First the terrible crime, then the terrible idea. In the wake of the Overland Park shooting spree of April 13, in which a neo-Nazi killed three people at a Jewish Community Center and a Jewish retirement home near Kansas City, the notion is being floated, yet again, that we might be able to stop such crimes if only we were less rigid about the Bill of Rights.
The shooter, who has gone by various names over the years but has usually been known as Glenn Miller, has a long history as a vocal white supremacist and anti-Semite.
This background prompted Emily Bazelon to write an essay in Slate headlined “A History of Hate” and subtitled “Could anything have been done to stop Frazier Glenn Miller?” Miller, she notes, posted frequently on Vanguard News Network, a website so drenched in malice toward nonwhites and Jews that it makes Stormfront look like Shalom Sesame.
Comparing America’s legal tolerance for hateful speech with the more restrictive rules found in many other nations, Bazelon writes: “If you think we have the balance wrong, you have company…”