Thursday, April 22, 2010

New Jersey. Long Beach Township. Richard Shackleton. A Man Time Left Behind.

This poor old man. Withered, made salty and bitter by life's tramplings, unrepentant about calling a couple of women the " C " word... A shooter of pigeons for sport... what a life.

" Honey, I'm home. I shot two dozen pigeons today. "

He proudly refused to apologize for the C word when asked to, citing his Freedom of Speech. Shackleton aside, the First Amendment has been amended itself to include responsibility for our spoken or written words. The First Amendment does not protect irresponsible, fraudulent, criminally negligent statements. We can't shout, FIRE!, in a movie house. We can't threaten the President of the United States. We can't intentionally make false claims against someone.

Mr. Shackleton may argue that using the C word is still within bounds of our freedom of speech. I could concede that point to him. But, echoing those now famous words to come out of the McCarthy hearings many years ago, I could say, " Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency? " Shackleton may be beyond redemption, but Long Beach Township could still improve its image. It's time to let him go, and get someone more tolerant and acceptable.

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