Silencing of viewpoints not proper response

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Bob Brown has honorably served the state of Montana for more than three decades as an elected public official and as a private citizen, and has earned the respect of every fair-minded Montanan. It is altogether fitting and proper for Mr. Brown and all the others involved to rally in Depot Park for human rights and public lands, and I believe his statement that the lawless behavior and radical, fringe outlook of Ammon Bundy and his supporters is one not shared by most Montanans, regardless of political persuasions, cannot be contradicted by any reasonable person.

But it troubles me to see Brown appear to adopt the stance of Love Lives Here, a growing number students at many of our colleges and universities today and other thought police by stating that the event Bundy and his comrades will be holding “has no place in Whitefish or anywhere else in Montana.” Most Montanans hold dear the rights and freedoms acknowledged in the First Amendment, and to proclaim that events advocating hateful and unpopular ideas have no place in our state flies in the face of those values and beliefs. There is a disturbing trend in this country today of people seeking to silence viewpoints with which they strongly disagree, decreeing them unworthy of First Amendment protection, and I’m sorry to see Bob Brown seem to adopt this wrong and dangerous attitude. Organizing the counter rally in Depot Park is the right way to demonstrate majority opposition to Bundy’s extremism. Declaring that the Bundy event or any event representing a minority viewpoint, even or especially a hateful one, “has no place” here is wrong and wrongheaded. This is Montana, USA, not Oceania.

Lee Smith, Somers

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