Argumentive Essay Essay Research Paper

Argumentive Essay Essay, Research Paper

“Are you ready brothers and sisters? Are you really ready? To do this

for Jezzzzz-usssssss? Then fulfill your promise to the master. Help rub

the devil out. For we can no longer tolerate these dirty adulterous

books. Meet me at the Jordan river, and let the fires of hell burn these

sinners and their evil books” (Tubman). Jimmy Lee Tubman said these

words at a revival back in 1978. While many will argue that Tubman had

the right to criticize book publishers and writers, few could have

anticipated that this speech would be a prelude to a riot in Bean

Blossom Indiana which left one dead and thirty five injured. Jimmy Lee

Tubman had in fact crossed the boundaries of free speech and entered

into the land of agitators.

Tubman was never tried for inciting the Bean Blossom Burnings. Tubman

argued that he had simply exercised his freedom of speech. Freedom of

speech. The first amendment. This is the right which separates America

from so many other countries. I believe freedom of speech is a right

which should be defended but also be more clearly defined. The

boundaries of freedom of speech should be set. Freedom of speech may be

exercised only until it interferes or infringes on the rights of others

In the case of Paul Robert Cohen vs. the State of California, the United

States Defined free speech as freedom of expression. (Barnet and Bedau

235). This means that individual are at liberty to express thoughts

clearly as long as conduct does not incite violence. The problem here

lies in interpreting what incites violence. The state of California

argued that Cohen’s jacket, which contained graphic anti-Vietnam

sentiments, was designed to motivate people to riot. The dissenting

opinion agreed, saying, “Cohen was little speech and mostly

conduct”(Barnet and Bedau 238). How can conduct be directly connected to

speech? I believe that John Stuart Mills may provide a working

definition here. Mills says that freedom ends when it impinges on the

rights of another individual(Barnet and Bedau 211). So then if one read

the epithet on Cohen’s jacket and then went out and participated in

violent protest, then another’s individual rights have been violated.

Perhaps this abstract concept can be better understood with more

concrete and current examples. Research in communication analysis show

that persuasive speeches can move an audience to action using emphatic

appeal (Powell 115). This can result in violence. Consider the case of

Father David Troacher. Troacher is an anti-abortion activist who lives

in Pensacola Florida. Using the will of God and Troacher’s own gift for

oratory, he preaches throughout the south and Midwest even able to hold

his rallies on abortion clinic grounds. He urges his audience to do

whatever they have to sop the murder of unborn children. Since Troacher

began giving his speeches twenty four months ago, there have been three

murders of abortion doctors and workers in Florida and Alabama alone.

Two more have been killed on the east coast(Sommes). I believe Troacher

has overstepped the boundary of free speech. Mills would say he is no

longer at liberty. Freedom of speech in this instance has denied freedom

and even life to individuals.

Paul Hill believed in Troacher’s message. In fact, he believed in it so

strongly that he shot and murdered an abortion clinic doctor and his

driver in 1994. Hill was tried and convicted of first degree murder and

was sentenced to death. Hill is currently using his death sentence as a

persuasive tool. He tells anti abortion activists that his death will be

a symbol of the thousands of “murders” which can be attributed to

abortion each year. Florida law enforcement officials fear that Hill’s

execution and rhetoric will lead to more anti-abortion violence(New York

Times). Father Troacher has even told crowds in Alabama that Hill

doesn’t need God’s forgiveness for the murders. Hill in fact is doing

God’s will. Troacher is using his position as a religions medium to

persuade an audience. An audience which may be motivated to follow the

actions of Hill in the name of God. How much more violence will Troacher

create by exercising his freedom of speech?


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