Freedom of Speech

Vandalized: Residence of U-M Student Who Dared to Mock Trigger Warnings

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Omar Mahmood is a student at the University of Michigan. He considers himself a political conservative and a Muslim. And until recently, he enjoyed writing for both of the campus's newspapers: the institutional, liberal paper, The Michigan Daily, and the conservative alternative paper, The Michigan Review.

After penning a satirical op-ed for The Review that mocked political correctness and trigger warnings, The Daily ordered him to apologize to an anonymous staffer who was offended and felt "threatened" by him. He refused and was fired.

Last week, he became the victim of what The College Fix has described as a "hate crime." The doorway of his apartment was vandalized in the middle of the night; the perpetrators pelted the door with eggs and scribbled notes like "shut the fuck up" and "everyone hates you you violent prick." They left copies of the offending column and a print-out picture of Satan.

The column that caused such a controversy, "Do the Left Thing," was published in The Review last month. It's a first-person narrative in which Mahmood pretends to be a left-handed person who is offended by the institutional patriarchy of right-handedness. A sampling:

He offered his hand to help me up, and I thought to myself how this might be a manifestation of the patriarchy patronizing me. I doubt he would've said those violent words had I been white, but he would take any opportunity to patronize a colored m@n or womyn. People on this campus always box others in based on race.  Triggered, I waved his hand aside and got up of my own accord. …

The biggest obstacle to equality today is our barbaric attitude toward people of left-handydnyss. It's a tragedy that I, a member of the left-handed community, had little to no idea of the atrocious persecution that we are dealt every day by institutions that are deeply embedded in society. So deeply embedded, and so ever-present, that we don't even notice them.

Satire is of course a perfectly acceptable—and particularly important— vehicle for registering dissent with ideological orthodoxies, especially one as pervasive as the culture of political correctness at the modern university campus. Reasonable people can disagree about whether this piece hits home, but not about whether it's a valid contribution to the campus debate.

A staffer at The Daily who saw the piece was furious, however, and complained to editors. One of Mahmood's bosses at The Daily told him that article—which ran in The Review, remember—created a hostile work environment and made the staffer feel "threatened." Mahmood was asked to apologize, which he refused to do.

Daily editors dug up the paper's bylaws and found a provision that forbids students to work for both papers without prior permission from the editor-in-chief. He was told to resign from The Review immediately. After he failed to do so, he was sent a termination letter.

I can't recall whether that rule was ever enforced during my tenure as editorial page editor at The Daily in 2009. But it does exist, and appears to give The Daily just cause to fire Mahmood. But it's difficult to believe that his work at both papers is the root cause of his termination, rather than the views he expressed.

As Susan Kruth of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education warned, The Daily's actions could end up stifling student-journalism by making writers afraid to express contrarian views:

Of course, independent student newspapers like theDaily are not bound by the First Amendment, but students who value unfettered debate and free expression do not punish peers for saying or writing things with which they disagree. Instead of forcing Mahmood to choose between writing satire and reporting for the Daily, any editor who was offended by his column should have offered his or her own counterpoint to Mahmood.

Instead, the Daily's actions will serve to make students reluctant to write further satire, confining their writing either to the non-controversial or, perhaps, to less entertaining forms. 

That was the end of the story—until last week, when The College Fix reported that Mahmood's off-campus apartment was vandalized. The four criminals wore hoods and baggy clothing to disguise themselves; less brilliantly, they changed in full view of the apartment complex's security camera. They appear to be women of unclear ages. The video footage is available here.

I spoke with Mahmood, who tells me the police are looking at the matter. And I understand that some people have identified the women in the video footage. I will publish an update when their identities are confirmed.

The whole string of events is a sorry indictment of the rampant illberalism of the modern, "liberal" college campus, where writing something that offends someone else is considered threatening, but censorship, vandalism, and actual threats are not.

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120 responses to “Vandalized: Residence of U-M Student Who Dared to Mock Trigger Warnings

  1. “he doorway of his apartment was vandalized in the middle of the night; the perpetrators pelted the door with eggs and scribbled notes like “shut the fuck up” and “everyone hates you you violent prick.” They left copies of the offending column and a print-out picture of Satan.”

    You’d think that there’d be one lefty who thought, “Wait a minute… we seem to be engaging in the exact kind of behavior we claim to be fighting ‘against'”….

    but no.

    “”the urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it.” – indeed

    1. Witch hunters never say “Wait a minute…”

      1. On the contrary, that’s exactly what they say. . . before they say “Naaaaaah.”

        http://snltranscripts.jt.org/78/78dyork.phtml

    2. Oh, absolutely not. This is just another manifestation of their projection. As we can see here–actual physical evidence–they are projecting their own hate and viciousness on others.

