An email exchange: What should be the limits of local free speech?

Cal Beverly's picture

Some of the bloggers/commenters on this site might find the following email exchange to be of interest, especially "sniffles5" and "Evil Elvis."

The exchange follows in chronological order:


On Oct 6, 2008, at 10:36 PM, teacher foryou wrote:

Do you edit the posting or just allow people to make offensive remarks without removing them. This website seems to be a great place for KKK members to feed their negativity. This is irresponsible of your newspaper to allow these posting to remain despite freedom of speech laws.

Here is the most recent example of racism:

“But were they BLACK pit bulls?

“Submitted by sniffles5 on Mon, 10/06/2008 - 4:16pm.
Jhenryfischer and skyspy want to know if this thread is safe for them to vent their situational outrage.
Please let them know if the pit bulls involved were black!
“-Sniffles the colorblind”

Followed by this:

“To Be Fair, Sniff
“Submitted by Evil Elvis on Mon, 10/06/2008 - 6:44pm.
Most of the loose dogs I've seen in Peachtree City are owned by what we in the trades call "white trash".
The few "thug types", and by that I mean blacks, that I've seen with pit bulls have had them leashed. Just my experience. Your mileage may very.”

And it continues on your website. I know several business owners that advertise on your site and if this continues I will start a phone campaign and mailing to stop this. I will also contact the NAACP to see what legal avenues can be taken.


On Mon, Oct 6, 2008 at 11:58 PM, Cal Beverly wrote:

Based on their prior postings, I would suggest that these were actually satirical, anti-racist comments. Go back and check to see if "sniffles5" identifies him/herself over a period of many weeks as a liberal. This poster often speaks out against racism and narrow-minded bigotry. Consider: is it bigoted to hate a bigot?

I would expect more intelligence and less bullying from someone who identifies him/herself as a "teacher."

Cal Beverly
The Citizen Newspapers
Fayetteville, Ga.


On Oct 7, 2008, at 4:46 PM, teacher foryou wrote:
I'm surprised by your response as an "editor" of a local newspaper. I don't want to talk in circles. I want a direct response. I don't plan to do a study on sniffle nor do I look forward to reading his/her future responses. And again it is irresponsible to allow RACIST comments to be posted online and remain.

Perhaps you share these views and feel it's okay to allow these types of discussions in an area of town where hatred is posted on vehicles, t-shirts, businesses,etc. Are you missing your flag or do you post it outside of your home or just hide it in your heart? ( I too can make assumptions!)

I'm not bullying I'm being direct. It's offensive and I will act...not bully.

I don't hate anyone, I do however, dislike and disagree with the opinions/comments of sniffle. I guess that's the TEACHER in me! I guess I'm like PALIN...I won't respond how you want me to but I get my point accross.



So now someone who allows free speech is by your definition a racist.

You've got a lot to learn about the values of this country, especially the 1st Amendment.

Do you teach this intolerance in your classroom?

You will not become the standard nor the arbiter by which free speech is measured on this news website. Get your own intolerant site and censor people there.

Threaten and stomp and "act" all you wish. Sniffles' comment stays up.

Cal Beverly
The Citizen
Fayetteville, Ga.

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Tug13's picture
Submitted by Tug13 on Thu, 10/09/2008 - 8:34am.

Teacher? I doubt it. Smiling

Cyclist's picture
Submitted by Cyclist on Wed, 10/08/2008 - 5:07pm.

So why don't you join this little merry band of mischief makers. We are really harmless. Occasionally things will get heated but, typically, it smooths out. As JeffC notes, we do self-police ourselves regardless of our political leanings. So why don't you give it a try. You might even, as my tag line notes, get addicted.
Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

Cyclist's picture
Submitted by Cyclist on Wed, 10/08/2008 - 2:04pm.

How dare you! You have reached the same level as....well you know, The Beaver. Wait till Davids mom finds out. Eye-wink
Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

Submitted by jettstream on Wed, 10/08/2008 - 3:05pm.

I think you should leave the post up.

Sniffles adds such humor and variety to the blog why take it down.

He always has me laughing.

You make my day Sniffles5 with all of your outlooks.Eye-wink

sniffles5's picture
Submitted by sniffles5 on Wed, 10/08/2008 - 2:04pm.

Personally, I think Cal should ban this "sniffles5"...

but that's just me.

Submitted by PreciousStahr on Wed, 10/08/2008 - 5:09pm.

outfit. Perfect for halloween. Sniffles5 the "ghost". Is that made of sheet?

Green Power.

dawn69's picture
Submitted by dawn69 on Wed, 10/08/2008 - 2:13pm.

Now that's humor!!!!

JeffC's picture
Submitted by JeffC on Wed, 10/08/2008 - 1:59pm.

