Cops & Corps: Failure to Communicate

I started reading MacHall in college. Back when we weren’t all paranoid little anti-Franklins.

After the comic’s creators left college Matt and Ian have kept up to no good. Being weird and creating comics, that is.

So imagine my surprise when I heard the latest news regarding Matt. He’d been fired! For talking about guns at work:

His conversation with a co-worker about a gun he intended to buy for target shooting was overheard by someone in a nearby cubicle. As it was unfortunately the day of the Virginia Tech shootings, the eavesdropper panicked and reported him to management. That was bad enough. But when he used the comic to document the meeting where the reason for his firing was explained, he was visited by representatives of local law enforcement investigating him on suspicion of making a “terroristic threat” using the Internet. No charges have been filed. Yet. FLEEN interviewed Matt about the incident.”

Someone panicked, kiss your job goodbye. Nice!

Matt Boyd is really taking a stand on this (FLEEN, emphasis mine):

Fleen: What do you need done right now? Is this a case of having people aware of this situation is helpful, or is it better to hope it just dies down on its own? ‘Cause I gotta say, I thought it had died down, then it just sort of sprang back to life.

Boyd: Well, all I really wanted to do from the beginning was tell people what happened. And everything I say from here on out is a risk, because I still have this threat hanging over my head. (I’ve about given up on a good reference at this point.) But I can’t just keep quiet.

Fleen: Is this going to change how you work on Three Panel Soul? Make it a little less autobiographical, a little more fake autobiographical?

Boyd: No, never.

This Matt fellow is tremendous. The courage it takes to say this while the threat of charges hang over his head…

Us netrootsy folks, we’ve been really good all year, haven’t we? We deserve a nice guy like Matt to support. And lo and behold… here he is. Beset upon by the good folks of St Mary’s MD for exercising his right to free speech. All because a co-worker panicked and management was governed by fear.

He was visited by law enforcement because of the web comic.  That is what really sticks out (Diesel Sweeties Blog):

To top it all off, he was later visited by police detectives for making a comic about his experience, because it was a “borderline terroristic threat.” (Is “terroristic” even a word? Did they get that from the Colbert report?)

I’m not a lawyer or a reporter or anything, but I would recommend anyone who was one of those things to contact Matt. ( machallboyd ATZORS ) If you’re a cartoonist or a webcomics fan, spread his story around. The more people who know about this, the better. He’s a good dude who deserves your support.

Please feel free to spread this post any way you like, including via Digg.

We can help. We can support Matt by buying wicked awesome t-shirts. We can call St. Mary’s office of the State’s Attorney: 301-475-7844. We can write them a letter. The key is to be polite, firm, polite, and to the point.

This isn’t justice, this is paranoia and censorship.

In our country, free speech is still a right.


4 Responses

  1. The dysfunction in our country is so pervasive, I don’t see much hope for us.

  2. People are still angered by bullshit, and are still moved to action.
    The fact that this made it up on slashdot is indicates hope.
    That’s a lot of eyeballs, and a lot of blog posts, letters, and phone calls.
    There may be a deeply seated dysfunction in our country, but we are moving ourselves deeper into our country’s machinery.
    I see a great deal of hope.

  3. […] is uncovered by the media.  This can be quite discouraging.  Such a reaction to the latest bit of insanity is only natural.  But within each new revelation of everything our country shouldn’t be, is […]

  4. […] Cops & Corps: Failure to Communicate I started reading MacHall in college. Back when we weren’t all paranoid little anti-Franklins. […]

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