Well written and well thought out.
John Mattson

The “Fire in a Crowded Theater” standard comes from a case where someone was distributing anti-war pamphlets. “Distributing anti-war pamphlets when the government thinks we should be at war” is not something I want to prevent.

Additionally, “Incitement to Riot” is only illegal in a direct, specific DEMAND for a riot. You must be actually telling people, in a non-metaphorical sense, to commit immediate acts of violence. If you are speaking in a non-metaphorical sense, then yes. But you must, again, be telling people that you want them to do something, RIGHT NOW. Simply saying and doing things that will likely LEAD to a riot is not illegal. “This society needs to be destroyed! This city needs to burn! BURN IT TO THE GROUND!” would only be a crime if the people present believe themselves to be subordinate to you, and will interpret it as a command. Not if they respect you and are just whipped up into a frenzy.

Encouraging someone to commit a crime is, again, illegal only in the case of specific crimes. Not in the case of general encouragement that committing a crime would be a good thing in a situation, but in the case of telling someone about a crime that you think they should commit right now.

So, for example: Alice is best friends with Bob. Bob has just fallen deep into debt to an illegal gambling crime boss. Bob tells Alice that he knows where his boss’s safe is, and he thinks he can access it. Alice tells Bob that he should go do that, then.

Alice has committed a crime, because she thinks Bob is going to do it, and has told him to do it.

Alternate Example: The same situation. Alice’s best friend, Bob, is in debt to an illegal gambling organization. Bob tells her he doesn’t know what to do, but he knows where his boss’s safe is, and thinks he can get the money. Alice tells him that she would never judge him for stealing in a situation like this, since his boss can take the hit, and he needs it. She says that her interpretation is that inaction is action, and that if the boss wouldn’t give Bob the money himself, that’s as good as killing him, so she sees it as self-defense.

Alice has not committed a crime there. Even though this seems pretty encouraging to me, she hasn’t told him he SHOULD do it, only that she thinks it would be okay IF he did it. The conversation was only about what Alice THINKS about committing that crime, not her telling him what to do.

When you’re talking about US LAWS about Free Speech, you should realize that none of the speakers on campus who have been blocked by student protests were EVER going to break those.

Like what you read? Give Tobias Hawke a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.