From: mpriestley -at- VNET -dot- IBM -dot- COM
Date: Thu, 14 Jul 1994 17:25:02 EDT

Kim T. disagreed with my response to Heli's post.
I will keep my response brief, and ask that follow-ups go to me only.
I think the list has had enough of this subject, and frankly I probably
have too.

In brief: Kim, if you agreed with Heli, you should have let my provocation
pass without a comment, or with a gentle reproach. It's what she advocated.

I do not advocate flame wars. I don't like them. Social pressure should
be brought to bear on the participants to take it off the list, although
a simpler solution is to simply delete the offending posts without reading
them (whaddaya know? You control your own mailreader!).

I do not advocate censorship. I do not advocate social pressure of the form:
"Violence is violence. Think the thought, speak the word, and you will
eventually do the deed." I find this idea abhorrent, and it was the main
spur to my response. If the deed is unlawful, and the thought leads to the
deed, shouldn't the thought be unlawful? Also: do you really not see a
fundamental difference between hurtful words, and a knife in the gut?
If not: will you lobby to change the law? If not, why not?
Violence is a continuum. Verbal and physical violence are, in my mind,
very far apart on that continuum. Arguing that they are the same, identical,
is like arguing that black is white, because they are part of the continuum
of gray.

As far as free speech in a technical manual: this list is not a technical
manual. The internet is not a formal publication. It does not, and should
not, meet the standards of a formal publication.

By the way, considering the level of emotional involvement on this issue
(at least for me), I'm really happy at how clear and to the point
the disagreements have been. I think on a newsgroup, with this kind of topic,
things would have gone well out of control by now (which means over half
the posts to the group would be on this topic, and 90% of the readers would
be filtering out those posts).

Michael Priestley
mpriestley -at- vnet -dot- ibm -dot- com
Disclaimer: I am currently possessed by the ghost of Elvis, and am not
responsible for my actions. Or my speling.

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