Archive for Friday, September 20, 2013

Senate Majority Leader Bruce calls on KU to fire journalism professor over Twitter comment on Navy Yard shooting

September 20, 2013


KU journalism professor David Guth.

KU journalism professor David Guth.

— A politically powerful legislator has called on Kansas University to fire journalism professor David Guth over comments he tweeted regarding the shooting this week at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C.

"I feel I have no choice but to call upon the University of Kansas and Chancellor (Bernadette) Grey-Little to remove Professor Guth from the University's faculty immediately," said Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce, R-Hutchinson.

In the aftermath of the shootings in Washington on Monday, in which 13 people were killed, Guth, an associate professor at the School of Journalism, 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."

Bruce said he was appalled by the comment.

"Wishing death and damnation upon parents and their children is reprehensible and is not befitting of an employee of such a distinguished university," he said.

KU officials have also strongly criticized Guth and said his opinions don't reflect the university's views.

Guth has defended his comments.

Guth, in an interview Thursday, said, "I did not advocate violence against anybody." He said he was, instead, trying to make gun advocates see shootings like the one at Navy Yard from the point of view of the victims and their families. "I was getting tired of hearing comments in the media and Twitter that, 'Gee, this wouldn't have happened if the office staff at the Navy Yard had been armed," he said.

As for the "May God damn you" comment, Guth said: "I think they are on the wrong side of the angels on this issue. I wasn't cursing them. I was stating that I would like to see God put judgment on them."


fiddleback 4 years, 9 months ago

Was it ever going in any other direction?

lawslady 4 years, 9 months ago

Nadine Stossen, the daughter of a Holacaust survivor and former president of the ACLU, eloquently explained to her father why her organization defended members of hate groups who said horrible things about Jews. She called those who say things we dislike, disagree with, dissapprove of and even hate ourselves the "Canaries of Freedom." As long as they are free to say what they think (spew their nonsense), the rest of us know we too are free. It is that First Amendment Right that is at stake. Agree or disagree freely. But the current American government (and that includes KU officials) is prohibited from punishing someone speaking in a private capacity who says something with which the government disagrees. When we lose sight of that important freedom and right, we are on the way towards the type of government that censors citizens' rights to speak, think, say what they want.

ikuyasu 4 years, 9 months ago

KU is not the authority who has a power to tax and police. The private entity fires her employee based on the employment contract is totally fine. Are you being confused or just saying this story? Intellectually, it is clear (to the educated!) that the Second Amendment is necessary to protect the First Amendment. Historically, tyranny starts with the gun control.

kuhusker 4 years, 9 months ago

It's called freedom of speech, Senator. There's also this thing called "tenure."

Charles Fogarty 4 years, 9 months ago

Although I might not have used such strong language, I do understand Guth's anger. I also understand that the First Amendment allows us to express our anger. As long as the Westboro Baptist folks have the right to ruin funerals and Gay Pride Parades Prof. Guth has the right to say what he said.

gatekeeper 4 years, 9 months ago

Gun nuts and the NRA will do anything to protect the 2nd ammendment, but are happy to try to take away our 1st ammendment rights. We are all entitled to our opinions and if we can all have our jobs threatened because of our views held in our private lives, then we're all scr*wed.

Republicans won't be happy until we have no rights. Reminds me of the thought police from 1984.

optimist 4 years, 9 months ago

I can't disagree with Mr. Guth more. I am a little disappointed that he can't show a little intellectual honesty and admit that his statements were in fact wishful of harm on others; "Next time, let it be YOUR sons and daughters". Beyond that his words were ghoulish and his beliefs are misguided. I am discouraged that someone who is in a position of influence within the School of Journalism at the University of Kansas would take such a simplistic approach to such a complex issue. The 2nd amendment is as clear in its protection of the individual’s right to keep and bear arms as the first amendment is in its protection of his right to say what he wishes in the media and at the time of his choosing, without the threat of interference or imprisonment by the government. That being said an employer may terminate an employee for behavior that brings detriment to the organization. If they believe that his presence at the University, in light of his comments, is more detrimental than his value to the University they have all of the right in the world to terminate their relationship with him. That being said I absolutely do not advocate his termination. I would however never spend a dime of my money sending my children to the KU School of journalism.

question4u 4 years, 9 months ago

"'I feel I have no choice but to call upon the University of Kansas and Chancellor (Bernadette) Grey-Little to remove Professor Guth from the University's faculty immediately,' said Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce, R-Hutchinson."

