Tag Archives: Freedom of speech

The Rest Of The Story

I’m sure most, or at least a lot, of you have seen the story about the jilted boyfriend who put up the abortion billboard in Alamogordo, N.M.  If you haven’t, I’ll give you the facts.  Then we’re going to play a little bit of “The Rest of Story,” by Paul Harvey.  There’s a lot more to this story than almost all the national press services and online services failed to report or investigate.  For them it had just became a “First Amendment Issue” perpetrated by an ambulance-chasing lawyer that wants to morph into a Constitutional attorney, I guess, and, well, get some national exposure.  He’s doing okay on the second part, especially since the suit brought against Greg Fultz was for harassment and violation of privacy.  More on that in a minute.

Over a year ago, Greg Fultz, was dating, and we will assume, having sex with Nani Lawrence.  She got pregnant.  We’ll again assume that Greg is the father because we  really don’t know, there was never a paternity test.  They had broken up, from all accounts, before they knew about the pregnancy, but that’s not important.  What is important is that Greg went on a stalking rampage on “Facebook”, and in person, after the fact.

His next step was to form an “anti-abortion” and “father’s rights” organization by opening up a new Facebook page.  I guess that’s like incorporating as a non-profit these days.  He called the organization the “National Association for Needed Information or N.A.N.I.  Wait, that’s the name of his ex-girlfriend.   And that’s what was on the original billboard.

Original Billboard on White Sands Boulevard

Yes, the billboard he paid $1,300 for with donated funds, located on White Sands Boulevard, the main thoroughfare in little Alamogordo, N.M.  The billboard has a photo of Greg Fultz holding a blacked-out outline of a baby with a playground in the background.  The large text beside the photo reads, “This Would Have Been a Picture Of My 2-Month Old Baby If The Mother Had Decided To Not KILL (bold and in red) Our Child!”  Message aside, my first thought was that it should have said “…..Decided Not To KILL Our Child,” but he probably didn’t consult a grammar expert before he ordered it.

Nani Lawrence, from what I can determine, graduated from Alamogordo High School in 2009, and claims to be attending New Mexico State University, majoring in Psychology.  She is also pictured with her arm around another girl, so maybe we can assume she’s now gay?  I found all of this out on her Facebook page pretty easily.

So Nani, tired of being harassed, stalked and plastered on a billboard as an anti-abortion organization, takes the ex-boyfriend to court charging harassment and violation of her privacy.  Todd Holmes, attorney for Greg Fultz, after clearly advising his client to change the organization name to C.A.N.I-Coalition About Needed Information, cried First Amendment Right of Free Speech.  I’m giving the name change to Todd, because I really have a hard time believing that Greg could have thought up the nonsensical name, especially the word Coalition.  Attorney’s like the word coalition.  But then I really don’t know.  I just know it was changed on the billboard after a few weeks.

Otero County Domestic Violence Court hearing commissioner Darrell Brantley recommended an order of protection for Lawrence and ordered the billboard be removed by 8:14 am on June 17th.  He made the decision last week on the basis of what he determined to be harassment, not free speech.  Judge James W. Counts will most probably approve these recommendations, but they are not commenting on the pending case.

Fultz’s attorney, Todd Holmes decided to invoke the U.S. Supreme Court decision that I wrote about earlier this year concerning the Westboro Baptist Church and their famous anti-gay protests at military funerals.  Todd thinks, I emphasize “thinks” that the high court’s decision to allow the protests is grounds for his client to put up the abortion billboard.  Okay.

“Very unpopular offensive speech,” he told the Alamogordo Daily News. “The Supreme Court, in an 8 to 1 decision, said that is protected speech.”

Todd Holmes, just as an aside, won “The J-Lo Award Most Times Married” at his 20th high school reunion.  I’m just throwing that in there.  Maybe I’ll take out a billboard on White Sands Boulevard.  Todd’s been a lawyer for 19 years and doesn’t even have a website.  Not saying that automatically makes him a successful lawyer, but I’ll bet money he’s never argued a Constitutional case, probably handles a lot of divorces though,  including his own.  Oooh, is that libel?  I think I might fight that under the “public figure” defense.  He’s made himself one of by his own doing.

Now, the rest of the story.  Greg Fultz is 35.  Nani Lawrence is 15 years his junior.  And when she got pregnant, she was just 18.  Rumor has it that Greg Fultz has had young girl friends before.

Greg had also been stalking, harassing, bullying and threatening Nani for over a year.  He opened up a web page where he was posting pictures of them when they were dating and stalking her.  He made fun of a nervous disorder that she reportedly has.  Then he put up the billboard with donated funds.

There is no evidence that he is even the father.  There is also no evidence that Nani, had an abortion.  She says that she suffered an early term miscarriage.  Not that hard to believe given her age.

He changed the organization’s name, he says:  “Yes as you can see that there has been a name change I will explain that shortly.  But know this it was voluntary i(sic) did it myself and i(sic) was not forced by anyone to make the change it’s my way of showing that this is not about a person but about the message i’m(sic) trying to send. appropriate changes will be made to all places that had the former name on it as time permits.. again this was my choice.”  This is verbatim from the N.A.N.I., now C.A.N.I.  Facebook page.   Again, it appears obvious to me that a lawyer was involved in the wording of this disclaimer.

