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Community View: Freedom of speech in civilized society has boundaries, responsibilities

By Isabelle Rojas

San Diego resident

In the unique country that America is, no freedom is more treasured than the right of free speech. Everyone can openly protest unfair practices and applaud victories. Who can oppose that right?

However, that guarantee does not include the right to scream obscenities in public places, to shout demands at visitors to a public park or to throw rocks that strike others. These dangerous and unacceptable behaviors are observed daily where beachgoers at the Children’s Pool mix peacefully with harbor seals. No seals are being harmed by their human admirers, as noted by city council members at last year’s meeting. …

The Children’s Pool was placed in an enduring trust setting aside this one small manmade beach for the use of children and public recreational purposes. Yet, in the name of free speech, seals-only extremists … in this formerly quiet residential area use an electronic bullhorn to shout demands to “get away from the seals.” In the name of free speech, that group defies the city Municipal Code that requires “First Amendment Sellers” to purchase a permit to use public sidewalk space to distribute information and offer trinkets for sale by donation.

Their constitutionally protected speech includes false statements that “no seals are on the beach because people scare them away” or signs implying the beach is closed. Be careful what you accept as truth. In fact, the warm summer weather causes seals to stay cool on the nearby rocks or in the water feeding on fish during the day. The seals return in the evening. The beach is open to the public year round despite the misinformation offered by the extremists.

On July 4th at Children’s Pool, a 7-year old girl confronted an extremist shouting an obscenity at her mother and said, “Listen, lady, I’m a little kid. You shouldn’t use that kind of language in front of me.”

Freedom of Speech does not include that right.