Column: ‘One Can’t Believe Impossible Things’

August 27, 2015

[Opinion column written by Minister for Community, Culture and Sports Patricia Gordon-Pamplin]

It was Charles Dickens who made the phrase “The Law is an Ass” famous.

It is a phrase that must have popped into the minds of many Bermudians this month when Marc Bean, the Progressive Labour Party’s chosen Leader, was acquitted in Magistrates Court of using offensive words. He called a woman “a political whore” and was alleged to have further and bizarrely claimed that she was passed around between friends for 10 cents a lick.

Let’s ask ourselves a rhetorical question about those giggling PLP faithful who apparently have no issue with this kind of behaviour: pretend for a fantastical moment that it was Michael Dunkley who wandered into a polling station, in jeans and t-shirt, and began a tirade about a female PLP supporter calling her a “political whore”.

Would they still be giggling? Would they have shrugged and said “Oh, that’s not insulting or offensive. It’s just politics”?

I think we know the answer to that question. They would have been furious, calling for resignations, marching on Parliament and making the mother of all fusses. The PLP has a thin skin where language is concerned, as many of us have reason to remember.

One OBA politician had to apologise for referring to some ultra-religious people as Kool Aid drinkers, for example. The word xenophobia has been removed from the memories of all in the ranks of the politically correct.

People have actually had to leave the Island for speaking carelessly about PLP leaders. Nothing remotely like that will happen with Mr Bean. His followers apparently don’t care how he behaves and, in effect, he now has a licence from the Court to carry on in his vitriolic and misogynistic manner.

The words alleged to have been spoken by Mr Bean were not only not denied by him, he is alleged to have bragged about them in messages to his colleagues.

The Magistrate who acquitted Mr. Bean didn’t make a ruling on the words Mr Bean was alleged to have used, he simply managed to find a way to rule that there was Constitutional protection for Mr Bean’s choice of words, given the parties and the place involved.

I know some people see a parallel between this incident and Michael Dunkley’s comment caught on air concerning the wife of a former politician. There is a big difference. The Premier’s conversation was not misogynistic name-calling. It was a private comment to a political colleague, not intended for public dissemination, and for which he attempted straight away to apologise, albeit unsuccessfully.

I would have said making an apology has never entered Mr Bean’s head.

It is apparently now OK to be a foul-mouthed lout in public as long as it can be argued that the context is political.

It will be interesting to see if the Department of Public Prosecutions will appeal this case as a matter of law, as I strongly believe it should! If this decision is not worthy of an appeal to a court of higher learning, then perhaps the law really is as Dickens described it.

How can it be correct that people who are meant to be the leaders of this country can behave in the most disgusting way towards each other, in front of members of the public, without being liable to be corrected in the way ordinary people would be? Isn’t this a country in which all of us are equal in the eyes of the law?

Candidly, the last people many would think ought to be given some form of carte blanche to behave like barbarians would be politicians like Marc Bean, whose own political colleagues clearly have no ability to restrain his tirades both in and out of Parliament. I, for one, do not want anyone in a leadership role in this country who behaves is this type of egregious manner.

If Mr Bean’s words really are not “offensive” in the eyes of the law, one wonders where that leaves the public interest in these matters. Basically the Court has deemed that you cannot be offended because our Constitution, the over-riding Act that protects us all with clear freedoms and liberties and rights says so.


Did the lady victim in this case not have the right to be protected from the vitriolic lash of Bean’s tongue? He could not have spoken those words in Parliament, even with the protection of Parliamentary Privilege, as they would have been deemed unparliamentary. But the law has decided that Marc Bean has more right to call a woman a “political whore” in public than she has the right to be protected by the law from such an attack.

I’m reminded of something I read many years ago in Alice in Wonderland:

“Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said: ‘one can’t believe impossible things.’

“‘I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.’”

- Patricia Gordon-Pamplin

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Comments (101)

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  1. watching says:

    this is absolutely ridiculous. The case went to court. Its over. the OBA are trying desperately to hold to anything they can for political gain. It is OVER! Move on!

