Alex Jones: Meet the Exception to Free Speech Protections

Some people–even on the left–are claiming Alex Jones should not be “censored”; that it is a matter of principle to let him spout his lunacy. There’s some truth in it *up to a point*–but Jones has passed that point. Screaming “Fire!” as a joke in a crowded theater is NOT protected free speech. That has been established as legal precedent: it is NOT protected. Much of what Jones claims would be a national emergency if it were true–it gives the impression of a national emergency caused by conspirators. Declaring fake emergency situations endangers people on many levels.

Claiming there’s evidence of a vast conspiracy to fake massacres weakens our ability to prevent massacres. It puts police at risk, when they are simply doing their job, as it makes them look like armed conspirators; it endangers families of victims. The families of the children killed at Sandy Hook are suing Jones for defamation because his spreading the falsehood that the children were not killed, that it was all crisis actors, does direct harm to them: first, it causes extreme emotional anguish; second, it puts them at risk: they’ve been stalked and threatened by gun-fanatics; third it’s forced some of them to move, to hide, to lose homes and livelihoods.

It does huge ethical and moral harm to society to yowp a lie that big, that persistently, and in a venue reaching so many people. It increases the risk of violent right-wing terrorism. It’s undermining efforts to prevent the violently mentally ill from getting guns. The damage goes on and on. He is effectively causing people to get trampled when he repeatedly yells fire in a crowded theater.

Jones spread the story about Clinton and others supposedly hiding a pedophile ring in a pizza parlor. This nearly got some people killed and it’s a component of the Qanon fantasy that is sure to spawn violence in time.

Suppose you call 911 emergency and say “armed men are raping children at Joe Smith’s house, here’s the address…” People do that–it’s called SWATing. Is that protected speech? No. You will be arrested for it. What Jones is doing is the same thing. There are limits to free speech. And these falsehoods from Jones are not ordinary speech. They are in a special category. He has to be stopped before more people get hurt.

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