Response to Carolyn Szoc’s Letter to the Editor

On June 16 the Keene Sentinel published a letter to the editor regarding my participation in the local Memorial Day Parade.

The letter reads,“I was angered and saddened to have to bear witness to the protesters that felt it necessary to be at the end of the parade.
I do respect and understand their right to protest the war… they can do this every Saturday in Central Square.”

It seems Ms. Szoc wants to limit dissenting speech to a single day and to a single location in town. I’d like to remind her and others that free speech means just that FREE SPEECH. It does not mean popular speech or limited dissent only when other approve of the time and place of the dissent.

She continues,“Yet I found it very disrespectful to those who have or are serving our country to do this not just on Memorial Day but at the parade.”
The point of protesting at the parade, as well as on West Street before and after the parade, was to spread the message of peace. Peace is more than simply not being at war. Sadly, the message of peace is ignored by those who prefer to live in a constant state of fear. I understand that my view is not popular and I’m not angry about it. Though it is my opinion that many people who oppose the ideas of peace are angry at those who do not support their views.

“These are the men and women who have died or served time to make this great country free.”
Oh, the blood sacrifice card. This is the trump card of the pro-war crowd, along with “freedom isn’t free” – which usually implies that people must die (the blood sacrifice) in order for you to have your freedom. She and others seem to believe that peace and freedom can only be achieved through bloodshed. Though even with much blood being shed the Congress has been taking away freedoms left and right for the past 100 years.

“Free so they, the protesters, as United States citizens, can demonstrate their beliefs.”
I’m curious if Ms. Szoc believes that only US citizens have rights, and from where she believes those rights come. It is my belief that rights are inherent and can not given or taken away by groups of people, even a group claiming legitimacy under the name government.

“…we were blessed to live in a nation where we were free.
Free to work where we wanted and do what we wanted.”

Ms. Szoc appears to have a distorted view of what free means. On Memorial Day, I wanted to spread the message of peace. However, Ms. Szoc and others have told me repeatedly that days of nationalism are not appropriate for expressing dissenting opinions. I’m either free or I’m not. Freedom to do what is popular is NOT freedom!

“He also told us what a privilege it was to be free to vote… He made a lasting impression on me about my right as a free citizen to change the things I did not like by voting.”
While I do vote in self-defense, voting is not a good method to bring about change. I agree with Gandhi, that everyone should be the change they expect to see in the world. Gandhi was very successful in bringing about change in India, and it did not happen because of voting. Change came about because of non-violent civil disobedience and standing up for what is right in the face of oppression even when your view is unpopular.

“I hope the next time the demonstrators choose to demonstrate, they think about the sorrow and hurt they may have caused the families, and the men and women who have given their lives for us.”
I hope the next time Ms. Szoc (or anyone else) supports war, she thinks about the millions of innocent victims who are killed by the US military. I hope she thinks about the babies who are born with birth defects caused by exposure to depleted uranium. I hope she thinks about the young men and women of other countries who are maimed and killed by landmines decades after the American military leaves their country. However, I do not expect those who support war to think about such things, because doing so would make them realize the supposed enemy is actually another human being and this would would make them uncomfortable.

“If the protesters are not happy with Washington, then change Washington.”
I do try to change Washington, I send letters to Congress all the time; yet, they ignore my views and continue to vote for bigger government and more war.

“Do not take it out on a day that is set aside to honor our veterans and remember those who lost their lives so that the rest of us can be free.”
Who are “the rest of us” who “can be free?” Am I to assume that because I do not support killing people that I have not “earned” the right to be free? This is not the Roman Empire where slaves become citizens by serving in the military. I’d like to point out that my rights do not come from men, they come from the Creator, they can not be given and they can not be taken away!

I will continue to demonstrate in opposition to what is wrong and in favor of what it right, regardless of how many people do not want to read or hear my message. It was not my intention to offend anyone and for that I am sorry. Though I will not apologize for speaking my mind and attempting to spread the message of peace.

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  1. Excellent post. It says a great deal about cognitive dissonance that Ms. Scoz raised no question about the validity of your message, only about whether she found it an appropriate time and place to deliver that message. War being mass murder is an invisible elephant.

  2. I think it was Noam Chomsky that said, during wartime measures and silencing of dissent, free speech is needed the most desperately, because of the totally universal belief in the war propaganda.

