University Police & Administration Freak Out Over Nathan Fillion Firefly Poster; Censor, Threaten Professor

from the browncoats? dept

Via Neil Gaiman, we come across yet another case of idiotic censorship by law enforcement who appear to have little understanding of the law. It involves a professor, James Miller, from the University of Wisconsin-Stout, who had the temerity to put up a picture of actor Nathan Fillion on his door, with the text of one of his lines from the show Firefly:

If you can’t read it, it says:

“You don’t know me, son, so let me explain this to you once: If I ever kill you, you’ll be awake. You’ll be facing me. And you’ll be armed.”

The clueless police at the University of Wisconsin-Stout not only failed to actually comprehend what the quote means, but also didn’t consider the context or the fact that it’s a line from a popular show. Instead, they decided that it was against the law and removed it. In an email to Miller, UWS Police Chief Lisa Walter told Miller that “it is unacceptable to have postings such as this that refer to killing.” Of course, it doesn’t really refer to killing, and that’s such a vague and ridiculous standard — especially coming from law enforcement for a state school, whose decisions are absolutely controlled by the First Amendment. Even worse, Chief Walter warned Miller that he could be facing “charges of disorderly conduct” for putting up any similar posters.

While one could argue that Professor Miller replied somewhat rudely (“How dare you act in a fascistic manner and then sign your email “respectfully!” Respect liberty and respect my first amendment rights”), it’s never a pleasant experience to be censored — and also to be told to shut up in the future too. Of course, UWS and Chief Walter then continued to make the problem worse. Miller put up a new poster, more or less commenting on the original poster takedown.

Not particularly well done or clever, but clearly commenting on the original takedown. In case you can’t read it, it says:

Warning: Fascism.

Fascism can cause blunt head trauma and/or violent death. Keep fascism away from children and pets.

Amazingly, the apparently reading comprehension-lacking and First Amendment-ignorant Chief Walter pulled down that poster as well:

The posting depicts violence and mentions violence and death. The campuses threat assessment team met yesterday and conferred with UW System Office of General Counsel and made the decision that this posting should be removed. It is believed that this posting also has a reasonable expectation that it will cause a material and/or substantial disruption of school activities and/or be constituted as a threat.

The fact that they’re now censoring speech commenting on the original takedown makes this even more egregious. Believe it or not, it gets worse. After all of this, Miller asked the group FIRE (the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) to help him out. FIRE sent a letter to UWS’s Vice Chancellor, Charles Sorensen, explaining the situation and laying out the relevant case law for why this is a First Amendment violation. Here’s a snippet:

That the First Amendment’s protections fully extend to public universities like UWS is settled law. See Healy v. James, 408 U.S. 169, 180 (1972) (citation omitted) (“[T]he precedents of this Court leave no room for the view that, because of the acknowledged need for order, First Amendment protections should apply with less force on college campuses than in the community at large. Quite to the contrary, ?the vigilant protection of constitutional freedoms is nowhere more vital than in the community of American schools'”).

The First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of expression does not exist to protect only non-controversial speech; indeed, it exists precisely to protect speech that some members of a community may find controversial or offensive. The right to free speech includes the right to express things that are deeply offensive to many people, and the Supreme Court has explicitly held, in rulings spanning decades, that speech cannot be restricted simply because it offends others. In Papish v. Board of Curators of the University of Missouri, 410 U.S. 667, 670 (1973), the Court held that “the mere dissemination of ideas?no matter how offensive to good taste?on a state university campus may not be shut off in the name alone of ‘conventions of decency.'” In Terminiello v. Chicago, 337 U.S. 1, 4 (1949), the Court held that “a function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger.” In Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397, 414 (1989), the Court explained the rationale behind these decisions, noting that “[i]f there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.” Under these standards, there can be no question that Miller’s postings are protected. UWS should take to heart the Supreme Court’s words in Sweezy v. New Hampshire, 354 U. S. 234, 250 (1957):

The essentiality of freedom in the community of American universities is almost self-evident. No one should underestimate the vital role in a democracy that is played by those who guide and train our youth. To impose any strait jacket upon the intellectual leaders in our colleges and universities would imperil the future of our Nation. … Teachers and students must always remain free to inquire, to study and to evaluate, to gain new maturity and understanding; otherwise our civilization will stagnate and die.