    • TRUTH says:


      Really, Really, Really, MORE WASTE OF TAX-PAYERS MONEY ON POLITICAL POINTS……. OBA CLAIMS WE HAVE NO MONEY…..MONEY DOES NOT GROW ON TREES…..yet they are about to waste more MONEY on a NON-COURT CASE…..this proves that this matter is purely political and nothing else……this is getting really sad………..move on OBA and Bermuda needs JOBS, JOBS, and more JOBS,

      I would prefer that the focus be on something of more substance… you will be calling on the average man to take a another PAY-CUTS to pay for all these COURT CASES…………..really

      FOLKS THE PAY-CUTS are coming again, as the government once again loses it focus,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,on nonsense and insignificance issues…………really……

    • Anbu says:

      Sounds like the pee el pee to me. Lmfao

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      Political gain… what about social gain, what do we gain from a would be leader who thinks it is OK to denigrate women in public. Of a judgement that accepts an arguement that not only did the accused not say something, but that it was OK that it wasn’t said because it was said in a political context. Does anybody else find it weird that the defence won with an arguement that basically contradicts the defences other arguement that he didn’t say what he is accused of saying?? And then the accused declares it victory and that the OBA was lying in accusing him of saying those things, when that isn’t what the judgement said.
      The greatest hypocrisy is that had this been an OBA leader saying those thing to a PLP women, those PLP supporter wouldn’t have been laughing but crying for blood and screaming injustice at a court ruling like this. Please do and try to deny this.

    • Devonshire says:

      A judge’s ruling does not dictate what is morally acceptable for Bermuda and the end of a trial does not close the need for discussion. The Community must continue to demand culpability and the boundary for standards. This was unacceptable.

      And silence from the Opposition…..

    • Devonshire says:

      Sorry – but the judge’s ruling does not dictate the moral standards for our Community and the close of a trial does not mean important discussion in the community ends. We must demand accountability of leaders. This was unacceptable.

      ….And silence form the Opposition.

    • Onion Juice says:

      Dr. Gordon used worse words the that in his day.

      • Jonah says:

        Given the opposition he dealt with, I am certain that they were entirely appropriate..

    • Onion Juice says:

      She’s lucky it wasn’t Donald Trump.

  2. Why isn't every women in Bermuda says:

    shouting from the rooftops about this????

  3. Truth says:

    It is apparent that OBA is having a hard time accepting the outcome of the case was “NO CASE TO ANSWER”. This waste of Tax-Payers case should have never been brought before the courts. Thus the application to Appeal the case.

    OBA’s prolong dragging out of this matter clearly indicates that this was merely an attempt by OBA to attack Bean. It has nothing to do with Bean’s dislikes women, but rather a swift move by the OBA to gain political points. However, the courts detected the underlying premise of the case, and ruled “NO CASE TO ANSWER”.

    I think the government should now spent their time focusing on more significant things such as JOBS, growing the economy, and ensuring Transparency. Bermuda has far more pressing issues, than to continue this same nonsense about Toni Daniels.

    • Sad says:

      So you wouldn’t mind if a female relative/friend of yours was labelled by the OBA leader as a political whore who he and his mates would pass around for 10 cents a lick?

      You would say no harm done as it is simply political banter?

      Sure ya would. Look at how your team reacted when being labelled xenophobic.

      Then there’s his claims in the house of open leggism and how the OBA females only are where they are because of a certain thing

      But then again I am conversing with supporters who put forward and elected an individual who tweeted about burning down society

      Nasty lot.

    • James says:

      What are you talking about? This is only opinion column in Bernews on this matter by an OBA MP.

      And why shouldn’t the women of the OBA support their female colleague who was insulted by the Opposition Leader?

      • hmmm says:

        @ Truth

        “It has nothing to do with Bean’s dislikes women”

        Are you confirming folks beliefs ???

      • bafoomish says:

        Why they didn’t support oba mp for #4. Pamplin is a disappointment to all women for just supporting one oba woman. She needs to retire.

