Fist Amendment rights

It is apparent from Joan House’s incensed letter, along with additional letter writers, in the July 1, 1999, issue of The Malibu Times, that in our attempt to build a peaceful, benevolent Malibu community we’ve lost one of society’s greatest champions of justice –the old-fashioned punch in the snoot.

In American lore, never was there a kinder more suitable American than Mr. Smith, when he trekked off to Washington clad only in idealism and armed with the emblem of the underdog as he fought valiantly to expose the corruption of the entrenched governmental establishment. In “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” the idealistic freshman senator is confronted by a host of trials that test his character. Being forthright and genuine, he can see no phoniness or treachery in others. Every act of governmental insider deceit dumbfounds him. The final straw is when a photographer takes a picture, publishes it in the newspaper and all of Washington is given to believe that the fabrication told by the photo is true. How does the valiant young hero handle this particular test under fire? He slams down the newspaper in disbelief, leaves his office and searches out the sinning photographer. Without a word of explanation he lands an old-fashioned punch in the photographer’s snoot.

Now, nonviolence is a good thing if we Malibuites were dexterous enough to turn the other cheek. But in this defective world, filled as it is with untrustworthy and counterfeit letter writers who smite the truthful, turning the biblical cheek isn’t always the answer and can actually encourage deceitful behavior. Lawsuits aren’t the answer. When you go into court you are putting your fate into the hands of 12 people who weren’t resourceful enough to get out of jury duty. Is there nothing available between ignoring the transgression and a punch directed to the snoot? Honor, truthfulness and respect are precarious commodities. Would not evil doers and purveyors of falsehoods tread somewhat differently were they subject to the occasional punch in the snoot?

If you think this entire concept uncivilized, think of all the time, money and disgrace we Malibuites could save if we forsake the legal quagmires of seeking out the untruthful and issue a blow for the truth. Would Joan House, Mona Loo, Fay Singer and Reta Templeman have deserted their letters to the editor if they could have felt free to do the honorable thing, and delivered some phantom letter writer her just desserts — an old fashioned punch in the snoot?

Striking a blow for truthfulness,

Tom Fakehany

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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