Furthermore, the investigation of protected speech, once it is determined to be protected, is a violation of the rights of the person being investigated. Sweezy v. New Hampshire, 354 U.S. 234, 245, 248 (1957). UWS had no permissible reason to remove the postings and has no permissible reason to pursue criminal charges or even a disciplinary meeting with Miller. UWS must immediately end all investigation of Miller’s protected speech.

In response to this, the University did cancel its meeting with Miller about this “incident,” but Sorenson and others in the school’s administration sent an email to all faculty and staff, insisting that the school was in the right in removing the posters, claiming that “the posters in question constituted an implied threat of violence.” This despite all of the clear evidence that the posters made no such threat at all. Once again, we’re reminded that free speech isn’t always so free, and must be watched after vigilantly.

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Comments on “University Police & Administration Freak Out Over Nathan Fillion Firefly Poster; Censor, Threaten Professor”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Funny that. Where is the Vice Chancellor in all this? The Vice Chancellor could easily have stopped all this nonsense straight away, by simply sacking the police chief. There are plenty of grounds. The VC is supposed to defend academic freedom. There are grounds to sack the UWS police chief, the General Counsel and the VC. All three should know better.

breezeOn (profile) says:

Re: Protect your right to say it

Almost just passed you right by but I couldn’t quite bring myself to do it. I thought you needed a little insight. I guess I would start off by suggesting that you simply just keep speaking freely and don’t fret about folks that state that they’ll defend your liberties. You’ll know it when you see it. Indeed, there are a large number of folks that are sworn to do just that. Now it could be argued that that oath alone is trite, at least to some, but I’d venture a guess that many more take it seriously than not.

In short, make the oath to yourself for yourself and others if you can manage it. Then hope that you never need to step up but do know that if you do need to that you will not be standing alone.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Protect your right to say it

I don’t know. Just look at how many different people/organizations came out in support of the Westborro Baptist Church in their recent Supreme Court case. I dare say that most if not all disagreed with their actual message but believed so strongly in the first amendment that they were willing to file an amicus curiae brief on their behalf.

WG (profile) says:

Re: Re: Protect your right to say it

Yeah, as much as I hate to say it, I would have to agree with you AC. I’m from Topeka, and these idiots…you have no idea how much the majority of Topekans wish they would all just up and spontaneously combust; however, I bow to their right to exercise their First Amendment rights to be delusional, if not outright offensive – all in the name of freedom (for everyone, not just attention-whores).

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Protect your right to say it

Yep. As much as I hate everything they stand for, the reason you guys have freedom of speech is to protect *unpopular* speech. Popular speech doesn’t need protection.

It sometimes has its ugly face (I’m not religious, but I almost hope there is a god so the WBC get what’s coming to them later), but it needs to be done.

Joe Publius (profile) says:

Re: Re: Protect your right to say it

Hear, hear. Liberties do not absolve someone from every possible consequence.

In general, speak what you like. Just don’t be surprised if I call you a moron, debate you, or even pop you in nose*.

*Note that one’s liberty to pop someone on the nose for saying something does not absolve them from the consquence of assault charges.

Gordon (profile) says:

Re: Protect your right to say it

Ask anyone here in comments or in your daily life. Any of us who’ve served in this countries military forces will tell you. We ALL swore the same oath that we would “defend and protect the Constitution of the United States against ALL enemies, foreign and domestic…”.

I took that oath 20yrs ago and am no longer in the Marine Corps but I would still to this day defend your right to say what you want, when you want to whomever you want, even if you’re being a retard about it.

Just sayin’.

Anonymous Coward says:

Amazing. Absolutely amazing. I, having shunned Firefly after seeing the opening of that abortion of an initial airing Fox gave it, had no idea what the quote was from; but STILL understood the meaning quite clearly.

