It has emerged today that a Greenville, Kentucky-based fan of Exodus was taken into custody by state police after posting lyrics from the band’s 2010 track Class Dismissed (A Hate Primer) on his Facebook wall.
The lyrics of the track, written about the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings, were posted by 31-year-old James Evans, who was then carted off to jail for EIGHT DAYS after “multiple agencies were contacted” by concerned citizens who saw what he had posted.
His status read: “Student bodies lying dead in the halls / A blood splattered treatise of hate / Class dismissed is my hypothesis / Gun fire ends the debate.”
Evans’ arrest warrant read that “(he) threatened to kill students and or staff at school.”
Speaking to 14News, Evans said “It’s nonsense. I feel like my civil rights have been violated. You know first amendment freedom of speech out the window. Even all the guys I was in the cell with they thought it was nonsense themselves. I had several officials tell me it was nonsense that there was no reason why I should have even been here.”
Exodus guitarist Gary Holt also released a statement, which reads as follows:-
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. James Evans was simply posting lyrics to a band he likes on Facebook, and he was locked up for it. 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. 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.
As some of us in Exodus are parents, of course these things hit close to home, it’s every parent’s worst fear. These moments are the stuff of nightmares, and life, as well as music, isn’t always pretty. But when we start to overreact to things like lyrics by any band, including Exodus, and start arresting people, we are caving in to paranoia and are well on our way to becoming an Orwellian society.
What do you say about this? Surely, this is a very harsh punishment for simply posting a lyric?