Letters to the Editor

Letter: Shame on state

October 6, 2013


To the editor:

My God, it is unbelievable that David Guth’s career should be in jeopardy because of something he said, or tweeted. Only a dummy or troublemaker would think that he would like to see the children of NRA members shot.

He only wants the NRA to be accountable for their continual support of NO gun control. The NRA is the most powerful and controlling organization in this country —much more so than our Republican and Democratic legislators.

The killings continue. Now EVERYONE is responsible. We should all be able to recognize and do something about mental illness. Everyone has a family member or knows someone with a mental illness. What are we to do about it?

Bottom line: Sane or insane people cannot kill others, unless they have access to guns.

I do not know David Guth. Maybe I would like him, maybe not. Maybe I agree with his statement, maybe not. I do think, however, that he has a right to speak without being put on administrative leave. What he says or does has no reflection on me. We are responsible for our own actions; no one else’s.

How the state of Kansas has treated Guth is an embarrassment for all Kansans. His treatment by the state is much worse than anything he could have said.

Good luck to David Guth. I hope he isn’t drained financially fighting a disciplinary action against his civil rights. If it goes to court, I hope he will be proactive and settle for a large chunk of change.

— Polly Schoning DVM, PhD, professor emeritus, Kansas State University


Armstrong 4 years, 7 months ago

Guth can say whatever he wants. What Guth found out the hard way was when you say what you want you're also held accountable.

Brock Masters 4 years, 7 months ago

Armstrong I I agree with you.

I suspect that some of those defending Guth are defending him only because they agree with his message. Had the message been an attack on Obama and his children they would not be writing letters defending the person's right to free speech.

Look at he outrage against the CEO of Chik Fila when he expressed his views.

The question I'd like the LTE writer to answer is if she believes that all speech should be protected and under no circumstances should their be any consequences for anything a person says?

I wonder if she criticized Peck about his joke about shooting illegal immigrants from helicopters? Bet she did.

jafs 4 years, 7 months ago

Peck suffered no consequences from his action.

Many people have trouble separating the right of speech from the content, on all sides of the political spectrum.

The issue here is that KU is a quasi governmental institution, and as such, 1st amendment protections may apply, whereas that's not necessarily true in the private sector.

And, legally, what Guth tweeted was not "hate speech", although it was clearly provocative and ill-considered, in my view.

Liberty275 4 years, 7 months ago

"The issue here is that KU is a quasi governmental institution"

Not quasi. KU is a government institution..

"And, legally, what Guth tweeted was not "hate speech","

Legally, the closest hate speech is in Canada.

jafs 4 years, 7 months ago

Well, is it? Tuition is paid by students, and the government subsidizes that.

It's not completely free to students, and paid for completely by the state.

Canada, eh what? I have no idea what you're saying.

Liberty275 4 years, 7 months ago

I went to KU for free in exchange for teaching. Kansas sent me a stipend check every other week as well. I may be wrong, but my guess is that every person that works for KU gets a check from the state of Kansas.

Re: Canada. America has no hate speech law, hateful words are merely speech and protected. Saying hateful things in America is a protected right. Saying the same words in Canada can be a criminal offense.

Our policy on protected speech goes back to a supreme court decision that itself is almost as vague as the amendment. It's the "I know it when I see it thing". In Canada it is codified into law. Guth could face charges in Canada, oddly enough.

jafs 4 years, 7 months ago

Well, that's nice for you.

Many students pay tuition, though - I'm sure you know that?

That's not true - in America, "hate speech" isn't protected speech. Nor is defamation, libel, slander, inciting to riot, etc. That's why people can be successfully sued for those things. And advocating the violent overthrow of the us government is treason.

Brock Masters 4 years, 7 months ago

jafs I guess it depends on how you define hate. What the Phelps spew is hate speech in my opinion. What the KKK, Louis Farrakhan and the New Black Panthers spew is hate speech. But their speech is protected.

People spewed hate towards Bush and continue to spew hate towards Obama and as long as they don't make a threat it is protected.