Have we devolved so far that the determination of threat or not must be evaluated with a moron in a hurry test? Is this something I can rely on to more eloquently veil threats of death as in intellectually focused Turing test?

John Doe says:

Universities are about higher learning & freedom right?

In the wake of the Virginia Tech shooting and all the other school shootings, they probably think they are on the right side of things. But I can about guarantee that no mass gunman ever started their rampage at the behest of a poster.

I think it was Thomas Jefferson that said “I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty, than those attending too small a degree of it.”. I agree with that sentiment.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Mike should apologize it is just rude to point out that famous thieves appropriate things from others, all the while screaming that people who can’t do an original thing are just common thieves that believe everything is for free.

He should also apologize to all those lawyers serfs that he offended by calling out, that was unbelievably inconsiderate of him.

Corey (profile) says:

I went to UW Stout...

…and during my time there, one of my professors had a sign in his office that read:


The building had always been nonsmoking as long as I had been there, and showed no signs of that change having been recent. So it was just a statement of personal opinion about smoking rather than an actual behavioral directive.

New Mexico Mark says:

Re: I went to UW Stout...

This posting mentions violence and death (assuming the carp isn’t alive). The campuses threat assessment team met and conferred with UW System Office of General Counsel and made the decision that this posting should be removed. A full campus search for flogging-sized water-dwelling creatures will be conducted. How do we get it into your heads that this kind of speech and/or conduct will NOT be tolerated?

Janne says:

Context or no context, how could anyone misinterpret this?

Apparently, some people turn off their minds in the face of complicated sentences, and just focus on the words used in the sentences, to extract their meaning. Otherwise, how could anyone, with or without contextual information, understand the message of the original poster so wrong?

Beta (profile) says:

don't need no gun

“It is believed that this posting also has a reasonable expectation that it will cause a material and/or substantial disruption of school activities and/or be constituted as a threat.”

Apart from the bad grammar (the poster expected something?) they seem to imply that a crude satirical “warning” logo, if left up on the professor’s door, would spark a riot. Is that university really such a soap-bubble that a poster on a door could plunge it into chaos? Not even a violent, pornographic, culturally insensitive poster inspired by Craven, Mapplethorpe and Hitler, not a brilliantly insightful, insidiously persuasive instrument of subversion by Samuel Clemens, Thomas Paine and the agit-prop department of MI6, just this dumb thing? I should go there with a few pages of Ginsberg and threaten to read them on the steps of the student center and reduce the whole campus to a smoking ruin unless they make me a Professor Emeritus.

The Baker says:

Perhaps the Campus police should troll through the campus mechanical/electrical plant and immediately remove other offensive warning signs:
“Keep Out High Voltage Inside May Cause Injury Or Death”
“Warning: Not installing or operating equipment correctly can cause component damage or an accident which may cause injury or death.”

Steve R. (profile) says:

Where is Campus Security When it Comes to the "Left" Wing

The issue in this case concerns the forced removal of posters by the administration for somehow being “inappropriate”. By extension, I have often wondered why Universities seem to let the “left” shout-down or otherwise disrupt speakers form the “right”. Seems that University administrators are a little bit short on comprehending the concept of free speech.

FM Hilton says:

In defense of political correctness

Let us not be too harsh on these simpletons who enforce laws that don’t exist.

They’re just mindless drones of the Faux channel where everything is a threat, including free speech.

Just imagine what they’re teaching the kids. More mindless drone behavior.

Goodbye, free speech, it was nice knowing you.

Anonymous Coward says:

The original post is really not appropriate for a school campus. If you have to be a fan of a given show to “get it”, I would say that most people wouldn’t “get it” and would instead find it rather creepy.

The fascism posters really aren’t that much better.

More disrespect, really. Nobody putting up the original poster considered how people would take them, and then massively over-reacted when they were removed.

