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Letter to the Editor: Runner uses freedom of speech

Tuesday, October 5, 2004

To the editor:

I write to publicly thank Southeast Missouri State University's Dr. Glenn Williams for organizing the second annual Freedom of Speech Run. The race is a proud event that celebrates our First Amendment rights, which I exercised on the course at about mile two and a half. There, a volunteer and a police officer were standing on a corner. I raised my arm to high-five them as I ran by, but only the volunteer, who was doing an outstanding job, high-fived me.

A high-five doesn't just mean "Way to go, me!" but also "Way to go, you!" A high-five is like unconditional reciprocal love, in five form, up high. Because the police officer left me hanging, I blurted, "Cops rule!" I imagine this may have been misinterpreted as sarcasm by the officer. "Some cops rule!" was what I'd meant to say. Sadly, I let the woefully unimaginative, inarticulate "Cops rule!" echo and ran on.

Other than that one incident, the Freedom of Speech Run was tremendous fun. There was live music at the finish line, and Williams gave a rousing, memorable oration inviting us to consider our civil liberties. As I do so, I am thankful my freedom of speech allows me to express, more eloquently than before, that while some cops rule, Officer Too-Good-to-High-Five-a-Guy-in-a-Race does not.

DUSTIN MICHAEL, Cape Girardeau