The Post-Gilchrist Reaction: "I Hope You Are A Victim of the Next 911 [Call]"

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After my appearance on the O'Reilly Factor on Friday night, I was flooded with facebook messages like this:

I hope you are a victim of the next 911 you piece of shit
Keith Glassman - Facebook Message (16 October 2009)

These were the reactions who found me through facebook by googling my name after the O'Reilly Factor.  The only way I know how to interpet Keith Glassman's facebook message, is that he wishes me to have the same fate as 9-year-old Brisenia Flores and her father.  Thankfully, I don't allow non-friends to have access to my profile.  Admittedly, not all of the reactions were as hostile.  Some conservatives even said they were impressed and asked to be friends.  One of my favorite negative reactions was that of someone who spoke like she was my mother:
For a Harvard student, you really did not communicate well in your interview tonight. Maybe you were just nervous. One thing is certain, you could use a lesson on manners. When you extend an invitation to a speaker, you honor the invitation. Next time, don't invite him. Interestingly, when conservatives "un-invite" a guest it makes headline news. Funny that you ended up on FOX. Hmmm.

At least she can disagree without being disagreeable.  Still, it wasn't just average folks that had hostile reactions.  The nativist blog 24ahead, which I will not link to, called me a "fascist."  I put up my post explaining my position over at Blue Mass. Group, yesterday hoping for some local support.   Instead, BMG editor Bob Neer compared me to a chimpanzee.

This, of course, was all after Jim Gilchrist called me an "anarchist radical", and accused me of "threatening disruption and violence", of "terrorizing the Harvard Undergraduate Legal Committee (HULC)" and of making "serious threats."  I also just saw that Jim Gilchrist went on Neil Cavuto's show and called me a "scoundrel", accused me of threatening to "create a riotous atmosphere" and said:

The kid is -- obviously he's stupid -- and if anyone should be banned and barred from Harvard University, it should be a student that stupid and irresponsible, not someone like myself.
Jim Gilchrist - Your World with Neil Cavuto (16 October 2009) 
I'm sorry Mr. Gilchrist, I think understanding what it means to tell the truth is a prerequisite for admittance into Harvard.  I will embed Gilchrist's entire interview with Neil Cavuto, below:

Recently, Fox news is catching a lot of flack from the Obama administration for not being a real news organization.  All one needs to do is compare Niel Cavuto's interview with Jim Gilchrist and Juan Williams interview with me to know that's the truth.  I got just two minutes to make my case while Jim Gilchrist got five minutes to make his case.  In addition letting Gilchrist spread falsehoods on his show, Cavuto also lobbed softball questions at Gilchrist like:

Did they know that you were a Purple Heart recipient, you're a war hero?  Do they know the injuries and near-death experience you had defending liberties of this country?  I don't want to sound cooky and all but you're not some nut, you're not some crazy, you're  -- I know you're a modest guy, but people who don't know you -- you're a genuine hero.
Neil Cavuto - Your World with Neil Cavuto (16 October 2009)
Needless to say, I've taken quite a beating over the past few days.  I have to hand it to Jim Gilchrist.  Gilchrist might be an extremist who is complicit in violence, but he is also a skilled propagandist.  By propagating the complete falsehood that students like myself threatened him with violence, Gilchrist is obfuscating his complicity in violence through his relationship with Shawna Forde, another Minuteman leader. 

I also have made missteps.  I went on the O'Reilly Factor preparing to get hit with the free speech argument so I lead by rebutting that.  In doing so, I've made this a conversation about free speech, instead of what this is really about, which is the extremist anti-migrant rhetoric which is directly responsible for increasing hate crimes against Latinos, and the death of people like 9-year-old Brisenia Flores.  I've learned my lesson.  Lead with you're most important talking point.  Television is not conducive to laying out rational arguments.  As Erin Rosa said on my facebook profile "We gotta be prepared to tell our side in 30 seconds at most."

Fortunately, all of the negativity and all of my missteps have been outweighed by the unbelievable support I've received not only from family and friends, but by the hundreds of pro-migrant supporters I've connected with over the years.  Migrant advocacy organizations are pouring money into capturing "persuadables" online, which is important.  However, I have long argued that the best investment to be made online is in strengthening pro-migrant online spaces, not in changing already established online spaces.  This specific incident is the first time I've truly seen both the fruits of my labor and my argument proven right. 