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Not being a fan of the show (I’ve never seen it, so sue me), and having no other context than what is discussed here in the article, I’m pretty sure I got the gist. Had I not had the context here in the article, I’d have assumed it was a quote from somewhere and might have looked up where it’s from. But whether I looked it up or not, I can vaguely get the gist that what it’s saying is that the guy isn’t a coward and will stand up and face his enemies.

What I don’t get out of it is somebody inciting violence. Courage, bravery, and/or boldness? Yes. But if inciting those are against the law, then we truly hopeless.

Butcherer79 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“But if inciting those are against the law, then we truly hopeless”
From another forums thread on the riots a few weeks back:
The UK is not the US, but here in the US, inciting a riot is still illegal. It falls under clear and present danger. You can claim that inciting a riot is not what they were doing, but it would be disingenuous to attempt to claim inciting a riot does not present a clear and present danger to both property and life.
Again, the UK is not the US, and outside of generalities, I don’t pretend to know what their laws say about it.

Abel T. Reade says:

Re: Re:

Dear “Anonymous Coward,”


“If you have to be a fan of a given show to ‘get it’, …”
Did you actually read the quote? Put your hand over the photo for a moment, if you must, AND READ THE WORDS. Read them slowly to yourself, more than once if necessary.

If you’ve forgotten, here they are:
“You don’t know me, son, so let me explain this to you once: If I ever kill you, you’ll be awake. You’ll be facing me. And you’ll be armed.”

Let’s highlight the points, one-by-one.
– “You don’t know me, son, so let me explain this to you once.” We’re strangers, but before this conflict escalates, let’s talk.
– “If I ever kill you,” Note the if, meaning there is a way to avoid violence in this situation.
– “You’ll be awake.” I will not sneak up on you in the night and murder you in your bed like a coward.
– “You’ll be facing me.” You will not have your back turned to me, either because you are fleeing from me, or because I have caught you unawares and unprepared.
-“And you will be armed.” I will not fight against an unarmed man (where’s the honor in that?).

As to the rest of your argument, perhaps the professor did “take it too far.” Perhaps he was being disrespectful in his retaliation. But, if you also were to know anything about fascism, you would know that any ideas or statements that are not to the benefit of the fascist leader are destroyed, and to contradict the system in any way is considered treasonous. The police PROVED THE PROFESSOR RIGHT simply by their act of removing the poster and subsequently claiming that it would “cause a disruption.” Hmm… kinda sounds like something a fascist might say about an anti-fascist statement, doesn’t it?

Fortunately for this professor, he lives in THE UNITED STATES, where his ideas or statements, whether they offend anyone or not, ARE HIS RIGHT. And at least he expressed himself in a way that was not destructive to anyone’s property (I’m guessing they probably didn’t just *give* the posters back, nor in the same condition they were torn down from). Also, I find it humorous that the police said the posters were “threatening,” when in fact, the only threats made… were by the police. To the professor. Legal threats. Not intellectual threats, which is AT MOST, what the fascism poster could be considered (to fascists!).

So please, for the love of God, educate yourself a little bit better, and consider your arguments before you condemn someone for standing up for their rights.

“Respectfully” Yours.

Trips says:

Re: Re: Re:

Abel T. Reade:
You say “fortunately he lives in the USA” yet the posters are not back up and if you look around you, you’ll see the US government violates people’s rights when it feels like it.
Patriot act…
TSA… (and I’m not arguing whether their methods are justified or not, that is beside the point. I’m arguing that they violate the Constitution, period. Assuming the TSA methods are OK, then the Constitution should first had been amended to make such methods legal).

The USA are a fascist country, sadly. People just aren’t aware of it because
a) The government hides that fact quite well
b) Most people in the US just can’t conceive that the USA could become a tyranny like Iraq or Libya used to be.

Travis says:

Re: Re:

I’ll start off by saying Abel T. Reade broke down the meaning of the poster very well and go from there.

