“Blow Up Republicans”: UNC (Wilmington) Professor Triggers Firestorm With Call For Killing Republicans [Update]

Dan Johnson is an associate professor at the School of Health and Applied Human Sciences at University of North Carolina Wilmington with apparently equal interest in politics and polytechnics. He posted a short but clear message on Facebook: “Blow Up Republicans.” The detonation of people seems to be in vogue with professors this year. As will come as little surprise to many on this blog, I do not believe Johnson should face discipline for his violent political ideations. [Update: A university Trustee has now asked for an investigation by the university].

Campus Reform reports objections to the handling of the controversy by the school, which only stated that “[t]he university was made aware of the post and has appropriately addressed it.”  Johnson took down the posting.

Haylie Davis, a former student of Johnson’s, is quoted as objecting to the lack of more serious action and notes that the school would not be so circumspect “if the word ‘Republican’ was replaced with any other word. If the post stated ‘Blow up women,’ ‘Blow up homosexuals,’ ‘Blow up Catholics,’ etc.”

That is a good point.  We have discussed the sharply different treatment given statements by faculty depending on their political or social perspectives.

I have defended faculty who have made similarly disturbing comments denouncing policecalling for Republicans to suffer,  strangling police officerscelebrating the death of conservativescalling for the killing of Trump supporters, supporting the murder of conservative protesters and other outrageous statements. These comments were not protested as creating an “unsafe environment” and were largely ignored by universities. However, professors and students are routinely investigated, suspended, and sanctioned for countervailing views. There were also controversies at the University of California and Boston University, where there have been criticism of such a double standard, even in the face of criminal conduct. There was also such an incident at the University of London involving Bahar Mustafa as well as one involving a University of Pennsylvania professor. Some intolerant statements against students are deemed free speech while others are deemed hate speech or the basis for university action. There is a lack of consistency or uniformity in these actions which turn on the specific groups left aggrieved by out-of-school comments.  There is also a tolerance of faculty and students tearing down fliers and stopping the speech of conservatives.  Indeed, even faculty who assaulted pro-life advocates was supported by faculty and lionized for her activism.

As we have previously discussed (with an Oregon professor and a Rutgers professor), there remains an uncertain line in what language is protected for teachers in their private lives. A conservative North Carolina professor  faced calls for termination over controversial tweets and was pushed to retire. Dr. Mike Adams, a professor of sociology and criminology, had long been a lightning rod of controversy. In 2014, we discussed his prevailing in a lawsuit that alleged discrimination due to his conservative views.  He was then targeted again after an inflammatory tweet calling North Carolina a “slave state.”  That led to his being pressured to resign with a settlement. He then committed suicide

The efforts to fire professors who voice dissenting views on various issues including an effort to oust a leading economist from the University of Chicago as well as a leading linguistics professor at Harvard and a literature professor at Penn. Sites like Lawyers, Guns, and Money feature writers like Colorado Law Professor Paul Campos who call for the firing of those with opposing views (including myself).  Such campaigns have targeted teachers and students who contest the evidence of systemic racism in the use of lethal force by police or offer other opposing views in current debates over the pandemic, reparations, electoral fraud, or other issues.

It is not just universities. Almost on the one-year anniversary of its condemning its own publication of a column by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. (and forcing out its own editor), the New York Times published an academic columnist who previously defended the killing of conservative protesters. Over at the Washington Post this week, the newspaper promoted a columnist, Karen Attiah, who last summer caused an outrage after she tweeted “White women are lucky that we are just calling them Karens. And not calling for revenge.”

Despite the bias and hypocrisy shown by universities, I still would defend Johnson and his right to express such views on social media. Unfortunately, such hyperbolic and violent language is common today. While academics should be examples of greater tolerance and civility, the danger of such regulation is greater than the cost of such speech. Indeed, this week, the free speech community secured a significant victory in the ruling in Mahonoy on out-of-school speech by a high school student.

145 thoughts on ““Blow Up Republicans”: UNC (Wilmington) Professor Triggers Firestorm With Call For Killing Republicans [Update]”

  1. There was a time when someone in effect said “let’s blow up all those Jews”. According to our principles we have to allow him to say it. We just have to make sure that his saying of his words is widely known. Let him teach. Just make sure that a comparison of his statements to those of past despots in history is well known by his students. Most importantly we must never allow people of his nature to come to power.

  2. Remember when Trump incited a riot when he said the code words “Go and peacefully protest”. These were just code words saying the same thing as “blow up Republicans (to smithereens)” Don’t you understand both these statements were saying the same thing to incite violence? Turley is correct. Let him speak so he can show the world what a twisted fool he is.