    • Self says:

      This Minister uses to be someone I admired….but sadly I have lost all respect for her.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      So what you are saying is that our Minister for Community and Culture shouldn’t be allowed to share her opinions about where she sees our community and culture going. The Minister quite rightly points out on of the things about the case that some people seem to be trying to wash over, and that is that Mr. Bean was never acquitted of saying what he said, but that if he had said what it is alleged that he said, that it wasn’t deemed offensive because of the event and place with which it was framed to. It just means that the judge accepted the defences arguement that what he said was done so at a political event in a political context. And I do find this a stretch, as not only did the defence say that these things were said in a political context, but that they actually weren’t said… how can you say that someone said something in a context, but then also say that they didn’t actually say that thing?
      Either way of the courts ruling, enough people knows what was said, even if they won’t admit to it, and the Minister is right to question what that means to those that reacted the way they did as being acceptable to the health of our community and culture. Is this really behaviour we want in a leader. And if they show were on the other foot, would you still be touting this as a just and vindicating ruling, and what does that answer say about your own belief about whether you want a better community and culture for our island.

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        That last sentence should start “and if the shoe were on…”

    • Bermyman says:

      ‘It has nothing to do with Bean’s dislikes women, but rather a swift move by the OBA to gain political points.’

      So you as a PLP supporter, openly admit that Bean has a dislike for women in general! But you say it is a waste of time to dwell on that?

  4. Chris Famous says:

    So why does not the minister talk about when the Female Deputy Speaker was verbally abused in the HOA by several male OBA MPs?

    • hmmm says:

      When was that Chris, or is this a fairy tale.

    • Sad says:

      Do you think that there is an actual correlation among the two events? Do you think that the event you are referring to was because she was a woman or because they went against the party whip (something that the PLP would never do these days)?

      Did they call the woman misogynitic names and threaten to pass her around to the group?

      How can you preach against hatred and bigotry and simultaneously defend the words of hate espoused by your team?

    • serengeti says:

      Did they call her a political whore and tell her should be passed around? remind us.

    • Devonshire says:

      Mr. Famous – you are always deflecting. WAS WHAT MR. MARC BEAN SAID acceptable to you? Your silence but for deflection is NOTED.

    • Unbelievable says:

      What was said to the Deputy Speaker was not the same as what your leader said to Ms. Daniels. The OBA may have been mad at the Deputy Speaker (like either one of us were even there) but they surely did not even come close to the disgusting remarks that Marc Bean broadcast on that day.

  5. Jeremy Deacon says:

    Be interesting to see what the DPP will do: “It will be interesting to see if the Department of Public Prosecutions will appeal this case as a matter of law, as I strongly believe it should! If this decision is not worthy of an appeal to a court of higher learning, then perhaps the law really is as Dickens described it.”

    • dumb ndumb says:

      So JD how about what crockwell said. Should that be on the high court too? Bet not because you’re an oba supporter who’s afraid of not being in charge

    • Jonah says:

      Jeremy , Jeremy, Jeremy – who pays the bills these days?

  6. Paz says:

    Ms. Gordon-Pamplin has written a terrific piece here. It speaks of male behaviour and the ills of our society, not just our political system. What kind of role models do we have for our young men? This case shows there are precious few.

    I believe that the women of the island (I am a man) should not let this drop for a long, long time. They should scream about it from the rooftops.

    • Bermuda123 says:

      Very well said. This is not politics, this is about acceptable behavior. The result of the court case is irrelevant. What is relevant is that Marc Bean said what he did, as no one including himself is denying. If he were in the corporate world he would have been. Immediately fired. I think we need a viable Opposition, but not one led by this man who is an embarrassment to all people with values. Wake up PLP and get rid of him.

  7. aceboy says:

    No, the point is that you fools support a guy who would say and then brag about such things. That is not leadership, it is pure rudeness.

    So many PLP supporters use the word “respect”….we should respect this and respect that. How can you possibly respect your own leader? He does not deny he said these words and has not apologized.

    He would be a pure embarrassment for this island if he ever became Premier. He does not have what it takes.

    • ReallyReallyBETTTY says:

      NAH, NAH, This is not about Bean, this is nothing more than Political Warfare. This is merely a political game gone wrong for the OBA, and now they do not wanna to let it go…………Toni seeking victory to score political points……that’s the point your missing out on……..the twist of the OBA is to make it seems its all about Women and feminist, but its far from that…………..political ploy at work………………..

      • hmmm says:

        Perhaps Bean is just the product of a selfish 3 terms of PLP me myself and I, and to hell with the consequences governance.

