This is not in defense of Mr. Webster because he failed to exercise self control which is not acceptable behavior.
In contemplation of the peace demonstrators' behavior, it occurred to me that perhaps their demonstration does not reflect a true spirit of peace. A portion of the definition of peace from Webster's Dictionary includes "to avoid strife."
When a person becomes mindful that their behavior (i.e., standing in a high-profile public area protesting a war in which several local members of the military are participating) causes strife for the family members and friends of those members of military who are in harm's way, surely, if the true spirit of peace resided in the demonstrators' hearts, they would either cease their behavior or chose another manner of protest.
When, in the name of free speech, the need to put forth your message on the public square day after day trumps a compassionate response to the awareness of strife which that behavior creates in various people, then your peace demonstration ceases to be peaceful. It is just another form of violence.
If this demonstration is truly about peace, why not take it to a place that is out of the public arena where no strife will be provoked in anyone?
Perhaps using the time spent "demonstrating" would better be spent volunteering in a nursing home full of lonely elders or teaching a child who struggles to learn how to read. So many needs could be met with that time spent demonstrating rather than creating strife in the hearts of family members of the military.
That is a true spirit of peace that we could all support.
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