KU Professor Blames NRA for Navy Yard Shooting

    September 21, 2013
    Lacy Langley
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A free-speech argument erupted Friday when Kansas University placed a journalism professor on administrative leave. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that David Guth, who has been at the University since 1991 and has tenure, lashed out against the National Rifle Association in a tweet earlier this week right after, and in response to, the Navy Yard shootings on Monday. The Tweet has stirred controversy and has supporters on both sides of the issue.

One free-speech organization said professor David Guth had the right to speak his mind on his personal Twitter account, the university and the Kansas Board of Regents condemned his comment. Others are calling for him to be fired. Guth has since closed his Twitter account, but the Tweet stated that the blood “is on the hands of the #NRA.” and “Next time, let it be YOUR sons and daughters. Shame on you. May God damn you.”

Gary Brunk, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri, said Friday that while he personally didn’t agree with what Guth said or how he said it, the content of his tweet was “absolutely protected speech.”

“The response of the university is absolutely appalling,” he said.

The university issued a statement on Thursday distancing itself from Guth’s controversial tweet, including comments from two officials who said that while Guth had a First Amendment right to express his personal views, the tweet had violated the rules of civil discourse. They made it clear that Guth’s tweet didn’t represent the university. KU followed its condemnation of Guth’s tweet by announcing Friday morning that he had been placed on administrative leave. Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said in a statement that action was taken “in order to prevent disruptions to the learning environment for students.”

After a closed-door meeting Friday, Andy Tompkins, president and CEO of the Kansas Board of Regents, issued a statement on behalf of the regents condemning Guth’s comments.

“The Board of Regents expresses its disgust and offense at the statement made by David Guth,” the statement said, also saying the regents agreed with the statement made by Ann Brill, dean of KU’s School of Journalism, that “while the First Amendment allows anyone to express an opinion, that privilege is not absolute and must be balanced with the rights of others.”

Guth on Thursday told The Associated Press in a phone interview that his tweet “got a conversation going — that was exactly what I wanted to do.” On Friday, he wrote to the AP saying the university’s action was appropriate in light of email threats he and others at KU had received.

“It is in the best interests and peace of mind of our students that I remove myself from the situation and let cooler heads prevail,” Guth wrote. “I know what I meant. Unfortunately, this is a topic that generates more heat than light.”

An angry entry to Bluth’s blog expressed sadness and frustration after the events at the Navy Yard. He said the “time has passed for niceties,” and the NRA has blood on its hands.

“I don’t wish what happened today on anyone,” he wrote. “But if it does happen again — and it likely will — may it happen to those misguided miscreants who suggest that today’s death toll at the Navy Yard would have been lower if the employees there were allowed to pack heat. Those fools don’t get it.”

Image via Twitter

  • Hmm

    I don’t own a gun and do not advocate the use of guns. If people actually saw what a gun can do to a person, they would not want to own a gun. Having a person die in a bloody mess in front of you will change your perspective on many things. I also believe that crime in America is overblown. If it bleeds, it leads, so we often are inundated by the worst cases of crime over and over again. This distorts reality. We hear about the worst crime cases but the reality is that many crimes are overblown or are non-violent. I have lived my whole life without a gun. It is amazing what happens when you A) mind your own business and B) are polite to those around you. Most people simply leave you alone. To me, guns simply are not necessary.

    However. Having said all that —-

    I believe it is the right of every American to own a gun. I don’t think people realize how easily it would be for a government to suppress its people if there weren’t any guns. If you look at everything that has happened since 9/11, it is apparent that the measures taken were put in place for us and not the terrorists. (The Patriot acts were drawn up well before 9/11 even happened.) The only things that have been fundamentally changed is the American people and the American way of life. Nothing has changed outside this country but inside, everything has. We are simply not a free nation anymore and it is very evident that there is an agenda in place to make us even less free. Anyone who has actually read the Patriot Acts knows that it could get much worse in this nation — much much worse.

    You have to view this country like a chess board. You have individual pieces such as the Patriot Acts, the increase in the police presence at all levels of government, the NSA spying program, the increase in the rates of incarceration (we have 5% of the world’s population but 25% of the world’s prisoners), the closing of the borders (this keeps people in as well as out), the general dumbing down of society, the domestic drone program, and the destruction of the middle class. Pieces such as these are being moved individually now, but one day may converge as a means to a final end — quite possibly, the suppression of the masses.

