“A Desire That They Suffered Until Their Last Breath”: Alabama Professor Under Fire For Hateful Comments Following Rush Limbaugh’s Death

Professor Sarah Parcak of the University of Alabama-Birmingham has been a lightning rod of controversy, particularly on conservative news sites, for her calls for banning books and “how to” instructions on toppling public art like obelisks in violent protests. She is now under fire for saying that she hoped that conservative figures like the recently deceased radio commentator Rush Limbaugh “suffered until their last breath.” She has since taken her Twitter account private to bar general access, but some are calling for her to be fired. As will come as little surprise to many on this free speech site, I strongly oppose such calls even though I find Parcak’s extremist and unhinged views reprehensible.On Twitter, Parcak declared “When a terrible piece of scum who caused immeasurable harm to millions dies, there is no sympathy. Only a desire that they suffered until their last breath.” She is not alone in such hateful statements celebrating the death of another human being.Parcak is not alone in the race to the bottom. Various liberal sites have celebrated the death with some joyously declaring things like “rest in piss.” Huff Post ran a virtually jubilant headline.As an academic, Parcak’s words are particularly concerning since she extends her desire for suffering to the broader array of conservatives. This includes viewpoints that are likely shared by many faculty and students at her university. It reflects a type of raging intolerance and hatred that undermines the faith of many that they will be treated with respect and civility in classrooms and on campus.UAB President Ray Watts issued a Wednesday night statement that said the university is “disgusted and extremely troubled” that Parcak engaged in such speech that is “so unprofessional and blindly inhumane and cruel.”However, what concerned me was the statement that the university was “reviewing the matter.”  Parcak’s public commentary is vile and extremist but it is also, in my view, protected as free speech.  She has a right to speak her mind about figures like Limbaugh even when her views are grotesque and offensive for many. We do not need the First Amendment to protect popular speech. Popular speech is not targeted precisely because it is popular. The test of our commitment to free speech is to protect speech that we find objectionable and wrong.

We have previously discussed radical voices on faculties who defend violence and even murder. One professor recently called for more Trump supporters to be killed. Rhode Island Professor Erik Loomis, who writes for the site Lawyers, Guns, and Money, said he saw “nothing wrong” with the killing of a conservative protester — a view defended by other academics.  I have opposed calls for terminating such academics. Indeed, while sites like Lawyers, Guns, and Money feature writers like law professor Paul Campus who call for the firing of those with opposing views (including myself), it is not their commitment to free speech but our own that must guide our actions.

If Professor Parcak has displayed bias or discrimination against students in her classes, there is every reason to investigate. However, I have not seen any account alleging such misconduct. This appears her personal views of Limbaugh and other conservatives expressed on her personal Twitter account. I would have preferred a statement simply declaring that the university will continue to support the free speech rights of all of its faculty and students regardless of personal or even widespread condemnation of such speech.

Professor Parcak has an impressive academic record in Archaeological Studies. Absent allegations of misconduct in her classes or on campus, I do not see the basis for investigation by the university.  Being a good person is not a condition for teaching so long as you are a good academic.

Parcak and others are the price we pay for free speech.




230 thoughts on ““A Desire That They Suffered Until Their Last Breath”: Alabama Professor Under Fire For Hateful Comments Following Rush Limbaugh’s Death”

  1. Will *France* Save America?

    Yes, that is a ridiculous headline. And yet, as we noted here last week, what does it tell us about the present condition of America that the president of France, Emanuel Macron, has a better grasp of perversity and danger of our “woke” culture than the President of the United States?

    The New York Times has followed up on its first startling account with a report this week on steps the French government is taking to bring the radicals in its own universities to heel:

    Heating Up Culture Wars, France to Scour Universities for Ideas That ‘Corrupt Society’

    Subhed: The government announced an investigation into social science research, broadening attacks on what it sees as destabilizing American influences.

    PARIS — Stepping up its attacks on social science theories that it says threaten France, the French government announced this week that it would launch an investigation into academic research that it says feeds “Islamo-leftist’’ tendencies that “corrupt society.’’


    1. “But did you know there is also a White House dog?” And he held up a photograph of Chelsea Clinton, who at the time was just 13 years old. ‘”

      Let’s set the record straight. The NYTimes will do anything to slime a conservative as well as the rest of the MSM. What is the truth behind that story? I have a recollection of what happened and the story is true up to the point of omission and slime. Rush Limbaugh, a phenomenal radio figure, didn’t need that type of laugh because he could get laughs whenever he wanted.

