Congressman's Office Gets High School Student Suspended For Expressing His Displeasure With Congress

from the (202)-225-6155-/-(775)-686-5760 dept

The debate over gun control has reached new heights following the shooting at a high school in Florida. Every mass shooting prompts debate over the Second Amendment and access to guns, but this one, led by students whose classmates were killed, has more momentum than most.

Youth is wasted on the young, people say, as they note the steady decline in voter participation in younger demographics. This seems to imply more students should be involved in social and political issues, but this particular participation has been met with lots of ridicule and anger. In other words, it’s been greeted with hypocrisy, which is pretty much what we expect in heated political debates.

Nothing is more heated than the gun control debate. And everyone with an opinion is wrong. But it’s the youth that are the wrongest, and those bemoaning youthful antipathy aren’t responding very well to this sudden display of activism. Gun control-related walkouts have occurred in schools all over the nation, and students expressing their displeasure with their representatives are finding out firsthand how thin-skinned their representatives are.

A student at a Nevada high school has been punished by his school for comments he made to a Congressman’s office during a personal phone call.

[Noah] Christiansen told the Washington Post that during the walkout, his classmates passed around pieces of paper with phone numbers of legislators to call. Christiansen called the office of Rep. Mark Amodei, a pro-gun Republican, to complain, and reached a staffer in his office.

He told the Post that he said, “I believe bump stocks should be banned, the minimum age should be raised, and Congress people not already asking should get off their fucking asses and do something about gun control.”

Heated topic. Heated words. We’re all adults here, except for the student being punished by adults. Rep. Amodei’s office called the student’s school to complain about his use of the F-word. That should have been the end of it, and the only punishment handed out should have been public mockery of Rep. Amodei and his overly-sensitive staffers.

Of course, that’s not what happened. Christensen’s school responded by suspending him for “disrespectful behavior/language.” That’s just stupid. This language didn’t target the school, its staff, or fellow students. It targeted Congress in general, which is not exactly known for getting off its fucking ass and checking things off its To Do list.

No one except Christiansen comes out of this situation looking good. Rep. Amodei certainly doesn’t. Despite the ACLU’s advocacy on behalf of the wronged student, Amodei is sticking to his unapologetic guns.

Amodei defended his staffer and said no apology is necessary. The congressman said the situation was not a matter of shutting down the student’s First Amendment rights.

“I’m not apologizing because my guy accurately described what happened in the phone call,” he said.

In other words, this isn’t on me or my staffers. This is on the school because it chose to react this way to a completely unnecessary, completely retaliatory phone call made by a staffer who felt he didn’t need to put up with angry, sweary teens. But Amodei’s non-apology gets even worse. He also claims his office is in the right because it didn’t request a small parade of horribles to be inflicted on the student.

“He related the guy was vulgar,” Amodei said in a brief interview Monday. “He didn’t ask [the school] for any specific thing or beat the kid up. He just said ‘I wanted you know that this guy was really vulgar. We had a lot of calls and nobody else was,’ and that was it.”

Well, Amodei likes to dish it out but he sure can’t take it. He used plenty of vulgar language to describe his interactions with the Bureau of Land Management, according to audio obtained by USA Today.

“While I think the world of Mr. Ruhs, I’m not going to try and get between him and your deputy guy, whatever is going on with those two,” Amodei said he told Zinke. “With all due respect, I’ve been to enough rodeos to sense an issue there and let’s just move on.

“Nevada has suffered through a decade of s— BLM leadership,” he continued. “To put a strong successful leader in there for a net 18 months and then, for any reason, ship him, or let him leave to a position in Boise, is absolutely tone deaf.”

Northern Nevada’s lone congressman went on to decry “bulls—” legal provisions he said were cited by a Zinke subordinate in explaining why Amodei wasn’t told of Ruhs’ departure. That explanation, he felt, amounted to Zinke’s office indirectly telling him to “eat s—” over the incident.

