A Tolerable Start

            In an article written for Reuters dated February 24, 2011, Paul Bond reports on the prison sentencing of Zachary Chesser for providing material support to terrorists and communicating threats of violence. Mr. Chesser was instrumental in threatening the lives of, notably, Matt Stone and Trey Parker (“South Park” creators) for their animated, suggested portrayal of the source of Chesser’s religious belief. He is also implicated in threats made on others who came out actively in support of Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s right to create such art. Precedent had been set with the murder of Theo Van Gogh (which Chesser referenced), so, at the time, these were no idle threats.

“Zachary Chesser will spend 25 years in prison for advocating the murder of U.S. citizens for engaging in free speech about his religion,” U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride said Thursday. “His actions caused people throughout the country to fear speaking out — even in jest — to avoid being labeled as enemies who deserved to be killed.”

            In an ironic twist, it is precisely this kind of active intervention by the government in aggressively protecting the constitutional rights of the citizenry that acts as an effective antidote to the swilling of tea. The sentencing of Zachary Chesser is certainly no denouement to the intolerance described within various archive postings (The Intolerable Image, An Intolerable Image II, More Intolerable Imagining). It is, however, a tolerable start.

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