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The Gun Scare

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We know of the Red Scare. On campus, anticommunism during World War I and after World War II led to fired faculty and silenced opposition.

Today we live in the Gun Scare. If professors speak out against the NRA, they are drummed out of their jobs.The website Campus Reform is their McCarthyite shock troops. I of course experienced this last December. Luckily I survived for reasons I will get to in a moment. David Guth, a journalism professor at the University of Kansas may not be so lucky. In a fit of despair after the killings in the Navy Yard last week, he tweeted, “The blood is on the hands of the #NRA. Next time, let it be YOUR sons and daughters. Shame on you. May God damn you.” Now Guth was obviously not calling for the murder of the children of NRA officials. What he was doing to desperately calling for the NRA to imagine this was their own children dying since these people seem completely immune to the thousands of deaths per year in the United States that come from the policies they support. There is evidently no limit to the acceptable casualties so that people can play with their shiny toys and feel tough against anyone they see.

Now Guth’s rhetoric was more unfortunate than my own. Whereas I used a common metaphor that no one could take seriously, Guth’s language was quite direct. But looking at the response to my situation and his shows very little difference from cowardly university administrations. Immediately, both URI and KU sought to distance themselves from unpopular opinions of their faculty that were a) not expressed in the classroom, b) were expressed on private twitter accounts, and c) had nothing to do with the university. It’s not the language or subject that bothers the administrations, it’s the idea that professors would speak up publicly on the sharpest and hardest questions of the day in ways that are not nice and thus draw attention to the university.

Guth is in real trouble. Of course he is receiving death threats from the same yahoos and idiots who sent me death threats. They’ve inundated his department, his dean, and his higher administration. I feel bad for all the people who get caught in the middle of this foolishness, as I did when it happened to me. He has been suspended with pay. He has state legislators calling for his firing. He’s at least tenured so he has some limited protection, but tenure doesn’t mean much when the rubber meets the road. Guth himself says that he agrees he should be removed from the classroom considering the situation. He’s putting up a brave front, but I wonder when or if he will ever return to the classroom. Or will KU fire him when the light moves on to something else?

Why do I have still have my job? Why was I not suspended? I think in the end I am lucky. First, I wasn’t just some dude tweeting, but I had prominent friends with access to other prominent friends and this led to real pushback that the URI top administrators did not expect when they distanced themselves their lowly assistant professor. Second, I had a union and my union rep was furious and really took it to the administration. Third, I teach in Rhode Island and not Kansas. Our state legislature can be nutty but it’s not filled with crazy Tea Party types who would do away with all the liberals in Lawrence if they could. Fourth, this happened to me at the very of the end of the semester and not the beginning. Had it, I don’t really know what would have happened.

It’s important that we push back against university administrations not supporting their faculty’s freedom of speech, even if you don’t agree with what Guth said. Because it’s going to be you next when you express any opinion, even outside the classroom. This is part of a specific right-wing war against the university. It is the last liberal bastion in America now that they’ve mostly crushed organized labor. Cutting German and French departments, devaluing the liberal arts and social sciences, and suppressing political dissent is all part of a larger project to undermine dissent and free thinking at the university and turn it into a training ground for what passes for the 21st century American economy. Faculty lack class-consciousness and a sense of solidarity with one another. Those who benefit from high salaries in business schools don’t think twice about the decline of the philosophy department. Our work is so atomized that we rarely talk to the people in our own departments, not to mention across the university. Schools with unionized faculty at least have that to bind us together and that helped me tremendously.

Unfortunately, Guth doesn’t seem to have that. His fate worries me greatly, because that could so easily be myself.

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  • DocAmazing

    So how do we contact the administration at the University of Kansas? Sounds like a few petitions need to be generated.

    • efgoldman

      Agreed. Can you post some email addresses?

      • Jeffrey Beaumont

        [email protected]

        That is Ann Brill, the dean of the school of journalism

        • djw

          The announcement that he was being put on leave came from the office of Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little.

          [email protected]
          785-864-3131

          • efgoldman

            Thanks, both.

          • GFW

            Ok, here’s my short-but-sweet contribution:

            (to) [email protected], [email protected]

            (subject)Please support Professor Guth’s first amendment rights

            Dean Brill, Chancellor Gray-Little,

            Everyone has the right to say something intemperate in the face of a preventable tragedy. But it seems that powerful organizations like the NRA, will try to destroy the life of anyone who crosses them. Stand firm against this intimidation.

