And is this an incentive we truly want in place? One where threats of violence shut down the free speech rights of others? I think not.
David Agema (a Michigan state representative) and some other people organized a Jan. 26, 2012 event that included as a speaker Kamal Saleem. Saleem runs Koome Ministries, which aims to teach about what it sees as “radical Islam’s true agenda.” Plaintiffs say Saleem “has a unique perspective on the internal threat to America posed by Sharia law and radical Muslims as he was once a Muslim involved in terrorist activities who has since transformed himself and converted to Christianity.”
To hold this event, plaintiffs rented a room at Alleghan High School for $90. They also asked the local police department to provide two officers as security. Then,
Shortly before the event was to take place, a woman approached the police officers at Allegan High School and “stated that Kamal Saleem had a $25 million dollar bounty on his head.” An Allegan police officer talked with Jones, Saleem’s bodyguard, who did not deny that a bounty existed. “Jones further stated that there had been death threats directed toward Kamal Saleem from Islamic extremists in the past.”
While the event was still in progress, Chief Hoyer ordered Plaintiffs to shut down the event. Other events were occurring simultaneously in other locations within the Allegan High School building while Saleem was speaking.
Consider what incentives this sort of decision creates. If you don’t like a speaker, make death threats against him. Then, if you can somehow let American government officials know about those threats, the officials will kick the speaker out of the places that it rented to him for his speech. (Nor is the principle in the case limited to high school buildings — school wasn’t in session, and the government could raise a similar security objection for any government building where other people are present, or perhaps even a building whether this is the only event taking place.)