That is awful. And to hear it coming from a respected pillar of the political community? It’s almost too much to bear. Someone should probably inform his office that Amodei is running around being “really vulgar.” Staffers shouldn’t be asked to beat up Amodei, probably. That would just make complainants sound as stupid as the Congressman. But his frequent vulgarity, aimed at prominent people in positions of great responsibility, shouldn’t go unnoticed. Neither should he and his office’s hypocrisy on the subject of vulgarities and who’s allowed to use them.

Amodei claims his office’s retaliatory act was meant to show the student words have consequences. They do. And Amodei is hopefully learning quickly that those in power are not immune from the consequences.

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Comments on “Congressman's Office Gets High School Student Suspended For Expressing His Displeasure With Congress”

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123 Comments
Anonymoussays:

MEDIUM ZOMBIE ALERT! TWO COMMENTS TOTAL SINCE 2015!

HA, HA! Gorsh, this site is just full of yucks if ya look.

Oh, sure, THIS only two and a half years between the account’s two comments is BARELY believable — if you don’t know of the many others having huge gaps.

The zombie accounts don’t differ from Techdirt’s positions: they’re not “random” in that way!

The LACK of “account” comments lately is due to my OUTING zombies with inexplicable LONG gaps. — And to reasonable people thereby warned staying away from this WEIRD site.

And NO ONE has yet defended the site with anything but “you’re crazy for bringing it up”.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Dishing it out?

I can’t listen to the audio, so I’ll take your word on that. If a journalist is going to offer a quote to support an accusation of vulgarity, they’d best quote accurately. Some people really do say things like "oh shh…" or "what the F", or "shoot" or "frig", which suggest vulgarity without including it.

The Wanderersays:

Re: Re: Dishing it out?

Strictly speaking, “fuck” isn’t vulgar; it’s obscene. (Relating to matters sexual.)

“Shit”, on the other hand, is vulgar. (Relating to bodily functions, or at least the more unmentionable such.)

(And “damn” would be profane – relating to matters religious.)

The Wanderersays:

Re: Re: Re: Dishing it out?

Wow. I didn’t expect to get Insightful for this; if the system supported such a thing, I’d have thought I’d be more likely to get downvoted for being unnecessarily pedantic.

(…is there such a thing as being “necessarily” pedantic, or would that be a contradiction in terms?)

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: who cares

“Apparently students do have rights”

BUT not the same rights as an adult, is the point I was making.

My point still stands and you only helped prove it! If a child can get into trouble for going to school wearing a “my teacher is a bitch” shirt then their rights are being trampled.

Case in Point
Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District (1969)
Issue: Freedom of Speech at School
Bottom Line: You Have the Right To Express Yourself?Up to a Point

Up to a point! I think it is safe to say that children have less rights than adults and not by a small margin either!

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: who cares

Not without getting into trouble.

I can tell my boss to fuck off and eat shit, but I will not get into trouble. I might be stupid for quiting my job because I don’t know a boss that would put up with someone telling them to fuck off and eat shit but a choice I get to make on my own.

A child does not have that same choice.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: who cares

“BUT not the same rights as an adult, is the point I was making.”

Ok – there are restrictions like no smoking, no drinking, etc but they have rights, all the same rights as adults with a few exceptions due to their age – like they can not enter into a contract.

There are many people who think that students have no rights.

Ninjasays:

Re: Re:

Wtf? Compare apples to apples man. It’s a bad idea to keep youth out of politics. We should be teaching them politics at school because politics is the basis for life in society. We wouldn’t be failing that hard if we were teaching critical thinking and politics (which require the first as well) in our schools.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re:

Can’t go far without tripping over the village idiot these days.

“It’s a bad idea to keep youth out of politics.”

I said “usually” and “stay out” not “kept out” all for very good reasons which seem to have tripped your nutcase over reaction mode wire!

Had
you
any
fucking
brains…

Stop, think, and don’t over react!

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

And why is that. Regardless of symantics you are advocating that youth shouldn’t be aware of what is going on around them and that they shouldn’t participate at least some of the time.

