Misconstruing free speech – #TrumpCup

On November 18, a woman named Sam Montgomery posted this to Twitter:

And when others rightly claimed this is a violation of virtually every health code in existence in the US, she tried to counter by calling her actions “free speech” (including parent tweets to show conversation):

Later, this person claimed to have been fired from Starbucks, and she apparently received enough attention that a reporter contacted her via Twitter to ask about an on-camera interview.

The profile says that she’s “Co-author of Stats Canada: Satire On A National Scale”, meaning she might be a Canadian resident (so obviously not living in Kentucky). She claimed to have worked at the Starbucks in Lexington, KY. And Lexington has several more than just one Starbucks. So which location allegedly previously employed her?

Now the truthfulness of the account of events is not material for discussion. We can discuss the situation as if it is a hypothetical.

Freedom of speech doesn’t mean a right to injure someone else. The old adage is the right to swing your fist ends at someone else’s nose. And spitting in someone else’s cup, or adulterating or modifying their drink in any other fashion, is an injury to them. An example of which is spiking someone’s drink without their knowledge and consent.

Setting aside the risks of communicable illness, spitting on or at someone has never been treated as an exercise of speech, but always as an act of aggression. And any claim to freedom of speech ends when that person exercised aggression toward someone else.

But then there’s the claim of persecution for beliefs by being fired for threatening to spit in customers’ cups. Again, spitting is an act of aggression. So you cannot claim persecution for the consequences of threatening aggression on someone. Especially if what preceded the threat is a genuine act of speech — regardless of what you might think, #TrumpCup is an exercise of free speech.

Let’s say a minority individual were to threaten me in a public place to put me into the emergency room (or worse) for what I say publicly. And in response, I pull my legal concealed pistol in response, regardless of whether I open fire. The person who threatened me cannot then claim persecution, since a threat of aggression is not speech, and any threat of aggression can be met with a threat of reasonable aggression in return.

After all, the anti-Trump protesters arrested in Portland, OR, aren’t claiming to be political prisoners. And to claim as an act of free speech threatening to or actually spitting in someone’s #TrumpCup, and to then claim persecution when fired for threatening such on social media, would also mean the Portland protesters are political prisoners.

Violence makes any act of speech prima facie illegitimate. Violence is not speech. Threating to or actually spitting in someone’s #TrumpCup is not speech. Violent protesters cannot claim to be political prisoners. Firing someone for threatening to spit in someone’s cup is not persecution.