It seems that the first poster was likely in his office (I get this from the fact that it was on “his door” and from my experience, most classrooms/lecture halls will be shared. It may be different for this college.) and more than likely on the inside (since you there is generally a policy blocking them on the hall side that would have been given for the reason for removal. Again, I might be wrong for this school). If he teaches first years, high level classes, is well known and/or is considered a hard-ass, then this poster is apt and was more than likely selected to put student who come in to his office for help a bit at ease.

The second poster is very, very apt as the school administration is acting in a fascist manner and are blatantly suppressing the First Amendment rights of one of their own professors.

MrWilson says:

Sadly I’m not surprised.

Back in high school, my principal told me not to wear my G.I.Joe t-shirt to school anymore because it made reference to Cobra being a terrorist organization. This was only because Columbine had happened recently. He even said he understood the reference and that it was from a cartoon, but he still insisted. As we learned with 9/11, any tragedy is good enough excuse for censorship and civil rights violations.

ScaredOfTheMan says:

He should put up a poster like this

He should put a poster showing voilent images of:

1 dude infront a Tank in Tienaming Sq
Protestors clashing with police in poland
Protestors clashing with police in egypt
Protestors clashing with police in NYC

with a message below saying

“Free speech is not Free”

Let’s see the university try to take it down.

Anonymous Coward says:

Problem one Campus Police, or as I call them the beer bong patrol.
Problem two, putting someones mother in charge of the beer bong patrol.
Problem three Sorenson and the collage administrations inability to utilize their collected brain power to think critically or to understand speech, freedom or liberty. I bet they don’t know the difference between freedom or liberty.

The Devil's Coachman (profile) says:

Lotta douche-bags in Wisconsin, it would seem

Perhaps they should change their name to “The University of Douche-baggery”. At least it would be truth in advertising. And the Chief should be re-titled “Chief Douche Nozzle”. Then, it would all make sense. Sort of. Maybe. Maybe then they could have the Hose-Bag as their official mascot. See? A perfect plan.

Rich Kulawiec (profile) says:

Why haven't these officers been fired?

They are clearly far, FAR, FAR too stupid to make realistic assessements of threats to the university environment. This doesn’t necessarily make them bad people, but it most certainly means that they have miserably failed to demonstrate the intelligence necessary to serve (in the sense of servant, which is what they are) the community.

Next, no doubt, we will read that they have maced a student for throwing a frisbee (“a projectile weapon”) and tasered a staff member for failing to dismount their bicycle.

Such inferior people with obviously-inferior minds should not be permitted the privilege of serving, and they certainly should not be allowed to carry lethal weapons. They are far more a danger to the university community than those they would ostensibly defend against.

Anonymous Coward says:

A threat?

Was this a threat? The courts have various tests:

“how the recipient and other listeners reacted to the alleged threat”

Other than the police and school officials, I’m guessing the average student chuckled when they saw it and moved on. Did anyone drop out of his class because they feared for their life?

“whether the threat was conditional”

Most of the poster consists of listing the conditions.

“whether it was communicated directly to its victim”

Was there a victim here? Even if there was, it was posted on a wall, and not directly to anyone.

“whether the maker of the threat had made similar statements to the victim on other occasions”

The 2 posters he put up were not really similar statements.

“and whether the victim had reason to believe that the maker of the threat had a propensity to engage in violence.”

Highly doubtful in this case. Since the test fails in every respect except maybe a bit on the first, this was protected speech.

I went to UW-Stout about 10 years ago. I already wasn’t going to give anything to the alumni association due to another matter, but this just makes me glad I never did.

P.S. If this police chief saw that poster’s text on a bumper sticker, would she helpfully remove it from the car? No? Then why does she think she can remove it from someone else’s office?

jsf (profile) says:

Love to see my alma mater in the news

I went to the UW-Stout campus, and even got my degree, in the 1980’s. This kind of stupid stuff is nothing new.

UW-Stout is in a small town, in one of the poorest counties in the state. About half the population are students. This makes for a fair amount of friction with the community. On top of this there has always been a disconnect between the university administrators, the teaching staff, and the student population.

All of the disconnects and friction lead to a lot of small problems like any college town in the US. At UW-Stout they flare up every few years into something bigger and more important.

