Friday, November 6, 2009
UMass Library Under Fire
No, not from "cleared" Gitmo detainees relocated to the People's Republic of Amherst, just from the usual suspects--right wing radio shock jocks who moonlight as Boston Herald columnists.
And yes these are the same folks who flamed Umass Amherst last spring when Nitwit left wingers interrupted and shut down conservative speaker Don Feder.
But when the shoe is on the other foot...
Yeah, the old First-Amendment-is-great-as-long-as-it-only-applies-to-me routine. You would think folks who make a living spewing vitriol would be passionate defenders of the right to say whatever the Hell you want. Of course this is the same journalist that told Amherst Selectman Gerry Weiss a few weeks back that "innocent until proven guilty" should only apply to Americans.
The speech/discussion by convicted domestic terrorist Ray Luc Levasseur scheduled for next week is now cancelled. But Herald columnist McPhee is dead wrong that the Governor "pulled the plug." UMass Amherst Libraries’ Department of Special Collections and University Archives director Rob Cox, with the greatest of regrets, pulled the plug. Because he feared a circus like atmosphere possibly endangering public safety.
Of course police officers should be upset with what this man once represented caused the murder of one of their own (not by Levasseur but somebody in his group so that still makes him complicit). But he paid his dues--twenty years of hard labor. And if you believe in our American system of justice he has a right to get on with his life. That includes using the constitutionally guaranteed protection of the First Amendment.
What better way to find out what motivates somebody to violence then to hear a first hand account; so that maybe in the future we can take measures to avoid it. Computer security companies love to hire hackers fresh out of the Federal pen and put them to work protecting systems they once pillaged.
The library was going to cover his travel expenses (so yes, some tax money was involved) but the small honorarium was going to be donated to the Rosenberg Fund for Children. And it's not like they were putting him up in a fancy Sheraton Hotel for a week and giving him champagne and call girls.
The Springfield Republican reports:
The Boston Herald brags
FIRE gets fired up
First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me--
and there was no one left to speak out for me.