They should be involved and informed. Should they vote, no. But the only way our political experiment (self governing by popular vote) works is for all of its citizens to be informed and make choices. One of the Roman poets, Juvenal, said:

? Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions ? everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses.

If you don’t want the youth to be involved fully at this point in their life when?

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

I think you have fundamentally misunderstood.

I am not saying there should be an age limit in politics, I am saying…

We should NOT be telling kids to get involved, we should not be out telling others to get involved. Let them get involved when they desire to do so on their own. Running around rallying a bunch of ignorant troops only raises an ignorant army which must be stopped and only creates needless friction against the side that came to stop them.

We also should NOT be telling kids to stay away, we should not be out telling others to STFU if you are not in my group.

We should let those interested do as they will and stop lambasting others not interested in joining their little political shows either.

I am always for encouraging awareness, but I never encourage participation because that needs to be a decision made by ones self!

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

an ignorant army which must be stopped and only creates needless friction against the side that came to stop them.

"the other side" will always seek to stop "an army" regardless of its level of ignorance. And "stopping them" implies that that side came with the express purpose of causing friction.

Would you care to try again?

Anonymous Anonymous Cowardsays:

Re: Re: Re:

Teaching them about politic in school would be good, except that it would likely end up with the teacher, or principal, or school district demanding that ‘their’ politics be taught. If there was a non-partisan (as apposed to bipartisan) curriculum, then it might be different. What are the chances?

On the other hand, consider dropping the voting age to say 12. The age of reason, right? There are some problems with that, many of which come from outside influence, and a 12 year old might comprehend the thought, and maybe some practice of reason, they are still heavily influence by their daily contacts, such as parents and teachers, who might try to (and succeed) at influencing such a vote. On the other hand, there is no AARP or other such organization advocating for the rights of children.

So we have a not so well spoken teenager who has taken on a cause that might benefit himself and those younger than himself, who has no right to vote, but does have the right to express himself and doesn’t do it very well, and who gets blamed? The teenager. Not his teachers. Not his school. Not his school district. Not his parents. The teenager.

Who should have taught him to better express himself?

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

It’s ok to send our youth off to war but no way they need to vote, drink, smoke, have sex ….

This is an old issue that was addressed in the 60s, sad to see its reappearance. Guess our politicians are just too busy elsewhere to come up with any new issues to sway public opinion, sorta like hollywood trying to recycle old movies into new hits because they do not want to pay the writers.

Anonymoussays:

No one except Christiansen comes out of this situation looking good.

I disagree. I think it would be more accurate to drop the "except" part and simply say that no one at all comes out looking good. The student’s conduct is relatively mild and the school overreacted, but that doesn’t mean the student was right to swear – especially when speaking to a staffer for someone he knows disagrees with the message the student is trying to convey. Swearing in that context is more likely to shutdown the listener, making them completely uninterested in helping the speaker than it is to motivate the listener to go do something.

Uriel-238says:

Proportional response

What is it with people wanting to kill flies with a hammer?

A teen whose greatest offense was having attitude might deserve a dressing down in the office of a vice-principal, but it’s not even worth an hour of detention, let alone two day suspension.

Two day suspension is for something like brandishing a knife in class.

Re: Proportional response

Two day suspension is for something like brandishing a knife in class.

I’m not sure there was ever a time where threatening somebody with a knife only got you a two-day suspension.

Though certainly there was a time when simply having a knife wouldn’t get you one.

You get caught with a knife at school in any of the districts around here, you’re looking at expulsion. I think that’s a disproportionate response, but it’s the way things are now.

Uriel-238says:

Knife = Suspension

In the 80s when I was in high school pocket knives were common. I even had a friend with a butterfly knife (legal at the time) that he let me play with during lunch hour. Knifes were common for spreading or cutting foodstuffs. In Los Angeles County, CA.

But threaten someone with it and you’d get suspended. Suspensions were typically for two-to-five days, and you had to do something pretty awful to get one.

Things might have been different in LA City, but mine was a relatively tame school.

Uriel-238says:

Swearing in that context...

