Freedom of Speech Includes Responsibility
Lindalulu wrote an article titled “Stumbling In Bad Taste” on March 26, 2009 concerning her having come across a website (quite by accident) that seemed very disrespectful and demeaning to our men and women in the Armed Services. Her words made me think of how so many people take our freedom of speech for granted to the point of not caring who gets hurt!
Mark at Stumble.com said it best: “we all have a little bit of ‘voyerism’ in us”.
That’s why we’ll slow down and ‘rubberneck’ while passing ambulances and policecars at traffic accidents…or glance over at a lighted window with its’ shade up after the sun has gone down…or watch out of the corners of our eyes as two people argue on a street corner.
It’s also one of the reasons why we surf the internet even when we’re not looking for anything specific.
We have a deep-seated need to watch what is going on around us… (survival instinct)… and to learn about things that are “interesting”, “scary”, “informative”, and even “horrific”… (curiosity)… until we reach our own personal limit of just how much horror we can stand at any one time: then we temporarily stop pumping it into our brains. Mind you, I said “temporarily”.
Horror…this is such a money-maker that I don’t know where to start! Carnival rides, circus acts, Nascar races, Steeplechases, Halloween, hockey games, television shows, movies, and computer games: the list goes on and on.
Let’s face it. People love to be scared and repulsed by horror movies with all their blood, guts, and gore. The popularity of “Saw”, “Saw2″, “Saw3″, “Saw4″, and “Saw5″ definitely help to prove this point…and most games made for handheld players and computers definitely shed more ‘blood’ in one game than what most Emergency Rooms see in a year…or even in five!!
But here is where the fun ends because, up to now, everyone experiencing the gory movies, games, and thrill-seeking events made a choice to be exposed to it by buying a ticket, a game cartridge, or a DVD. Basically, they knew ahead of time that they were going to experience something ‘terrible’!
Now for the problem: because of these movies and games, we have become a society that ’sees’ more blood and gore in one day than most people ever saw in their lifetime during the past 300 years of our country’s existance. And the more gore we see, the more we are desensitized to the horror of it.
When people are desensitized to something, they cease to see the wrongness of POSTING things Like REAL WAR PICTURES on web sites where unwary viewers can ’stumble upon’ them quite by accident…and with no preceeding warning given saying that the viewer is about to enter a web page where terrible sights of beloved sons, daughters, husbands, mothers, brothers, fathers, and others who have been torn apart by bombs will now be observed by these viewers and probably fill their minds for the rest of their lives!
Okay…many of our men and women have fought and died so that freedom can expand across the globe, and people of all colors and creeds can have the right to speak their minds without fear of further persecution and incarceration. This is called Freedom of Speech and it’s something that almost all americans would be willing to die for before ever giving it up…unfortunately, freedom of speech also means that a desensitized…or cruel…or mentally ill person can post pictures on a web site that the majority of us would choose to not post.
However, with freedom comes responsibility!
If a web site such as StumbleUpon allows people to post articles, pictures, ideas, and blogs on it, then SU…or any other site such as Triond, Digg, Twitter, etc…should be monitoring for obscene and/or objectionable material! War pictures are not obscene in a pornographic way but to the families of these men and women of the armed forces who worry and pray every day for the safe return of their loved ones, these pictures are worse than pornography and should not be accessable by accident!!
Enjoy your freedom of speech but have the courtesy to place a warning page ahead of the picture page so that viewers will know that if they continue on to the next page, they are going to witness actual war scenes of death and destruction. Manage your sites responsibly!