I can appreciate the outrage expressed in Thayer K. Miller's letter about the half-nude Carnegie Mellon University protester ("Public Nudity and Mockery Stunt Exposes Double Standards," May 19), but the writer exhibits a fundamental misunderstanding of American liberties. The demonstration was not a hate crime but simply the exercise of the First Amendment right of free speech. A case could be made that even the "indecent exposure" was a necessary element of the student's making her point.
Fire-bombing a church because you hate Christians might be a hate crime; expressing that hatred in words or in a demonstration that physically harms no one is not. When particular thoughts become crimes, be they "good" thoughts or "bad" thoughts, Americans will neither enjoy freedom nor deserve it.