      • jt says:

        So are you a political whore being passed around for 10 cents a lick Betty? You o.k. if I say so anyway just to get some ‘likes’ and some giggles for my post.

        • serengeti says:


          • Ringmaster says:

            Betty being passed around? What a disgusting image.

            • ReallyReallyBETTTY says:


              What this looks like is a desperate, frantic, and drastic attempt by the OBA to gain back some advantage and mileage….. . OBA has lost the trust of many, many folks. Today, while here for a few days only, many folks I have bumped into shared with me their frustration of how this government is operating.

              Many have expressed to me that this government needs to go. I asked them why……lack of transparency, translucence, openness………childish, juvenile, immature, babyish, political tactics……..lack of Accountability …………lack of fulfilling promises………………lack of honest…………………… I was actually surprised by the responses, but since I follow the political discourse, I realized that I am not so surprise. This recent op pieces by the OBA confirms what folks are feeling…………….really…………..

              Folks indicated they only wished that the OBA Political tactics, such as this would clean up their act……but rather focus on more serious issues. Many indicated the government has become so immature that it’s like they are high school kids in the playground calling at others and playing a mischievous… game of trick or treats………………4 real……..OBA are acting like naughty school children………

              Grow up OBA, and get serious about the issues Bermuda is facing………..stop playing in the school yard….MP Gordon and others…..

        • Self says:

          Grow up!

          • jt says:

            Making a point there skippy. Keep up. Don’t lump me in with Bean. I’m above and beyond him.

  8. Impressive says:

    “People have actually had to leave the Island for speaking carelessly about PLP leaders.”

    I am not saying this is a lie, because in my ignorance, I can accept that I just simply don’t know, but who is the minister referring to with this quote???

    • hmmm says:

      I remember that, can’t recall the name, perhaps someone can.

    • hmmm says:

      Wasn’t there also a chef who was loosely joking about putting something in the food of a PLP minister who was effectively booted out?

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        It was along the lines of pointing out a ‘special’ plate of food for DREB.

        Petty Bermuda being petty Bermuda the chef was effectively put on the next thing smoking.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      There was a Canadian foreman who had his work permit pulled after he confronted a PLP minister who came onto his site without the appropriate safety equipment and refused to comply with the site safety regulation. This was one case, and a case the PLP lost when taken to court by the person for wrongful termination.
      Another case I can think of was a chef who made a bad off handed joke about food poisoning a PLP Minister when they came into a restuarant. He had his permit pulled that day and was kicked out the next I believe, no review or due process was ever conducted to the validity of the claim.

    • Ginger says:

      The chef at Elbow Beach Hotel when asked by a waiter which was Dr EB’s plate of food and replied “the one with the arsenic in it”.
      He was off the island within days.

    • Cow Polly says:

      An Australian chef was booted out of the island by Dr Brown because he made a joke when asked which plate of food was for the Premier. He said the one with the arsenic on it. Anyone with a sense of humour laughed……. the rest shouted victimization. Sound familiar?

      • Ringmaster says:

        I believe there was an expat doctor who spoke against the closure of the Indigent Clinic and was put on the next plane out.

    • Jonah says:

      Wonder if they encontered those that left as a result of speaking carelssly about the UBP while dark?

  9. Forgive the "inconvenient truth" says:

    So the court ruled–but the uttered comment was still misognistic, has everyone lost sight of this and that 50% of the population of the Island was disrepcted when this comment was made?

    Could this be charaterised as “Bermuda irony”???

    Regardless of your politicial affiliation–Mr. Bean’s comments and actions in not apologizing for causing someone distress is shameful and simly not polite.

    Sorry folks–very bad form exhibited by the man.

  10. Seriously???? says:

    Why is this being brought up AGAIN ? Give it a rest. this is a typical example of tit-for-tat that the OBA is becoming famous for. It went to court. It’s over. It’s done. Pick up the marbles and go home!

    • hmmm says:

      Minister for Community, Culture and Sports perhaps has a right to comment on this.

      It is the PLP who have been in full election mode with disinformation, and running to the press constantly.

