|waddya mean i've sprung a leak?|
schadenfreude. i was going to save this one for friday favourites, but i think that mr. sunith baheerathan deserves his little moment in the sun- or under the high-wattage hydroponic lights- all alone.
when i first read that some poor kid in suburban toronto had been fired for tweeting about pot, i thought i was going to be appalled at his employers. i looked at the article chiefly so that i could find out which moralistic twats he worked for so that i could do a quick name & shame and move on. after all, does merely mentioning the fact that you smoke pot, or want it legalised, etc. should never affect your employment. those are your own personal opinions and you have a right to express them.
but then i read the story and was bewildered to learn that despite my forty years on the planet, i am still capable of overestimating people.
because sunith baheerathan [can we just agree to call him "sunny b" from now on?] didn't just "tweet about pot". he broadcast a request through twitter that drug dealers in the area should stop by his place of employment- which he clearly identified- and bring him weed while he was on the job. that isn't a guy who got fired for tweeting about pot. that's a guy who got fired because his employers realised it was only a matter of time until someone with such considerable reserves of stupidity accidentally blew the place up. i view it as self-preservation.
now, it's possible that sunny b's ganga-scented brain fart would have gone unnoticed, but for the utterly hilarious comeback of the york regional police: "awesome! can we come too?" seriously, i hope whoever runs their twitter feed gets an extra few bucks on his/ her bonus this year for that one.
it's that sort of snappy retort that twitter-critters [like me] live to forward. and, as tends to happen, a lot of people went crazy with the retweet button, eventually alerting sunny b's employers to the fact that their guy was making an ass of himself and them on an international scale.
having been fired, sunny b says he's "lost his faith in humanity" because he can't believe that the cops would bother coming after someone for pot when there's rapists and murderers on the loose.
look, i'm sure the york regional police aren't perfect, but just because they responded to something that was basically lobbed into their lap doesn't mean they're not chasing the rapists and murderers. i love to cook, but if you put french fries in front of me, i'll eat them. doesn't mean i'm giving up cooking.
and what's more, the police didn't come running for him. they gave him the virtual equivalent of a smack upside the head, but as far as i can tell, they did nothing else. probably because they were more concerned with the rapists and murderers.
the reason this story sticks in my proverbial craw [i have no idea if i have a literal craw, since i've never known exactly what the word referred to and actually prefer to allow it to maintain its mystery] is because of sunny b's insistence that this is a free speech issue. i've written here before about the agonies of being a modern-day proponent of free speech, so there's no reason to get into it again.
but i will anyway.
having the right to free speech doesn't give you the right to say anything at all and it certainly doesn't give you the right to say anything without consequences. that's the thing about speech. because it's powerful, it is liable to cause reactions and you should think about what those reactions are likely to be before you say something. because thinking about the reactions is partly what will determine whether it's worth saying something in the first place and to whom. your right to get someone to bring you a spliff at work is going to conflict with your employer's desire to convince customers that their cars are not being cared for by a bunch of inebriated bozos.
so yes, sunny b, it sucks to lose a job for unjust cause. but that doesn't apply in this case, because what happened to you was a completely foreseeable, understandable consequence of your own idiotic actions.
you can read the official media version of the story here, among other places.