I’m pretty sure that not swearing in that context would not have gotten Christiansen any closer to changing Amodei’s mind or policies.

But by swearing and giving Amodei’s office a chance to lash out, Christiansen was able to reveal for the rest of us the level of pettiness and vindictiveness that Amodei brings to his office.

And the blame on this forum levied on Christiansen for his swearing illustrates the degree to which that level of malevolence by people in office is accepted in the US. We’re okay with our representatives behaving like toddlers.

Anonymoussays:

Student got HIMSELF suspended. Techdirt NEVER puts DUE blame.

It’s always 3rd party to blame. — Unless that’s a site with infringing content, or some person enabling content theft, then it’s MPAA / RIAA that are to blame.

Techdirt NEVER gets the blame right: it’s truly just a “blame game” where they see how ridiculously can shift it onto innocents.

Uriel-238says:

It IS on the school

This actually becomes a point of discussion in the Uriel household (which now feature children and teens), is that swear words and inappropriate language have their place, specifically in situations where circumstances and feelings have exceeded propriety.

At the point a school’s safety and security had been breached to the point of overwhelming local responders, I’d say propriety has been exceeded, and those who’ve had to experience it in close proximity have earned the right to be fucking upset about it.

So it’s an indictment of the school for not recognizing this, and not recognizing that Christiansen was actually conservative in his use of inappropriate language. Or, for cowing to an oversensitive official, which in turn implies abuse of power for petty reasons is a common problem in US offices (or at least in this US office) that schools have to be so cowed, and punish children for the satisfaction of the official.

It’s actually rather disgusting, and the administrators of Robert McQueen High School and the office of Representative Amodei should be ashamed.

drummer315says:

Amodei

I reside in Amodei’s district in Northern Nevada, so I believe I have a right and duty to comment on these two incidents.

Noah Christensen was not in school, nor participating in a school or classroom activity at the time of his call to Amodei’s office. He was participating in the student protest, but it was not a school activity.

So if Amodei’s staffer was so offended, why did he call the school? Simple, the staffer was hoping and expecting to get Noah in trouble and punished.

A. The staffer should have contacted Noah’s parents, if he felt the act was so heinous.

B. The school should have done NOTHING. Noah was not involved in a school sanctioned activity, was not representing the school, nor was he directly involving the school as any kind of supporter of his views at the time he expressed them, colorful language or not.

On the basis that one of Amodei’s employees complaint to the school caused the ruckus that is now international news, yes Amodei is indeed responsible and accountable. His employee mishandled the incident while representing Amodei.

As for Amodei’s potty mouth – not surprised –
Having met him, I consider him an ass and a slime ball who is more interested in what his congressional position will do for him personally than in representing his constituents.

Anonymoussays:

"led by students"

This article starts out implying that the recent anti-2nd-Amendment protests that swept the country were started and organized by high school students. However, all evidence suggests that these students were specifically recruited and pushed onto the front lines of a media event that was stage-managed by a professional protest organization and its adult (and largely-female) supporters.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/18/us/national-student-walkout-womens-march-trnd/index.html

It’s not just this particular event, but a general trend in recent years of parents and teachers increasingly pushing the children under their watch to take part in partisan politics. Well, not just children, as universities seem to be the worst culprits of political and ideolical indoctrination these days.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: "led by students"

It’s not some kind of conspiracy theory that wildly speculates that George Soros is the hidden “man behind the curtain.” In the United States, non-profit 501(c) organizations must report their sources of income to the IRS, and these documents are public record. Soros does not even try to hide his funding by laundering it through things like private trusts and other anonymizing financial tools. His Open Society Foundation organizations are (in many cases) openly listed and easily traceable through public documents. By his own admission, Soros has given a total of 32 billion dollars to a wide variety of activist causes.

Needless to say, it’s hard to find any “left-wing” nonprofit of any significance that doesn’t have some connection to George Soros.

Anonymoussays:

Re: "led by students"

“anti-2nd-Amendment protests”

You couldn’t even get that right. They are not protesting any amendment, they are protesting the fact that nothing is being done to stop the carnage. There is a difference.