Yes, Terry, absolutley. After all, when Representative Virgil Peck suggested on the floor of the Kansas House that shooting immigrants from helicopters would be a good idea, the legislature acted swiftly to remove him from office. There's no place in Kansas for hate speech so...

What?...Oh, right. Never mind.

Bailey Perkins 4 years, 9 months ago

With everything posted after the incident, there are reasons to agree with Prof. Guth. The NRA had NO response following the shootings, as if they knew they were at fault. Not to mention, the NRA continues to blame video games (i.e. the newly released GTA V) for the shootings. So they're able to continue to blame video-games for shootings and not the fact guns are 'freely' available to well, just about anyone, thanks to the newly establish guns laws? Sorry, but the NRA needs to rethink their priorities and take responsibility for actions caused by their push for gun sales.

Anyway, more about my first statement: Here's some insight. I do warn, realities of the situtation may come as a surprise:

I am neither for or against gun sales, as long as they are used responsibly, but Prof. Guth in no way, deserves what people are doing to/ saying about him. He just stated his own opinion - yeah, that can get you into a lot of trouble today if 99.9999% of the population doesn't agree with you - and shouldn't lose his job because of it.

optimist 4 years, 9 months ago

If his statements affect the university's product in a negative way they have every right to make a business decision. Fortunately or unfortunately this is the real world.

mdlund0 4 years, 9 months ago

One should be careful not to confuse the right to free speech with the ability to say things without consequences. The first amendment only protects us against government persecution for our speech, it does nothing to protect us otherwise. Prof. Guth has tenure, so his position is not in jeopardy. Were he to not have tenure and work in an at-will position as most of us do, his comments would definitely endanger his employment. In this way social pressure often bends the will, which is why tenure exists in the first place: so that "dangerous" ideas can be expressed (and encouraged). Whether or not they have merit in the dialogue at hand is for the court of public opinion. Suppressing ideas does nothing for us as a society and is a tool used in defeat by those who cannot conceive of a better one. Terry Bruce should be judged harshly in this light.

Phaedrus Cj 4 years, 9 months ago

A professor that advocates for murder of KU students should be fired.

Children of NRA members are in fact students at KU.

Second, would the university tolerate this comment if directed at gays, blacks or Muslims? I think not.

Bailey Perkins 4 years, 9 months ago

See now you're trying to twist this all around. The NRA is in no way the same as a demographic. Esp. when those listed are possibly (more so very likely) discriminated upon by the NRA.

There's really no reason to continue this fuss over who's right or wrong. It clearly wasn't his brightest moment in posting the Tweet, but we're all human and we're bound to make mistakes.

Will this incident change gun laws, or anything really, besides creating mass hysteria over the internet? Lets just see what the NRA has in store, and what stories and events unfold over the next few weeks.

Seth Peterson 4 years, 9 months ago

Well, looks like Bruce found another way to get out of doing real work for another day.

cowboy 4 years, 9 months ago

Second Amendment Nuts meet the first amendment..... Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.[1]

Bailey Perkins 4 years, 9 months ago

KU's J-School offers a class on this very subject.

danmoore 4 years, 9 months ago

Dear Mr. Bruce:

I am constantly defending Kansas and its embarrassing political views but you are making it very difficult. Why don’t you stop pretending to be offended and interpret the statement the way it was intended? An average third grader would have little difficulty with the intent of Professor Guth’s comment yet a member of our state legislature stumbles over the nuances that so often appear in the English language. What’s truly offensive is the number of mass murders that occur in our society and the NRA’s insistence that guns are not part of the equation.

Brian Conrad 4 years, 9 months ago

I have one question . for all those in favor of gun control should shotguns be banned? do you really think the mentally ill or criminals will abide with the law? not a huge fan of criminals and government having all the guns.. no one needs an AR 15 .. but this shooting was done with a shotgun.. if you want to ban shotguns , that means you want to ban ALL guns.. Guth starts the discussion .. wonder if citizens would vote for total ban.. please vote with your comments for total ban or against ?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.