Not hate speech

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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.

LIONEL DEIMEL
Mt. Lebanon


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