The June 13, 2019 article on Rabbi Nechemia Schusterman’s objection to and discomfort from unknown persons’ anti-Semitic verbal actions and thrown pennies were certainly unnerving and the community action against this hate speech commendable. The Peabody Police Chief was unsure if charges, such as a hate crime, could be filed due to protected First Amendment Free Speech.
In a broader context, many universities are protecting the emotional sensibility of their students by restricting free speech by other students and faculty. Few schools have a strict Free Speech Policy, such as the course chosen by my college, the highly-ranked University of Chicago. Simply, the role of the University of Chicago is not to coddle its students, but to see free speech as part of the educational process in their defense of Western Civilization.
Around June 21, 2019 in the decided Supreme Court case American Legion v. American Humanist Association, Justice Neil Gorsuch, supported by Judge Clarence Thomas in a separate concurring opinion, allowed the twenty-two foot high Christian Bladensberg Cross to continue to stand on public land in Maryland in celebrating our World War I soldiers. The Justices proclaimed that mere objection to a religious scene (or perhaps anti-religious acts) did not affect the Establishment Clause of the Constitution and gave no standing for individuals to sue others based on their individual objection to the activity. This may lead to Hate Crime Laws being emasculated and a community in need of other tools to hold back the growth of anti-Semitism. The Jewish Journal’s article was certainly a start.
My own interpretation of an assault and battery is the invasion of ones invisible personal space by threatening acts. Medically, we all have an alarm system that allows people entering our personal space, which surrounds us by two to three feet, then sets off a fight or fight reaction. Activation of this alarm system evokes that an assault and battery on the victim has occurred. This allows personal touching or battery to be extended in space.
Leonard R. Friedman, M.D., Middleton