Teacher Arrested for Blog Comment

[i]Wis. Teacher Arrested for Blog Comment
By RYAN J. FOLEY, AP
17 hours ago
MADISON, Wis.
Bloggers and free speech advocates are calling on prosecutors not to file charges against a teacher arrested for allegedly posting an anonymous comment online praising the Columbine shooters.

Some were disturbed by the post police say James Buss left on a conservative blog, but other observers said it was a sarcastic attempt to discredit critics of education spending.

The suburban Milwaukee high school chemistry teacher was arrested last week for the Nov. 16 comment left on http://www.bootsandsabers.com, a blog on Wisconsin politics. The comment, left under the name “Observer,” came during a discussion over teacher salaries after some commenters complained teachers were underworked and overpaid.

Buss, a former president of the teacher’s union, allegedly wrote that teacher salaries made him sick because they are lazy and work only five hours a day. He praised the teen gunmen who killed 12 students and a teacher before committing suicide in the April 1999 attack at Columbine High School.

“They knew how to deal with the overpaid teacher union thugs. One shot at a time!” he wrote, adding they should be remembered as heroes.

The comment disturbed at least one teacher, who called police in West Bend, 40 miles north of Milwaukee and home of the blog’s administrator. Police traveled to arrest Buss at his home in Cudahy, south of Milwaukee, last week after the blogger gave them the anonymous poster’s IP address.

After his arrest, Buss spent an hour in the Washington County jail before he was released on $350 bail. He did not return phone messages and e-mails seeking comment, and it was unclear whether he had a lawyer.

Washington County District Attorney Todd Martens is considering whether to charge Buss with disorderly conduct and unlawful use of computerized communication systems.

“If you look at all the factors in this case, it’s pretty clear it would be a mistake to charge,” said Larry Dupuis, legal director of The American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin. “At worst, it was somebody expressing admiration for somebody who did something reprehensible. But the more reasonable explanation is this is somebody who is trying to mock the conservative view of teacher salaries.”

Police Capt. Toby Netko defended the arrest. He said the teacher who complained was disturbed by the reference to “one shot at a time” and other educators agreed it was a threat.

“What happens when you say bomb in an airport? That’s free speech, isn’t it?” he said. “And people are taken into custody for that all the time.”

Donald Downs, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor and expert in free speech, said that “all sorts of unsavory, controversial speech” are protected by the First Amendment.

“It has to be intended to incite violence” to be illegal, Downs said. “If it’s tongue-in-cheek, there’s virtually no way they can claim that.”

Downs added, however, that the school district might have legal grounds to discipline Buss. The teacher has been placed on paid administrative leave while his school district considers what action to take.

Sara Larsen, superintendent of the Oak Creek school district where Buss has worked since 1994, said she was “dismayed, disappointed and discouraged” by the posting. She had worked closely with Buss when he was president of the teacher’s union for three years ending in 2006.

“It’s not something that I would have expected any teacher to do. As much as teachers understand the whole situation in Columbine, to reference that is certainly inappropriate,” she said.[/i]

Watch out teachers (You know who you are)! Someone might get offended at your comments and have you arrested too.

"unlawful use of computerized communication systems. "

What
The
Fuck?

I tell ya, between Big Brother and Little Sister, we may as well burn the whole fucking Constitution.

[quote]MrRezister wrote:
"unlawful use of computerized communication systems. "

What
The
Fuck?

I tell ya, between Big Brother and Little Sister, we may as well burn the whole fucking Constitution.
[/quote]

Yet another Case where Ron Paul is the only candidate that stands against this sort of policing. All the others dream of a future similar to the one in minority report, where people can be arrested before they act on anything, just for thinking about something that the government doesn’t agree with.

V

[quote]MrRezister wrote:
"unlawful use of computerized communication systems. "

What
The
Fuck?

I tell ya, between Big Brother and Little Sister, we may as well burn the whole fucking Constitution.
[/quote]

Get this stuff done and out of the way. Get it in court, have him sue and make a million and no one will try a bullshit stunt like arresting someone for a sarcastic comment again.

[quote]Vegita wrote:
MrRezister wrote:
"unlawful use of computerized communication systems. "

What
The
Fuck?

I tell ya, between Big Brother and Little Sister, we may as well burn the whole fucking Constitution.

Yet another Case where Ron Paul is the only candidate that stands against this sort of policing. All the others dream of a future similar to the one in minority report, where people can be arrested before they act on anything, just for thinking about something that the government doesn’t agree with.

V[/quote]

Oh please.

I hate when I have to agree with the ACLU.

I’ve been teaching for 26 years. I also say a lot of outrageous things, usually for a laugh. This teacher is an idiot for saying this stuff. I hope he is tenured because he’s gone if not — the first rule of administrators is: Fire the teacher!!

Since no one was harmed by his idiocy, I don’t think he should be fired or arrested. Unlike shouting ‘Fire’ in a theatre where the potential for a stampede ensues, this is just a guy being stupid.

I suppose if Swift had written “A Modest Proposal” in Wisconsin, he would have been similarly arrested.

Sometimes I wonder at the supposed progress we’ve made as a species.

good fucking christ!

Is this what it is going to come down to? Is sarcasm going to become illegal?

The irony is amusing - this guy is almost certainly guilty of lying to try to influence a political debate, and he’s tarred with his own brush. He’s a former president of the Teacher’s Union, and he wanted to tarnish the anti-spending position with an association with Columbine by claiming they were right to shoot “overpaid teachers union thugs” - and he gets in trouble…

That said, the actual post should be protected speech under the First Amendment in my opinion.