    Don’t think it can’t happen here just because we are the United States — that we are immune to things. These types of things have happened throughout history. Time and time again they have happened. Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

    • jane dough

      Beautifully stated!

  • jane dough

    From somewhere:
    “Psychiatric Drug Connection to Navy Shooter
    Despite every indication that Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis was on SSRI drugs that have been linked to dozens of previous mass shootings, the mainstream media has once again avoided all discussion of the issue, preferring instead to blame the tragedy on a non-existent AR-15 that the gunman didn’t even use.
    We now know that Alexis “had been treated since August by the Veterans Administration for his mental problems.”
    This is proof that Aaron Alexis was on psychiatric drugs, because that’s the only treatment currently being offered by the Veterans Administration for mental problems. Alexis’ family members also confirmed to the press that he was being “treated” for his mental health problems. Across the medical industry, “treatment” is the code word for psychiatric drugging.”
    Alexis also suffered from PTSD, blackouts and anger issues – all of which are treated with SSRI drugs. The most common form of treatment for PTSD is Paroxetine, which is listed as the number 3 top violence-causing drug by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP).
    The Navy Yard shooter was clearly on some form of psychiatric drug, but the media has shown no interest in discovering its identity.
    Despite it being reported that prescription drugs were found in the apartment of ‘Batman’ shooter James Holmes days after the Aurora massacre, it took nine months to find out exactly what those drugs were. Like Columbine killer Eric Harris, Holmes had been taking Zoloft, another SSRI drug linked with violent outbursts.
    The length of time it took to find out that Holmes was on Zoloft was partly because the media habitually shows zero interest in pursuing the link between anti-depressants and violence.
    As the website SSRI Stories profusely documents, there are literally hundreds of examples of mass shootings, murders and other violent episodes that have been committed by individuals on psychiatric drugs over the past three decades. The number of cases is staggering.
    Why is the corporate media so disinterested in pursuing this clear connection?
    Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the pharmaceutical giants who produce drugs like Zoloft, Prozac and Paxil spend around $2.4 billion dollars a year on direct-to-consumer television advertising every year. By running negative stories about prescription drugs, networks risk losing tens of millions of dollars in ad revenue.
    While failing to ask questions about what SSRI drugs Aaron Alexis was taking prior to his rampage, the media instead blamed the shooting on assault rifles, even after it had been confirmed that no AR-15 was used by Alexis during the massacre.
    FBI assistant director Victoria Parlave stated at a press conference on Tuesday that authorities, “do not have any information at this time that [Alexis] had an AR-15 in his possession.”
    Despite there being no evidence that an AR-15 was used, the New York Daily News ran a front page headline yesterday morning entitled, “Same Gun Different Slay,” next to a picture of an assault rifle.
    Hours after the FBI stated that no AR-15 had been used, MSNBC’s Alex Wagner, who previously blamed the Boston bombings on Alex Jones, continued to use an animated graphic depicting Alex carrying an assault rifle during the massacre.
    Anti-second amendment crusader Piers Morgan also erroneously blamed the shooting on “a man with a legally purchased AR-15, who just committed the same kind of atrocity as we saw at Sandy Hook, and Aurora,” during his CNN show on Monday.
    CNN’s live news coverage also reported that Alexis had “recently purchased (an) AR-15 shotgun,” when in fact that purchase had been denied.
    Both the New York Times and the Washington Post also falsely reported that an AR-15 had been found on Alexis after the massacre.
    D.C. gun grabbers Dianne Feinstein and Dick Durbin also regurgitated the false claim that Alexis used an AR-15 during the rampage.
    The U.S. press has once again behaved like state media in the aftermath of the Navy Yard shooting by pursuing the assault rifle angle – despite the fact that it was patently false – in order to bolster the White House’s gun control agenda.
    In doing so, they have concurrently buried an integral aspect of mass shootings that needs to be highlighted as part of a national conversation – the clear connection between violent outbursts and SSRI drugs”