A group of youths arrested and charged with vandalizing a Kentucky pro-life campus display said that destroying the display was an expression of their “right to free speech.”
Pro-life leaders of Northern Right to Life at Northern Kentucky University (NKU) say they first set up the display on Monday morning. It consisted of tiny onesies hanging on a line with red “X” taped onto every fourth outfit to symbolize a life lost to abortion. The display included a sign explaining its significance and citing the Guttmacher Institute.
But after the display was torn down twice within the first two days, members of the pro-life group began taking night shifts to watch for the vandals. On Friday morning around 1am, they say they spotted four young men beginning to cut down the line and throwing the clothing, which was to be donated to needy local children, in the trash.
[…]Both Piron and the Kentucky Post report that the three suspects police caught – Travis Black, Steven White and Montez Jenkins Copeland – have been charged with Criminal Mischief.
“Though the vandals don’t think they deserve to be faced with consequences, we at NRTL believe that it’s important for people to understand that they cannot just rip down a display simply because they disagree with its message,” said Piron.
A fourth suspect who had turned himself in, Kyle Pickett, agreed with pro-lifers that they had a right to display the clothing as free speech – but justified the vandalism as equally protected.
“Tearing it down was expressing our right to free speech,” he said, according to the Post.
I think that the pro-life movement would do well to buckle down and learn how to defend the pro-life view with arguments and evidence. Because if undecided people have to decide between persuasion and violence, persuasion is going to win every time.
I recommend taking a look at Neil’s round-up. There were several good stories in there, but I just chose one to link to.