“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

We all know this isn’t true. Words not only hurt – “nigger,” “fag, “cracker,” “bitch” – but they also kill – “terrorist,” “militant,” “drone strike,” “a resolution authorizing military action.”

When is “free speech” not free?

As a sociologist, I participated in studies about conflict resolution. I learned the two most effect methods were “mediation” and “avoidance.”

Mediation is self-explanatory – the introduction of an “objective” third party. But the idea of avoidance allows a powerful insight into “free speech.”

In terms of quality and credibility, I had always regarded Breitbart News on the level of the National Inquirer. In fact, I often thought that’s where we should find it – at the supermarket check-out counter, right next to celebrity trash and aliens in the basement.

I thought it was crap. I disagreed with its content. Therefore, I avoided the damn thing.

But if I should intervene somehow to impede or stop Breitbart from broadcasting its crap, then I’ve set a trap for myself. If Breitbart can be stopped, then so can I.

Instead of preventing certain people from speaking, we ought to teach our kids to listen carefully, question closely and know their history . . . and they too will learn to avoid Breitbart poison.


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