Journalism professor David Guth of the University of Kansas is at the center of a controversy over a tweet that he made on Monday in reaction to the Navy Yard shootings in Washington, D.C. This is the tweet:
#NavyYardShooting 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.
Professor Guth has been put on leave by the university, and legislators in Kansas are calling for him to be fired. His Twitter account, @DWGuth, doesn’t appear to be available at present, so I can’t speak to him directly, and his webpage offers no contact information, so here’s my message to him:
Dear Professor Guth,
As a supporter of gun rights and as a human being, I find your comment revolting. The idea that those who stand up for basic rights deserve to have their children die as a consequence leaves me pleased that you are not in a position of much power. The NRA is no more responsible for the D.C. shooting than the NAACP is responsible for the gang violence in Chicago recently. Those of us who stand for rights recognize that each person is responsible for himself or herself.
At the same time, as a supporter of freedom of expression and of academic freedom, I deplore the actions of the University of Kansas and of some of your state’s legislators in putting you on leave and demanding your firing. Academia cannot function unless its members are free to speak their minds, no matter how vehemently the rest of us may disagree with what is said. In no way do I support the content of your comment, but I do defend your right to say it.