All News & Blogs
The circumstances surrounding Baron Braswell's death, before and after the fact, deserve a close look
By RICHARD AMRHINE
Freedom of speech carries with it a level of responsibility. At the newspaper we are bound by legal interpretations of libel and defamation as well as the day-to-day judgment we count on from those who work here. Newspapers make news when they are held responsible for printing words that frivolously damage someone's reputation or character.
The threat of legal action that could close this newspaper and put hundreds of employees out of work causes us to be careful about what we say.
If the words from another line in the song, And stomp his ass down to the flo' , became instructions precisely followed in the moments leading to Baron Braswell's death, is it unreasonable to think that the writer of those words should be held liable for the damage he has caused?
Federal fines and crackdowns have successfully forced Howard Stern off the radio airwaves and to a place where you really have to want to hear him to find him--and pay for the privilege.
Lawsuits by women's groups and mainstream community activist groups could tie the Crime Mobs of the world up in court and cost them plenty in legal fees no matter the outcome.
It's easy to say that parents need to help their kids put this stuff in perspective, but there are just too few Cleaver families these days. Too few parents care enough to even try, and anyone who remembers being a kid knows the attraction of anything taboo. Still, parents should constantly express their disgust for such lyrics and the "artists" who use them. It might actually rub off on enough kids to make a difference.
RICHARD AMRHINE is a writer and editor with The Free Lance-Star.