
people. I am not going to be anything but as direct and honest as possible, within the T&C, as I can be.
I have been here over a year and have received one warning. I stay within the T&C. I respect the rules of the web site. I appreciate and am grateful
that a site like this exists. But I am not going to avoid giving my opinion simply because some people do not like what they read. I am not going to
be quiet because some unwritten rule of class is being enforced.
It needs to be made clear now: Is ATS an arena for freedom of speech or not?
If it is, then in my opinion, no matter how classless or insensitive a post is, it should not be warned, removed or be subjected to moderator
intimidation. Obviously, as I said, there are exceptions, such as discrimination of any kind, threats, violence, crime & terrorism, and things of this
nature. But giving an honest reaction to the death of a man you honestly perceive as a criminal and not worthy of your respect or mourning does not
fall under any of these categories.
If ATS is not the arena for freedom of speech that most of us believed it to be, let everyone know now and save us the suspense and the drama.
I fully expect this matter to generally ignored and possibly suppressed, so prove me wrong.