September 20, 2013
By Robert W. Hunnicutt
David Guth is an associate journalism professor at the University of Kansas, and I suspect that he would tell you he prides himself on his tolerance and open-mindedness.
Apparently that doesn't extend to gun owners, as he recently Tweeted that he hoped the next mass shooting would target the sons and daughters of NRA members. He wound up his little tirade with, "Shame on you. May God damn you."
When the website Campus Reform offered him the chance to retract or modify his remarks, he doubled down: "Hell no, hell no, I do not regret that Tweet," he said. "I don't take it back one bit."
Responding to return Tweets decrying his original blast, he said, "God's justice takes many forms." I think you'd have to go back to the days of Savonarola or Torquemada for that view of divine justice.
This exchange, along with many others involving athletes, entertainers and politicians, illustrates the dangers of using Twitter, which is why I don't. It does, however give the public a porthole into the minds of its users, and the view there is often not pretty. Guth's Tweet reminded me of this rant against an anti-lynching bill from Mississippi Sen. Theodore Bilbo in 1938:
"If you succeed in the passage of this bill, you will open the floodgates of hell in the South. Raping, mobbing, lynching, race riots, and crime will be increased a thousandfold; and upon your garments and the garments of those who are responsible for the passage of the measure will be the blood of the raped and outraged daughters of Dixie, as well as the blood of the perpetrators of these crimes that the red-blooded Anglo-Saxon white Southern men will not tolerate."
Social media like Twitter enable even humble associate professors to strut on a stage that Bilbo could only have dreamed. He and other anti-gunners are entitled to their views. They aren't, however, entitled to hold them while donning the robes of tolerance and open-mindedness.
UPDATE (9/20/13): WDAF-TV in Kansas City, Mo., reports the University of Kansas has placed Guth on administrative leave as a result of his comments.