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If an anonymous person on Twitter sent to you what they thought was George Zimmerman's address, what would you do with it? Would you retweet that address over and over again with nasty messages attached? Now let's pretend your famous. A household name. A persona with some half a million followers. A college educated, overly critical political figure. A leader to many men, women and children. Would you use better judgement, maybe stop, pause and look before you leap?
Time and time again actor, director, producer, screenwriter Spike Lee has been more than vocal on hot button topics. Lending his slightly slanted views from everything from OJ to 911. It was no surprise that Lee was publicly outraged over the death of Trayvon Martin. Most will agree his anger was justifiable. Yet after Zimmerman was found not guilty most did not try to incite a public riot. Most did not take justice into their own hands no matter how appalled they were over the verdict. Spike Lee was so outraged after the trial he did just that.
According to previous reports a man from California tweeted to several celebrities, George Zimmerman's address. Only Spike Lee retweeted this address literally hundreds of times. Only he sent countless hateful tweets for all his followers to see. Now only is he being sued by Mr. David and Elaine McClain. The couple (both in their seventy's) have filed a claim against Lee citing that their and the life of their son George were put in danger. They claim to be the target of an angry community and they're right. In fact the address Lee retweeted hatefully over and over again was not that of Zimmerman but the McClain's. At one time a George Zimmerman lived there however not the George Zimmerman. Now this George (who's only crime in life was given to him inadvertently at birth) has been subject to the reactions of an enraged group of people. Letters, and phone calls all spilling vial often threatening messages.
A public figure like Lee should exercise self restraint and better judgement rather than hate. Whether he is comfortable as a role model or voice of his time is irrelevant. Certainly he is very self aware of the levity of his opinion upon his community. His actions were careless, irrational and dangerous. The mere fact he is faces no criminal charges for almost successfully constructing a lynch mob is remarkable. The sad reality is that Lee may not even realize what damage he did to his community and to the concept of civility. Certainly the nation mourned the death of the young man, (Trayvon Martin) however in this country, you are tried by a jury of your peers. That jury found Zimmerman innocent of the charges against him. We also have in this country the right to free speech, a right Lee could have practiced with better judgement.
Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and by many state constitutions and state and federal laws. The freedom of speech is not absolute; the Supreme Court of the United States has recognized several categories of speech that are excluded from the freedom, and it has recognized that governments may enact reasonable time, place, or manner restrictions on speech.
The Twitter Account in Question