“all evidence suggests that these students were specifically recruited and pushed onto the front lines of a media event that was stage-managed by a professional protest organization and its adult (and largely-female) supporters.”

I would like to see said evidence.

Did you know that Fox News is entertainment? They even admitted it in court. And yet some still believe everything they hear and see on that despicable shit mountain.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: "led by students"

“I would like to see said evidence.”

We can start with documents such as permits. For the supposedly student-led “March for Our Lives” protest in Washington DC on March 24, the permit application was submitted by Deena Katz, the executive director of the Women?s March LA Foundation. Of course, such ties are completely missing from the March for Our Lives official website, and multiple journalists who contacted Women?s March LA Foundation were told –somewhat incredibly– that the organization had nothing to do with the “student” march, despite it’s fingerprints being all over it..

Then there’s the cost of an obviously well-planned and well-funded event, as the thousands of portable toilets, stadium-sized TV screens, and other provisions obviously must have been paid for by someone other than a bunch of high school students presumably passing around a collection basket for spare lunch money. It would be interesting to see how much it all cost and who paid for it. I’m going to guess that the name on the checks was probably Ez Event Staffing, which owns the domain womensmarchla.org

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/feb/21/womens-march-leader-works-behind-scenes-on-student/

Uriel-238says:

Activism is commonly paid and organized.

It is way to much to ask of high school students to lead a national movement towards civic change. Normally, it’s natural for people interested in supporting activism to seek out organizations and vice versa. I suspect the interest of the students in making a difference, and affecting gun law is genuine, and activist groups contacted them and said we can help.

This is normal.

What’s abnormal (but perhaps getting normalized in the Trump era) is for commissioned internet trolls to develop manipulative campaigns to turn Alt-righters into their instant army which is part of the process by which the 2016 election went black swan. Activism doesn’t usually manifest from mobs, and when it does, it commonly gets violent or destructive.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Activism is commonly paid and organized.

The outright disregard for human decency shown by some with regard to said students is beyond excuse. Quite pathetic.

I am somewhat surprised the truthers have not yet made their typical comments about the school shooting being faked, or did I miss that?

Uriel-238says:

Fake Shooting Conspiracies

The crisis actors accusations did arise shortly after the shooting, though I don’t know of incidents in Techdirt forums. Again that’s common. People commonly tell themselves what they need to in order to disregard what is emotionally overwhelming, or doesn’t fit into their understanding of how the world works.

In fact, much of the contemporary news media industry seeks to report to affirm certain common ideology-consistent world views, given many people seek out news that does just that.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Fake Shooting Conspiracies

It never hurts to check out what people like Alex Jones has to say about any given tragedy, because like it or not, he has plenty of followers who apparently believe what he says uncritically, and that’s something that can’t be ignored.

I never heard the term “crisis actor” until recently, and I got the mistaken impression that it was a real person who was being coached, lead and/or manipulated in some way in order to present the desired media image. In one interview with one of the high school students, if you turned the volume up you could faintly hear someone in the background coaching the person. That’s not good journalism, and it gives fodder to kooky conspiracy theories like those spread by Alex jones.

Uriel-238says:

Crackpots are good press.

Fringe bloody fucking lunacy makes clickbaity press. Our population is high enough that anytime we have some tragic incident, someone will have an extremist radical opinion about it and will express it loudly. Then, someone else will provide them a platform by which to tell the world.

It was observed (in a JFK assassination retrospective, though I can’t remember by whom) that conspiracy theories started emerging immediately, and it may just be that we know stat officials lie, and we know they keep secrets. So since the mid 20th century we start guessing at the hidden story right out of the gate.

Re: Crackpots are good press.

Fringe bloody fucking lunacy makes clickbaity press. Our population is high enough that anytime we have some tragic incident, someone will have an extremist radical opinion about it and will express it loudly. Then, someone else will provide them a platform by which to tell the world.