In the late 70’s and into the 80’s when I was there it was common for the town police and UW police to decide at 10-11 PM on homecoming night that the bars should all close NOW, instead of the usual 1 AM closing time. You then suddenly get a few thousand people in the streets all at the same time. By in the street I mean literally in the street, not on the side walks. The police would then try to clear the streets because of the traffic hazard. Guess what that leads to? Lots of agravation of a drunken crowd of kids. Things get out of hand and you end up with police being called in from other communities as far as 50 miles away to clamp down on things and hundreds of arrests are made.

Lots of first and fourth amendment abuse happened while I was thier. It seldom went very far however because no one really believed the student side of things, and you didn’t have the internet to get things out to a larger audience.

Jimmy the Geek (profile) says:

Please put up some founding father quotes.

“A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity.”
Sigmund Freud, General Introduction to Psychoanalysis (1952)

“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! – I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
Patrick Henry (1736-1799)

“O sir, we should have fine times, indeed, if, to punish tyrants, it were only sufficient to assemble the people! Your arms, wherewith you could defend yourselves, are gone… Did you ever read of any revolution in a nation… inflicted by those who had no power at all?”
Patrick Henry, Elliot p. 3:50-53, in Virginia Ratifying Convention

“When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”
Thomas Jefferson

“God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion…. And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms…. The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”
Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Stephens Smith, November 13, 1787; ?The Works of Thomas Jefferson,? Federal Edition (New York and London, G.P. Putnam?s Sons, 1904-5) Vol. 5


These men knew what they meant and meant what they said.

This Page Last Updated 09/19/2011

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“Quemadmoeum gladis nemeinum occidit,
occidentis telum _est” (“A sword is never a killer, it’s a tool in the killer’s hands”)
Lucius Annaeus Seneca “the younger” ca. (4 BC – 65 AD)

“And they are ignorant that the purpose of the sword is to save every man from slavery.”
Marcus Annaeus Lucanus Roman poet (A.D. 39-65)
Source: De Bello Civili (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, Loeb Classical Library, 1988), IV, 579, p. 216

“There exists a law, not written down anywhere, but in our hearts; a law which comes to us not by training or custom or reading; a law which has come to us not from theory but from practice; not by instruction but by natural intuition: I refer to the law which lays it down that, if our lives are endangered by plots or violence or armed robbers or enemies, any and every method of protecting ourselves is morally right.”
Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BC-43 BC) Roman Orator and Statesman at the trial of T. Annius Milo in 52 BC

“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague.”
Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 B.C.) Roman Statesman, Philosopher and Orator
Source: Attributed. 58 BC, Speech in the Roman Senate

“It is a just person who disobeys an unjust law.”
Plato (427-347 BC)

“Tyranny derives from the oligarchy’s mistrust of the people; hence they deprive them of arms, ill-treat the lower class, and keep them from residing in the capital. These are common to oligarchy and tyranny.”
Aristotle in Politics (J. Sinclair translation, pg. 218, 1962)

“It is also in the interests of a tyrant to keep his people poor, so that they may not be able to afford the cost of protecting themselves by arms and be so occupied with their daily tasks that they have no time for rebellion.”
Aristotle in Politics (J. Sinclair translation, pg. 226, 1962)

“I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.”
Thomas Jefferson, letter to Archibald Stuart, Philadelphia, December 23, 1791; ?The Works of Thomas Jefferson,? Federal Edition (New York and London, G.P. Putnam?s Sons, 1904-5) Vol. 6

“Honor, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us.”
Thomas Jefferson (Declaration of the Causes and Necessities of Taking up Arms, 6 July 1775)

“It does not take a majority to prevail … but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.”
Samuel Adams “The Father of the American Revolution”

“The right of self-defense never ceases. It is among the most sacred, and alike necessary to nations and to individuals.”
President James Monroe (November 16, 1818)

“Any single man must judge for himself whether circumstances warrant obedience or resistance to the commands of the civil magistrate; we are all qualified, entitled, and morally obliged to evaluate the conduct of our rulers. This political judgment, moreover, is not simply or primarily a right, but like self-preservation, a duty to God. As such it is a judgment that men cannot part with according to the God of Nature. It is the first and foremost of our inalienable rights without which we can preserve no other.”
John Locke (1632-1704) English philosopher and political theorist.