      Remember: anything a prog/leftist/SJW accuses others of doing, they always are guilty of themselves. Always. And that’s why they can’t see the contradiction here. Because the projection is a defense mechanism. They can’t see the contradiction without realizing some very nasty truths about themselves.

    3. Eggs&Omelets; FTW

    4. Is that Mencken’s quote, GILMORE? My favorite iteration of that principle is Albert Camus’s maxim that “the welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants.”

    5. Then there was that professor who stole the anti-abortion sign. I sense a trend ….

  2. When have college kids not been repressive thugs?

  3. “The remedy to bad speech is to seize the reins of power and forbid bad people from speaking.”

  4. “The Daily ordered him to apologize to an anonymous staffer who was offended and felt “threatened” by him.”

    I am reminded of the Inquisition

    1. You’d have more rights under the Inquisition.

      1. Good point. At least you were on the rack for only one day.

    2. I didn’t get this option at the War Table. Is it a Cullen mission?

      1. Well, it definitely wasn’t a Leliana mission, because her agents would never change in full view of the cameras. And for Josephine we’d likely get the message “not participating in this mission”.

  5. It will be hilarious if they are expelled for a “hate-crime”.

    1. Sadly, the piece even included the apropos ‘trigger warning’. You’d think that would provide a shield against subsequent accusations of Hateful Othering and UnsafeFeeling-Promoting.

      1. Remember a few months back when that girl that was trying to get professors to voluntary adopt trigger warnings (I think at some CA university) showed up here to say that it was all voluntary, just trying to be polite, wouldn’t ever be used in the wrong way…

        Yeah…

        1. Hell, he even included a trigger warning in his piece. True Social Justice Warriors shouldn’t have even read his piece.

          I mean if they didn’t stop at the trigger warning, than what is it good for?

          1. Letting them know they need to read it so that they can be offended and require the offender to perform ritual obeisance to them.

  6. The Daily ordered him to apologize to an anonymous staffer who was offended and felt “threatened” by him.

    The weak-minded and the stupid always feel threatened by intelligence. Perhaps the anonymous staffer should come to grips with his/her obvious limitations, quit school, and move directly into filling coffee cups at some branded coffee shop.

    1. I think I speak for all baristas when I say that your comments are offensive.

      1. I have to agree with Libertarian; Barista work would clearly stretch the little snowflake beyond his or her abilities. FAR beyond her abilities.

        1. Pure Michigan.

    2. I would have apologized.

      “I’m sorry your skin is so thin that words that speak of truth, scared you”

  7. ” any editor who was offended by his column should have offered his or her own counterpoint to Mahmood.”

    They did, they told him to shut the fuck up, insulted him and engaged in juvenile behavior. That’s their idea of counterpoint.

    1. Subconsciously the progs must understand the inferiority of their faith. Otherwise they could tolerate satire and debate.

      1. Faith is a good term for it? I was listening to a Cato podcast about how if the US government decided to go full on SJW, it could result in religious wars where SJWs who didn’t think the other group of SJWs went far enough decided to to purge the US of the heretics…

        1. Oh absolutely.

          You see shades of it in their “safe spaces/places” where one aggrieved either disputes the severity of another’s ‘victimization’ OR fails to fully support them while they seek to soak in attention/pity/support.

          Either way, they will slowly turn on each other and one faction will leave, claiming that the other(s) have been coopted.

          It’s really sweet to watch.

      2. Also, they could muster the pride to identify themselves instead of being an anonymous staffer who was offended

  8. What these kids need is sensitivity training, like what they offer to police officers. U of M should offer a course on that. It is their fault for not teaching their students not to vandalize.

    1. No, they’re probably already students in the Race and Gender Grievance program who are training to be sensitivity trainers.

  9. Good for him for not apologizing or backing down. SJWs are exceptionally vulnerable to mockery. On some level they know that what they do and say is absurd, but they need people to take it totally seriously to get anywhere. Once that bubble is popped with mockery, all they can do is scream “It’s not funny!” like the stuck-up Mrs. Grundys they truly are.

    1. Ditto! List of lethal weapons against SJWs:

      mockery
      resolve
      indifference
      telling them your privilege is just fine, thanks

      List of things that don’t touch SJWs:

      simply being correct
      apologizing (why does ANYONE do this anymore?)
      paying them off

      1. Of course, they actually feed on apologies and pay-offs. They’re like blackmailers: nothing will ever be enough. That’s how they get and maintain power.

      2. use SJWs battleplan used against them? Nice.