            Thank you,
            (name)

        • DocAmazing

          Thank you.

  • Vance Maverick

    Now Guth was obviously not calling for the murder of the children of NRA officials.

    I think it’s obvious that Guth didn’t desire that murder. But he did literally call for it. We know it was a kind of play-acting, but the clues to that aren’t in the text of the sentence.

    To be clear, his job and person should not be at risk because he said something offensive. But let’s not pretend that it wasn’t offensive.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      I’m not sure anyone *is* pretending it wasn’t offensive. It was meant to be offensive, to get the NRA’s attention

      which it did… just not in the way Guth intended

      • Vance Maverick

        I think Erik is claiming that in itself, the sentence is not offensive. I disagree, but more broadly, why would we get all casuistical about it? Isn’t the point that the right wing shouldn’t be able to act as thought police? (Or the left either.) If “offensive” speech is fatal to the speaker, that’s a terrible political weapon to leave lying around.

        • GoDeep

          +1

          He’s a journalism professor for Chrissakes! He 1) should know the costs of trying to convey cogent commentary in 140 characters; and 2) have said something *more* defensible like “the blood of innocents is on the hands of the NRA”, etc. That’s not what he did tho.

          I think his right to freedom of speech needs to be protected & KU Admin should be explicit abt that, but as an adult he needs to learn to use his social media platforms responsibly. There once was an administrator in the DC gov’t who got fired for using the word “niggardly”; it was justified at the time by saying while the word wasn’t offensive, it was inflammatory. Sometimes inflammatory rhetoric burns you instead of others.

          I share his sentiment but this was a dumb thing to say.

          • somethingblue

            I don’t really understand what you’re trying to say with the “niggardly” comparison. That David Howard should have known better than to use an English word properly? That we should all refrain from saying anything that might hurt the fee-fees of insane people?

            • GoDeep

              I’m not saying whether it was right or wrong, I’m saying ppl lose jobs just for saying stuff that offends others–whether they were right in saying what they said, or not!

              Remember how much grief Rahm Emanuel took for calling some GOPers ‘retards’? He wasn’t fired but he was chastened.

              • somethingblue

                I’m saying ppl lose jobs just for saying stuff that offends others–whether they were right in saying what they said, or not!

                And you’re also saying that people who lose jobs just for saying stuff that offends others are “dumb” and should know better than to say stuff that offends others.

                Am I misunderstanding you here?

                • GoDeep

                  I don’t know that there’s a easily generalized rule here. I believe in a somewhat more expansive view of freedom of speech in academia, for instance, than I do in corporate America.

                  But, no, even for this guy I wouldn’t fire him, nor would I suspend him. But I believe that professors should have robust free speech rights. In the corporate world its less clear (to me) how this should be handled.

    • steve

      It was more like a plea to the universe that something horrible happen to their children so it would vicariously hurt the gun nuts. He wasn’t calling for anyone in particular to do this.

      Generally I hate this tactic (also used by anti-war people sometimes: “I hope your child is drafted and dies.”) since it completely denies the humanity of the child and uses them purely a means to inflict harm on an enemy.

    • Ed K

      Actually no. What he said was, effectively, ‘next time, let the victims of this be from the families of the people who are promoting gun culture, rather than people who have no connection to it.’ The point of that is not to call for the murder of these people — i.e., ‘go out and kill the children and families of…’ The point of it is to say that ‘if it must happen again, can it at least only affect those who have advocated the policies that make it possible?’ At no point does he say he wants it to happen again, to those people or any others, or even suggest that he does.

      More, it’s not very difficult to understand that this is the sentiment being conveyed. It’s not even sort of difficult. So everyone who’s running around complaining about what he said as if it is somehow profoundly outrageous and impossible to distinguish from a call for murder is doing about the same thing that the people complaining about Eric’s tweet did — tendentiously misreading.

      • Ben Labe

        Spot on, Ed!

  • steve

    He said he hoped their children were killed which is offensive and stupid. He should have said, “imagine if it were your son or daughter” but he was clearly angry and frustrated. Regardless, a University professor is supposed to be free to be provocative and offensive because that encourages thought and debate…that is pretty much the tenure compact.

    Of course if he had actually threatened someone that would be different. But he didn’t.

    • GoDeep

      He didn’t actually threaten anyone but he *appeared* to wish that some people’s kids would fall victim to gun violence.

