Free Speech Zone
Last week, I wrote, "The CIA is lying. Osama bin Laden is dead."
Now, I'm happy to say that StatCounter hasn't registered any strange hits from McLean, Virginia. But a friend remarked on my guts for posting that online, and I appreciate that he noticed. I did indeed think twice before publishing.
I worked part-time for Barnes & Noble for about five minutes during the ramp-up to the 2004 election. It was just before the Swift Boat Veterans' book was released, and dozens of people came in every day asking about it. Most were old men who wanted to vent about Kerry; they kept asking whether I knew the Swift Boat stories, and if I appeared ignorant they would happily explain. One of them got into a brief conversation with a young cashier who replied that he planned to vote for Kerry anyway — and a few days later, two federal agents showed up to interview that cashier.
It happens. I'm a college-educated white male with pocket change and political connections, so I can't honestly say I'm worried about being railroaded into a detention cell; but I'd just as soon avoid hearing the knock at my door. I thought twice before posting that column, and almost didn't. I decided that it needed to be said; and although I can't prevent the FBI from wasting my time, there's a world of difference between inconvenience and censorship — and the latter requires my consent.