KU professor defends tweet regarding NRA, Navy Yard shootings
41 Action News Staff , Jenna Hanchard
8:59 PM, Sep 19, 2013
11:31 PM, Sep 19, 2013
LAWRENCE, Kan. - A University of Kansas professor is defending a controversial tweet he made after the Navy Yard shootings, that left 13 dead, including the shooter.
David Guth, an Associate Professor of Journalism, posted this comment to his Twitter account on Monday: "#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."
Patricia Stoneking, the President of the Kansas State Rifle Association, told 41 Action News that since the tweet, she's received hundreds of emails from people she says they "fear for their lives."
The KSRA is demanding the university fire the professor.
"I believe that his statement is irrational," Stoneking said. "It is vile. It is contemptuous. This is a person who has no business having any influence over our children and he should be immediately terminated."
But the journalism professor isn't backing down from his tweet. He defended his comments on Thursday, saying the tweet was a response to posts he was seeing from NRA supporters, and he has nothing to apologize for: "I was deliberately provocative and I did expect to provoke a response," Guth said.
Ann Brill, dean of the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, issued this statement late Thursday: "While the First Amendment allows anyone to express an opinion, that privilege is not absolute and must be balanced with the rights of others. That's vital to civil discourse. Professor Guth's views do not represent our school and we do not advocate violence directed against any group or individuals."
Timothy C. Caboni, KU vice chancellor for public affairs, issued this statement: "The contents of Professor Guth's tweet were repugnant and in no way represent the views or opinions of the University of Kansas. Like all Americans, he has the right under the First Amendment to express his personal views and is protected in that regard. But it is truly disgraceful that these views were expressed in such a callous and uncaring way. We expect all members of the university community to engage in civil discourse and not make inflammatory and offensive comments."
But Stoneking believes the tweet could inspire others to act. "All it takes is one mentally unstable person to read what he said and decide to act upon it. So he has virtually put everyone in danger," she said.