      I share his sentiment at the hijacking of Congress by the NRA but his tweet is indefensible. The KU Administration is right to distance themselves from him. They can’t be seen to be allied with verbal bomb throwers. I think suspending him is a might too far myself, but geez he must’ve been smoking crack to say something like that.

      • Incontinentia Buttocks

        People say stupid and intemperate things all the time. Guth didn’t say this in a classroom setting nor was he speaking for the University of Kansas. That’s what’s makes it somewhat less than “indefensible.” Unless the KU administration feels that it needs to pretend that the people it hires are perfect and incapable of making dumb mistakes, they don’t need to do anything to distance themselves from Guth, beyond reiterating two obvious points: Guth’s statement was intemperate and Guth does not speak for the University of Kansas.

        • GoDeep

          They’re making absolutely crystal clear that his remarks were intemperate & that he wasn’t speaking for the school.

          I personally am a big believer in freedom of speech so I don’t support his suspension but that doesn’t diminish the gravity of his comments.

          I wonder if his ideological leanings were different how many of us would defend his free speech rights. If he had made anti-Semitic, or anti-black, or anti-gay comments if we would all still be saying the guy shouldn’t be suspended. *Most* people tend to support free speech for those who agree with them but not for those who don’t. Just my observation.

          • Malaclypse

            If he had made anti-Semitic, or anti-black, or anti-gay comments then that would impact his ability to teach students that were Jewish, or black, or gay, in exactly the way his current comments don’t impact his teaching at all.

            • GoDeep

              OK, fair enough, what abt anti-abortion comments?

              • Malaclypse

                You don’t think some reasonable proportion of professors are anti-choice? Do you think any of them are in danger of their jobs for that?

                • GoDeep

                  No I don’t…but if they had tweeted “Hooray for Scott Roeder!” the day he shot & killed George Tiller their job very well might be… And I *wonder* how many ppl on this board would defend such a professor.

                  At any rate its just conjecture, I don’t think the guy should be suspended.

                • GoDeep

                  sorry typing 2 fast. meant to say “their job very well might be at risk”…

                • Rigby Reardon

                  If you really can’t see how Guth’s comments are different from your hypothetical professor cheering the murder of an actual human being after the fact, then you have no business participating in a conversation about this.

      • Anonymous

        You are so right. It actually sound like something out of the Bible. Cannot have that can we.

  • Wayne LaPierre

    There was an ad for conceal-carry weapons at the end of the post. Impressive.

  • Whether it’s in a college, a HS, or the workplace, or the political playing fields, the one lesson our Reich-Wingers want everyone to learn, is the following:
    Any push-back or dissent against their agenda will be punished – and punished to the max!
    ZERO TOLERANCE, for any level of dissent!

    While the Professor said something inelegantly, he didn’t literally mean to wish that the NRA’s children and family members should be shot to death – just like Erik wasn’t literally calling for the heads of the NRA’s official to be put on pikes/sticks.

    But some of those people sending death threats DO mean it! And, given the opportunity, might decide to act upon it.
    See: Tiller, George.

    While our MSM may say that, “Both sides are intolerant,” they first need to look at which side threatens intolerance with elimination.
    And that sure ain’t the Liberal/Progressive side!

    And going back almost 2 generations to the late 60’s, or early 70’s, with The Weather Underground, or the Symbionese Liberation Army, when it was the left which was more violent, is not applicable to today, when it is the right wing, and the right wing alone, which threatens the elimination of its perceived enemies.

    But I guarantee you, THAT’S exactly where our MSM will go, when trying to prove intolerance on both the right and the left.

    • Bill Murray

      was the left actually more violent in the 60s and 70s? The various dead Civil Rights leaders and non-leaders would to me argue they were more similar

      • No, I certainly wasn’t talking about the Civil Rights leaders. Not even Malcolm X – despite what many white people think.

        I was pretty specific when I named who the MSM often refers to, when they want to site examples of violence from the left.
        And the fact that those references are ancient, doesn’t matter to them, since they aren’t exactly critical thinkers – they just need a counter-weight on their “Both sides do it” see-saw.

        • efgoldman

          Sure, blame us hippies.

        • Vance Maverick

          I believe Bill was highlighting not the actions of those leaders, but their fates. ’60s-’70s political violence came in all flavors.

          • D’OH!!!
            Sorry, Bill, I didn’t read your comment carefully enough.
            It was a great point, that went right over my pointy head.