      Check yourself

  11. Starting Point says:

    I dont think this is worth the courts time either to be honest, this is how Bean thinks, not news to anyone who knows him.

  12. O'Brien says:

    I don’t profess to know whether the case against Marc Bean was properly dismissed. Maybe the judge erred, maybe he didn’t. I suppose we should assume he got it right.

    But I think it’s reasonably clear – leaving aside the legal niceties – that Marc Bean conducted himself that day in a manner completely unbecoming a potential leader of this country. His comments were vulgar and reprehensible. And yes, if an OBA MP had said anything similar to a PLP supporter we would never have heard the end of it from the opposition.

    Bean should be held accountable. If not by the courts, then by the voters of this country. They should take a good hard look at him and question whether he really deserves the title ‘Premier’. Based on his own behavior, I think the answer to that question is now beyond obvious.

  13. Um Um Like says:

    What woman in her right mind would ever vote for someone like this?

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      What woman in her right mind would ever vote for anyone this man is even associated with?

  14. Won in Court LOST in the Court of PUBLIC OPINION says:

    Sorry Mr. Bean.

    This behavior doesn’t fly in this day and age.

  15. Vulcan Trash Cleaner says:

    quoted:- People have actually had to leave the Island for speaking carelessly about PLP leaders. unquote.

    IF anyone tried to make me leave they would get a very rude awakening!

  16. Bermyman says:

    It is clear that the PLP support verbal abuse of women in a public setting, never mind behind closed doors. Why? Why would any political party allow their leader to behave this way towards females with no repercussions.

  17. Seriously???? says:

    @Hmmmmm – anyone has a right to comment on anything and we all have the right to respectfully disagree. MOVE ON !

    • hmmm says:

      but the minister doesn’t have the right to comment on it in your world, despite it being part of her ministerial coverage.

      Like I said … Check Yourself.

  18. Navin johmson says:

    Bean may have been given license by the court but not by people. Most see him for what he is. Fill in the blanks

  19. Chris Famous says:

    Please remind us what was an OBA MP arrested for again.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Surely you are not going back something like 40 years. Is that the best you can do?

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        24 hours later, I am still hearing treefrogs. Famous must be taping up the glass in his house.

      • Jonah says:

        Things that happened 40 years often remain relevant – it is quite interesting to read and hear folk implore us to forget history..

        • serengeti says:

          It’s also interesting that some people want to forget what took place prior to December 2012.

    • kangoocar says:

      @not so famous, care to remind us what that plp mp was arrested for???? If you don’t I will!!!!!

    • Ringmaster says:

      Please remind us all since you clearly know. Was the MP charged and convicted?

  20. Jurist says:

    The PLP dislike women and probably think they should be seen and not heard.

    • Self says:

      Not true at all…you’re talking nonsense and you know it.

      • Coffee says:

        The OBA seem to be very fond of women like Toni Daniels .

        • Triangle Drifter says:

          Please expand on what you mean by “like” Toni Daniels. I don’t know her. What should be known. Something with verification, not opinion, would be nice.

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        Then they need to come out and condone their leaders actions, they know what went on, several of them even derived amusement from it. Course none of them will admit what their leader did, but people know, they know what was said, they know who found it amusing and if they care about Bermuda, they will judge them for that character

        • Self says:

          “Then they need to come out and condone their leader’s actions, they know what went on…”

          Tsk, tsk, I think you’re in desperate need of a dictionary dear. To condone something means to accept and allow it. So what are you really trying to say??

          • Build a Better Bermuda says:

            Appologies, autocorrect, that I missed, should have been condemn

  21. Coffee says:

    And I thought for a moment MP Pamplin was writing about Ganga tea . Nevertheless , she speaks with forked tongue , Dunkeley swore about a regular citizen of this country , not a political opponent . It was caught on tape , he has neither denied nor made apologies for the vile utterance .

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      He never swore at her or about her, but was commenting on the action she and 2 other we’re taking. Interestingly he was right to, it was a waste of time, not out of arrogance, but because they already knew that the people didn’t want a referendum on gaming, they wanted it done. It took them over 6 months to gather and vet 2000 signatures, petitions against PLP actions in government garnered more than that in serval instances in less than a week.

