To the editor:

I must commend Mr Russo for defending the right to free speech in his recent Sept. 3 letter to the editor.

It is a right that many patriots have fought and died for. It should indeed be vigorously protected as a constitutional right. Yes, people do have the right to be as offensive and rude as they wish.

Does that protection not also give Americans the freedom to write their own nasty letters when they are offended by the writings and signage of others?

It is important to remember that the right to free speech does not include the right to slander, lie or publicly defame others. That is a crime.

Setting a good example includes calling out lies and slander when it occurs. Good examples of civil discourse and behavior on both sides of the political debate would win friends and influence people, but it is hard to remain civil given the current unrest and heated political climate.

Thomas Pelsue



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