1) A military officer illegally orders the execution of prisoners of war
All he did was speak words. Do words have the power to kill? Are you willing to equate words with the physical act of pulling the trigger? Are soldiers like guns? Inanimate objects that react without thinking?
2) A group of men meet in secret and conspire to rob a bank
All they did was discuss an idea. Are some ideas more dangerous than others? Is it right to punish people for expressing dangerous ideas? Do you profess any dangerous ideas?
3) Bob threatens to murder Dan
Should Bob be punished for his words? What if Bob is an anonymous online troll? Should trolls face punishment for the things they type in online forums? What if Bob is a member of the mafia? If you're not willing to punish Bob the troll, why would you punish Bob the mobster?
4) A man convinces a teenage girl to commit suicide
This is a real case. Over the internet, he convinced a girl to commit suicide and to record it for him to watch. Once again, all he did was speak words. Are words like magical spells? Are they able to entrance an unsuspecting soul and cause her to take her own life?
5) A teenage girl persuades her lover to murder an innocent girl
This is yet another real case. She was jealous of the other girl. She got her boyfriend to murder this girl. She rewarded him with an unforgetable night. Another case of words (plus seduction) casting a powerful spell on an unsuspecting soul. Words are powerful indeed, are they not?
6) The mainstream media openly denies the existence of a rape epidemic amongst a certain group, and verbally attacks anybody who points out the facts. As a result, hundreds of young girls continue to suffer, living much of their young lives as sex slaves.
This is a real case. Should the members of the media face punishment for their words? Have you ever been accused of covering-up or denying the existence of 'rape-culture'?
7) A man preaches that gays should be killed. Another man goes on a rampage and murders dozens of gay men at a dance club.
This is a real case. Are you starting to grit your teeth? How far are you willing to go to protect absolute freedom of speech? Or do you believe that speech should have limitations? What are these limitations? In each of the above scenarios, would you punish the people who spoke the words? What underlying principles do you use to make your judgement?
Please let me know in the comments below.