Letter to the Editor: Free Speech is for everybody

I had never heard it said that free speech included shouting other speakers down. This is the opposite of free speech. It is mob rule.
What happened to the old definition of such speech as, “I may not agree with what you say but I will defend with my life your right to say it.”
It reminds me of mobs breaking glass and shouting down people as encouraged by Nazi SS. Years ago a member of George W. Bush team came to Middlebury College to speak. Those who didn’t like Bush or what he did marched around campus and town in protest, but didn’t stop him from his right to speak.
I have heard different stories about the event and some said that the College upset people by not expecting dissent and making it hard for dissent to be heard. And they thought that was a reason to get violent. No. There is no excuse for violence. This includes shouting others down and includes physical violence to anyone in the area including an escort to a speaker (who may not have even agreed with the speaker).
Some think the words of Trump encourage violence. Whatever his words, they are not an excuse to threaten our quality of civilization.
Let us think of these events carefully and stop this slipping downhill. We have enough to do to fight with Trump and his hero, Ayn Rand.
Peter Grant

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