The original billboard also had an endorsement from a pro-life organization called “Right to Life New Mexico.”   They had given their permission for him to use their logo until they found out Fultz was unsure if Lawrence had an abortion or a miscarriage.

And that GEFNET sponsorship on the billboard,  I checked out the website.  It’s a WYSIWYG designed site, and none of the tabs are working except one.  The disclaimer says that the site is under maintenance and they apologize.  It is nothing more than an ISP reseller site, not very professional looking, and I doubt if he knows html code.

Here was his comment about the commissioner’s decision on the C.A.N.I. Facebook page:  “There was a court hearing held recently that was a travesty of the American Justice system but it is being appealed and with appeals comes additional legal fees They are forcing the billboard that in it’s altered state is nothing but free speech (IMO it was free speech unaltered) if you wish to help with legal fees please contact me directly.  Thank you.”  I wonder what he thinks they are forcing the billboard to do, he never says.

I think Nani needs to take donations for a billboard on White Sands Boulevard sponsored by her new organization “Great Roar Entertainment Group – G.R.E.G.  A picture of her standing sideways with a blacked-out silhouette of her pregnant belly.  “I Might Have Gotten Pregnant By My Ex-Boyfriend If He Didn’t Suffer From Erectile Dysfunction!  ED is CURABLE.  Call 1-800-44-STIFF.”  Claim it’s free speech.  WTF


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Shoot ’em in the Head….

Picketing in Topeka, 2005

WBC Picketing in Topeka KS, Dec 2, 2005

Like most everyone that has followed this case, I was pretty damn angry at a CHURCH that would have the audacity to picket a soldier’s funeral for any reason.  A funeral is a RELIGIOUS event, not a platform for dissent.  Then they write a diatribe on their website about how the boy’s parents were at fault for his death because of how he was raised.  The Snyder’s sued, and won $11 million, reduced to $5 million by a judge, and then reduced to $0 by a Circuit Court of Appeals.  Then today, the Supreme Court ruled 8-1 in favor, not really of Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church, but in favor of FREE SPEECH protected by the First Amendment.  The one dissenting vote, by Justice Samuel Alito, left out there as a message, some experts believe, that there is still the possibility that you can cross the line by hiding behind First Amendment Protection.

The comments left on the news services web pages are what scare me the most.  A good majority of them lash out at the Justices calling the ruling absurd, liberal, and worse.  I read comments like, if that happened at their son’s funeral they would shoot them all in the head and use the bodies as fertilizer.  Some did have the common sense to understand that this ruling is about freedom of speech.  You have to be very careful, because if you can censure the contents of the speech, then the speech isn’t free.  We don’t have a guarantee of “non-hateful” free speech in this country.  And I’ll just throw in here that I don’t think the Snyder’s should have ever been awarded any monetary compensation for this demonstration of hateful, yet free speech.  Tort reform is one of the biggest issues in this country, but a topic for a later time.  

And the root of this free speech test is really all about homosexuality.  It’s not about Gay Rights, really.  It’s not about a protected class for gays, really.  It’s not about gay marriage, really.  It’s about how one religion, whether we agree or not, preaches that GOD is punishing us for accepting homosexuality in the US, and allowing homosexuals to serve in the military.  That’s why they’re picketing, and why they chose the most hurtful way of doing it by using a soldier’s funeral.  That explains why their picket signs say things like “God Hates You.”  “Thank God for 911.”  “Fags are Beasts.”  “No Fags in Heaven.”  Etc.  But this “church” only had 71 members in 2007 and 85% or more are related.  It’s also a “hate group” and is monitored in the country as such.  It’s also not associated with any Baptist convention or associations.

So what did Chief Justice Roberts say in the Court’s opinion: 

Chief Justice Roberts

“Westboro believes that America is morally flawed; many Americans might feel the same about Westboro. Westboro’s funeral picketing is certainly hurtful and its contribution to public discourse may be negligible. But Westboro addressed matters of public import on public property, in a peaceful manner, in full compliance with the guidance of local officials. The speech was indeed planned to coincide with Matthew Snyder’s funeral, but did not itself disrupt that funeral, and Westboro’s choice to conduct its picketing at that time and place did not alter the nature of its speech. 


“Speech is powerful. It can stir people to action, move them to tears of both joy and sorrow, and – as it did here – inflict great pain. On the facts before us, we cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker. As a Nation we have chosen a different course – to protect even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate. That choice requires that we shield Westboro from tort liability for its picketing in this case.”

I like this opinion.  I think it’s right.  Free speech is not and should not be defined by whether it inflicts pain or not.  We chose to protect it under our constitution completely and for the ultimate reason of allowing public debate.  Homosexuality is a topic for public debate.  Whether it should be or not has been discussed for decades.  Gains have been made in swaying public opinion in favor of gay rights, and without that free speech, none of those changes would have happened.  So if I don’t like that message, pretty much the opposite of the WBC message, and you chose to picket legally at my son’s funeral, do I have the right to sue you to shut you up?  I don’t think so.

So the next time the WBC shows up with picket signs, show up with your own.  Legally use your right of free speech.  Because the next big constitutional test is going to be the law passed in Maryland, as a result of the Snyder case,  that prohibits picketing at funerals.  Where do you stop with that one?  What if I don’t think you should be able to picket at Presidential speeches, and I get enough people to agree with me.   WTF   


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