Anyone who follows my writing knows that I take journalistic standards very seriously, and I can honestly say that the support I've received online through facebook, twitter, email, and the comments here and on other blogs, easily beats all of the negativity I've received.  For me, that sends a powerful message.  I can't compete with Fox News in their medium, but online, pro-migrant folks rule.  It's impossible for me to thank everyone who's shown support without leaving people out so please accept this post as a token of my gratitude and a sign that the work we're doing is working. 

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I could not believe the questions given to Gilchrist this is all together in bad taste. What has happened to journalism?

Kyle de Beausset,

Please read the essay on my immigration views, from the perspective of a non-lawyer, that I wrote for Georgetown University last year. It is available from my web site.

Until then, could you please refrain from hanging the innocent?

Regarding my comments about threats of disruption and violence, those suggestions came from my Harvard student contacts who claimed such threats were being made, albeit in a subliminal manner.

I think both of us could have accomplished more in furthering the resolution to our nation's heated debate on immigration issues had my invitation to speak not been revoked due to threats of disruption.

Of course, many persons disagree with my positions. But, also, an equal amount stoically agree with them.

To prohibit someone from bringing his or her opinions forward into the public square for discussion violates the very essence of the priceless principle upon which our nation was speech.

I wish you well and I hope you are aware of the selfishness of your actions. I pray that others may not fall victim to the kind of hateful oppression which you promote under the guise of an educated and informed member of the Harvard student community.

Kyle, I must agree that you are a very intelligent and bright person. Actually, I have never met anyone hailing from Harvard who was not reasonbly brilliant.

However, you are not the first Harvard student or graduate to become so mesmerized with your own idolatry that you are blind to the so-called unalienable rights of others. And that is nothing to be proud of.

I hope that someday we can build a bridge over the breach that separates us on what I feel is a chaotic and aimless management of U.S. immigration policies.

Neither of us may be right, or have the appropriate solution to the problem, but without harmonious discourse on the topic there will never be a solution. There will only be unfortunate and divisive acrimony.

Respectfully Yours,

Jim GIlchrist, founder and president, The Minuteman Project

MdeG said:

Kyle, Good work you did there. While full and free discussion is always good, I think that there is such a thing as hate speech, and I think that Gilchrist was rightly excluded on that basis. I don't follow all the distinctions among MinutePeople factions. I do feel strongly that the group has demonstrated ties to violent extremists, that they promote a militia mentality that is inappropriate in the 21st century, and that they incite violence against immigrants. (And yes, JG, I've read some of your writing.) Having been with my own family members when they were profiled and name-called, I am sadly very clear that anti "illegal" verges very quickly into anti-[any color but white] and anti-[any language but English]. All of which is rather ironic here in Boston, where until a few years ago the plurality of undocmented immigrants were Irish.

Keep up the good work, Kyle.

Analisa said:

By propagating the complete falsehood that students like myself threatened him with violence, Gilchrist is obfuscating his complicity in violence through his relationship with Shawna Forde, another Minuteman leader.

Kyle, thank you for pointing out the hypocrisy of Gilchrist coming to a pro-migrant and playing the victim while he denies his complicity in the violence that was visited on nine-year-old Brisenia Flores and her father through his association with Shawna Forde. The hateful rhetoric and scapegoating of migrants by these Minute Men groups is unconscionable and thoroughly despicable to most Americans and to those of us in the pro-migrant community. It is no more acceptable than the racist treatment of African-Americans during the Civil Rights era or the Nazi rhetoric used to scapegoate the Jewish people during WWI. Kyle, thank you for having the courage and dedication to stand up and speak out against cowards like Gilchrist and Shawna Forde. We join you in saying, Stop the hate, Mr. Gilchrist. Basta ya!

Pete Gonzlez said:

Gilchrist had ties with a woman who allegedly killed a 9 year-old child in cold-blood.

Kyle, you on the other hand talk about Christ, justice, fairness, and dignity.

Gilchrist may be a vet but so was McVeigh. He is scoundrel hating behind patriotism and the flag to disguise is real agenda of selling hate for personal profit.

Sadly, it is a world of sound bites. You will have more opportunities to deliver your message.

I am solidly in your corner.

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This page contains a single entry by kyledeb published on October 18, 2009 3:34 PM.

Video of Kyle de Beausset on the O'Reilly Factor was the previous entry in this blog.

Harvard Crimson Covers Gilchrist's Cancelled Invitation is the next entry in this blog.

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