“We may be tossed upon an ocean where we can see no land nor, perhaps, the sun and stars. But there is a chart and a compass for us to study, to consult, and to obey. The chart is the Constitution.”
Daniel Webster (1782-1852) American Statesman, U.S. Senator and Secretary of State under three (3) U.S. Presidents

If we are to ever get to the bottom of the argument surrounding the Right To Keep And Bear Arms (RKBA), then we must go back in time and see what the founders said.

Some people, including the ACLU, have asserted that the Second Amendment only protects a state’s power to raise and support an armed militia. I have the feeling that if the Founding Father’s were alive today, they would have something to say about that…

When you are finished reading this page, I guarantee you will say to yourself, hey Marc really knows what he is talking about.

I have done entirely enough talking now and I will let the rest of this page speak for the Founding Father’s. Let’s go back in time and see what they had to say…

“On every question of construction (of the Constitution) let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invent against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.”
Thomas Jefferson letter to Justice William Johnson, June 12, 1823

Many millions of United States Citizens believe that the Second Amendment ONLY refers to each State’s power to form militias. This is simply not the case. The Second Amendment does indeed refer to the right to keep and bear arms as an individual right.

When the Second Amendment was written, there wasn’t any National Guard. The People were the National Guard. In fact, the National Guard did not exist for another 116 years.

Private Firearm ownership is a guarantee against the breaching or transgression of all the other rights reserved to the People. Private and free gun ownership is a guard against any possible tyranny or dictatorships. The Founding Fathers knew what they meant and meant what they wrote.

The Founding Fathers clearly did not believe that limiting lawful access to firearms by law-abiding, honest and upright citizens of good moral character would either diminish crime, nor be constitutional.

When considering ANY legislation that has the slightest hint of curtailing our freedom and liberty, we should closely examine it as if it was taken to the most extreme limit, then treat it accordingly.

“You [should] not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harm it would cause if improperly administered.”
Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973) 37th US President (1963-1969)

Portrait, Thomas Jefferson

“I hope, therefore, a bill of rights will be formed to guard the people against the Federal government as they are already guarded against their State governments, in most instances.”
Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1788

“I learn with great concern that [one] portion of our frontier so interesting, so important, and so exposed, should be so entirely unprovided with common fire-arms. I did not suppose any part of the United States so destitute of what is considered as among the first necessaries of a farm house.”
Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Jacob J. Brown (1808)

“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”
Thomas Jefferson

“Honor, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them if we basely entail hereditary bondage on them.”
Thomas Jefferson (Declaration of the Causes and Necessities of Taking up Arms, 6 July 1775)

“I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”
Thomas Jefferson

“Every citizen should be a soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free state.”
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President

“The constitutions of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property and freedom of the press.”
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President
Source a letter from Thomas Jefferson to John Cartwright in 1824

“One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them.”
Thomas Jefferson Letter to George Washington, 1796

“No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”
Thomas Jefferson, Proposed Virginia Constitution, 1776

“For a people who are free, and who mean to remain so, a well organized and armed militia is their best security.”
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President. Source: Eighth Annual Message, November 8, 1808

“None but an armed nation can dispense with a standing army. To keep ours armed and disciplined is therefore at all times important.”
Thomas Jefferson 1803

“When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”
Thomas Jefferson (attributed without source)

“A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercise, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball and others of that nature are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks.”
Thomas Jefferson’s advice to his 15 year-old nephew Peter Carr 1785

“God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion…. And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms…. The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”
Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Stephens Smith, November 13, 1787; ?The Works of Thomas Jefferson,? Federal Edition (New York and London, G.P. Putnam?s Sons, 1904-5) Vol. 5