      • efgoldman

        was the left actually more violent in the 60s and 70s?

        More violent than the virulent segregationists? No.
        More violent than the left is now? Mostly no, but the anti-war crowd spawned some hideous fringe groups that robbed banks (or blew themselves up, accidentally) for “the cause.”
        On the other hand, the GOBP wasn’t a party of batshit nihilists, either.

    • heckblazer

      Actually the right was more violent. In 1977 alone the KKK killed more people than the Weathermen did in total.

    • windshr

      I remember that shameful episode. Sam Brownback does suck too.

      • Furthermore, to quote Ms Sullivan, #heblowsalot

  • Hogan

    Fourth, this happened to me at the very of the end of the semester and not the beginning.

    Not only that, it happened just as the state legislature is considering UK’s budget request. That’s the hammer they’re currently holding over the university.

    • Hogan

      it happened

      Prof. Guth’s thing, I mean.

    • MAJeff

      Not only that, it happened just as the state legislature is considering UK’s budget request. That’s the hammer they’re currently holding over the university.

      It’s KU. For some strange reason, several of the schools of the old Big 8 use _U for University of ____________ instead of normally. (Kansas, Oklahoma, and Colorado come to mind, but not Nebraska; can’t remember about Mizzou.)

      • Hogan

        My bad.

      • Anonymous

        It’s MU for Missouri, too.

      • rea

        But OU is actually the University of Oklahoma

        • Woodrowfan

          Or Ohio University. ahem.

        • Incontinentia Buttocks

          That’s the point. CU is the University of Colorado. KU is the University of Kansas. And MU is the University of Missouri.

          • Incontinentia Buttocks

            As far as I know, the only state universities named ____ University are Ohio, Indiana, and West Virginia (unless you want to count the way that Aggies insist on referring to UT).

  • Hugo Torbet

    Quite a large percentage of the people who vote Republican vote against their greater interests because they are one issue voters. For some of these, personal firearm ownership is the issue.

    The real trick for the people who view themselves as liberal to gaining control of this country is not to alienate the one issue voters. Unfortunately, they can’t help themselves. They are like a snake eating its own tail.

    They want to feel good about themselves, and they want to believe that they can do something good. This leads them to propose new laws, even if the new laws would be not only ineffective, but also over broad.

    Guns. The numbers are these, approximately: Excluding suicides, there are 10,000 firearm deaths in America each year. Of these, two thirds involve people involved in some other crime, such as robbery or drug trafficking. Most of the remaining third are arguments, often involving alcohol or drugs. Only a handful are victims of mass shootings or killers using so-called assault weapons.

    Liberals get worked up over the handful. And it is certainly not wrong to be upset about things which are upsetting. However, what is wrong, politically, is to alienate the 10 to 20 million law-abiding firearm owners whose financial and spiritual interests would be better served if more tax revenue were spent on roads, schools, and intelligent regulation of business activity. Liberals, too, would be better off with more enlightened government, which right now they can’t get.

    Unfortunately, liberals can’t ever stop talking about abortions, homosexual marriage, and gun control. And on these issues, they are shrill and preachy to the point of parody. As a result, we have a voting public which appears permanently divided into voting minorities. This, in turn, has facilitated an abridgement of all of the rights enumerated in the Constitution, even those liberals hold dear.

    Liberals would do better if they could see the one issue voters as their neighbors with whom they have much in common rather than as demons who are stupid or crazy.

    • John Protevi

      Excluding suicides

      “with notably rare exceptions ….” http://crookedtimber.org/2011/03/30/with-notably-rare-exceptions/

      • John Protevi

        Excluding suicides, there are 10,000 firearm deaths in America each year. Of these, two thirds involve people involved in some other crime, such as robbery or drug trafficking. Most of the remaining third are arguments, often involving alcohol or drugs. Only a handful are victims of mass shootings or killers using so-called assault weapons.

        Liberals get worked up over the handful.

        No, actually, we get worked up over all the gun deaths.

        • windshr

          Yeah, what the heck? I get pretty upset over all of them.

    • somethingblue

      And a big welcome-back to Hot Tub Ogre!

    • Code Name Cain

      Unfortunately, liberals can’t ever stop talking about abortions, homosexual marriage, and gun control…

      So your liberal plan for political domination is:

      1) Stop supporting human rights
      2) ???
      3) President Avakian and Speaker of the House Chomsky

      Well then fellow liberals, this logic is sound. It is settled we shall take this path.