  3. Is anyone surprised that leftists want to kill those that disagree with them? It’s a Marxist trait.

  4. On the topic of freedom of speech, Marjorie Taylor-Greene commented on on the floor of the House about a bill that would provide contraceptive services for military women and she told members of Congress to never forget that “Plan B” was taken to kill a baby. She then opined that American taxpayers shouldn’t be paying for abortion pills. As usual, the only question is whether she told this lie because she is ignorant and uninformed or just plain lying. “Plan B” is a dose of hormones that is taken to suppress ovulation shortly after there was an unprotected and unplanned incidence of sex. Oftentimes, it is taken after a rape, or when a woman is not on birth control pills or otherwise using a contraceptive. Suppressing ovulation is how birth control pills and other hormonal contraceptives work. “Plan B” is NOT an abortion pill because it is taken to PREVENT pregnancy, not to end a pregnancy. RU486 is an abortion pill. It is a progesterone antagonist. Progesterone is a hormone on which the maintenance of a pregnancy depends. Without progesterone, a spontaneous miscarriage happens. The pills are not the same thing at all.

    So, what should be done about Taylor-Greene? No doubt there are those who believe her lies just like there are those who believe Trump’s lies. But, should she just get away with lying with impunity?

    1. Natacha, you ask if she should get away with lying with impunity? What would your plan be to stop her? To what measure would you go to to keep her from speaking? What if she refuses to be silent? Wouldn’t the necessary action be to put her in a place where no one could hear her? It seems that you are saying that her blasphemy should not be allowed. If it is found that she is riling up the other prisoners with her speech than the only remaining course of action must be the guillotine. Welcome to Natacha’s world.

    2. “So, what should be done about Taylor-Greene? ”

      Reelect her, of course. And then elect more like her. We need more like MTG in Congress.

    3. Notice how Natacha avoids the actual issue at hand and instead decides that an abortion argument is warranted in a column about whether or not saying blow up your enemies falls under the protection of freedom of speech on campus. This is dumb, it is lazy, it is juvenile and it is…Natacha.

      1. Actually, no Hullbobby, I didn’t notice that. I was too busy watching her scorch the nostril hairs of tired right wing rhetoric as she always does.


          1. Oh snap. Good one, hullbobby. There’s a place for you on the summer Poconos circuit in the the 1950’s yet.


  5. The “burdens”, they allege. Another wicked solution, he brays.

    Can they abort the baby, cannibalize her profitable parts, sequester her carbon pollutants, and have her, too? Time will tell if we follow the progressive path and grade, again, and again, and again.

  6. Turley loves free speech providing that he picks out free speech issues that will whip up his base. Turley also could have told how Pearson Sharp of OAN called on mass executions of people that were involved in the supposed theft of the 2020 election. Or how Florida has put laws in effect that would stop open protests, or how they must state their political views. So it really looks like Turley is using the FOX model and just tell them what they want to hear.

    1. FW

      Appreciate your giving Turley the benefit of your vast wisdom.

      Why do you waste your time kibitzing when you could write your own blog and reach a much wider audience with the brilliance that you bring to your comments?

      1. Again you prove my point, Turley’s free speech is only one way, just like your opinions which you only want to hear one way, your way.

    2. FishWings could have said that violent rhetoric on all sides should be roundly condemned. Instead his concern is with Professor Turley stirring up his base. He could have said that calling for the murder of those with opposing views should be considered abhorrent. Instead, to FishWings it was more important to get in his daily Turley dig instead of being concerned with the possible murder of a human being. In FishWingsville people are just cardboard cutouts to be placed in position according to his will.

  7. I am from North Carolina and the Professor’s conduct is a clear violation of the University Code of Ethics for Educators.

    Fire his ass and send him packing!

    Treat him exactly like the Professor who had the temerity to express conservative views at that same University.

  8. “We need to remember that tolerance is not a Christian virtue. Obviously, in a diverse community, tolerance is an important working principle. But it’s never an end itself. In fact, tolerating grave evil within a society is itself a form of serious evil.” -Archbishop Chaput

    In other words, it is time to stop ‘tolerating’ Leftism and Leftist abuse in all its forms.

  9. “The failure of many on the left to support diversity of viewpoints does not mean that the rest of us are relieved of our own obligation to support free speech. While many of us are repulsed by Professor Johnson’s dreams of blowing up Republicans, sanctions on such speech could easily become a nightmare for free speech.”