Yes, but as recently as a few years ago, the largest platform these views had was Infowars. Now they’re being repeated by much more mainstream conservative platforms.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Fake Shooting Conspiracies

Unless of course they can prove their accusations with FB posting made by the crisis actors and their families, and show californian highschool yearbooks showing them as seniors in 2015.
Yes, it’s lunacy to believe that someone will get away with it because the average liberal will ignore the facts that contradict his delusions, isn’t it?

OGquakersays:

Re: Re: Fake Shooting Conspiracies

crisis actors
Showed up when the guard, my neighbor, at the local gas station (1.5 blocks away) shot a robber in 1999.
crisis actors
Showed up when we were witnessing a car stop and arrest across the street last year.
crisis actors
Showed up, and were seen telling the same B.S. on two TV news reports that night, when the LAPD killed a 60 year old father in broad daylight in the back yard of his home a block north of here in 2016.
I have lived here 30 years.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Activism is commonly paid and organized.

It’s always good to see someone who doesn’t buy into the ‘official narrative’ that these ‘movements’ are spontaneous and organic, rather than being controlled by people in the shadows. This goes for protests as well as audience members who do something ‘spontaneous’ and memorable in some way. It’s almost always planned and organized by people in the shadows.

It’s not hard to connect the dots, but the TV news shows always choose to play dumb about this, and basically parrot the lies they are told without the slightest skepticism.

It’s not just a case of activists and tragedy victims casually getting together through shared interests. These professional protest organizers are always waiting for something bad to happen so they can swoop in like vultures and take advantage of the media circus that results. It was a very effective strategy to target, indoctrinate, and organize victims to do their bidding, since such victims, especially being children, are considered to be exempt from criticism.

Has anyone ever considered though, that the main driving force behind these mass-shootings, most of which follow an identical script, could be the massive amount of publicity they get?

OGquakersays:

Re: Re: Activism is commonly paid and organized.

“Activism is commonly paid and organized”……
but the BIG money is in crushing the ‘Activism’.

25 years and 100-150 dead black Woman in South Central LA,
“Why are you concerned about it? He’s only killing hookers”

https://www.npr.org/2016/05/02/476017102/6-years-later-families-of-la-serial-killers-victims-still-await-closure

Margaret Prescott https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTDXClISINU rented an office here (for the cost of the electricity) for 15 of those 25 years, trying to get the LAPD and city Mayor to stop saying No-Human-Involved.

Ignor-ance is a verb, Koch-Bro.

P.S. George Soros put up $10,000 for the ANTI Dem.-Party-Convention events on the streets here in 2000, the drummer for the Doors put up the same amount.
We had over a hundred locals on planing committees from May until August, i put 21 telephones, my PBX, two ISDN lines and a T1 on my credit card, a thousand people were working in just the Indymedia center for 5 days, and NO BODY WAS EVER PAID.

Coyne Tibbetssays:

Re: Re: Activism is commonly paid and organized.

I must apologize for the accusation of hypocrisy above. Because I just realized…

You are a crisis actor.

You expect us to believe your statements are spontaneous and organic, but they obviously aren’t. It’s obvious that you are being controlled by people in the shadows. You are always waiting for an event like this protest march to swoop in like a vulture and take advantage of the media circus that results.

Who writes your paycheck?

Re: Re: Activism is commonly paid and organized.

Has anyone ever considered though, that the main driving force behind these mass-shootings, most of which follow an identical script, could be the massive amount of publicity they get?

What about the "Violence makes all your problems go away" trope? That whole "shoot ’em up and walk away into the sunset" idea? Our popular culture celebrates violence as a solution. It’s why we get so many people making mad comments here on TD about revolution instead of how to effect change via the political process.

Lizard Peoplesays:

Re: "led by students"

“On April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School, Colorado, a protest, ‘led by students’, against the dangers of guns in the wrong hands, involved the co-ordinated application of lethal force by two senior students.

As this method has proved so successful, other lethal protests, ‘led by students’, have since been adopted.

