Listen, I think Twitter is worthless. I actually have an account, but I rarely update it and find no use in it at all. The only reason it still exists is because I’m too lazy to go close it out. Perhaps I should. Professor Glenn Reynolds of The University of Tennessee school of law is fairly active on twitter as best as I can tell, or at least he was up until now. His account was suspected because of a “controversial” tweet. Regarding the riots in Charlotte where rioters were stopping vehicles on I-277 and surrounding the vehicles, Glenn tweeted “Run them down.”
For this, Glenn is under investigation by Melanie D. Wilson, University of Tennessee College of Law Dean.
I am aware of the remarks made last night on Twitter by Professor Glenn Reynolds and of the serious and legitimate concerns expressed by members of the UT Law family and the University of Tennessee community, as well as concerned citizens across the country. Professor Reynolds’ comments do not reflect my views and opinions, nor do they reflect the values of the college and university.
University administrators, college faculty, and I are investigating this matter.
The university is committed to academic freedom, freedom of speech, and diverse viewpoints, all of which are important for an institution of higher education and the free exchange of ideas. My colleagues and I in the university’s leadership support peaceful civil disobedience and all forms of free speech, but we do not support violence or language that encourages violence.
Professor Reynolds has built a significant platform to discuss his viewpoints, but his remarks on Twitter are an irresponsible use of his platform.
The College of Law is committed to ensuring our students learn in a welcoming, open, and inclusive community in which they can successfully pursue their law degrees and become not only responsible lawyers, but also responsible global citizens who are able to competently represent people of all backgrounds.
Get thee to thy fainting couch! “Irresponsible!” So if we can get over the vapors, let’s unpack this just a bit. Glenn responded of his tweet, “sorry, blocking the interstate is dangerous, and trapping people in their cars is a threat. Driving on is self-preservation, especially when we’ve had mobs destroying property and injuring and killing people. But if Twitter doesn’t like me, I’m happy to stop providing them with free content.”
If you don’t live in Charlotte, you have no idea what this highway looks like. I don’t live in Charlotte, but I work there every day. I-277 is the loop around the inner city. Much of it is elevated. It has concrete sides in the clockwise and counterclockwise directions. It may as well be an aqueduct or weir. Once on, it’s difficult to get off, and in the event of a wreck or stalled car, traffic comes to a complete halt for quite a long time. You’re stuck. There’s nothing you can do about it. You can’t decide to get off. That option has been taken away by circumstances. Many inner cities are like this, but I-277 is a particularly difficult and risky navigation.
Over lunch today I asked my wife, who was headed into South Charlotte for business (bypassing I-277 thankfully), what would happen to her if she were stopped by rioters. She knows that she cannot leave the confines of her automobile, she may be dragged to a ditch somewhere and beaten to death. She knows I-277. She cannot back up and get away. She cannot swerve to the shoulder of the highway to avoid the rioters because there is no shoulder. She knows she cannot simply stay in the car since a crowbar or baseball bat will punch through the glass easily and then it’s just like leaving the car and trying to run from the threat.
Her answer? “I have to run over them. I’m sorry. They are a threat to me at that point.” If you think otherwise, you’re a naïve simpleton. You’re not going to hug them into submission, you’re not going to talk to them and tell them you love them and agree with them. You’ll get the hell beaten out of you. You’re not going to walk away, or at least, you cannot trust that this option is available to you. Such trust may get you killed.
I carry weapons and so I’m not quite as concerned for me as I am for my wife who thinks God is going to protect her from threats. But she gets the point here. God gave her a foot and accelerator pedal. If you are put into a position where you have to use them to protect your life, the fault is not your own. This isn’t about coming together, expressing viewpoints, talking to each other or healing the community.
If Melanie Wilson had ever been in such a position she might think twice about being such a hypocrite with her social justice.