The Price of Freedom

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Q: My daughter was killed in the line of duty.  On the day of the funeral, strangers picketed on nearby public land, carrying signs that said “God Hates the USA” and “Thank God for Dead Soldiers.”  The picketers complied with police instructions in staging their demonstration.

Several buildings separated the picket site from the church.  Still, I could see the tops of the picket signs as I drove to the funeral.  Later that night, while watching a news broadcast, I saw what those signs said.

A: You are not a public figure.  You are simply a grieving parent.  You wanted what is surely the right of any parent who experiences such an incalculable loss – to bury your daughter in peace – but these picketers deprived you of that elementary right.

One could argue that they turned your daughter’s funeral into a tumultuous media event.  They approached as closely as they could without trespassing and launched a malevolent verbal attack on your daughter and your family at a time of acute emotional vulnerability.  As a result, you suffered severe and lasting emotional injury.

Nevertheless, no exception is carved, even in your case, to our profound national commitment to free and open debate.  Call it the price of freedom, but the law is settled that the First Amendment is deemed to protect the picketers in having acted as they did.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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