Editorial: Death Threats Shouldn’t be Forgotten
The Civil Air Patrol made the wrong decision when it reinstated Jonathan Holder.
Less than a week into the 2017 legislative session, Rep. Stephanie Clayton, R-Overland Park, introduced a bill that would prevent Kansans from carrying concealed firearms on college and university campuses…
CAP Lt Col Jonathan Holder used to command the 77th Composite Squadron at the Kansas National Guard Armory in Emporia, but he resigned after announcing that Clayton should be hanged for her efforts to keep concealed firearms off our campuses: “This bitch needs to swing from a tree for violating her oath.”
When Holder was widely condemned for posting such a revolting, ominous comment, he whined that his critics were all “social justice warriors who believe free speech only applies to their way of thinking.” But this is just an intellectually lazy way to excuse any remark, no matter how cruel and stupid it is. We often reiterate the importance of a robust commitment to free speech, which is why we’ve denounced President Trump for slandering journalists who criticize him, questioned the surging intolerance of controversial speech on campus, etc. But we also recognize that civil society can only flourish if we maintain certain norms of political discourse — norms that preclude hateful vitriol and death threats.
Moreover, Holder was a commander in the Civil Air Patrol — an organization that provides “training, mentoring and supervision” to cadets as young as 12 years old. While CAP suspended Holder’s membership in February and denounced his comments, he has now been reinstated — a decision that completely undermines the organization’s stated focus on “moral and ethical decision making.” How can Americans trust CAP’s ability to train young leaders when someone like Holder is allowed to return to its ranks? CAP claims to teach its cadets better communication skills, but how is this consistent with the reinstatement of someone who hurled a death threat at one of our elected representatives?
These are the words of a man who flagrantly disrespects the values of his organization — a man who has no business instructing young Americans in “ethical decision making,” “leadership” or anything else.
His reinstatement is an insult to the 56,000 men and women of the Civil Air Patrol.
Some General Public Comments:
• Tells you all you need to know about the quality of Civil Air Patrol.
– Clint C.
• $25,000 of state funds are wasted every year keeping this private club called “Kansas Wing of the Civil Air Patrol” in business.
– Max Haefele
• Holder’s comments are every bit as reprehensible as the BLM chants, Antifa rants and the bombast of the KKK. All of it is to be condemned.
– Kitty Persson
• This unhinged right wing gun enthusiast should not be training our impressionable young. There is a way to disagree with an opposing view but it seems this idiot has not learned civility.
– Donald Jones
• That is the biggest bunch of nothing that I have ever read. I know exactly what the civil air patrol is and was. …..And until the new conservative hate wave came into play ,behavior such as that was totally unacceptable and still should be. However now we are a nation of hate and unless big changes are made to bring back decency morals and high standards …..we are doomed to see more stories like this. This is a relevant story and I know you want to sweep it under the rug but I’m giving cj online a big thumbs up for good reporting good journalism and a great newspaper. If you don’t like it don’t buy it! Plain and simple
– Michael Engstrom
• Isn’t this the guy who also Tweeted, I think he followed it up with, “Women… women sense my power, and they seek the life essence. I do not avoid women, Mandrake, but I do deny them my essence.” Yeah, that’s Kernel Holder. Now, tell me why it was he didn’t get his wish and be stripped of his commission, divested of any pension or retirement rights, have the buttons cut from his uniform, his insignia dropped in the dirt and drummed out the gate? He sure did do his best to show the rankest insubordination and contempt for the military justice system.
– L.N. Collier
• CAP Kansas Commander Suspended Over Comments on Republican Lawmaker
• CAP National Commander Reinstates Kansas Officer After Hanging Post
• Civil Air Patrol Commander Accused of Threatening KS Rep
• Civil Air Patrol Officer Reinstated After Hanging Post
• Kansas Civil Air Patrol Officer Calls for Legislator’s Death
• Kansas Rep. Clayton says Person Who Posted Threats Over Campus Gun Bill
• Kansas Wing Member Commits Suicide
• Rampant Abuse in Kansas Wing