    • DrDick

      I must say that is a rather impressive display of counterfactual and irrelevant sophistry. To echo others, I very much am outraged by all gun deaths (even those of law breakers).

    • efgoldman

      Unfortunately, liberals can’t ever stop talking about abortions, homosexual marriage, and gun control. And on these issues, they are shrill and preachy to the point of parody.

      Whoops! The troll comes out, peeking just around the corner.

    • somethingblue

      what is wrong, politically, is to alienate the 10 to 20 million law-abiding firearm owners whose financial and spiritual interests would be better served if more tax revenue were spent on roads …

      So, so true.

      • LeftWingFox

        …wow…

      • wjts

        The hypocrisy of liberals appalls me. Whenever someone exercises his Second Amendment rights in a way that offends the delicate sensibilities of the liberal intelligentsia, condemnations are swift and unceasing. But when an innocent Jaguar XK8 is maimed by a pothole, the silence from the left is deafening. Unless liberals drop their monomaniacal focus on guns, abortions, and gay marriage and embrace the fight against true injustices in our society – i.e., badly-maintained roads and damaged Jaguars – they will be able to contribute to enlightened governance.

        • Vance Maverick

          To wax humorless for a moment while the Jaguar jagoff deserves all the scorn we can wield, badly-maintained roads are an issue liberals should care about. Their neglect is a symptom of general neglect of the public sphere; improving them (everywhere, not just San Francisco) would put lots of people to constructive (ha) work.

    • Rob

      Given that liberals have stopped talking about gun control I believe you don’t have a point.

    • Malaclypse
      • DrDick

        Oh my! I had completely forgotten about him unto your post. It must be truly sad to be a troll who has so little impact that his victims do not even notice his absence.

    • Liam

      Just to pile on, the best strategy for acieving good governance is to bow to the will of the most irrational voters? Is that a fair summary? Bonus points for implying that access to abortion, and equal marriage for that matter, are issues that impact the lives of less than 20 million people. They’re not.

    • nonononoNO

      “much in common rather than as demons who are stupid or crazy.

      AHAHAHAHAHAHA….

  • Ubu Imperator

    Unfortunately, liberals Republicans can’t ever stop talking about abortions, homosexual marriage, and gun control.

    FTFY.

    • GFW

      This, FTW.

    • grouchomarxist

      Beat me to it, Ubu. (Congrats on the promotion, btw.)

      Republican Party: We’re for forced childbirth, keeping the icky gays down and guaranteeing the right of every drooling idiot with poor impulse control to be armed to the teeth.

      Liberals: Are you nuts?

      Hugo: Why won’t you ever stop harping on this stuff!?!

      Of course, the one flaw in Hugo’s cunning plan to entice these one-issue voters is that — as Lincoln said about the South — it’s never sufficient to just not say anything. Only full-throated agreement will do.

  • I think the most effective pushback would be to have a mass “god damn them the blood is in their hands” twitter storm from all tenured and untenured professors in the country. Rather than isolating him and his tweet it should become the standard response.

    • DrDick

      I would agree, at least in part, even though I do not tweet, will not tweet, and have no idea how to (or any desire to learn).

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        tweeting is easy. you just put the tips of your beak together and blow

        – oh wait, you probably aren’t a bird…

    • CD

      See my comment below. I can think of nothing stupider right now than getting into a contest of blood curses with the NRA.

  • DrDick

    While expressed in extreme, and perhaps excessive, terms, Gunt’s reaction is that of any thoughtful, caring, decent person in the face of the never ending onslaught of gun related deaths of the innocent. Given the NRA’s relentless campaign against any moderate, reasonable gun control legislation that might limit these events (not to mention their sustained efforts to eliminate the few, weak measures already on the books), they are a proper target for such outrage and are indeed drenched in the blood of innocents. Personally, I would be more inclined to wish it were the NRA leadership, rather than their children, who were the next victims.

    • efgoldman

      Personally, I would be more inclined to wish it were the NRA leadership, rather than their children, who were the next victims.

      I wonder if they have armed guards at NRA HQ.

      • BigHank53

        Mr. LaPierre regularly uses bodyguards when he travels.

