Thursday, December 13, 2007

Concerning those swastikas 

James Lileks, a couple of hours ago on the story:

When I was at the U it was rare to find a bathroom stall that didn�t have a swastika, or some other piece of moron-spoor. The reaction then? Usually someone wrote a profane rejoinder with a Sharpie. Today:

�As campus officials and police look for those responsible, (university President) Potter said conversation might be the key to ending the crimes. In recent weeks, the school has increased security, created a team to evaluate each case, held training for faculty members to help them find ways to process the incidents in their classes, and reached out to the city's mayor in efforts to get conversation going and to talk about how to deal with hatred and bigotry.�

I suspect there�s one fellow behind this, loving every minute.
When I have tried to say this, or make any mention of the First Amendment -- it doesn't protect a vandal, but it might protect someone reading Mein Kampf in front of Atwood (oh, wait, that's not a public expression area) -- I have been pretty routinely shouted down. A message to the campus from the provost yesterday noted these "reprehensible and cowardly acts "threaten the safety and sense of security of many of our students. Several students are so upset that they are considering transferring to another university." I have to wonder what kind of education we provide here where a student asks mom and dad to let them transfer when they see a carved swastika (or, new this week, a drawing of a burning cross including the letters 'KKK') and not get out their best Roman Maroni voice and mutter "Fargin iceholes." Every escalation of response on the campus has led to new acts. As a very wise man said in response to that message yesterday, "at some point withholding the attention such petty thugs crave is the only way to starve their self-obsession. While we must take every such act seriously, we dare not become distracted by their acts of "terror", because that is exactly what such bigots seek."

And for those that can't here, free Sharpies to the first ten commenters.