Trigger warning:

This site may, in fact always will contain images and information likely to cause consternation, conniptions, distress, along with moderate to severe bedwetting among statists, wimps, wusses, politicians, lefties, green fascists, and creatures of the state who can't bear the thought of anything that disagrees with their jaded view of the world.

Apr 6, 2008

Free Speech and Ron Owen.

The penalty for laughing in a courtroom is six months in jail; if it were not for this penalty, the jury would never hear the evidence. 

H. L. Mencken

Recently on Thoughts on Freedom we have been having a discussion on a post, “My Right To Offend You.”
It starts with a quote from Orwell, “Liberty, if it means anything at all, is the right to tell people what they don’t want to hear.”

There is one ideal that unites all those who love liberty, a concept that also unites the free world - the right to speak freely.
Freedom of speech is not the right to say anything to anyone. There are caveats. These include inciting violence (Sir Iqbal Sacranie, head of the Muslim Council of Britain is perfectly entitled to his opinion that homosexuality is ‘not acceptable’ but he would not be entitled to incite physical attacks on gays - not that he does, of course). Defamation, slander and libel are illiberal (i cannot accuse someone of being a drug dealer without firm evidence) and inciting a riot (i cannot shout fire in a crowded theatre) is also a no-no.
Thanks Pommygranate.

I am in disagreement with the idea of caveats on free speech, where exceptions sound fair they are usually matters that in reality come under other laws, threats of violence come under extortion etc, lying to secure benefit, - fraud, giving false evidence, - perjury and so on.

Over the last couple of days I have become aware of a hearing by the anti-discrimination Tribuneral against Ron Owen a prominent local ‘colorful character’ who I generally find to be obnoxious, with rather bizarre opinions on a number of things such as this and this.

I agree with Ron on the right of people to own firearms, however his antics after Port Arthur in the ensuing rush to draconian gun control, took all of the attention away from the more articulate voices in opposition to the legislation. The press were able to home in on Ron in such a way that reasoned debate went out the window, and I am not sure that he didn’t do more damage to the image of gun owners than Martain Bryant.

From the Courier Mail: -
CONTROVERSIAL gun lobbyist Ron Owen is being taken to court by a group of lesbians who allege he has breached the Anti-Discrimination Act by publicly vilifying gay people.

The case, set for hearing from Thursday, could have landmark repercussions based on Mr Owen's use of the Bible, the Koran and the Jewish Torah for his defence, along with a "freedom of speech" defence.

The case is being brought by Rachelle Menzies, Tina Coutts, Rhonda Bruce, Sue Turner and lesbian group "Women 2 Women" through Brisbane's Caxton Legal Centre. …..

Never one to hide his political incorrectness, Mr Owen has sparked controversy over the years for an allegedly anti-gay stance dating to when he was at the forefront of volatile protests against the 1997 national gun buyback scheme, in the wake of the Port Arthur massacre.

Back then he sold bumper stickers which said such things as "Register Poofters, not Guns", "Gay Rights. The only rights gays have is the right to die (Lev 20: 13)" and "Animal Vivisection is Cruel – use the morally degenerate instead".

The issue became public in 2005 during his term in council, when fellow councillor Peter Cantrell asked Mr Owen how he could claim to be a champion of the underdog and protector of the downtrodden and still display an anti-gay sticker on his car.
Mr Owen's reported reply was: "That's because I probably don't class gays as humans."

OK so the stuff he comes up with is pretty offensive, not just to the gay community but to many of us who really don’t care what these people do and see no reason to pick on them, but if the guy thinks like this, then he has the right to say so in any way that is at his disposal. Obviously he has not the right to demand his views be published in the media as he is not the owner, but looking around I find they have published those views anyway, that’s how I know about them.

The plaintiffs have every right to be offended about it, those views are insulting and hurtful, but we all have a right to our opinions, and the right to express them, even if sometimes it would be better for all concerned if we didn’t. There is no right not to be offended, there is no right to not be the subject of adverse opinion. There is no point in demanding a public apology, it is meaningless unless offered voluntarily.

Ron has probably done more harm to himself by his actions than a court case will do. After all this action will guarantee him martyr status among his supporters and probably increase his stature among the type of idiot around him. The more the anti-discrimination star chamber do to him the more he is a hero to them and in his own mind.

Before his statements appeared I considered him to be a bit of an eccentric, since then I have considered him to be an obnoxious bigot. He has done himself no favors.

It is interesting that people feel they should have recourse to law against those who offend them. It is probably one of the reasons the west has so much trouble with radical Islam, in that where we should be highly critical of the obscenities these extremists commit too many people are afraid to cause offense.


  1. I worked with Ron in the aftermath of Port Arthur. I understand that many Australian gun owners felt that he went too far and caused too many waves. I also saw firsthand how SSAA officials gave up the fight before it even started. Whether they felt they could not win, or whether the attraction of immediately doubling or tripling membership (and therefore their own power base) made them bend over and grab their ankles, I don't know. What I do know is I felt betrayed by the shooting community as a whole - and I have dozens of examples of how they took the small-minded view of looking after their own little interest groups, and hang the others. The anti-gunners did not HAVE to divide and conquer, we took the first step ourselves, and ended up with exactly what we deserved.

  2. Ron is a guy I know to be a damn site more articulate and thoughtful than I saw post Port Arthur, and some other people around me agree with this, he is no idiot. it is possible that he felt his actions were necessary to get the message out.

    I agree with you completely on the SSAA etc, they were a let down.

    I have little understanding of groups like the Shooters Party, who seem to have other agendas ahead of shooters rights. In the last election they refused to preference the LDP who fully support the right to have guns, because we had a gay candidate standing in one electorate.

    They preferenced blatantly anti gun parties ahead of us.