“Let us contemplate our forefathers and posterity and resolve to maintain the rights bequeathed to us from the former, for the sake of the latter. The necessity of the times, more than ever, calls for our utmost circumspection, deliberation, fortitude, and perseverance. Let us remember that ‘if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it, and involve others in our doom.’ It is a very serious consideration that millions yet unborn may be the miserable sharers of the event.”
Samuel Adams speech, 1771

“Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: first, a right to life, secondly to liberty, thirdly to property; together with the right to defend them in the best manner they can.”
Samuel Adams

“[T]he people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government and to reform, alter, or totally change the same when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it.”
Samuel Adams

“…It is always dangerous to the liberties of the people to have an army stationed among them, over which they have no control…The Militia is composed of free Citizens. There is therefore no danger of their making use of their power to the destruction of their own Rights, or suffering others to invade them.”
Samuel Adams

“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”
Samuel Adams, speech at the Philadelphia State House, August 1, 1776.

“The said Constitution [shall] be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press, or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms.”
Samuel Adams of Massachusetts — U.S. Constitution ratification convention, 1788

“Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation… Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.”
James Madison, Federalist Papers, #46 at 243-244.

“The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops.”
James Madison, The Federalist Number 46 January 29, 1788

“Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of.”
James Madison, The Federalist No. 48, February 1, 1788

“The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed, and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country: but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms, shall be compelled to render military service in person.”
James Madison, Proposed Amendments to the Constitution June 8, 1789

“Suppose that we let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal: still it would not be going to far to say that the State governments with the people at their side would be able to repel the danger…half a million citizens with arms in their hands”
James Madison, The Federalist Papers

“A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country.”
James Madison (1751-1836), Father of the Constitution for the USA, 4th US President

“A people armed and free forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition and is a bulwark for
the nation against foreign invasion and domestic oppression.”
James Madison (1751-1836), Father of the Constitution for the USA, 4th US President

“Arms in the hands of the citizens may be used at individual discretion for the defense of the country, the overthrow of tyranny or private self-defense.”
John Adams (1735-1826) Founding Father, 2nd US President A Defense of the Constitution of Government of the United States of America, 1788

“If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government.”
Alexander Hamilton Federalist #28

“Government is, or ought to be, instituted for the common benefit and security of the people, nation or community; whenever any government shall be found inadequate or contrary to these purposes, a majority of the community hath an indubitable, unalienable, indefeasible right, to reform, alter, or abolish it, in such manner as shall be judged most conducive to the public Weal.”
George Mason (1725-1792), drafted the Virginia Declaration of Rights, ally of James Madison and George Washington

“A man with a sword in his hand demands my purse in the high-way, when perhaps I have not twelve pence in my pocket: this man I may lawfully kill.”
John Locke

“Americans have the will to resist because you have weapons. If you don’t have a gun, freedom of speech has no power.”
Yoshimi Ishikawa, Japanese author commenting on the lack of protest with which Japanese tolerated governmental corruption, Los Angeles Times, 10/15/92

“If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government –and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws.”
Edward Abbey (1927-1989) American Author in Abbey’s Road, p.39 (Plume, 1979)

DNY (profile) says:

True thread doctrine

I’m not sure the status of true threat doctrine in the Court of Appeals circuit in which Stout, WI is located, but regardless of whether the standard is based on a reasonable speaker, a reasonable hearer (or in this case reader) to whom the speech (or writing) is addressed, or a reasonable hearer (or reader) to whom the speech (or writing) is not addressed, in no case does either poster meet the notion of a true threat. No reasonable person could conceivably believe that a poster asserting that someone (most obviously the fictional character depicted, but possibly the occupant of the office) will only kill in self-defense or that fascism is associated with beatings and killings constitute threats to anyone.

bloody me says:

wow ppl you really are bored to death out there over the pond. This professor obviously has an extremely bad taste and lack of creativity when it comes to posters. The campus cops have ever worse taste making so much fuss about it. I mean even the alliance didn’t arrest Kaylee for wearing that awfully dress, right? And they should have…

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