In the news today was a story on suburban Milwaukee high school chemistry teacher James Buss, who left the following anonymous post on a rightwing Wisconsin blog:
Looking at those teacher salary numbers in West Bend made me sick. $60,000 for a part time job were you ‘work’ maybe 5 hours per day and sit in the teachers lounge and smoke the rest of the time. Thanks God we won on the referendum. But whining here doesn’t stop the problem. We’ve got to get in back of the kids who have had enough of lazy, no good teachers and are fighting back. Kids like Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold members of the Young Republicans club at Columbine. They knew how to deal with the overpaid teacher union thugs. One shot at a time! Too bad the liberals rip them; they were heroes and should be remembered that wayIt is patently obvious from reading this that it was sarcasm, a tongue-in-cheek poke at the wingnuts who run the Boots and Sabers political blog (I won't provide the link because I don't want to promote their blog but you can do a Google search and find them readily enough).
But that didn't stop the cops from investigating it. They went to the blog owners and got Buss's IP address -- without a warrant, apparently -- and swooped down on him like Storm Troopers. The potential charges against him: disorderly conduct and unlawful use of computerized communication systems.
This is, at its core, a free speech issue. Unless Buss was intending to inspire more wannabe Harris-and-Kelbold types to strike down greedy teacher thugs, one shot at a time, then he did nothing wrong.
Last I looked, we still had free speech in this country. Buss, a public school teacher, probably didn't exercise the best judgment in this. After all, over in Wingnutistan, they are not known for having much of a sense of humor, and their grasp of satire, of irony, of parody, of sarcasm, is tenuous at best.
But I think a whole lot of overreaction has taken place here.
Nevertheless, this has the potential of placing a "chilling effect" on free speech in the blogosphere. It won't affect me any since I refuse to live in fear, but I feel that many people might think twice before posting something that is critical, say, of the BFEE, especially on wingnut websites whose owners apparently have no qualms about calling the cops.
I don't know if the assholes over at Boots and Sabers are the ones who dropped the dime on Buss, but they were more than happy to give him up. And that's something that I would never do, so keep on posting here and we'll all meet up at Gitmo...