YISHAI ASIDO is an 11-year-old boy in Loudoun County who refused a class assignment last month to write a letter to U.S. Marines and, according to his teacher, said he wished that American soldiers -- and "all Americans" -- would die. His offensive remark led the county sheriff's office to dispatch two plainclothes officers to Yishai's home, where, according to Yishai's mother, they quizzed his parents on their political beliefs and asked whether they had taught him "anti-American values."
That's the first paragraph. Here's the last one.
Perhaps the idea was to scare Yishai straight or to impress on him the indecency of his views. If so, there were probably better ways to deliver the message, starting with the teachers, guidance counselors, principal and other administrators at his school. Let the deployment of sheriff's deputies to a schoolboy's home be a last resort in the event of a specific, well-founded threat of violence.
Naturally, I don't agree with what this kid said. It was wrong and ill-advised. He's 11 years old fer chrissake! The old First Amendment gave him the right to say any damn fool thing he wants to, short of a direct threat.
Apparently, the First Amendment has been modified to permit only certain types of "free" speech, and the government will be glad to come to your house and e'splain it. Orwell is grinnin' from his grave.
I'm not exactly thrilled with the WaPo's degree of outrage over the incident, either. They are correct, but they miss the point. Or are they afraid of retribution?
This seems to be a step in the direction of making sure that the "Climate of Fear" that Bush&Co. want us to live under starts 'em out on the "Right" track when they're young and malleable. Every teacher an administration snitch.
Our country is changing, and not for the better.