Last week I told you that University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds, AKA Instapundit, had been briefly suspended from Twitter over the following tweet on the night of the Charlotte riots:
Yep, Reynolds tweeted the same thing that everybody yelled at their TVs in ’92 while watching rioters beat Reginald Denny to the brink of death. And that just won’t do.
It doesn’t matter that he’s right. As we all saw, those Charlotte rioters were on a public highway. They were blocking traffic, smashing windows, looting trucks and setting the contents on fire, and generally behaving in a threatening manner. They were not protesting. They were not demonstrating. They were rioting. And if you find yourself caught in the middle of a riot, you have the right to protect yourself and your loved ones using any weapon at your disposal. Including your car.
You’re just not supposed to say so, as Prof. Reynolds did. Because that’s racist. And in America, “racist” is the worst thing anybody can say about you. It’s better to risk getting your brains beat out like Reginald Denny than risk having someone call you a racist.
A lot of people don’t like Reynolds because he’s not a liberal and he refuses to shut up about it. So those people rejoiced when Melanie D. Wilson, dean of the UTK School of Law, announced an “investigation” of the tweet.
How does one investigate a tweet, you ask? Well, one doesn’t. It’s a tweet. It says what it says. Reynolds said it, and he doesn’t deny it. There’s nothing to investigate.
Apparently, all the bad publicity Wilson has gotten from this “investigation” has outweighed any good publicity she’d get by punishing Reynolds, because she just put out this statement:
Following Professor Glenn Reynolds’s tweet and my public response last week, I began an investigation that included an examination of the facts, policies in the university’s Faculty Handbook, and the law. I discussed the situation with Professor Reynolds, university leadership, and General Counsel. I also sought feedback from College of Law students, staff, faculty, the Alumni Council and Dean’s Circle, and other UT Law alumni. As a lawyer and a law school dean, I know that gathering information and upholding the principles of due process are absolutely necessary in a situation like this.
In short, no disciplinary action will be taken against Professor Reynolds. The tweet was an exercise of his First Amendment rights. Nevertheless, the tweet offended many members of our community and beyond, and I understand the hurt and frustration they feel.
That’s nice, but of course the disciplinary action has already been taken. The process is the punishment. It doesn’t take a week to Google “First Amendment,” and I’m not even the dean of a law school. I’m sure she has people to do that for her.
No, this “investigation” was a warning: This is what happens. The First Amendment can’t protect you from a week-long “investigation,” during which you’re under a microscope. This is how we show you who’s boss, and what we can do when you displease us. We’ll submit you to public shaming, in the name of the “community.”
Because people are hurt and frustrated! We must think of their precious feelings. We must “investigate.”
Kafka was an amateur.
If you support rioting, if you defend the actions of rioters, I don’t care about your feelings. You’re wrong, and you need to be reminded you’re wrong. It’s a moral obligation.
Kudos to Prof. Reynolds on putting this nonsense behind him. For now.
Who’ll be placed in the stocks in the public square next? Will it be me? Will it be you?