Hi. maple_shaft. Yes, it’s me. :) I get to kick off my heels a bit more here than on Stack Exchange.
Good point about slander. To be clear, “free speech” is primarily about the government not interfering in people’s freedom of expression. If you own a Starbucks, you can throw anyone out of your establishment for any reason, including “because you’re an ass.”
And criminal behavior is still criminal, regardless of your speech patterns.