Free speech (if you say something I like)

Salon: Killing the Messenger. Consider William Harvey: arrested for peacefully carrying a sign and handing out leaflets in New York City. Okay, so his message was that the US brought 9/11 on itself with its handling of relations with Islamic countries, and he was bringing it within a few blocks of Ground Zero.

Naturally there was a crowd and it got ugly. Harvey was arrested for disorderly conduct, although his conduct was apparently pretty calm. Harvey filed a motion to dismiss, which was struck down in mid-February. The judge doing so, Judge Neil Ross of the Criminal Court of the City of New York, argued that disorderly conduct could be charged given “the reaction which speech engenders, not the content of the speech.”

Thanks, judge, for giving the crowd the power to criminalize my speech. I thought protection from that was what the First Amendment was about.