        • efgoldman

          When gun owners are liberals, only liberals will have guns.
          Or something.
          What’s he afraid of, for FSM’S sake? Doesn’t he know we’re all a bunch of swishy softies? Is he worried that Bernie Sanders is gonna’ throw a burning copy of A People’s History at him? Rainbow Nerf balls? Pictures of bloody kids’ corpses? That someone is going to call him the evil destructive asshole that he is?
          They’re all cowards.

    • CD

      No.

      We should be able to say, straight out, without qualification, without weaseling, without perhapses or whiles, that “Next time, let it be YOUR sons and daughters” is really horrible.

      There’s a distinction between emotional and private reactions, and thoughtful acts of communication. (Remember that a routine defense of racist speech is that someone is just saying what a lot of people think.)

      I don’t want to pile on the guy, and I’m happy to affirm that people should not get fired from a job because they said something horrible in the public arena.

      Consider, also, that the NRA *loves* this blood-for-blood language, this unhinged polarization. Is this the game you want to play?

      • DrDick

        Sorry, but I am a native Okie and not quite so tender in my sentiments. I am also not a liberal, but a socialist, so I don’t actually have to play nice with regressive asshats like the NRA.

        • UserGoogol

          You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. The problem is that people believe things which are wrong, the solution is to speak truth to them as kindly as possible.

          • efgoldman

            …the solution is to speak truth to them as kindly as possible.

            …just before they’re given the injection in their arm.
            Seriously, have you paid attention to the House this week? All the soothing truths in the world aren’t going to change them.
            Facts have a liberal bias, remember?

            • CD

              Whereas threatening their lives, *that* will definitely enlighten them.

              Look. No words, sweet or bitter, are likely the change Mr. LaP or the House Republican leadership. But pay attention to the rhetorical frame! The NRA is happiest in Old Testament blood-answers-blood mode. Their pitch to supporters is: there are people out there who want to kill or subjugate you and your family, and only your capacity for armed defense keeps them at bay. Threatening their lives and their children’s lives, calling down blood oaths on them — that only bears out the paranoia. Plus it lets them look reasonable. Think hard about what kind of rhetorical ground you want to fight on.

              • DrDick

                And our response should be that, because you are responsible for the blood of innocent children, we are going to demand your blood in return. That is the only logic they will understand.

          • DrDick

            Sorry, but nothing you say is going to make any impression on these people. Reason simply does not work and we have tried it for 50 years to no effect. It is time to try baseball bats.

        • CD

          I would expect a socialist to be capable of structural analysis, rather than personalizing the issue. Whatever the problem is, it’s not the personality of Wayne LaP (may he enjoy a long and happy life).

          • DrDick

            I am quite capable of doing structural analysis, which is why I know sweet talking these psychopaths (and I am not just talking about LaPierre, may he rot in hell) does not work. We have been trying that for 50 years and it has accomplished exactly zilch. They do not respond to facts and logic.

          • Rigby Reardon

            May he enjoy a long and happy life? Give me a fucking break. I don’t care if he lives to be a hundred and twenty, but happiness is one thing that murder-enabling psycho definitely does not deserve.

            Personally, I hope that he enjoys a long life that is filled with mental anguish and emotional pain, since that’s exactly what the families of his organization’s victims get to live with.

            Also, fuck you and your tone trolling.

  • jackrabbitslim

    I get so sick of all the news from my home state being about this cro magnon bullshit. Fixing Kansas.

    • Paul Davis is a good candidate and has a much better chance of beating Brownback than I expect most Kansan’s to realize at this point. One of the best things you can do is not let anyone believe that trying to beat Brownback is a lost cause.

      • jackrabbitslim

        The temptation to give in to political despair tends to be strong around here (at least in my very small circle).
        I’ve been looking at Davis since he announced his campaign and he seems like a perfectly serviceable Midwest moderate liberal.
        I’m planning to volunteer for his campaign. Despair is a sin, after all. (tongue in cheek)

    • jackrabbitslim

      The above was intended to be another, pithier gerund beginning with “F”.

      • Vance Maverick

        Imagine “Bleeding Kansas” spoken by a Cockney.

      • Anonymous

        Well, if there’s something the matter with someplace, why NOT fix it? :)

  • jackrabbitslim

    To be clear, I’m not suggesting that this in any way misrepresents my home state. Rather, that I hate that my state is this way.

  • Manta

    David Guth has every right to express his opinion (irrespective of what it is), and the KU should make clear his job is not and cannot be affected by what he says outside his workplace.

