A political science professor at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln decided it would be good idea to put on a Dick Cheney mask and a bright orange hunting vest and use an imaginary rifle to shoot students across his classroom.
The taxpayer-funded professor is John Gruhl.
Campus Reform broke the story on Thursday. The incident occurred on Halloween of this year (a Friday).
In the video, which you can watch below, some students in the classroom can be heard giggling as Gruhl simulates the mass classroom shooting.
Not all students were amused, however.
“When Professor Gruhl walked in to the class on Halloween dressed as Dick Cheney, I felt as though he had overstepped his boundaries as an educator,” freshman political science major Matt Server told Campus Reform. “By dressing up, and in my eyes, mocking the former vice president, I felt that Professor Gruhl had gone to another level in his attacks on Vice President Cheney. His costume, and subsequent remarks, were inappropriate for an institute of higher education.”
Campus Reform also obtained audiotape of Gruhl’s remarks. In those statements, Gruhl criticized Cheney, saying he “gave us a black eye around the world” and “was the driving force behind some of the biggest mistakes in the Bush administration.”
The professor also condemned the former vice president for laws that allow the government to spy on U.S. citizens and for tax cuts “which proved to be the single biggest factor in the government’s deficit and to this day a huge factor.”
Gruhl does not note that President Barack Obama has overseen record federal budget deficits throughout his administration. (RELATED: CBO: Obama Policies Saddle Next Generation with WWII-Style Deficits, Disco-Era Job Market)
The course in which the mock-shooting incident occurred is entitled “The Presidency.”
A fall 2013 syllabus describing the course includes sections on the growth of presidential power, the president’s war powers, terrorism policy (which Gruhl labels “the dark ages”), the vice presidency and presidential persuasion.
Presumably, when Gruhl dressed up as Cheney in a hunting jacket and pretended to shoot students, he was referencing a February 2006 incident when Cheney shot 78-year-old Texas attorney Harry Whittington in the face and torso during a quail hunt on a ranch in Texas.
Whittington survived his injuries.
Several not-at-all-pretend shootings have occurred in recent years on American college campuses. The most recent one happened on Thursday at Florida State University. Three students were injured. Other campus shootings have occurred at the University of California, Santa Barbara in May (when a shooter murdered seven people) and at Virginia Tech in 2007 (when a shooter murdered 32 people).
Though the administration at Nebraska-Lincoln does not appear to have reprimanded Gruhl for his pretend shooting, little boys at America’s public schools who pulled exactly the same stunt have not fared as well.
In January 2013, for example, a six-year-old boy in Silver Spring, Md. was suspended for making the universal kid sign for a gun, pointing at another student and saying “pow.” After a backlash, the suspension was later lifted. (RELATED: Pow! You’re Suspended, Kid)
A month later, a seven-year-old boy in Colorado got suspended because he lobbed a pretend grenade toward make-believe bad guys on the playground during recess. (RELATED: Boy Lobs Pretend Grenade During Recess, Gets Suspended)
Gruhl gets outstanding marks overall from students at Rate My Professors. Satisfied students call him an “amazing lecturer” who is “always interesting.”
Unhappy students note that he “speaks very monotone.”
Several students note that Gruhl is “very liberal” and “tends to make conservatives look bad.” He once “showed a Michael Moore documentary” in class, claims one student.
Server, the freshman in Gruhl’s class, told Campus Reform that the professor reliably portrays conservatives negatively in class lectures.