Bill Ayers (AP Photo)
Most people who read my weekly column remember how I got into the business of criticizing higher education. It began with a controversy that started in the wake of 9/11 when an anti-American student sent me an email blaming the US for the attack on the World Trade Center. When I sent an email response calling her ideas "bigoted" and "unintelligent" and "immature," her mother, a college administrator, spearheaded an effort to have my email account searched in order to find evidence to charge me with "libel" and bring me before the campus judiciary.
Of course, there was no need for such a controversy to have occurred. I was simply expressing core political beliefs shared by most Americans. Nonetheless, the Marxist administrator/mother simply could not understand how anyone could criticize the idea - a truism in her view - that America was evil and deserved to be attacked. This view has long been common on American college campuses.
About a year after that controversy, a close friend of mine decided to change careers and enroll in a Master’s program. At her first social gathering among fellow graduate students, one of her new professors casually mentioned the fact that he used to be a member the Weather Underground. It was the first time I heard about the group that would become so widely known during the 2008 presidential race. The fact that the professor so casually revealed his affiliation with a domestic terrorist organization was intriguing. Was he merely unashamed or was it actually a badge of honor?
Academic indifference toward anti-American terrorism was at the forefront of the biggest story I have covered in my career of critiquing higher education. The story revolved around Julio Pino, an associate professor of history at Kent State University. In 2006, Pino was connected with a terrorist website called the "global war" blog. Professors at Kent State previously knew about the connection and did nothing. Pino's activities eventually became nationally known - but only after bloggers brought him to my attention by sending me links to his writings.
When I first saw the links, I was shocked. Under a pseudonym, Pino had posted bomb making instructions. With them, he also posted exhortations to use the bombs to murder American troops. After reading the posts, I needed specific evidence proving that Pino was indeed the person who was responsible for writing them. The Kent State student newspaper had already published Pino's writings praising Palestinian suicide bombers. I hoped and strongly suspected that he had been careless enough to tell other professors about his other blog writings.
Prof. Julio Pino
Thankfully, Pino had indeed told his boss, John Jameson, that he was writing for the terrorist website. When Jameson admitted it to a local reporter we had our man. I ran a column exposing Pino. Drudge soon picked up the story and, before long, I got an invitation to go on Fox News to confront Pino on air. Kent State administrators just hid under their desks and waited for the storm to pass. But it did not.
After the feds learned of Pino, I was asked to meet with them and share other information I had gathered. While Pino was under FBI surveillance, Jameson foolishly allowed him to take leave for a couple of weeks of travel during the middle of the semester. Pino's destination was the Middle East, of course.
Jameson was eventually fired from his department chairman position for authorizing Pino's trip to the Middle East while he was being investigated for possible connections to terrorist organizations. But he was only fired because people outside of the campus community were outraged. The Kent State community never seems to have grasped the problem. These days, there are lots of pro-terrorism professors teaching in America. It's what they do when no one else will hire them. I delve deeper into the issue of dangerous progressive values in my new book, Letters to a Young Progressive: How to Avoid Wasting Your Life Protesting Things You Don’t Understand.
Of course, Pino is still teaching and drawing a salary off of frustrated Ohio taxpayers. Equally frustrating is the fact Bill Ayers is now drawing a healthy pension off the backs of Illinois taxpayers. After being acquitted on a technicality, the unrepentant domestic terrorist has had an easy life. He transitioned smoothly from the Weather Underground to the University of Illinois -Chicago faculty all the way to the inner circle of a young politician named Barack Obama.
Last weekend, while I was starting to work on this column, Ayers visited Kent State to give a speech that outraged many Ohio citizens. When a reporter covering the speech asked Ayers whether he could be compared to the Boston Marathon bombers he feigned outrage. He claimed that he and his comrades only targeted property whereas the Boston bombers targeted people. In reality, the Weather Underground did kill people including several of their own members who died assembling a pipe bomb in New York City. The bomb was similar to the ones used in the recent Boston attacks.
Kent State's decision to invite Ayers to speak shows that these radical thugs are more than just forgiven for their past deeds. They are celebrated for their enduring commitment to violence against their fellow countrymen. It is a systemic culture of anti-Americanism that attracts the likes of Ayers and Pino and provides a taxpayer supported platform for their public commentaries.
The rhetoric of the radical American terrorists of yesterday and the radical Islamic terrorists of today is difficult to distinguish. It all revolves around a burning hatred of America and a desire to see its downfall.
The enemy is deep inside the gates.
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