An Army soldier who espoused racist views in an Internet profile was exercising his right to free speech according to the U.??S. Court of Appeals. Prc. Jeremy T. Wilcox was accused of making statements that discredited the armed forces and were detrimental to good order and discipline. He was also charged with violating military rules by attending a Ku Klux Klan rally and encouraging others to participate in extremist groups. His profile was spotted by civilian police who informed the armed forces of the material. Wilcox was tried before a court martial and sentenced to imprisonment and discharged.
The U.S. Court of Appeals noted that while Wllcox held views that were disturbing and inconsistent with Army policies, evidence was also presented he had excellent working relations with nonwhites and his fellow soldiers.
The Court decision is consistent with those who believe in the right of free speech to those with whom one disagrees. No evidence was offered which indicated Mr. Wilxcox failed to work cooperatively with other members of his unit. An individual is entitled to his private views regardless of how society disagrees with those ideas. That is the essence of democracy.