There is a fairly strong theoretical argument that advocating illegal actions - as opposed to advocating a change in the law - falls out side the boundaries of the protections of the First Amendment. But I think it would be a stretch to conclude that his ham-handed attempt at attributing false opinions to his opponents was actually advocating illegal activity.

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:
The irony is amusing - this guy is almost certainly guilty of lying to try to influence a political debate, and he’s tarred with his own brush. He’s a former president of the Teacher’s Union, and he wanted to tarnish the anti-spending position with an association with Columbine by claiming they were right to shoot “overpaid teachers union thugs” - and he gets in trouble…

That said, the actual post should be protected speech under the First Amendment in my opinion.

There is a fairly strong theoretical argument that advocating illegal actions - as opposed to advocating a change in the law - falls out side the boundaries of the protections of the First Amendment. But I think it would be a stretch to conclude that his ham-handed attempt at attributing false opinions to his opponents was actually advocating illegal activity.[/quote]

He should have named his Teddy Bear Muhammed. Wait, he’d then have swarms trying to execute him.

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:
The irony is amusing - this guy is almost certainly guilty of lying to try to influence a political debate, and he’s tarred with his own brush. He’s a former president of the Teacher’s Union, and he wanted to tarnish the anti-spending position with an association with Columbine by claiming they were right to shoot “overpaid teachers union thugs” - and he gets in trouble…

That said, the actual post should be protected speech under the First Amendment in my opinion.

There is a fairly strong theoretical argument that advocating illegal actions - as opposed to advocating a change in the law - falls out side the boundaries of the protections of the First Amendment. But I think it would be a stretch to conclude that his ham-handed attempt at attributing false opinions to his opponents was actually advocating illegal activity.[/quote]

I don’t think we’re as accustomed to satire as we once were. I take what he did to be exactly that; not an attempt to actually pass himself off as an opponent to increased teacher’s pay, but rather to lampoon those sorts of folks. Perhaps I’m giving him more benefit of the doubt than I ought.

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
good fucking christ!

Is this what it is going to come down to? Is sarcasm going to become illegal?[/quote]

Well, apparently it is illegal to offend people. If it so happens that you are offended or rubbed the wrong way, then any behaviour is acceptable…That is what we are taught by the news media. That is why I don’t watch the news.

Sarcastic jokes about terrible tragedies are now good enough cause for an arrest?

…I don’t know about you guys, but I’m pretty fucked :smiley:

9/11 was teh cool cuz it taught teh big beeldeengs a lehson. Dey be 2 dam tal sun so like teh moslims went a blew em da fuck down.

I await the police.

[quote]
BostonBarrister wrote:
The irony is amusing - this guy is almost certainly guilty of lying to try to influence a political debate, and he’s tarred with his own brush. He’s a former president of the Teacher’s Union, and he wanted to tarnish the anti-spending position with an association with Columbine by claiming they were right to shoot “overpaid teachers union thugs” - and he gets in trouble…

That said, the actual post should be protected speech under the First Amendment in my opinion.

There is a fairly strong theoretical argument that advocating illegal actions - as opposed to advocating a change in the law - falls out side the boundaries of the protections of the First Amendment. But I think it would be a stretch to conclude that his ham-handed attempt at attributing false opinions to his opponents was actually advocating illegal activity.

nephorm wrote:
I don’t think we’re as accustomed to satire as we once were. I take what he did to be exactly that; not an attempt to actually pass himself off as an opponent to increased teacher’s pay, but rather to lampoon those sorts of folks. Perhaps I’m giving him more benefit of the doubt than I ought.[/quote]

I personally don’t think he deserves that benefit. I’d like to think most people realize that if it’s sarcasm or satire, there should be some small indication that it’s not serious, to let other people in on the joke who might not grasp the subtle nuances of the humor…

In conversation this is usually conveyed through expressions, tone of voice or just from familiarity with the speaker. Or in the case of a play/book/movie whatever, from the fact it is a play/book/movie whatever. In this case, you have the guy making an anonymous comment on a blog. To me, blog posts are like running conversations, particularly in that there’s nothing to alert the reader to be expecting a “Not” joke (Borat reference). A lot of people in posts who want to convey that effect will add the smiley face, the “J/K” or something similar, perhaps with a few carriage returns to make one scroll down and fool someone into thinking it was serious. This guy didn’t do that, and didn’t include any of the biographical information included in the story that might have clued people in to his intent - he was just an “Observer.”

I think there’s minimal doubt that this guy wanted people reading it to assume that supporters of the blog were the kind of people who had that opinion. And at the very least, he was recklessly indifferent as to whether his readers would assume it was a real poster or a roving “Observer” who would spruce up the thread with his witty satirical droppings.

That said though, again, I’d have to say I think what he wrote is protected by the 1st Amendment and it’s troubling he was arrested. We have too many restrictions put in place “for the children.”

Does someone know how to upload a “THE INTERNET IS SERIOUS BUSINESS” picmacro? I can’t see to do it… damn internbutts… and it’s so appropriate too.

This one?

That guy looks kind of like Ron Paul…

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:
I personally don’t think he deserves that benefit. I’d like to think most people realize that if it’s sarcasm or satire, there should be some small indication that it’s not serious, to let other people in on the joke who might not grasp the subtle nuances of the humor…
[/quote]

These days, I suppose that’s the case; there used to be limits to the kinds of things people would openly say and mean seriously, in the main.

FYI, he wasn’t charged:

Keep publicizing stuff like this though - public eyes help keep the police and prosecutors honest.