    Instead, they put him on administrative leave.

    • DrDick

      Absolutely.

      • sparks

        There will be many putatively liberal voices who will refuse to defend him, thus making the work of the NRA ever so much easier. I expect him to be fired.

    • Manny Kant

      Surely there are some things he could say outside the workplace that would deservedly lose him his job, though. Racist invective, for instance.

      • Manta

        Surely, not.

        • Manny Kant

          If a professor at a public university tweeted a bunch of serious racist invective, you don’t think he’d be suspended and possibly lose his job?

  • Manta
  • Bitter Scribe

    Oh fuck the NRA and skullfuck those spine-challenged administrators. If college administrators won’t stand for academic freedom when it counts, they have no right to complain about anything that happens to them afterward.

    • Manta

      What will happen to the college administrators for kowtowing to the powerful? They will continue to be administrators and get more funds?

      These policies damage the professors and the public, but the administrators are just fine.

      • BigHank53

        “Comrade, it’s been brought to my attention that you haven’t been as enthusiastic at the weekly Two-Minute Hate. Is there anything you need to tell me?”

        Which is to say, if an administrator thinks that being an administrator will keep them safe, they deserve everything that’s in store for them.

  • Jose Arcadio Buendia

    Faculty lack class-consciousness and a sense of solidarity with one another. Those who benefit from high salaries in business schools don’t think twice about the decline of the philosophy department.

    That’s because all faculty, regardless of their beliefs, are participating in the ultimate bourgeois circle jerk. In a post-class society, college is not a meal ticket. Colleges as we know them wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the bourgeois ideal of meritocracy. Monasteries might exist. Think tanks might exist, but not colleges.

    As if the institution itself weren’t enough, the whole world of academia is inegalitarian and based on reputation and a class system of its own.

    As a college faculty member myself, I doubt just about as strongly as I can that college faculty are the vanguard of the revolution. If there were a revolution, most of us would deservingly be up against the wall. The fact that the tea party doesn’t like us either doesn’t make us heroes of the worker.

    • John Protevi

      As a college faculty member myself

      Sure you are, buddy. I believe it. Honest.

    • Steve LaBonne

      Universities existed long before bourgeois society.

      • Lee Rudolph

        The universities that “existed before bourgeois society”, and “colleges as we know them”, are fish of a different kettle.

  • grouchomarxist

    This thought control stuff is undeniably similar to the Red Scare, but I don’t recall reading or hearing of Birchers parading around with assault rifles at public gatherings and legislatures.

    I think the current tactics are far more reminiscent of late 1920s Germany.

  • Woodrowfan

    so let’s see. According to the NRA if a private business owner politely asks gun owners to consider maybe not bringing their weapons into his coffee shops it’s a horrendous violation of the 2d Amendment. But if a private individual publicly expresses his anger at another mass shooting, then freedom of speech is tossed completely out the window.

    They really do think that the 2d Amendment is the only one, don’t they.

    • DrDick

      No, they think it is the entire Constitution.

    • Davis X. Machina

      The First Amendment precludes establishing a state religion.
      The Second Amendment then turns around and establishes one.

  • part time academician

    It’s appalling and what happened to you is appalling.

    Otoh, my experience is that our universities have been the hotbed of anti-free-speech regulation. Uncivil language? That’s hate speech. Edgy comments about sexuality? That’s may be rape climate speech. Want to get political? We’ve built a small “free speech zone” for that. Do research that doesn’t support current notions of affirmative action? The head of the university (e.g., Duke) may publicly slam your resarch.

    So although the reactions to the professors’ comments is just plain wrong, I view it as the sky turning black with chickens coming home to roost.

    • Manta
    • DocAmazing

      Tell you what: I’ll join the crusade against rape climate speech and hate speech codes when fraternities and College Republican groups are as subject to arrest and harrassment by campus police as buskers, rappers, and campus Muslim groups. When a campus cop tells a rushing frat to shut it down and move along and leaves a guy with a beatbox and a mic alone, you’ll have something.

      Free speech is free only when enforcement of nuisance codes is evenhanded or nonexistent.

      • part time academician

        aren’t you worried that that attitude (i won’t care about free speech infringement on people i disagree with, so long as i think my side is also suffering from free speech infringement) fuels the problem? prolongs the error?

        our universities remain the originators, the entrepreneurs, the centers of gravity for shutting down free speech. so while i’m very disappointed in what happened to the two professors for what was plainly just hyperbole, i am not at all surprised at the reaction by the universities.

