What was he thinking? Part II

February 23, 2011
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I had a long blog typed out debating free speech and comments you make on your personal time and whether those comments should impact your job. The topic of the blog is Jeff Cox, a now former deputy attorney general who advocated using “live ammunition” on his Twitter account to clear out protesters in the Wisconsin capitol building.

His tweet was in response to tweets from Mother Jones staffers Feb. 19 that riot police might remove demonstrators from the Wisconsin capitol building.  Cox tweeted “Use live ammunition.” A staffer questioned Cox, found out he was a deputy attorney general here, and then wrote a story about his Twitter comment and other statements made on his blog, Pro Cynic.

Apparently, Cox doesn’t hold back on how he feels about what’s going on in the world, comparing “enviro-Nazis” to Osama bin Laden and calling President Barack Obama an “incompetent and treasonous” enemy to the nation.

Cox told the Mother Jones writer that he could defend all his comments on Twitter and his blog, but later didn’t respond to follow-up questions posed by the reporter. He made all the comments on personal accounts.

The AG’s office said earlier today it was going to conduct a review of the matter. Just as I was about to post my blog, I found out Cox was fired. In a statement released announcing the firing, the office says “Civility and courtesy toward all members of the public are very important to the Indiana Attorney General’s Office. We respect individuals’ First Amendment right to express their personal views on private online forums, but as public servants we are held by the public to a higher standard, and we should strive for civility.”

Out of curiosity, I tried to go to his blog, but it’s been removed. His Twitter account is still active, @JCCentCom, so I perused his previous postings. Now, I don’t use Twitter and honestly have used it to only look at the Indiana Supreme Court’s Twitter account and IU basketball coach Tom Crean’s account. I found his original tweet that led to the article. He also responded to someone saying “against thugs physically threatening legally-elected state legislators & governor? You're damn right I advocate deadly force” and “Murder is by definition "unlawful," brainiac. Using force to clear out threatening individuals would be "lawful."”

First, it was the Illinois attorney indicted for smuggling drugs into a Terre Haute prison, and now a deputy attorney general making inflammatory comments on public forums. Did Cox think it didn’t matter because he was using personal accounts? Doesn’t he realize that as a government official, he’s held to a higher standard than the average Joe? Did Cox think it didn’t matter because he was using personal accounts? Why aren’t people thinking before they act?

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  • Party is irrelevant
    All political associations are swept aside when death is the response to political debate. He got what he deserved.
  • Public service
    Mr. Cox certainly demonstrates the flip side of public service - the state does NOT serve Mr. Cox (or pay him now for that matter). Maybe he should have been working rather than spending his time as a Twit on social media?

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  4. Law school is social control the goal to produce a social product. As such it began after the Revolution and has nearly ruined us to this day: "“Scarcely any political question arises in the United States which is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question. Hence all parties are obliged to borrow, in their daily controversies, the ideas, and even the language, peculiar to judicial proceedings. As most public men [i.e., politicians] are, or have been, legal practitioners, they introduce the customs and technicalities of their profession into the management of public affairs. The jury extends this habitude to all classes. The language of the law thus becomes, in some measure, a vulgar tongue; the spirit of the law, which is produced in the schools and courts of justice, gradually penetrates beyond their walls into the bosom of society, where it descends to the lowest classes, so that at last the whole people contract the habits and the tastes of the judicial magistrate.” ? Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

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