    Sadly this is becoming a less viable strategy. What we have is a civilized tolerant society defending itself against totalitarian and increasingly violent leftist thugs. :From a research paper linked yesterday by Tyler Cowan of Marginal Revolution: “We found the most politically engaged partisans held the most exaggerated, and therefore most inaccurate, levels of metadehumanization. Moreover, despite the socially progressive and egalitarian outlook traditionally associated with liberalism, the most liberal Democrats actually expressed the greatest dehumanization of Republicans”

    Today’s progressives are no more humanistic than Mao’s young cultural revolutionaries of the 1970s. They will squash the likes of Mr. Turley without hesitation. I admire very much his perseverance and strength of convictions. But remember it was not Greece that prevailed against the more militaristic Romans. I am not optimistic

  10. For most people in most positions I would agree with you, but not sure about this one. I do not know how a college professor with such strong and violent ideas can properly perform his job of education without bias, and how his students and the college can have any confidence that he can, or that he even honestly wants to try regardless of what he says. It is not like he is a clerk at the DMV where interactions are brief, superficial, and ministerial.

    1. You make a good point. If a judge expressed such sentiments on social media (or anywhere), would he/she be allowed to remain on the bench? I know, depends on whether a liberal or conservative judge.

  11. Disagree. The Prof should be fired, outcast and die broke and alone.

    Only because these are the rules leftists live by, and enforce on their enemies.

    They cancelled an actress because she was in a whites only pagent…30years ago. But Senator Whitehouse gets a pass for, yet today, being a member of an all white beach club. Why? TRADITION!

    I was just listen to a newscast and they are reporting an Airline company is doing away with sexist language, like cockpit, now flight deck. Also pilot. My brain froze with that mention and I never heart the explanation. The point being, we have been subjected to snowflake brigade demanding the elimination of trigger words, and requiring “safe” places, language advocating the “blowing up” of other humans(although the President is ready to Nuke his own citizens) has to classify as forbidden language.

    But its the lefts usual double standard. We are coming up on 6 years of everything President Trump uttered, literally. So screw the leftist when they spout off.

  12. I agree that he should not be punished. However if the university hopes to retain any respect for its brand it will get rid of him. Would they keep a Nazi?

    It is a commercial branding issue.

    Perhaps Disney or Coke could offer him a safe harbor. They don’t seem worried about crapping on their brands.

  13. I am double plus surprised “blowing up” did not make the banned word list on the UNC campus.

  14. I could agree w Turley that if the good professor made it clear that he was being metaphorical … he can say what he wants.
    However if he is advocating violence… no.

    Not saying he should lose his job over it, but that he needs to be dressed down.

  15. Here’s Dan the-not-so Man’s bio:

    “Dr. Dan Johnson is the Founder and Chair Emeritus of Accessible Coastal Carolina Events Sports and Services (ACCESS) and the Miracle League of Wilmington. ACCESS built a $2-million dollar complex that houses the Miracle Field and the fully-accessible Kiwanis Miracle Playground. Dr. Johnson served for 3 years as the corporate director of activity therapy for Rivendell of America Hospital Corporation and also worked for 5 years with the Center for Recreation and Disability Studies at UNC Chapel Hill. Dr. Johnson now serves as the partnership liaison between UNCW and ACCESS of Wilmington providing student applied learning, research, and program development.”


    Quite the charmer.

  16. It’s pure hate speech since we’re labeling speech these days. Therefore, let’s just replace it with let’s just “blow up all left-wing professors” and eliminate the indoctrination camps that used to be called universities.

  17. Mr. Johnson apparently believes that it is OK to kill those that he disagrees with.

    Would he object if someone took a shot at him?

    People like Mr. Johnson are either cynical publicity seekers or stupid.

  18. Free speech should be protected, unless it incites violence. How much more clear does it have to get than “blow up [this group of people I don’t like]”?

    1. @Wank,

      This is why I ask if he’s being metaphorical or if he is being serious.

      When I was stuck within the borg (IBM) I was on a couple of calls where I wished I could reach thru the phone and strangle the other person.
      It was at that point that I felt the need to speak with a doctor about my rise in blood pressure and stress from the job.

      Since the doctor didn’t know me, and I’m not a petite fleur… she had to ask if I was serious or if I had violent tendencies.
      I had to stop and think.
      My friends who knew me, knew that I was being a bit metaphorical not really wanting to commit violence. But this doctor just met me. Had to spend the next 10 mins reassuring her I was speaking metaphorically out of frustration. Not really a violent person. At that time… I figured anyone could see that it was just a sign of frustration, not that I would really want to kill the other person.

      But today… we live in a time when we can’t easily tell. People do want to cause harm. Look at the Antifa idiots on the west coast who attack people w bike locks for dressing conservatively. (business casual) That’s why you have to ask.

      1. What if he said kill Biden. I doubt that the FBI would hesitate to talk to him. No one should advocate killing anyone least of all a professor who is paid with public funds and is supposed to uphold academic integrity and professionalism.

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