I have a resolution for the New Year that I’d like to share: I would like to challenge an anti-free speech law in 2012. Specifically, I’m looking at the San Diego Municipal Code §56.30 Seditious Language Prohibited, which states:
That it shall be and hereby is declared to be unlawful for any person within the said City of San Diego to utter or use within the hearing of one or more persons any seditious language, words or epithets, or to address to another, or to utter in the presence of another, any words, language or expression or seditious remarks, having a tendency to create a breach of the public peace.
The law dates back to 1918. And was re-upped in 1952. It was passed after the Courts overturned ordinances that banned soap box speakers throughout downtown and triggered the Free Speech Fights of 1912. This year San Diegans will be commemorating the centennial of that battle. The local Occupy movement has also announced that they’ll be submitting a proposal to revise the City’s ordinances relating to what the cops call encroachment, which, loosely translated, means you’re being someplace where they don’t want you to be.
Getting busted for being seditious would be the icing on the cake for me. It’d be more than just a protest about a stupid law, it’d be a personal celebration. For the past six months, as I’ve been fighting a battle with cancer of the larynx, the ability to utter words has been an off again on again proposition for me. Now, after all the treatments, side effects and treatments for the side effects, I’m getting my voice bac
I have no fear about getting busted. They can tattoo that arrest on my forehead for all I care. If I can survive in the world for more than six decades, have several great careers, a beautiful wife & daughter, AND beat cancer, I’m certainly not gonna let the likes of Bonnie Dumanis or her ilk make me worry about my “permanent record” .
The problem is, of course, that you’d have to be in the right place and the right time, say the right thing and have the wrong cop hear what you’re saying. I can make educated guesses about the place & time, and hope for the best (worst) with the SDPD. But figuring out exactly what to say that would be considered “seditious” is posing a challenge.
So, in the spirit of the Free Speech Fight commemoration, I am asking for your help. What can I say that would get me busted for sedition? Use the comments space below to make your suggestions.
There’s just one caveat: The utterances MUST be able to be broadcast on the TV News. Not that they’ll cover it, but I figure it’s a good way to get beyond having to use obscenities to make a point.
Think about it people. And while you’re thinking, think about just how precious your Freedom of Speech really is.