When asked what they planned to do about the protests, ‘led by students’, members of congress responded that it ‘was too soon’, or ‘now is not the time’, or ‘it is very complex’, or ‘we do not have all the facts’.

It also appears that some ‘fake news’ may be at play” – Lizard People News

Hugo S Cunninghamsays:

Suspension was wrong, but kid needs educating

The school would be doing the kid a favor by pointing out to him that gratuitous rudeness (ak tantrums) is not an effective way to advance his political (or business) agenda. Even if the person he was rude to was a lost cause anyways, others witnessing the incident will lose respect for the kid. And, if the kid had kept the conversation civil, the staffer might be willing to help him on some other issue in the future. In healthy democracies, most successful politicians are able to have friendly relations with (and listen to) even people with different opinions.

Maybe the kid should have been required to take an on-line anger-management class on the following Saturday morning.

Uriel-238says:

"gratuitous rudeness"

I think a sharper lesson from this incident is that people who regard others (in this case constituents with grievances) as adversarial will use any edge, any advantage to destroy them, to silence them, to discredit them.

What Christiansen does from this lesson is up to him.

I suspect he will cease seeing Congressman Amodei as a reasonable human being who can be petitioned. Rather that Amodei, and many of the people we elect behave more as forces of nature, unable to be reasoned with, and incapable of changing their position based on constituent lobbying.

At that point Christiansen will most likely realize that actually creating civic change is a fuckton of work, and he can’t be bothered, especially when he has to make grades / make rent / make dinner.

If Christiansen decides it is worth it, whether to get representatives in office, or to add his own effort to like-minded lobbying groups with more leverage, then he’ll start volunteering time towards campaigns / movements. He may even be part of a successful Amodei ouster.

Or, if Amodei’s position is too strong, and there’s insufficient interest in his community to generate a significant enough movement, he can go radical, possibly violent, which is tempting since this looks very much like a life-and-death situation, given more rampage killers and terrorists will blaze and more kids are going to die.

He doesn’t sound like a radicalist, though. He’ll probably blow it off and learn that elected representatives and petitioning them are not vectors for real change.

Re: "gratuitous rudeness"

I dunno, Uriel. Remember SOPA? Pressure works. The trick is to apply enough of it. In any case the elected reps are taking heat from the NRA, etc., to work in the opposite direction so effectively they’re torn.

So… principles v politics… which will win out?

If Amodei’s (doesn’t that translate as “I love God”?) behaviour is any guide, we both know what the answer is. Nonetheless, if he gets more pressure from the gun control side than the NRA side, he might well change his mind because the Golden Rule applies: he who has the gold makes the rules.

Jaysays:

People could use some empathy?

These kids feel helpless…

For a moment, perhaps uptight staffers or congressdudes could take a moment to consider these kids point of view? They watched other kids just like them get gunned down. They want a voice. And they?re feeling unheard. For most of these kids, it may be the first time they?ve faced death or mortality.

?When you’re drowning, you don’t say ‘I would be incredibly pleased if someone would have the foresight to notice me drowning and come and help me,’ you just scream?. -J. Lennon.

They congressman’s office is stupid. Even if you don’t give a F what they (or anyone else) has to say, they’re dumb to not realize these are their constituents, and will be voting VERY soon.

Anonymoussays:

The quality of the reporting on this one

Lots of comments on the pros or cons of what the young man did, but this is a comment on the reporting of it.

The headline and lead in paragraphs seems to state as a fact that the student was punished by a congressional office for the opinion he expressed, when the reality is he was punished by his school for using obscene language that was meant to offend rather than communicate. “Fuck” had absolute zero to do with his message since he was not stating opinions about sex acts.

It is called the “F” bomb for a good reason – that word is a verbal bomb in the context and manner delivered. A linguistic weapon of assault, and indeed is legally an actual assault if the other end of the conversation perceives it as offensive, or threatening, as clearly any reasonable person in that position would have.