  10. Ahhh, the People’s Republic. My tax dollars at work.

    Good on Mr. Mahmood – I’m sorry for his troubles, and looks forward to supporting any defense fund that may be required in the future. Don’t let the bastards get you down, Omar….

    1. When I was there long ago, there were hints of that sort of thing. I had some conflicts with housemates over their PC attitude towards food (“eating lower on the food chain” was the thing back then) and a few other issues*, but now the whole PC thing seems to have just taken over the entire campus.

      *I had a copy of Leonard Maltin’s Movies on TV book. I discovered a housemate had objected to the description of a ’30s movie described as “a women’s picture,” a standard term for a class of movies back then. They had circled the offending phrase and wrote “SEXIST!” in the margin. In ink. In a book that wasn’t theirs. That helped teach me about “political correctness.”

      1. Had a room mate of mine disfigured a book of mine in that fahsion, sexism would be the very LEAST of their worries. As I would take some pains to explain, at length.

        1. Your comment is worthy of recognition, and has been duly recognized as outstanding. Congratulations.

      2. Holy fuck. That is a true asshole.

      3. Jeezus. I wonder what would happen if you took a peek inside a few of the library books. (Do SJWs read books?)

        1. My favorite, from a few years ago, was that someone took a kid’s book on airplanes out of the Berkeley library, and it had a sticker on it that said something like: “A parent would like us to warn others that there are pictures of warplanes in this book.”

        2. I believe they actually just get liquidated copies of Mother Jones pumped directly into the liquid-idiot that their heart pumps.

      4. “Goose-stepping morons like yourself should try reading books instead of burning them!”

    2. Reason should hire him as a writer.

  11. I don’t know if it’s different at Michigan, but when I wrote commentary for The Daily Campus at UConn, I was told we were protected by the First Amendment since UConn was a state school. It is possible Michigan has a different setup that makes things different, but this at the very least deserves further investigation. I was technically classified as an employee of the State of Connecticut, and every time I got paid for an article, my paycheck was signed by the State Comptroller.

    By virtue of being protected by the First Amendment, we were permitted to write about controversial topics, so long as we could back them up with facts. Other than pitches rejected on procedural grounds (for example, articles too similar to something we already ran or something that belonged in another section) I only recall two articles being rejected my whole time there. One was about how there should be a MINIMUM level of THC in your system to drive. The other was about how if the kids at Sandy Hook were black, nobody would have cared about them. The former is just so absurd there is no way to back it up, and while the latter raises the somewhat legitimate argument that the media values white lives more than black lives, there are better ways to go about making that point. In both cases, they were rejected because they could not be backed up by evidence. But as long as the argument could be supported, it was not rejected no matter how controversial it was.

    1. The Daily Campus is a non-ideological paper and UConn isn’t a particularly politicized campus. So those factors I’m sure helped. And as always, the people in charge make a huge difference. If The Daily Campus’ editors actually believe in free speech, that would create a massively different environment from a paper whose editors are ideologues.

    2. According to the Daily’s website, they are funded independently of the University. http://www.michigandaily.com/about

    3. Naturally, the person who makes the most sense has the name “Koch” and is therefore invalid

    4. Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, and all the other dindus.

  12. The video is absolutely hilarious. Not only are they stupid enough to put on their masks in front of the camera, but they’re clearly scared shitless the whole time. And their vandalism is absolutely pathetic. They did an even worse job SugarFree did.

    1. “Be on the lookout for a pregnant man, with manboobs, wearing a camo jacket that clashes with his really ugly pants.”

    2. My favorite was when the fat girl (I know, I should probably be more specific) sort of speed waddles down the hall, her eyes glowing with dreams of mediocre vandalisms to come.

      It’s like watching a lobotomized chicken flop around in search of feed.

    3. “”their vandalism is absolutely pathetic.””

      I read this in the post…

      “the perpetrators pelted the door with eggs”

      then went to the link.

      The picture shows a few eggs on the ground. Unbroken. Along with some uncooked hot-dogs.

      I’m guessing there was some failed-attempt at phallo-centric imagery, maybe. But god, you’re right = if you’re going to vandalize, at least set some shit on fire. They seemed like they didn’t want to even use tape that was ‘too sticky’

      1. Oh yeah, look at that. I wish I could get people who hate me to deliver free groceries.

      2. Amateurs. Seriously, where do kids these days learn how to egg? We once made a Thanksgiving dinner on top of someone’s car, and on a separate occasion egged an IHOP that was supposed to be open 24 hours a day Friday — Sunday but was closed at 1:30 am on a Friday while a cop was sitting in the gas station across the street, then came back and hit it again. I haven’t eaten at an IHOP in over 12 years. And dammit I want to egg some bastards now.

