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December 5, 2007

The web snares "Anonymous"

Like many other schools, Baylor now has a network of interlinked student and professor blogs, some of which survive once a student has crossed over into post-graduate life.  One of those blogs is now in the news, in a case which raises interesting questions about free speech and the role of commenters.

The present controversy began at Boots and Sabers, which is run by one of our Baylor Law grads (who was a great student) and a friend of his.  It seems that someone posted the following as a comment on Boots and Sabers, and was subsequently arrested:

“Looking at those teacher salary numbers in West Bend made me sick. $60,000 for a part time job were you ‘work’ maybe 5 hours per day and sit in the teachers lounge and smoke the rest of the time. Thanks God we won on the referendum. But whining here doesn’t stop the problem. We’ve got to get in back of the kids who have had enough of lazy, no good teachers and are fighting back. Kids like Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold members of the Young Republicans club at Columbine. They knew how to deal with the overpaid teacher union thugs. One shot at a time! Too bad the liberals rip them; they were heroes and should be remembered that way.”

The guy who was arrested for posting this comment is a former teacher's union president named James Buss.  Apparently, he thought that posting "anonymously" meant  that it couldn't easily be determined who he was.  It's surprising how many people make that mistake-- including those who are students or graduates of law school and otherwise are technologically sophisticated.

-- Mark Osler

December 5, 2007 | Permalink

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