Saturday, November 26, 2011

The latest Kansas terrorist

I think I'll just let Dennis DiClaudio at Indecision Forever tell this:
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is, by all accounts, safe and relatively unharmed following a harrowing Twitter attack from an 18-year-old high school student last week.

Luckily, Brownback has a brave and astute staff ready to snap into action at the first sign of an online trolling
Emma Sullivan, a senior at Shawnee Mission East High School in Prairie Village, was in Topeka on Monday as part of Kansas Youth in Government, a program for students interested in politics and government.

During the session, in which Brownback addressed the group, Sullivan posted on her personal Twitter page:
Just made mean comments at gov brownback and told him he sucked, in person #heblowsalot
Emma Sullivan

Does anyone know if there are any al Qaeda sleeper cells operating in Kansas? Because I highly doubt that a high school student is capable of an act of terrorism so heinous on her own.

Don't worry, though. Sullivan is paying the ultimate cost for trespasses against her innocent governor…
On Tuesday, Sullivan was called to her principal’s office and told that the tweet had been flagged by someone on Brownback’s staff and reported to organizers of the Youth in Government program…

The principal "laid into me about how this was unacceptable and an embarrassment," Sullivan said. "He said I had created this huge controversy and everyone was up in arms about it… and now he had to do damage control… I'm mainly shocked that they would even see that tweet and be concerned about me," she said. "I just honestly feel they're making a lot bigger deal out of it than it actually was."

Sullivan said the principal ordered her to write letters of apology to Brownback, the school’s Youth in Government sponsor, the district's social studies coordinator and others.

Hopefully next time, Ms.Sullivan will think twice before exercising her First Amendment rights.

This isn't getting pepper-sprayed in the face, but maybe it's even more shocking. We can't even criticize our elected officials these days? (Only the Republican ones, I'm sure.)

What did they teach 18-year-old Emma Sullivan? They taught her that it's wrong to speak up, that she'll pay a steep price for exercising her right of free speech, especially if it's unpopular or makes powerful people unhappy.

They taught Sullivan to shut up, to be seen and not heard, to be, in other words, a typical American, apathetic and convinced that she's powerless.

Well, maybe the internet will teach Gov. Brownback that America is a democracy, that free speech is alive and well, and that the efforts of autocrats to undermine both will backfire.


Chimeradave said...

Wow that's nuts. I can't wait till my kid starts school. I wonder how long it will be before I'm known as a difficult parent cause I won't stand for bullshit like what they are putting Emma Sullivan through.

WCG said...

Yes, I'd be furious about that if it were my daughter (although I'm angry enough as it is).

But I haven't heard what her parents think. Maybe she's getting just as much criticism at home? I hope not,... but it is Kansas.

Anonymous said...

Her parents are supporting her, do not think that she should apologize. In spite of the impression that our current governor gives, there are a lot of rational, intelligent, caring people living in Kansas. There are progressives and conservatives, democrats and republicans alike who are disgusted by what Brownback is doing to our state.

WCG said...

I'm sure you're right, Anonymous. After all, I live in Nebraska. :)

I'm glad to hear that her parents are supporting her.

Jim Harris said...

I think the school should have told her she needs to be more specific in her protest writing. Telling someone they suck is too vague. It makes the school system look bad when this student can't express herself any better than that.

WCG said...

Jim, this was an idle tweet to her friends, not "protest writing." I suspect that it's hard to write a convincing, well-reasoned political essay in 140 characters.

And that wasn't the point, anyway. Heck, why should anyone have taken notice of that at all?

Jim Harris said...

Bill, I was just joking...

WCG said...

Heh, heh. I must be losing my sense of humor, Jim, because this happened last week, too. That time, it was Ann who was joking, and I took it seriously.

Clearly, I need to work on my sense of humor, huh? :)

Jim Harris said...

Well, a lot of people miss my humor.


Chimeradave said...

Did you here the latest about this?

She was going to apologize just so it didn't cause a stink, but her older sister a Political Science major convinced her not to and the same sister had been acting as her sister's manager.

The Gov. admitted his staff way overreacted and he planned to apologize to her in person.

And she had 60 Twitter friends before this and now she has 9,000

WCG said...

Thanks, John. Yes, I just posted a followup.

PS. From what I've read, I don't think Brownback plans to apologize in person, but he did issue a statement about it.

Chimeradave said...

I guess it said he would "reach out to her." I wouldn't really consider a press release to be "reaching out" but, that's just me.