Fire in a theater

From a post made by Big Country, we get this:

The “can’t yell fire in a crowded theater” trope is worn out bullshit. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote what is perhaps the most well-known — yet misquoted and misused — phrase in Supreme Court history: “The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic.”

Whenever a free speech controversy hits, someone will drag this phrase out as proof of limits on the First Amendment before using that limit as an excuse to violate other rights. Holmes’ quote has become a crutch for every censor in America, yet the quote is misunderstood. Those who quote Holmes might want to actually read the case where the phrase originated before using it as their main defense. If they did, they’d realize it was never binding law, and the case it comes from, U.S. v. Schenck, was overturned over 40 years ago.

U.S. v. Schenck had nothing to do with fires, theaters, or false statements. Instead, the Court was deciding whether Charles Schenck, the Secretary of the Socialist Party of America, could be convicted under the Espionage Act for writing and distributing a pamphlet that expressed his opposition to the draft during World War I. The pamphlet did not call for violence. It did not even call for civil disobedience. All it did was express opposition to the draft.

The Court’s description of the pamphlet proves it to be milder than any of the dozens of protests currently going on around this country every day:

It said, “Do not submit to intimidation,” but in form, at least, confined itself to peaceful measures such as a petition for the repeal of the act. The other and later printed side of the sheet was headed “Assert Your Rights.”

The crowded theater remark that everyone remembers was an analogy Holmes made before issuing the court’s holding. He was explaining that the First Amendment is not absolute. It is what lawyers call dictum, a justice’s ancillary opinion that doesn’t directly involve the facts of the case and has no binding authority. In fact, the statement was The actual ruling, that the pamphlet posed a “clear and present danger” to a nation at war, landed Schenk in prison and continued to haunt the court for years to come.

Two similar Supreme Court cases decided later the same year–Debs v. U.S. and Frohwerk v. U.S.–also sent anti-war activists to jail under the Espionage Act for the mildest of government criticism. Together, the three cases did more damage to First Amendment than any other set of cases in the 20th century.

It wasn’t until Brandenburg v. Ohio in 1969 that Schenck and any authority it carried was overturned. There, the Court held that inflammatory speech–and even speech advocating violence by members of the Ku Klux Klan–is protected under the First Amendment, unless the speech is directed to incite or produce imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action. (Note that this is the same reason why Trump can’t be prosecuted for what he said in his speech on January 6)

Today, despite the “crowded theater” quote’s legal irrelevance, advocates of government overreach have not stopped trotting it out as the final word on the lawful limits of the First Amendment. That quote is worse than useless in defining the boundaries of the limits on speech or on government tyranny. When used metaphorically, it can be deployed against any constitutional right. This is intellectually lazy and is outright dishonest.

Like the original case, this statement is being used by a tyrannical government that is using it to violate the rights of people who are on the wrong side of the political debate.

Gulags are here

The people being held due to their arrests stemming from the January 6 incident are being beaten and tortured by guards while in custody, reports Politico.

One Capitol riot defendant, Ryan Samsel, was severely beaten by correctional officers, is now blind in one eye, has a skull fracture, and detached retina. One of the prisoners reports that a guard declared, “I hate all white people and your honky religion.”

One attorney remarked that his client was taken to an area of the jail that was out of sight of security cameras, then beaten by guards. “I have seen Ryan. He has two black eyes to this day, two weeks later. All the skin is ripped off both wrists, which shows the zip ties and how tight they were,” said the attorney.

We continue to edge ever closer to the concentration camp phase, it is unreal.

Executive Actions

Biden claims that tomorrow, he will sign an Executive Order requiring people to undergo a background check when buying a so-called “ghost gun.” I want to know just how that will happen.

Will he declare that an 80% lower is now a firearm? OK, so then a company will make 75% lowers. Are you going to outlaw paperweights? I just don’t see that working out.

Or will he make it illegal to sell a home made firearm? How would this be enforced? Will it work as well as making it illegal to sell unregistered drugs?

Even if he does issue it, any executive order he signs will have to clear the same hurdle as Trump’s bump stock ban. The courts have already ruled that an EO can’t be used to make law.

I guess we find out tomorrow.

CIA insurgency manual

Remember when I told you that the Dems were following the CIA insurgency manual, which lays out that, after the insurgency seizes the reins of government, the show trials of political opponents begin?

Well, here you go:

Matt Gaetz is under investigation for sex with minors.

Despite the Presidential pardon, Steve Bannon is being investigated for state crimes.

Trump himself is under criminal investigation in Georgia, as well as Manhattan and a second Federal one in the Southern District of New York.

They are coming. They are starting at the top, but the communist insurgents will eliminate the competition, including you.

Training is now prohibited

For decades, the left has demanded that people who own guns be required to take classes on safe handling and storage of firearms. Now, if you take that training, they will use it against you.


The left has taken a picture of a group of people at the range to mean that they participated in paramilitary training. Our blogshoot, like any common day at the range, looked a lot like this.

By this standard, I would be screwed.

Women and men?

The President says that there is not one thing that a man can do, that a woman cannot do better. Not one.

So I guess that is why the US Army has made passing their physical fitness test easier, now allowing “planking” because pull ups and leg tucks were too difficult for women.

Watch out for informants

There are those out there who would call the FBI in a heartbeat to earn favor with the fibbies. There are gun laws coming- if you choose not to turn in all of your shit, beware those who would drop a dime on you in order to save their own skins.

It may even be a member of your own family. Be careful what you say, and who is listening when you say it.