Re: Yelling Fire

Michael Lorrey (
Tue, 24 Jun 1997 17:41:26 -0400

Pat Fallon wrote:
> >Somebody mentioned that bit about yelling fire in a crowded theater, I said:
> >
> > That cliche originally came from the American jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes
> > (1841-1935), he used it in one of his decisions that upheld the conviction
> > of a man imprisoned for saying America should not be in the First World War.
> > Years later Holmes said it was the worst decision he made in his entire
> > legal career and he cringed whenever he heard somebody quoting his famous
> > saying.
> >
> Yes. Prosecuting someone who falsely yells "Fire!" in a crowded theater is
> not an infringement of free speech. The ticket purchaser and the theater
> owner have
> entered into a contract. The ticket purchaser has bought a ticket to view a
> performance. It's contract law and property rights, not a free speech issue.

I had thought is was a matter of public safety, much like yelling "The
sky is falling!". In a crowded theater, the possibility of people being
injured in the panic evacuation was such that public safety outweighed
indvidual rights to yell "Fire" falsely. Still can't say I agree with it
either, as anyone who blindly follows the false cry of another deserves
to run off a cliff. Stupidity is a capital crime.

			Michael Lorrey
------------------------------------------------------------		Inventor of the Lorrey Drive

Mikey's Animatronic Factory My Own Nuclear Espionage Agency (MONEA) MIKEYMAS(tm): The New Internet Holiday Transhumans of New Hampshire (>HNH) ------------------------------------------------------------ #!/usr/local/bin/perl-0777---export-a-crypto-system-sig-RC4-3-lines-PERL @k=unpack('C*',pack('H*',shift));for(@t=@s=0..255){$y=($k[$_%@k]+$s[$x=$_ ]+$y)%256;&S}$x=$y=0;for(unpack('C*',<>)){$x++;$y=($s[$x%=256]+$y)%256; &S;print pack(C,$_^=$s[($s[$x]+$s[$y])%256])}sub S{@s[$x,$y]=@s[$y,$x]}