This is Still America

An amazing fact exists in the world of journalism. It is a simple fact, but one which continues to amaze me nonetheless. It involves the simple, basic freedoms that I thought were set forth in the United States Constitution and amplified within the Bill of Rights. It involves the simplest of all constitutional freedoms of all: the Freedom of Speech.

Each of us is allowed to express our opinions. We should observe the bounds of propriety. We should attempt to stick to the truth, and we should check our facts when we choose to name names. Many times people will become angry with me for what I say and write. I know this more than most of you. Many times, I have been criticized for pointing out that the Emperor is buck naked, rather than clothed in a brilliant new suit of clothes.

A recent email from a reader brought this thought to mind again. Once more, people in authority seemed to feel that they had the power to censure, and censor people within their agency for things they do outside of the fire department. The person who sent me the message was so afraid of the people running their fire department that I hesitate to even mention the part of the country where this story came from. That is not a healthy attitude to cultivate among your members.

Because of that individual