    Thank you for the important reminder, and for respectfully engaging the other side of the debate. It’s something for all of us to think about.

  3. I really do wish the pro-military/pro-war crowd would stop using these little appeals to emotion like, “My family member was in the military, therefore war is justified.” I hate that so much. I’ve been involved in the anti-war movement since high school (circa 2006) and I can’t stand hearing this BS.

  4. When and where exactly are the time and place for peace Ms. Szoc? Where do I go, what time do I go there, and how long after I get there does the war stop?

  5. Hehe, right on. That made me chuckle.

  6. Hehe, right on. That made me chuckle.

  7. Do you think its right to protest at a soldiers funeral disturbing their family during a time of mourning? You hippies make me sick. I used to think that your civil disobedience was at times courageous but now all I see are trolls doing whatever you can to get a reaction out of other peaceful people. I will continue to support our troops and what they are here to do. You keep saying you are supporting peace but your just a hypocrite by doing things to make others angry. Your disrespectful actions speak much louder than your words. The next time you want to protest peace and someone gets made I hope this turns that light bulb above your head on and you see that your actions are not making others act peacefully. Thats the point right to spread peace? Stop trolling and start finding ways to encourage people support peace. dumbass

  8. A protest at a public parade makes you sick? How does 30,000 dead Afghans make you feel? How does 117,000 dead Iraqis make you feel? How does 6300 dead US soldiers make you feel? Many people are sick enough of dead human beings to protest at a veterans day parade.


  10. If you are not protesting the wars mr Transparent hostility, then blood is on your hands “support our troops” means support their deaths, and condemn anyone who doesn’t, and call them anti-american… Supporting the troops/wars is anti american

  11. I am everything you call me and more. I treat others as they treat me. Your disrespect others by protesting the memory of my fallen comrades, that is the reason for my disrespect. If you insist on trolling where peaceful people come together to honor their loved ones I will comment your wrong doing on your website. If you want to end the war choose a side and fight like a soldier to help end it. Sitting on the sidelines is with signs is cowardly and weak. Good Day Sir

  12. If the dead were worthy of honor, that would be one thing. A bunch of honorless cowards who go around blowing children up with remote-control drones are not worthy of honor. They are monsters, and are worthy only of scorn.
    If their loved ones had acted to prevent them from doing their butchery, I might have some sympathy. But, with almost no exceptions, those individuals cheered them on, and so they are not worthy of any respect, either. The few who actually try to prevent this massacre… well, I doubt they are upset by the protesters. If one of them came forward and asked that the protesters avoid a particular event, I expect that the request would be honored.

  13. As the great General Patton once said “I didn’t join the Army to die for my country. I joined to make the other son of bitch die for his.” I am a supporter of those willing to go to war to keep our enemies from killing more of our innocent friends and family. If you believe swearing an oath to defend America from all enemies is anti American than you truly are an idiot.

  14. It’s an oath to defend THE CONSTITUTION from all enemies foreign AND DOMESTIC

  15. Given that they swear that oath, then march off and work for the worst enemies that America faces (those psychos in DC), then yes, supporting those troops is anti-American.

  16. Fuck you, maineshark. You know nothing of honor. You are a worthless sack of shit, a complete waste of the space and resources you use and the air you breathe. Your only contribution to this planet will be as compost. Can’t happen soon enough.

  17. How many babies do I have to murder, in order to know as much about honor as you? One? Two? Ten? A hundred? Do they have to be foreign babies, or can I murder babies right here to learn about honor?

    Yeah, maybe I’ll contribute some fertilizer, some day. At least I haven’t been fertilizing the fields with murdered children, like some.

  18. Maybe? Some day? No, one day. The sooner the better. But, learn what words actually mean before you use them. Fuck you. I have wasted more than enough time on you. You are a complete asshole. Grow the fuck up.

  19. So, how many babies have you murdered? I’d just like to know how much “cred” you have, so I can determine how much weight I should give your words. Obviously, if you’ve only murdered one or two babies, you must not have much honor. But if you’ve murdered a few hundred babies, you’d have a lot of honor, right? So, if I know how many babies you’ve murdered, then I’d know how much honor you have, and could treat your words with the proper level of respect…

Care to comment?