I can breathe is more than a health or environmental statement
Agreed: we're all for free speech except when shouting "fire" in a crowded theater – or saying something that would be considered microaggressive by disturbing liberal minds. Well, liberals believe the latter part of the statement; I'm not so certain about the former, as the events of past few months have shown, when liberal students successfully protested the appearance on campus of speakers who disturbed them.
The latest flap in the free speech movement for liberals concerns the right of only sports figures such as Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and even high school students to wear shirts stating I Can't Breathe instead of or over their teams' uniforms. Many people of all political persuasions might agree that the athletes have the right to do so, but some feel that sports should be free of politics.
However, those who wanted to wear their support for the police in other public places had a harder time; it was considered "controversial." And "divisive."
Last week, Mishawaka, Indiana police officer and uniform store owner Jason Barthel decided to sell Breathe Easy, Don't Break the Law t-shirts in response to the I Can't Breathe warm-up shirts worn by the women's basketball team from nearby Notre Dame University in South Bend. The "controversial" shirts, as the local ABC News described them, sold well, and Barthel "was taking orders from people all over the world."
But then the store was vandalized.
But the owner of the store and Mishawaka Police officer, Jason Barthel, says in no way did the vandalism slow down or stop production. In fact, he says sales have really taken off.
“I had the intention of selling 200 shirts locally, this has grown to a global phenomenon,” Barthel told Abc 57 News, Sunday afternoon.
However not all local elected officials were pleased with this increase in local business.
Some city leaders spoke out last week saying the slogan adds fuel to the fire. But Barthel says the point of this message has always been unity.
“I think people are starting to understand, it is not a divisive message, just trying to bring people together.” Something was thrown through the storefront Friday night, shattering the glass, but Barthel says that hasn't stopped orders from coming in and shirts from going out. “We are going to continue to spread this message of peace and unity and cooperation between police and the citizens.”
Meanwhile, in New York, supporters of the city's police wore hoodies reading, “I can breathe, thanks to the NYPD.” This too was labeled "controversial" according to the Washington Times. They also further quoted Mr. Barthel.
“For those upset, please understand when we use the slogan ‘Breathe Easy’ we are referring to knowing the police are there for you!” Mr. Barthel wrote.
“We are one people, one nation regardless of race, religion, creed or gender. We are all in this together. The police are here to protect and serve. 99.9 percent of us have the greater good in our hearts each time we strap on our uniforms and duty belts,” Mr. Barthel continued.
“We are all one people and this is by no means is a slam on Eric Garner or his family, God rest his soul. Lets all band together as AMERICANS regardless of our feelings and know we can and will be better! Thank you for your support.”
Even Fox News seems to have some doubts about free speech regarding supporting the police. Or at least Fox Deportes does. That's Fox's Spanish-language channel. Freelance reporter Erika Reidt posted that "I'm gonna start wearing a shirt that says 'I can breathe because I obey the law.'" Whoops! After some criticism, Reidt – who describes herself on Twitter as "Mexicana, Texas born, Cali Luv" – initially responded by saying her account was hacked and she didn't make the comment.
She later deleted the comment. Too late. Fox suspended her.
FOX Deportes is investigating the comments made by freelancer Erika Reidt and has suspended her until further notice.
— FOX Deportes (@FOXDeportes) December 10, 2014
And so the liberal not so merry-go-round of freedom of speech for me but not for thee continues. Just breathe quietly, and don't tell anyone what you are doing or why. Freedom of speech is not for thee.