Volunteer firefighter fired after praising Charleston shooter

This may be the first time I’ve seen a Facebook post in which someone actually praised the actions of a murderer.

Kurtis Cook was a volunteer firefighter in Mabank, Texas.  He no longer is based on this insane Facebook post, which was in response to a South Carolina newspaper’s story on the shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, which resulted in the deaths of nine African-Americans:

kurtis cook

The comment quickly caught the attention of the Mabank Fire Department, which quickly announced that it was investigating Cook’s remarks:

Later the same day, Mabank announced that it had terminated Cook:

Cook was later interviewed and said that he wasn’t praising Roof, but praising someone for donating money to the victims.  However, on the Mabank Fire Department Facebook page, multiple comments point to other racist comments that Cook allegedly made, and another story notes that the original thread in which Cook made the comments has no mention of donations.  He also never denied or tried to explain making the post when he was fired.

In response to that thread, one user asked what happened to the First Amendment, questioning why Cook was fired for his comments.  This is an argument that drives me nuts, and it’s something that I think is worth explaining for a second.  The first amendment prohibits official government punishment for your speech.  That is, and absolutely should be, the case.  However, freedom of speech does not guarentee freedom from consequences.  That is something that countless elected officials and public employees have discovered.

Tweets and Consequences

Like the blog?  Get the book!  Tweets and Consequences: 60 Social Media Disasters in Politics and How You Can Avoid A Career-Ending Mistake is now available on Amazon for purchase or download.

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