Idaho Student Massacre Ethics…And A “Hate Speech” Issue

Issue I: The Banned Subreddit. Above you see a posted photo of some sick fan-girls’s shrine to University of Idaho student massacre suspect Bryan Kohberger. On the massive social media site Reddit, a “subreddit” titled “Brynation” emerged after Kohberger’s arrest late last year for the murders of University of Idaho students Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin. The Reddit group, which included women professing to be infatuated with the accused killer as well as amateur sleuths who maintained that he was innocent, had grown to more than 500 members before it was banned from the platform for allegedly violating Reddit’s Moderator Code of Conduct. As is typical with such social media bans, Reddit didn’t specify the exact offense.

Reddit can ban whatever and whoever it chooses; the question is when it is ethical to do so. There are too many arguably sick subreddits to list, including many involving fetishes, which the common phenomenon of women being smitten by murderers certainly is. At this point, Bryan Kohberger is presumed innocent in the eyes of the law. I just heard an “expert” opine that social media outlets have an “obligation” to control and minimize “hate speech” on their platforms, which he defined as speech that could provoke violence or “harm” individuals, and cited Reddit’s action as an example of responsible social media management. The Fox News interviewer just nodded like one of those plastic dogs people used to put in the rear windows of their cars.

How is chatting online about an accused murderer “hate speech”? The expert’s fatuous (but popular!) position demonstrates exactly what’s unethical about the anti-“hate speech” movement on the Left: the term literally can mean any speech the censors don’t like, disagree with, or find “icky.” The participants in the banned subreddit were not doing anything likely to result in violence: has anyone ever become a serial killer to be more attractive to women? Thinking isn’t dangerous; talking on line about one’s thoughts isn’t dangerous either, or unethical.

In a purported democracy, the culture should lean hard in the direction of free expression, with all expression given a strong presumption of legitimacy. People like Fox’s “expert” do the opposite, and are working to shift our culture toward concepts of GoodThink and BadThink, with the distinctions being dictated by powerful corporations, Big Tech, social media, the news media, educational institutions and, of course, the government.

Weird people have rights too.

Issue I (a): The First Amendment Deniers. Professor Turley posted a fairly indignant essay (for him) condemning the politicians, academics and others who continue to spread the misinformation that “hate speech” isn’t protected under the Constitution. “For those who often rail against “disinformation,” the law professor writes, “this is a particularly dangerous false narrative meant to support expanded censorship and speech controls.” Bingo! Read all of “Yes, Hate Speech Is Protected Under the First Amendment,” but what was especially disturbing in the essay was Turley’s revelation that even some dictionaries are spreading the false propaganda that “hate speech” (whatever it is) isn’t protected by the Bill of Rights. For example, here’s Webster’s New World Law Dictionary, to name one horrible example, which defines “hate speech”as :

“Speech not protected by the First Amendment, because it is intended to foster hatred against individuals or groups based on race, religion, gender, sexual preference, place of national origin, or other improper classification.”

That is false.

Nobody should trust or use any Webster’s dictionary until the company retracts it.

Issue II:Bad house! Bad!’

6 thoughts on “Idaho Student Massacre Ethics…And A “Hate Speech” Issue

  1. I agree with you on all counts.

    Regarding the Murder House, though, I can see a case being made for it becoming a nuisance. I didn’t watch “Breaking Bad” but, apparently, like many houses depicted on television and movies, the main character’s house is a real home in Albuquerque and the show-runner had to take to social media to ask fans to stop throwing pizzas on the roof of the house. Places where infamous crimes have taken place often become tourist attractions, too.

    People who move into these homes, such as the A-Frame in Amityville, report problems with trespassers trying to take photos, steal things, hold seances and otherwise make pests of themselves by clogging traffic and harassing people. Wannabe Ghostbusters sometimes do show up, as well.

    So I can see pulling the house down as a utilitarian solution to the Roadside Attraction problem. It would be smart of the school to put it that way rather than giving the impression that Bad Vibes are the reason.

    • I agree with this. I remember reading an article a while back about the number of people that went through Forks, Washington. Before Twilight it was about 5,000. A few years later it was close to 100,000. I have no clue what it is today, but I can imagine in such a small town it would have greatly upset the industry. Small changes can disrupt lively hoods even ones that seem important. Musa I destroyed the Egyptian market with all the gold he gave away. Basically made the stuff worthless. Certainly there are other factors to consider than superstition?

  2. Nooo! Don’t demolish the house. Right now it is haunted by evil spirits that are kept there. If it is destroyed they will be free to create havoc in the world.

    OUCH! Sorry, tongue cramp.

  3. Webster’s New World Law Dictionarydoesn’t appear to have anything to do with the regular merriam-webster dictionaries. It was apparently published in 2006 by Harper Collins, while Merriam-Webster is it’s own publisher.

    I suspect someone used misleading name to provide a false implication of authority. And after pulling up a preview of the Merriam-Webster dictionary of law form 1996, I found the a disclaimer that the name Webster alone is no guarantee of excellence and was often used my many different publishers, and that you should look for Merriam-Webster.

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