There is an interesting controversy out of New York where Rutgers University lecturer Kevin Allred who was arrested and sent to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation for what he and his supporters say were political speech about the Second Amendment. In a tweet, Allred wrote “Will the 2nd amendment be as cool when i buy a gun and start shooting at random white people or no…?” The answer appears to be no.
The tweet does seem to me to be rhetorical and political. We have seen celebrities making the same type of irresponsible statements with regard to Trump or his supporters. In this case, however, police say that “Rutgers police contacted the 94 Precinct and requested a wellness check be conducted on the professor based on comments he made in the classroom and on Twitter about killing white people. Based on these comments he was transported to Bellevue Hospital for psychological evaluation.”
Allred said that he was “forced to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.”
He also said that his social media account was suspended pending the deletion of the tweet.
Allred teaches a course called “Politicizing Beyoncé.” The course “attempts to think through contemporary U.S. society and its current gender, race, class, and sexual politics by analyzing the music and career of Beyoncé Giselle Knowles Carter.” Hmmm. At least he can cite “Rocket” where Beyonce insists “I do it like it’s my profession/I gotta make a confession/ I’m proud of all this space/Lemme put it in your face.” (That is the best I can do since the rest of her most famous lyrics are marginally (or completely) profane or unintelligible.)
In the end, the response by the university could be criticized as an over reaction but the school may view this as just taking responsible action after violence at Virginia Tech and other schools. The tweet however was tied closely to the Second Amendment and seemed to me to be rhetorical. The question is whether the university could have resolved this problem by speaking with Allred or whether tried to do so without success.
What do you think?