Editor, Daily Nexus,
It was an uppercut to the crotch to learn that once again, a contingency of the UCSB population felt compelled to commit the heinously anti-American act of stealing newspapers en masse, attempting to deprive the community of its First Amendment rights for some purely selfish motivation. While the party responsible for this cowardly scheme obviously doesn’t comprehend the depravity of this Nazi-esque morning caper and has wreaked enough damage in simply attempting to circumvent the open exchange of free speech on which our nation was founded, the real danger of the incident lies in the example it may set and its potential of inspiring others to consider this crime an acceptable deed in any functioning democracy – as has occurred before.
During my tenure as Nexus Editor in Chief in 1997, a similar plot was pulled off by an anonymous party that disagreed with some aspect of our A.S. elections endorsements issue. This despicable event snowballed into the absurd declaration by some A.S. officers that stealing copies of the Nexus was a valid form of expression covered by the perpetrators’ Constitutional rights. Later, when the Nexus printed an editorial critiquing an A.S.-backed movement to spend tens of thousands of student dollars on a superfluous campus fountain, several elected A.S. officers, arrogantly led by then-A.S. President Russell Bartholow, plucked stacks of Nexus issues off the racks in what they called a protest of the newspaper’s content – effectively robbing their constituency of its most prevalent voice. These midget Mussolinis feebly attempted to justify their obstruction of free speech as a simple method of making their opinion known, but when called before the Student Faculty Conduct Committee to determine if they had acted within their bounds, I was very satisfied with the results of that trial and Bartholow’s later admonition of the incident as unacceptable in a free society.
To whomever was responsible for the act of free-speech theft on the morning of Jan. 14, know that you have helped to chip away at the freedom we Americans cherish so dearly, during an era when that freedom is already endangered by our own national government and an increasingly complacent society. But also know that the harder you try to hide a story, the bigger that story inevitably becomes.