      3. Yep, in my day, we knew how to fuck with people.
        ie one day we penny’d a guy’s dorm door from the outside so he couldn’t get out, then poured bottles of perfume and buckets of water, and everything else we could think of, under the door.
        Note that this was in winter in Buffalo.

        1. I never did it, but one popular trick was to stick an opened ketchup packet under the door and stomp on it. Ketchup will fly for yards into a room.

          1. we put ketchup packets under toilet seats so when you sat down you got squirted.

            1. Brilliant!

            2. And some poor guy looks down in surprise and thinks he’s having his period.

          2. My Dad told me a story of how his he and his roommates got into a war with these French guys next door in a duplex that went to the same school.

            It started out pretty mild, pouring water over car doors in the dead of winter so the doors would freeze and you couldn’t open them, letting the air out of tires, dead rabbits hidden in the apartment, and just kept escalating.

            It ended with my dad and his buddies drilling a hole through the wall into the other apartment, filling a shop vac full of flour, and setting on blow while they were all sitting down for dinner. They came running out of the apartment cursing and yelling in French completely covered head to toe in flour. They looked inside at the carnage and there was not a square inch of the apartment that wasn’t covered in flour.

            1. Very funny.

          3. The correct next move is to remove the packet, then use chalk to draw a body outline and hang up some yellow crime scene tape.

        2. My friends replaced some of the toothpaste in their roommate’s tube with mayonnaise. He apparently didn’t realize it for several days.

      4. The picture shows a few eggs on the ground. Unbroken.

        There’s material for Mahmood’s next satire.

      5. Hot dogs are made of pork.

        I’d assume this was an attack on his Muslim faith.

        1. I only buy all beef hot dogs, and they are right next to the kosher ones

      6. The hot dogs may or may not have been phallic symbols, but the hooded garments do harken to their predecessors in the Klan.

    4. I like how they donned what look to be white hoodies.

  13. I have a warning for all student writers. Sarcasm is a tricky business.

    1. “If any of my #Berkley students were teargassed, bombed, or shot w/ rubber bullets last night, you can have an extension on your essay.”

      That would be a brilliant way to get your annoying liberal students to inflict pain on themselves.

      “If any of my students were arrested or fined for setting themselves on fire in protest..instant A!”

  14. Do you want Fascism? Because THAT’S How you get Fascism!

  15. If a liberal writer got fired for writing a column making fun of conservatives, and then had his or her apartment vandalized by conservatives, that would be national news.

    I suspect reason will be one of the few places that covers it.

  16. The four criminals wore hoods and baggy clothing to disguise themselves; less brilliantly, they changed in full view of the apartment complex’s security camera.

    HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! What a bunch of maroons. Sad and pathetic. And good on him for not apologizing.

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  18. any editor who was offended by his column should have offered his or her own counterpoint to Mahmood

    But it’s so much easier to just silence the oposition.

  19. This thing is just a festival of lawsuits waiting to be filed.

    Let’s hope he’s a vicious, vindictive bastard and sues them all.

    1. Unfortunately, while SJWs are cowards and assholes, their opponents usually have principles and dignity, which leads them to treat the SJWs with far more respect and forgiveness when they deserve.

  20. a print-out picture of Satan

    Looks more like Darth Maul to me.

    1. Jar Jar would have been scarier.

      1. Easy there Satan

  21. The doorway of his apartment was vandalized in the middle of the night; the perpetrators pelted the door with eggs and scribbled notes like “shut the fuck up” and “everyone hates you you violent prick.” They left copies of the offending column and a print-out picture of Satan.

    It’s all fun and games, until somebody gets the hot lead enema.

  22. “The doorway of his apartment was vandalized in the middle of the night; the perpetrators pelted the door with eggs and scribbled notes like “shut the fuck up” and “everyone hates you you violent prick.””

    I smell feminism.

    1. You smell Raw, Nasty, Unwashed Fish?

      I’m sorry.

  23. The doorway of his apartment was vandalized in the middle of the night; the perpetrators pelted the door with eggs and scribbled notes like “shut the fuck up” and “everyone hates you you violent prick.” They left copies of the offending column and a print-out picture of Satan.

    Ahh, the oh-so tolerant political left…

    1. so they showed their intolerance of another person’s viewpoint by committing violence against his apartment door.

      So the left is intolerant and violent – nothing new here.

      COWARDS

      it is amazing that anyone on a college campus cannot understand the term Hypocrisy, but allegedly understand things such as Racism/sexism/homophobia/white priviledge/ eurocentrism/ lookism and a myriad of other neo popular causes.

