The recent letters to the editor condemning the criticism that prompted Dr. Ben Carson to step down as the commencement speaker at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine graduation miss a critical point ("Hopkins fails test of free speech," April 12). While Dr. Carson has the absolute right to express his opinion, words have consequences. And just as it was Dr. Carson's right to speak his mind or, if he is to be believed, to misspeak it, it is also the right of the university to criticize him and the right of the student body to express their collective desire that he not speak at their graduation.

No one ordered Dr. Carson to step down as speaker. He made that choice just as he made the choice to compare homosexuality to pedophilia and bestiality. If Dr. Carson does indeed have plans to enter into a late-in-life career in politics, he'd better understand now that while he may be guaranteed the right to say what he wants, how he wants, no one can promise him that he can say it without repercussions.

Lisa Paschal Snyder, Owings Mills

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