Opinions

Letter: A defense of speech

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Editor, the Gauntlet,

To all the people advocating for the assassination of Tom Flanagan's career, I hope the irony and hypocrisy is not lost. If professor Flanagan cannot speak freely even in jest, then neither can you advocate for his termination. In essence what you are saying is much worse because you all mean what you say, while Tom Flanagan made a joke. All of you are doing the very same thing Flanagan has done but you still don't realize that both of you should be allowed to. Either you allow what both him and his attackers have said or you allow neither because they are saying the same thing. His attackers want to condemn him in the harshest manner possible, which they are allowed say but only because Flanagan also has this right. To say he does not have that right means you do not have it either.

All this is talk and that is all it should be, no one should be fired or killed. Anything more means that freedom of speech in Canada is a myth. Flanagan's comment should spark debate and conversation about the topic of assassinations and the whole WikiLeaks issue, nothing more. All that should be said is, "I disagree with what you say but you have the right to say it," and that should come from both sides.

As far as damaging the U of C's reputation goes, it has done more to hurt itself in the past few years by silencing free speech through such instances as banning Campus Pro-Life and the Facebook comment court case. This will damage it even further if it goes through with any action taken towards Flanagan and unfortunately add to the creation of an ever present nation of silent, scared and dull citizens.

Regards,

Thomas Wenger

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Comments

Flanagan should be fired because, IF YOU READ A TRANSCRIPT OF WHAT HE SAID, it is obvious that he isn\'t joking: a reporter asks him to clarify and he reiterates his statement.

Moreover, there is an allegation that he threatened a reporter (I believe), by email, when the illegality of his comments was pointed out. See various news outlets for more information.

Tom Flanagan should be fired. He must be fired. The reputation of the university depends upon it: incitement to murder and uttering threats are both criminal under Canadian Law.

Or will we allow our institution to add tolerance of allegedly criminal faculty members to its already long list of problems?

Flanagan should not be fired because, IF YOU KNOW HIM PERSONALLY, you know that he is joking.

Flanagan is an amazing professor and a really nice guy, but your judgments are probably based on allegations and the fact that you\'ve never met the man.

Stop acting like you know how to interpret the Criminal Code and loosen up. I take exception to the tarring and feathering of someone just because of their off-colour humour.

@2

I didn\'t know that being a nice guy puts you above the law! I should start being a nice guy more often and then I get away with my incitements for murder!

I\'m glad you know how to interpret the criminal code because here I thought calls for assassination were illegal.