8 days prison for posting lyrics
In another weird case of over-reaction, a man in the US has been in prison for no less than 8 days after posting the lyrics to an Exodus song to his Facebook profile. Exodus are an extreme thrash metal band, known for being provocative. But when 31 year-old James Evans posted some of the lyrics to the song “Class Dismissed (A Hate Primer)”, alarm bells apparently went off.
To be fair, the lyrics are gruesome: “Student bodies lying dead in the halls, a blood splattered treatise of hate / Class dismissed is my hypothesis, gun fire ends in debate.”
Evans was arrested for making a “terroristic threat” against a school and its staff (although it might be worth pointing out that “terroristic” is not even a word in the English language).
The group themselves had this to say: “The idea that an individual in this great country of ours could be arrested for simply posting lyrics to a song is something I never believed could happen in a free society,” states guitarist Gary Holt. “James Evans was simply posting lyrics to a band he likes on Facebook, and he was locked up for it.”
“…did not want to seem insensitive”
While that is undoubtedly the case, aren’t the lyrics over the top? “The song ‘Class Dismissed (A Hate Primer)’ was written as a view through the eyes of a madman and in no way endorses that kind of fucked up behavior,” he says. ‘It was the Virginia Tech massacre perpetrated by Seung-Hui Cho that was the subject and inspiration to write the song, one in which we put the brakes on playing it live after the Sandy Hook shooting, as we did not want to seem insensitive.”
My take: given the number of school killings in the US, you can’t knock the police for keeping an eye on individuals that might be preparing something. But there’s a very big jump between that and making the posting of lyrics a criminal offence (“terroristic”, no less) and detaining someone for eight days. A little more common sense might have been in order.
UPDATE: Evans released without charges
On October 29, Evans’ charges were finally dismissed by a Kentucky court. Luckily, common sense prevailed. Evens, after all, was risking 10 years in jail!
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