Perhaps the reporter is so used to throwing the “F” word around gratuitously outside of private conversations that he himself does not understand its severity to common people, especially if used outside of casual or private banter. It is clear that many of the younger journalists today don’t understand that the word “Fuck” is so inappropriate in professional settings that its use in a journalistic piece destroys the reputation and credibility of the journalist, yet you see it a lot here and in other journalism wannabe blogs and big name media outlets alike.

But regardless of whether “fuck” should be an offensive word, it is offensive and even frightening to many is the reality. And maybe the young man should not receive such severe punishment, but the way this story was framed is deceptive, a clear attempt to lure clicks and color public opinion with misrepresentations that increase the luridness of the story.

This is just another classic example of why the current press has earned a historically low public esteem; prone to misrepresent the facts and even make up false headlines to fit a biased political narrative, forcing conclusions on us instead of informing; it all adds up to a lack of professional integrity. To recap – it was a foul mouth in an inappropriate setting that got the subject of the story punished by his school, not the stating of an opinion that was punished by a congressional office as stated in the headline.

That One Guysays:

'They hurt my feels' does not equal 'They beat me up'

So if saying ‘fuck’ is ‘actual assault’ if the other person finds it offensive, and I were to find your use of it offensive since clearly you weren’t talking about sex when you used the word, I could file a report and have you charged for assault? Sure you want to go down that road?

Unless the school is staffed by the teen’s actual parents it’s not their business to punish him for something he did out of school. If he stood up and started swearing in class, by all means punish him for that, but it’s no business of theirs to crack down on any swearing he does off school grounds.

Also, if a hypocritical politician(or their aide) can’t stand to hear the word ‘fuck’ without needing to find a handy couch to faint on, maybe they shouldn’t be in office. If their feelings are that sensitive they should probably find a calmer, less stressful job, one that doesn’t require interactions with a public that might be rightly angry at something they do/don’t do.

Capitalist Lion Tamersays:

Re: The quality of the reporting on this one

I’m not going to argue about the “frightening” qualities of the word “fuck.” Whatever. Some people are offended, some aren’t, and a great majority of offended people don’t run to the nearest authority figure to report it being said to them.

That being said, there’s nothing dishonest about this framing. If the rep’s office hadn’t called the school, the student would not have been suspended for “disrespectful language.” Without this catalyst, the suspension simply does not happen. So, it did cause the suspension, even if it maintained some weird form of plausible deniability because the staffer didn’t instruct the school to beat the student up as well.

The foul mouth cannot be separated from the stating of opinion. “Congress should get off their fucking asses” is the opinion stated, with swear words contained. He did not tell the staffer to go fuck himself or anything that might fit your weird “foul mouth in an inappropriate setting.” He made the call from his own phone outside of the school, so there’s nothing “inappropriate” about the setting in which he used the offending phrase.

Anonymoussays:

If my kid called up someone and used that language I would not approve. How does this make the kid look good?

I know, don’t get your way so go to a corner and stamp your feet.

I think this is the problem is our society, people have stopped caring what other people think, people have decided to not be civil.

People who disagree with each other now view the other as the enemy, not an opponent.

Uriel-238says:

This is the No Fucks Given era.

Trump was ushered in to the presidency by the Alt-Right, an entire movement based on being as offensive as personally pleases them and showing not a jot of consideration or compassion for anyone else. It’s the Tea Party attitude taken to eleven.

This is the no fucks given era, and I suspect there’s a correlation between that pervasive attitude and our run of rampage killings. It only exasperates the problem the police and gun marketing are also demonstrating / pushing the notion that people that are too different are the enemy and the way to solve problems is by violence (preferably using their product).

Regardless, it’s not that swearing made Christiansen look good. It’s that he had a legitimate gripe, and a legitimate reason to express anger about it. And that was deflected and dismissed entirely by Amodei’s staff being nitpicky about how Christiansen expressed himself. The entire exchange asserts this no fucks given attitude: Representative Amodei doesn’t care at all what his constituent thinks.

So Christiansen might be learning from this that talking is useless, given there will always be some criticism that can be leveled at his choice of words.

When we make peaceful revolution impossible…

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