Blame the doer, not the speaker

Los Angeles Times - - OPINION -

Re “Speech in­spires good — and evil,” Opin­ion, June 20

Speech in­spires good and evil, writes Jonah Gold­berg, though the lat­ter is en­tirely de­pen­dent upon un­healthy minds.

Even if David Berkowitz thought a dog had in­structed him to kill, the blame for the “Son of Sam mur­ders” falls prop­erly on Berkowitz and not the dog. Re­stric­tions should be placed not on speech nor art nor dogs, but on those who can­not ad­e­quately deal with them. Jim Johnson

Whit­tier ::

I would be more in­clined to agree that movies and speeches don’t af­fect peo­ple’s con­duct if some film­mak­ers were not sell­ing “pro­mo­tional place­ments” by telling ad­ver­tis­ers to pay for a scene show­ing our hero drink­ing a Coke in­stead of a Pepsi (or vice versa).

We’re also told that some prod­uct place­ments were in­stru­men­tal in get­ting peo­ple to smoke. But rest as­sured, as we are to be­lieve that vi­o­lence in films does not af­fect the kids watch­ing them. Arthur Arm­strong

Man­hat­tan Beach

I usu­ally dis­agree with Gold­berg’s writ­ing, as I find his opin­ions po­lit­i­cally far dif­fer­ent from my own.

But I must ad­mit his col­umn on free speech, in which where he high­lights the para­dox of the moral re­spon­si­bil­ity we have for what we say and, at the same time, the le­gal re­spon­si­bil­ity only for what we do, hit the nail on the head. Ku­dos to him. Stu Bern­stein

Santa Mon­ica

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