Should police officers be forced to swear not to uphold the Constitution?
Daniel Hect, who’s now on administrative leave from his job as police chief for Massachusetts’ Mount Holyoke College and Smith College, must be asking himself that question. Hect’s job is in jeopardy because he liked some tweets sent by President Donald J. Trump and the NRA.
Hect announced his appointment on Twitter last February. He wrote: “I am excited to announce I have accepted the position of Chief of Police at Mount Holyoke and Smith colleges, two of the most prestigious all women’s institutions in the nation.”
Some students/social justice warriors saw the tweet and looked into Hect’s now deleted Twitter account. According to Smith College’s student newspaper The Sophian, students discovered Hect liked tweets they believed “included anti-immigrant, pro-gun rights and racist sentiments.”
What were these scary tweets? The school paper reported: “In one tweet Hect liked, Twitter user pjwolf01 [who] wrote, ‘Stay the course Pres. Trump,’ and in another, Twitter user Lonewold2347 wrote, ‘BUILD THAT WALL!!’ He also liked a tweet from the National Rifle Association that said, ‘The National Rifle Association wishes you and your family a very Merry Christmas!’”
For those “likes,” a group of students went after him.
Some students put up flyers around campus stating: “This is Smith’s new chief of police, is our community safe?”
So a police officer who is using his First Amendment right to speak freely is somehow unsafe because he supports, by association, our protected Second Amendment rights?
Smith is considered to be an elite college, yet it clearly hasn’t even taught its students the straightforward text of the U.S. Constitution.
Smith’s administration decided the entire campus had better be some sort of “safe space” from ideas outside the liberal orthodoxy. They cancelled classes for a day and held an “Inclusion and Diversity Conference” featuring a presentation by campus police on how they manage diverse communities. According to The Sophian, students protested Hect during the event.
The institution’s president, Kathleen McCarthy, then did what college administrators now do. She showed she is afraid of her own students by putting Hect on administrative leave. Her letter says:
April 10, 2019
Dear students, staff and faculty:
In recent weeks, members of our campus community have voiced a lack of trust in recently appointed Campus Police Chief Daniel Hect, who leads campus police at Smith and Mount Holyoke colleges. Similar concerns have been raised at Mount Holyoke. In light of these concerns, the colleges have placed Chief Hect on administrative leave.
Deputy Campus Police Chief Ray LaBarre has been appointed Acting Chief of Campus Police, a leadership role he has previously held.
We are working together with Mount Holyoke on next steps. I pledge to keep the campus community informed.
So liking a Merry Christmas tweet from the NRA and liking some tweets from the president of the United States means that this campus police chief has exhibited a “lack of trust” that might cost him his job.
These administrators and students presumably have some historical knowledge of what “McCarthyism” was. They should be aware that these kinds of political witch hunts simply punish people for holding political views—in this case, his views are held by about half of those who voted in the last presidential election. Like McCarthyism, the very fear of these social-media witch hunts will suppress speech. In this climate, no one who may want to be a police officer or any other public official will dare say or even like anything more controversial than funny cat videos on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Maybe that’s their point. By politically suppressing the expression of ideas that don’t conform to a certain political ideology, they are then censoring competing ideas—such as pro-Second Amendment rights arguments. This will help them indoctrinate a larger part of the population into an anti-freedom way of thinking. After all, if all people hear is one side of an argument they are more likely to side with that lone point of view.
This would simply be a regional story if it wasn’t symptomatic of an overall trend treating those who support Second Amendment freedoms as if they are pushing an extreme ideology.
Last week the media even treated Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.) as a hero for pressuring Education Secretary Betsy Devos to withhold grants from schools that chose to train and arm teachers who wish to receive gun training.
Even if this point of view was only being pushed inside elite universities, those people graduate every year—and go work in government and in America’s preeminent companies. If these indoctrinated anti-freedom activists take this approach to those institutions, well then, it is hard to overstate the ramifications it will have to all of our freedoms.
Most-Revealing Anti-Freedom Quote of the Week
“NRA Twitter is losing its mind with ‘how is Swalwell going to take guns from law-abiding owners.’ SPOILER: I’m not. I’m organizing with the Moms & students, and we’re going to CHANGE the law. Weapons of war will be no more. #BanandBuyBack #EndGunViolence”—Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) tweeted, after he admitted to CNN’s Jake Tapper that if he had his way he would put in jail any gun owners who refused to hand over their semiautomatic rifles.
Pro-Freedom Quote of the Week
“‘We’re not going to take guns from law-abiding gun owners. We’re gonna turn tens of millions of them into criminals first’ is not the winning message Eric Swalwell thinks it is.”—Cam Edwards, host of the Cam & Co on NRATV, tweeted in response to Swalwell.
(Frank Miniter is the author of Spies in Congress—Inside the Democrats’ Covered-Up Cyber Scandal. His latest book, The Ultimate Man’s Survival Guide to the Workplace, will be out this summer.)