      What happened? This was on TV and the wrong picture was held up. The picture was supposed to be of the dog, but regrettably, it was of Chelsea. Limbaugh apologized for the error, but the MSM that permits left-wing rapists, pedophiles, and pederasts to get away with their acts seizes on any uncontrollable error made by the right. There was NO attempt to get a laugh based on Chelsea’s looks though the left has no problems involving children of the right.

      Anonymous the Stupid is too Stupid to recognize that these errors occur, so he will continue sliming a great man even after that man is dead. That is how despicable the likes of Anonymous the Stupid are. Sliming is his favorite method of dealing with those that differ politically from him. He doesn’t care if children are involved. We already know what Anonymous the Stupid’s home life must be like.

      Do you know why Anonymous the Stupid uses sliming? Because he is Stupid and is unable to express himself in any other way.

      1. A comment about the RL/CC clip:

        “He blamed it on a technical mistake. I am sure most of his dittohead viewers actually believed him. It was the height of pigginess. Ah, making sure an adolescent little girl knows you called her a dog, because you hate her parents. You truly are a brave gentleman.”

      2. “Judge for yourself:”

        yourself = everyone, but S. Meyer — who has already made up his mind, ‘cuz he’s the guy with all the right answers /sarc

  2. The left is always loud and wants credit for everything they do that appears charitable, but all to frequently what they have given comes full circle to their back pockets. The left assumes Limbaugh was not charitable, but he was truly charitable in that he didn’t require credit for his charity. He preferred anonymity.

    Here is just one example of his charity that Limbaugh wanted to be kept secret. Tweet by John Rich (country musician)

    When I was on Celebrity Apprentice, Rush Limbaugh made a donation of $100,000 dollars to St Jude Children’s Hospital to support them, and my mission on the TV Show under the condition that he remained anonymous. I never said a word until now. He will be missed.


    1. “The left is always loud and wants credit for everything they do that appears charitable, but all to frequently what they have given comes full circle to their back pockets.”

      Total BS.

      1. That is Anonymous the Stupid. He can only respond with descriptive words that represent his own mindset. There is no way he can assimilate new information. Do you know why> Because Anonymous the Stupid is too Stupid to be able to provide a contrary argument.

  3. I think parents have the right to demand that university professors behave with a certain degree of decorum. I mean by ripping into a dead person, you’re not doing anything to the dead guy, but you embarrass yourself and whomever you happen to represent in the process, including your employer. This is how an obscure, 3rd rate nobody achieves her 15 minutes of fame – by attacking a famous cadaver. She’ll probably put it on her resume – “tweeted mean things about Rush Limbaugh’s corpse.” Really in the end, I think market law should apply. Personally, I would want my kid to go somewhere where professors behave like professors and not fishwives. I don’t think it’s appropriate for college professors to express any political opinions at all publicly. My students never knew my political leanings. A few of them guessed because I had high expectations of them and we actually learned instead of sitting around singing kumbayah but I never felt it was my place to influence them. Civics, yes, I’ll talk civics if it should come up but it never does come up because we’re too busy learning the subject I was engaged to teach. But not politics. But then again, unlike Ms. whatshername, I wasn’t born in a barn.

    1. This comment is a breath of fresh air. It is true she has a right to free speech but is not protected from the consequences of her speech. If she were in any business other than education she would be terminated. Why would any employer want a person with such a black heart who spews hatred in their organization. The solution is for donors to withdraw their support. Anyone who contributes to the university in any way should stop the funding post haste.

  4. Off topic:. Amount of money we spend on Mars exploration. How much this year was spent! How much last 30 years? Why? Put Mars in the bucket.

  5. A state run school. It can be sued under the civil rights act for state violation of free speech. 42 U.S.C. Section 1982 et al

    Sprec Frei or forever hold your piece.
    Your “piece” is your firearm.

      1. “It’s all rather pathetic, but even usually smart people are blinded by the nonsense put out by the mainstream media. They believe every perceived sin of Donald Trump while they seem intent on canonizing St. Joe.”

    1. Young ; look at his in another light…the Chinese paid handsomely for exactly what they want…a bought US president whom will do their bidding ,and in the process screw up America so bad it will be like the Chinese are the new bad hedgefund gonna make a killing on our demise…that they engineered with the left’s help.

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