  24. I understand that some people have identified the women in the video footage.

    …and nothing else happened.

  25. The apology he should have made: “I’m sorry that you are offensive”.

    1. It should’ve been “To the offended, I’m sorry your mother did so much meth when she was pregnant with you, and I applaud the courage with which you go on despite your severe mental disabilities. Truly inspiring, as if I were you, I would have ended it long ago.”

    2. “I’m sorry you have an underdeveloped ability to deal with opposing viewpoints and minor adversity.”

  26. Dear Anonymous Staffer: I’m sorry you’re such a delicate little snowflake that a satirical article makes you feel threatened. I’m sorry your parents raised such a helpless, worthless, and idiotic little infantile douchebag. I’m sorry that instead of standing up and saying that you don’t like the article to the author’s face, you have to go tattling to the editor like a fucking four year-old.

    -jcr

    1. Yes, as we often hear from the progs, “the system failed these kids.”

  27. Feminists calling men “pricks” or “dicks” is merely a valid expression of emotion and rage at the patriarchy.

    On the other hand, men calling feminists “c*nts” is atrocious, misogynistic hate speech.

    1. Hey dude, you misspelled “cunt.”

    2. As Tyrion Lannister might say, “Why are all the progressives such vicious cunts?”

  28. Typical of the liberal left. They can’t compete in the arena of ideas. They can always be counted on to resort to the baser tactics of slander, vandalism, and even violence when others don’t agree with them and/or the facts aren’t on their side. Complete hypocrisy.

    1. Well said.
      I agree wholeheartedly with your take.
      Furthermore, the level of hypocrisy shown by these liberal-extremists is staggering.
      I simply cannot comprehend how so many people can be unbelievably irrational.
      I became libertarian because to me, it represents the most rational ideas. No, it’s not perfect, nothing is…but it’s a whole hell of a lot better than the mindless, mainstream, two-party garbage being offered. Same with Austrian economics and free market ideals–with regard to monetary policy, nothing else comes close.
      Whatever. Why did I even write this comment? Nobody ever reads this shit. We’re all doomed anyhow.
      (Oh, and for the record—I’m working on my optimism).

  29. As Susan Kruth of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education warned, The Daily’s actions could end up stifling student-journalism by making writers afraid to express contrarian views:

    That’s a feature, not a bug to the SJWs

  30. I’m finding it increasingly difficult to tell the difference between reality and South Park.

  31. I looked at the paycheck which had said $7434 , I didn’t believe that my mom in-law realy bringing in money in their spare time at their computer. . there brothers friend has been doing this for only 16 months and just paid for the morgage on there place and bought a top of the range Aston Martin DB5 .
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  32. I think dem bitches jus be pissed cuz no one would rape them.

  33. My new mantra! I want this bumper sticker:

    You have the right to be offended….
    I have the right to ignore your sorry offended ass.

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  35. It reminds me of The Cultural Revolution replete with public denunciations.

  36. my neighbor’s aunt makes $67 /hr on the computer . She has been laid off for five months but last month her income was $12400 just working on the computer for a few hours. go now……..

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    1. Now Sheryl,
      I’m no math monster or anything, however, methinks your calculations are a bit off.
      $67 per hour and last month your neighbor’s aunt pulled in $12,400 working on the computer for just a “few hours”???
      That’s roughly 185 hours of work.
      No thanks.
      Cool last name you’ve got there though!
      Grimwoodovn?!?
      Wow, that’s some MiddleEarth shit right there.
      Do you know any warlocks or orcs?
      Well, anyways good luck to you.
      I hope your scamming goes well.
      Carpe diem!

  37. It’s a sad day when a satire cannot be published without someone feeling “threatened” and the author being fired. I guess freedom of the press doesn’t apply when lefties are in power.

  38. I’m sorry but I don’t really see the “hate crime” in this.

    He said “I feel targeted,” “The messages were clearly threatening. These people don’t know me personally, so I don’t know why they would do this with such vengeance. This seems like a very personal attack.”

    If you plan on writing a controversial piece you should be prepared for a back lash. If you want to write something and not be targeted write a weather report. He wrote the piece to get a reaction out of people and he got that. It might not have been the reaction he wanted but what do you except from teenagers. “Such vengeance” they didn’t even break the eggs. Elementary school children deal with worse bullying and hazing then this.

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  40. It should not be a surprise that fascist get caught attacking opposing ideas. What is surprising is that supposed institutions of higher learning participate is suppressing thought, attacking a voice that seeks to expose oppressive thought.

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