You have jumped into the middle of a conversation about which you did not have the background to judge. Sniffles5 is no racist and no bigot as you would have known if you had followed this site for any appreciable time.

There have been, on rare occasions, blatantly racist postings here. Woe unto them; because they are almost immediately attacked by bloggers from the left and the right who heap scorn upon them. Nor has Cal been reluctant to police his newspaper's blog.

Please go ahead and call my friends at the NAACP and tell them to give me a buzz on the phone. I'll be more than happy to chat with them and and relieve their minds.

Having said that, I must admit that your posting has raised grave concerns in my mind. You don't teach at my kid's school do you?

Cyclist's picture
Submitted by Cyclist on Wed, 10/08/2008 - 2:06pm.

Do you think the "teacher" knows who you are or for that matter, even cares?
Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

JeffC's picture
Submitted by JeffC on Wed, 10/08/2008 - 2:47pm.

You got me there. Probably not.

Git Real's picture
Submitted by Git Real on Wed, 10/08/2008 - 12:04pm.

I'm jealous of all the attention you're gettng. Eye-wink

Cal Beverly = Man Of Steel

DON'T FORGET to write in Nicole File for school board against Ms Smola

dawn69's picture
Submitted by dawn69 on Wed, 10/08/2008 - 12:43pm.

I, too, read the 'black dog' comment by sniffles when it was originally posted. My take on that comment was that he/she was being humorous and meant no harm.

That being said, many of us that come into this forum and into this online community respect one anothers differences. Sure, I've been pretty much blasted here before and have read some pretty heated debating by others; but, all in all, we choose to come here.

Quote for the day: "You can complain because roses have thorns...or, you can rejoice because thorns have roses." - Ziggy

Submitted by Nitpickers on Wed, 10/08/2008 - 11:13am.

You did right!

Asking if a dog is black is a standard "joke" by comedians and is about the same as asking if they were white trash.
We must not be in a position where we can't say anything regarding our differences!

Threats however, intentionally, are a different matter unless they also are obviously satire.

Remember the old Godfrey Cambridge joke (A black comedian) about the makers of skin colored band-aids didn't have him in mind?
Godfrey was indeed funny and as black as a human can get. I miss him.

Submitted by PTC4LIFE on Wed, 10/08/2008 - 10:12am.

Maybe the "Teacher" should look up the definitions of Racist and Prejudice.

TonyF's picture
Submitted by TonyF on Wed, 10/08/2008 - 9:04am.

What a dweeb, am I, or are we supposed to believe you are a teacher? What do you teach? To whom do you teach this tripe you're regurgitating? I'll bet it's not literature or language comprehension.

If you(can) read books, do you start in the middle and then form immediate opinions regarding the characters?

If you indeed are a "teacher", I feel for your charges as they are in deep trouble.

"Your, yore, you're all idiots." (T.Floyd)

Main Stream's picture
Submitted by Main Stream on Wed, 10/08/2008 - 8:11am.

This is a very interesting and suspicious comment from 'teacherforyou', and is reminiscent of the witch hunt enacted against muddle. The "teacher" sounds eerily familiar, but I could be mistaken. Regardless, we all know sniffles as being just what you described: not a racist whatsoever, but someone who fights against racism. And anyone familiar with the online blog portion of your paper would know this.

It just sounds really suspicious to me, like someone we may know who is trying to silence sniffles.

"You can lead a Republican to the truth, but you can't make him think."

muddle's picture
Submitted by muddle on Wed, 10/08/2008 - 6:34pm.

Same reaction here, probably triggered by similar common grammatical problems, evidence of unusually low wattage, etc.

Witch hunt? I was weighed in the balance and found to weigh the same as a duck.


"Puddleglum" by Weatherwax (one of the Muddlings).

Jeeves to the Rescue

Submitted by winby1 on Wed, 10/08/2008 - 12:44pm.

The biggest problem between races has always been the shush factor. One race can proudly make any racist remark or racist joke about any race outloud and for anyone and everyone to hear on a regular basis and nothing is said.
That same race will not stand for a whisper directed at them right or wrong without showing complete didain and maybe even excepted violence (maybe murder). Comedians of this race will point out another race while on stage and humiliate with racial slurs and jokes and get loud applause and laughter. I dare anyone to even whisper a light hearted joke about this race without turning and looking in all directions before the punch line. I could be slam dunked for this blog and probably will be. I wonder if anyone knows which race I'm reffering to. The shush factor!!

DragNet's picture
Submitted by DragNet on Wed, 10/08/2008 - 4:26pm.

One of the things that baffles me is how the members of this race use a racial slur to greet themselves and also use it abundantly in their raps and music, but they won't tolerate being called the same by others. Can anybody explain this?

Making you think twice......

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