A better way to speak: vote

[Re: "Road protest: Resistance was futile," March 27, 2003] (http://www.readthehook.com/93240/news-road-protest-resistance-was-futile) Freedom of speech is an interesting American right. It is used and misused by many, always in defense of their own position. One position that seems to get little attention is the relationship between your freedom of speech and your responsibility relative to that speech.

I have a theoretical question about a theoretical incident that could happen because a group decides to use their freedom of speech to disrupt traffic.

An ambulance is traveling south on Route 29 with a heart attack patient on board. They are en route to Martha Jefferson to save this person's life.

At the intersection of Route 29 and Hydraulic Road, a group has decided today is "free speech day." They bring traffic to a complete stop and will not allow anyone to clear the intersection. The ambulance is too far away to have its siren heard. It can't get to another road. This delay brings about the demise of the patient.

The patient would have lived had this group chosen a different way to demonstrate their "freedom of speech." This group indirectly caused the death of this person.

If the ACLU can use their convoluted view of the law to sue gun manufacturers because criminals kill people, surely the ACLU would come to the aid of the unfortunate survivors of the heart attack victim. Shouldn't the survivors be allowed to sue the demonstrators?

The discussion returns to responsibility. If we are responsible for our acts, regardless of the act, then we must be prepared to face the consequences. Freedom of speech is one of the cornerstones of our Republic. But you are not free to scream "fire" in a crowded theater.

The war protesters hide behind the First Amendment. You may be against the war. That's fine. There is a vehicle available to you to get your point across. It's called "the vote."

Don't lie in the street and possibly bring hardship to others. Get off your ass, and vote in the next election.

Michael Burns
Charlottesville
mikeb711@mindspring.com