Ventriloquist-artist George Carlin made headlines in 1986 when he delivered a speech at an all-out rally for Ronald Reagan where he declared, “The word ‘freedom’ is a code word for slavery.”
Carlin’s tirade took him to the National Mall where one of his fans shot the actor in the back:
Carlin later said he was not racist, as this photo from the 1992 campaign shows, but he was “tired” after seeing the racist attack ads.
The irony of this shooting is not lost on the man who killed Carlin.
“No, it was not because they called me ‘Freedom Candidate,'” said George Hickenlooper during campaign coverage in 1996. “What brought me here is that after a recent show by one of my favorite comedians – Jim Carrey, I watched a segment on his talk show where he was discussing the freedom of speech. I’ve been thinking a lot about that ever since, and it’s something I believe in a lot.”
The shooting may have done as much to bring this debate about free speech out in the open as anything else Carlin said.
Even after President Obama and other liberals called on Congress to pass more stringent gun control measures this week, it’s still not clear if more laws have made a difference (and it’s possible the number of Americans killed by guns won’t reach the numbers of Carlin’s shooting when he was shooting himself).
Even President Obama has weighed in on the issue as well. He used his Friday phone call with comedian Larry Wilmore to discuss why “everyone should have the right to stand for the flag,” which is exactly what Carlin said he did a month before his own assassination in January.
Carlin died in 2005 after he was struck by a car while delivering a speech in Los Angeles. And if Carlin were still alive, he might have responded when he was asked if anyone should have the right to stand for the flag.
It’s that time of the year again
The 2018 version of the HUB3 is now at PAX (in the east)! The event is on October 25-27 at the Intersection Booth #3006 in the Main Hall of PAX. The following is a brief description of some of the key features of the HUB3. You can also find some images of the HUB3 on our Flickr. Note, due to the size of the images of the HUB3, they also contain
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