Honors 10 Literature
20 May 2014
Safety vs. Freedom
Finding the difference between safety and freedom is subjective to a person’s perception. Some might say safety lies in the freedom to decide and execute one’s actions while others could say freedom is the barrier standing in front of safety. American essayist and social critic, H.L. Mencken states his belief that the average man prefers safety over freedom. America’s modern society and the persistence of racism worldwide, validates Mencken’s opinion.
The world views America as the country with endless opportunities, where power lies in the hands of the people and freedom rings true. However, how much freedom can one have while staying safe? For example, the First Amendment allows citizens to have freedom of speech. With free speech comes major controversy, such as homosexuality. They are free to be who they are, but, they are not always safe to announce it. Many homosexuals who “come out” face the risk of being shunned by family members, scrutinized in public and assaulted; some even killed. On October 4, 2013 three men were sentenced to 25 years in prison for the brutal murder of a man they stabbed and set on fire for proclaiming his homosexuality a week prior to the attack. The men “lured the man in his car to a deserted part of the forest. There, the eldest man stabbed the victim multiple times in the chest, face and neck, and two others kicked him.” Lastly, prosecutors said the perpetrators placed the 29-year-old victim in his car and the set the vehicle alight with petrol. (Pinknews.com-Anthony Likewell) If practicing one’s right to free speech puts a citizen in danger, is our society really safe, or could it be a facade?
Fighting through the Civil Rights Movement, African Americans have always strived for freedom in America. Yet some may realize freedom does not guarantee safety. In Booker T. Washington’s Atlanta Exposition Address, he mentions African Americans may not know how to be free. During the time of slavery, slaves depended on their masters to provide shelter and food for…