  22. Alvin Williams says:

    Bankrupt the OBA has lost the political debate with the Bermuda people and that is why they have resorted to the courts in a desperate attempt to regain some credibility with the Bermudian people; but this too shall fail.

  23. Sid says:

    Everyone – please stop focussing on this fluffy silliness. The Island has much bigger problems:

    - an atrocious school dropout rate among boys, which has caused a gang problem
    - a 6-year real estate market depression, which means no mortgages, no construction work, and keeps killing any chance of a jobs recovery
    - a growing government debt which will inevitably lead to brutal austerity unless real spending cuts are made now.

    If the Island doesn’t deal with these three problems, the Island will become a much worse place to live, very quickly.

    Politicians – please stop arguing about “disrespectful language” and start doing something about the real problems.

    • Self says:

      Naturally you won’t hear the OBA talk about the real issues. Their time in office has been a dismal failure….so talking about “real” issues will only remind people that they don’t have a handle on things.

    • ReallyReallyBETTTY says:

      Thanks Sid, we have much much more to be concern about and the OBA still engaging in tic for tat nonsense.

      As Alvin Williams puts it so rightfully “The OBA has lost the political debate with the Bermuda people and that is why they have resorted to the courts in a desperate attempt to regain some credibility with the Bermudian people; but this too shall fail.”

      The OBA has fallen down politically this seems like a desperate attempt to gain some creditability back……………really

      Keep it up OBA, it working out fine………….on the chess board, as more pieces will fall on their political swords…….ahaha

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      To counter a couple of points, recent real estate figures have shown a rise in what is considered to be the introductory markets, building materials have experienced a couple of increases over consecutive months, government has been tackling down the monumental government deficit, the first step to tackling down the debt while avoiding unpleasant austerity measure that would do more harm than good. Those responsible for those particular areas of problems are tackling them. As for our boys dropping out of school for gang culture, the minister is somewhat right in keeping this in the highlights. We need strong support structures outside of school to help these kids succeed in school and the government can’t do that alone, there needs to be role models we can look to, and the Minister is quite right to question, and force all to question Mr. Bean’s action and how people react to what has gone on, is the unapologetic degradation of women an example that we want our leaders to be setting in our community. Is it something that we should be defending. As Minister of Community and Culture, it is well with in her scope to keep talking about this as it represents the a low in humanity that we should not foster in our culture. Enough people know what went on, what was said, and who reacted in what way, and it is a putrid stain on those souls who think and derive some enjoyment from such actions and think them acceptable.

  24. Jurist says:

    How can any female vote for the PLP?

    • The jury is out says:

      How can any female vote for the OBA! Follow Minister Pamplin and see the names she uses in the House, follow another OBA MP, she might let you know the color of her underwear. Crucify someone who speaks out and does not hide behind the veil to be polically correct, what someone may not say to your face, they are thinking it. Believe that! How broad are your shoulders! There is only one judge and he knows the truth!

      • John says:

        …and whose side is He on? perhaps you might ask him!

  25. Coffee says:

    One can’t believe impossible things , and yet Minister Pamplin hasn’t questioned the abrupt removal of Craig Cannonier from the premiership of Bermuda. Unbelievable ! She oughtta give Mrs.Cindy Swan a hug in female solidarity , but she’ll never do that , even though it’s the right thing to do . Pamplin for Premier !

  26. Seriously?!! says:

    How do Cabinet Ministers have the time to run a ministry on a part time basis in the best interest of Bermuda and also write opinion pieces? Hmmm! Perhaps they should instead prioritize their time, purpose and priorities as MPs!

  27. Lone Wolf says:

    I came here to comment but quickly realized …. I am speechless. Completely and utterly amazed … I guess now we have proof that the PLP is above the law and can do or say anything at all with absolutely no fear whatsoever of the courts OR of the people of Bermuda.

    Only the OBA can do wrong and expect repercussions.

    Bye bye Bermuda Paradise. All I see for our future is a race war, riots and the demise of what was once a beautiful country.

    • Jonah says:

      Define paradise? You will most likely determoine that one man’s paradise is anothers nightmare….

  28. UmJustSaying says:

    Does that mean the common folk will no longer be charged with using the same words toward the police???????? Or is the goose better than the gander.