Sticks and Stones

What is a crime? What is considered unacceptable behavior in our society? What are the worst things a person can do? What is it that stigmatizes a person today? Things that once were major offences and unacceptable behavior are deemed okay or at least not so bad nowadays. On the other hand, things that were once okay or even considered normal are now considered wrong, unacceptable, and evil.

For example, today there is no social stigma to having a child out of wedlock, but just try to have a cigarette in public without feeling like a criminal. If you are born a man but feel more comfortable dressed up like a women to go to work, no problem. However if you attend church or synagogue every week and live by the Bible you must be some kind of weirdo.

Once upon a time holding a door open for a woman or standing when she entered a room was considered gallant and polite; today you’re considered to be a no-good chauvinistic pig. In the old days if a guy came on to a girl and she made it clear she didn’t want anything to do with him but he continued to ask her out, he was considered a creepy wolf-type. Now, he’s labeled a sexual pervert and he’s libel for a sexual harassment charge resulting in loss of his job, imprisonment, or both. Our world has changed. Civilized mores have become topsy-turvy.

This is a topic worthy of book-length analysis; I couldn’t cover it all here even if I wanted to. But let’s just take words for instance, and how the use of them has altered greatly in the past fifty years or so. Words are the cornerstone of communication, the foundation of free speech. Words are a free society’s first line of defense against tyranny, which is why the first amendment to the Constitution requires that Congress shall make no laws abridging the freedom of speech.

“Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me,” is one of those little life lessons we’re all taught growing up, a way of dealing with bullies or anyone else who calls us names or tries to hurt us with words. It may sound somewhat corny or trite, but it is one of the truest things in the world.

Sure, words have consequences and words can have the strength to alter the course of human events, but at the same time words are merely words, which in and of themselves cannot do anyone bodily harm. Calling someone a nasty name may not be very nice, but it is not the same as picking up a rock and smashing it on someone’s head. Actions are what should matter, not words.

Thanks to liberal dogma, political correctness, out of control litigiousness, and college and workplace “speech codes” we have a society that thinks using certain words or calling someone a “name” can be the worst thing a person can do, a crime worthy of jail time or other severe penalties.

To utter a racial epithet (even in private) is to commit a crime more heinous than theft, or even murder; after all, there can be extenuating circumstances for murder. In today’s uber-progressive society there is absolutely no justification for racial name-calling. To engage in this will result in being labeled a racist, period. No matter how you have lived your life otherwise, no matter if your actions and dealings with others have been exemplary, you are still the scum of the earth. Just ask Paula Dean or Michael Richards.

Using racial slurs is never nice; it is disgusting and inappropriate behavior. It is low class and unnecessary. But should it be a hate crime? Should telling racial jokes be considered as bad as going out and physically harming someone? If you tell an off-color sex joke, or what used to be called a “dirty joke” are you slurring women? And is that a hate crime?

What I hate most about this new, liberal speech code of ours is that it has no sense of humor. Remember that Korean airline that crash landed last week due to pilot error? It seems the head pilot was a trainee who never flew that type of plane before. The crash led to three deaths and scores of passenger injuries.

Well, the airline has filed a law suit against a San Francisco TV station because they aired silly joke names of their pilots. The station got the names from the National Transportation Safety Board, which blamed the embarrassing incident on a “summer intern,” saying he acted outside the scope of his authority.

The station reported the pilots as “Captain Sum Ting Wong, Wi Tu Lo, Ho Lee F*k, and Bang Ding Ow” — fake names meant as a harmless joke by some intern. But instead of focusing on getting to the bottom of the crash, the airline decided to become indignant at the “racial slur.” “The derogatory report defamed Asiana and its pilots,” Asiana spokesman Suh Ki-won said. “We made the determination that it caused great harm to our reputation.”

Really? Or maybe the harm to their reputation was due to the crash caused by poorly trained pilots sitting in the cockpit who didn’t know what the hell they were doing.

But in today’s world, name calling is a bigger crime than even crashing a jumbo jet.

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