So I see hate speech as being protected, but you might define hate differently.

jafs 4 years, 7 months ago

By definition in this country, "hate speech" isn't protected speech.

That's the legal definition.

Many people use a much looser and broader definition, which is ok, but it's not precise.

Brock Masters 4 years, 7 months ago

What law are you referring to? Not saying you're wrong, just like to know where hate speech is defined and prohibited.

jafs 4 years, 7 months ago

Well, I may have been wrong.

The definition of "hate speech" legally is forbidden speech expressing hatred towards certain defined groups or characteristics, but in this country, we don't forbid hate speech, unless it incites violence.

Brock Masters 4 years, 7 months ago

Peck may not have suffered serious consequences, but he was pressured to apologized and there was a push for him to resign. So, while he may not have suffered any consequences, there was an attempt to punish him for his speech which was my point.

People are more apt to promote free speech when they agree with the view and when they don't they go on the attack.

appleaday 4 years, 7 months ago

But Ms. Wagle didn't call for Peck to lose his job, so she's being a little disingenuous when she calls for Guth to lose his and to use this as an excuse to cut funds for KU.

Nellane Laney Croan Stussie 4 years, 7 months ago

One only has to decide if the offending group, individual, topic, or word involved is on the PRO or CON side of the liberal play-list to predict their collective response. The only thing typically consistent with these self-appointed defenders of the 1st Amendment is the hope that he “settle for a large chunk of change”. Were we to apply the current standard consistently, Guth’s rant was hate speech, pure and simple. He has no place in a taxpayer funded University!

Brock Masters 4 years, 7 months ago

Hey Gary,

Conservatives do the same thing - they led the charge against Guth.

People need to understand that you have the right to speak out, but when you do, be prepared for the backlash. People will attack you because they sincerely disagree. With you and many others will try to score political points.

It may not sit well with some, but even our founding fathers understood this and for this reason they resorted to anonymous speech. Anonymous speech allows voicing unpopular opinions without being attacked and destroyed for those views.

bad_dog 4 years, 7 months ago

Anonymous speech like the Declaration of Independence?

Liberty275 4 years, 7 months ago

"Bottom line: Sane or insane people cannot kill others, unless they have access to guns."

LOL. A university professor said that? KU, I expect better.

Oh, wait, Kansas State, not KU. Thank goodness. For a minute I was ashamed to be a KU alumnus.

Brock Masters 4 years, 7 months ago

I think Able would have disagreed with her too.

Liberty275 4 years, 7 months ago

I respect your religious beliefs fred_mertz.

We can easily make light of the obvious error in the letter, but we shouldn't overlook the reason for that error. For a person to write that, they either don't know there are alternate ways of killing humans or they think other people are incapable of spotting a blatant lie. The professor certainly knows that a bullet is not required to terminate life. I've watched our vet humanely kill three of our dogs with a syringe.

This letter isn't about Guth. It's about gun control and it is penned by a person that wants the second amendment rights of American Citizens further violated. It uses a clumsy fallacy to further an oppressive political agenda.

That is the reason for the letter and the error.

It should be noted that I fully support the professor's right to publish articles like this one in all media and prominently display the name of the government institution that employs her. She should keep her job and suffer no retribution.

Brock Masters 4 years, 7 months ago


You misinterpret my post. Has nothing to do with religion. My point is people have been killing each other without guns from the beginning of time.

Liberty275 4 years, 7 months ago

"from the beginning of time"

From the beginning of people. :-)

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 7 months ago

Republican state legislators in Kansas are calling on the University of Kansas to dismiss a tenured journalism professor over a controversial tweet in which the professor suggested that children of National Rifle Association members should be the victims in a mass shooting.

David Guth, a tenured associate professor of journalism, tweeted Monday: "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." The words came following the Navy Yard shooting in Washington.

"If you look at how I structured the statement, I didn’t really bring [the NRA’s) children into it,” he said, according to Fox4KC. “I carefully structured the statement to make it conditional, but apparently it was too much of a nuance for some people.”