        • DrDick

          No, it is asshats like you with bullshit senses of persecution where none exists that create and maintain the problem. I am a leftist and still feel the need to maintain a degree of propriety in my classroom. That means no racy jokes or comments, no racist or borderline racist comments, no overt political statements. The fact that you seem to feel that these are somehow necessary, let alone appropriate says all that needs to be known about you.

        • Manta

          “our universities remain the originators, the entrepreneurs, the centers of gravity for shutting down free speech.”

          While I agree with the sentiment, this part is incorrect: outside academia speech is much less free than in the universities. For instance, if Loomis or Guth worked in the private sector, they would have lost their job.

  • trnc

    Really funny how, to these yahoos, the 2nd amendment means “guns anywhere and everywhere”, but the 1st amendment is subject to their whims.

    • part time academician

      i have no doubt that the right has its share of hypocrites (as does the left).

      but the official actions against the professors come not from rednecks but rather from university officials, right? it’s the university administrators who punish free speech.

      • DrDick

        And they do so because conservatives raise a stink about it. Conservatism has increasingly come to resemble the Mafia (nice little university you have here, be a shame if something happened to it). The scream bloody murder if anyone says anything they disagree with, regardless of the truth of the statement(s) and threaten to bring down the whole institution unless the offender suffers draconian punishment. There is nothing remotely similar on the left. I would add that hypocrisy has a well known conservative bias.

      • Hogan

        Did you miss the part where state legislators were threatening the university’s funding?

        • part time academician

          of course the yahoos are screaming, as they always do whether from the left or right. but it’s the the universities are doing the dirty work, as explained in the quote below from the original post. and universities are without power and precedent in these scenarios because for 25 years they have been censoring speech, condemning speech, and punishing speech when it’s deemed “offensive.” hence they have no longer have at their disposal any resources to argue, “here at the university we protect speech even when we disagree with it and are offended by it.”

          here’s the language from the OP i agree with:

          “But looking at the response to my situation and his shows very little difference from cowardly university administrations. Immediately, both URI and KU sought to distance themselves from unpopular opinions of their faculty that were a) not expressed in the classroom, b) were expressed on private twitter accounts, and c) had nothing to do with the university. It’s not the language or subject that bothers the administrations, it’s the idea that professors would speak up publicly on the sharpest and hardest questions of the day in ways that are not nice and thus draw attention to the university.

          • Manta

            “universities” and “administrators” are two different things, with diverging interests.

            For instance, the administrators have every interest in suppressing free speech: they get a more subdued faculty and draw less unwanted attention from outside.
            On the other hand, a university, in order to be able to fulfill its mission, should protect freedom of speech.

  • Alex O’connor

    If only gun fetishist provocateurs so assiduously guarded the 1st Amendment as they do in promoting their tortured reading of the 2nd amendment at least then they could claim a Constitutional core. This just reveals the gun fetishists as the idolaters they are.

    Why is Wayne LePierre not clamoring that this man’s 1st amendment rights are being infringed?

  • Alex O’connor

    Of course we already know the answer

    http://www.nbcnews.com/video/meet-the-press/53075659

    More guns of course are the answer in an infinite regression of gun hyperpocalypse

  • EnonZ

    When I read the headline, I complete misconstrued what the posting was about. I thought it might be on how people assess risk poorly, holding as salient rare events that get a lot of media attention. How people are all worked up over workplace shootings the same way we got worked up over terrorism and overreacted after 9/11. Perhaps it might even discuss ‘mean world syndrome’ (“Mean world syndrome” is a term coined by George Gerbner to describe a phenomenon whereby violence-related content of mass media makes viewers believe that the world is more dangerous than it actually is. – Wikipedia). That’s what ‘The Gun Scare’ says to me.

    If you are middle class, not suicidal and don’t hang out with gangbangers, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be on the receiving end of gun violence. You are many, many times more likely to be hit by a car than by a bullet. Much more likely to be caught in a burning building than shot at.

    If we really want to do something about American gun violence, we should go where the action is – we should invest in effective suicide prevention and in stopping the flow of handguns, via straw purchases, into our inner cities.

    Since I am middle class, not suicidal, and don’t hang out with gangbangers, I think I’ll decline Mr. Obama’s invitation to obsess about gun violence.

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