Jaocb Ramirez, a student at Western Washington University, finished class and returned to his vehicle where he discovered that some strangers had threatened him to the tune of $25 for a “parking violation.”
Fortunately The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) came to his aid; they wrote about his situation:
Speech can’t be prohibited merely for containing profanity, even when directed at a law enforcement officer. To say otherwise is to place a dangerous amount of discretion in the hands of university administrators and law enforcement officials. And the argument that Ramirez’s remark was in any way “intimidating” or “threatening”? Please. It’s completely understandable that many people don’t like “swear words,” but the unavoidable fact is that the government doesn’t have the power to punish you for simply for using them.
Was “Fuck the Police” the most tactful thing Ramirez could have written? Perhaps not, but it’s understandable – he’s rightfully upset that some individuals claim a right to his money. And most importantly, and in clear contrast to those who demanded his money, his actions had no victim.
Thanks to Ramirez for not allowing threats to chill his dissent and to FIRE for having his back. By making this situation transparent the double-standards and violence on which this institution is based is made more apparent, which will only embolden others to stand for their rights.