“I don’t want anybody harmed. If somebody’s going to be harmed, maybe it ought to be the people who believe that guns are so precious that it’s worth spilling blood over,” Guth added, according to Fox4KC. Guth did not immediately respond to a request for comment from HuffPost.


His tweet clearly states that he would like to see the children of NRA members killed. To me the next sentence means that Guth wants God to send them to hell. I have no idea why he ever thought that the NRA as a group is responsible for the killings. Isn't that called prejudice?

To me the man just sounds insane and inept. If he is retained as a professor his students will have learned a very bad lesson.

elliottaw 4 years, 7 months ago

The NRA wants no restrictions on guns/ammo/magazines and what nots, they claim to represent all gun owners but make up less than 1% of all gun owners in the US. The gun manufactures send them millions of dollars a year to lobby on their behalf, this is why I believe he aims his statement at them.

Liberty275 4 years, 7 months ago

"“I don’t want anybody harmed. If somebody’s going to be harmed, maybe it ought to be the people who believe that guns are so precious that it’s worth spilling blood over,” Guth added"

Hundreds of thousands of people have spilled their blood to protect your precious right to own a firearm Mr Guth.

JayhawkFan1985 4 years, 7 months ago

...and to express his 1st amendment right to free speech.

elliottaw 4 years, 7 months ago

and millions have lost their lives due to irresponsible gun owners

Chris Scafe 4 years, 7 months ago

I don't really think it's hundreds of thousands. There are lots of reasons for fighting such as religious freedom, freedom of speech, protecting the homeland, paying for an education, family tradition, etc. If you recorded everyone's last words on the battlefield, very few would say, "I may not make it, wheeze but Guth gets his guns.:"

Liberty275 4 years, 7 months ago

When you enter the military, you take an oath to defend The US Constitution. Mr Goth's precious right to own a firearm is protected by the second amendment to that constitution.

I have no interest in speculating about the last words uttered by any dying American Soldier.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 4 years, 7 months ago

To say stupid things, as well. I see no retribution for Guth's shooting his mouth off, after all he is on PAID administrative leave.

BlackVelvet 4 years, 7 months ago

".....Hundreds of thousands of people have spilled their blood to protect your precious right to own a firearm Mr Guth.... and to protect his right to make inane comments.

FarleyM 4 years, 7 months ago

Wonderful advice Ms Schoning.

I do not remember your concern for Sarah Palin though. Do you have it handy somewhere so I could read it? I appreciate all you can do in this devastating treatment of Mr. Guth.

But critics of Sarah Palin have already drawn a link between the shooting and the fact that the former Alaska governor put Giffords on a "target list" of lawmakers Palin wanted to see unseated in the midterm elections

In March, Palin released a map featuring 20 House Democrats that used crosshairs images to show their districts. (You can see it here.) Critics suggested at the time that she was inciting violence by using the crosshairs imagery and for later writing on Twitter to her supporters, "'Don't Retreat, Instead - RELOAD!'"


appleaday 4 years, 7 months ago

Maybe we could all just take it down a notch and quit being so mean. It's possible to have disagreements without vitriol and hatred. Just saying.

KSManimal 4 years, 7 months ago

"Bottom line: Sane or insane people cannot kill others, unless they have access to guns."

Yeah, because if you look back through human history you will see quite clearly that no human ever killed another human until guns were invented.....

RustWatcher 4 years, 7 months ago

Guth is up against the Sovereign State of Kansas, and all it has to "offer." If he ends up fighting the university, KU and Kansas will hire a judge like Elsbeth Schaefer to create findings that are made up fantasies...(tranlation: lies) which the State of Kansas has shown it can do with impunity. It's a rigged system, the KU attorney's office, the KU HR Office, the state Judges and all the rest of the right wing moron legislative jerks in Kansas.

KU: A Coke Machine with a Chancellor. It's all for sale.

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