Before watching the documentary, “Shouting Fire: Stories from the Edge of Free Speech”, I had not heard of Ward Churchill. Honestly, I did not understand why his statement was so offensive but only because I did not know what the term “little Eichmann” meant but now that I do, I find his view on the 9/11 situation to be one that is insensitive. I do not understand why he would even think that the death of all those innocent people was a fitting punishment and to question if there was something worse that could’ve happened to them was just wrong. Just because someone worked in the World Trade Center did not mean he/she was an “Eichmann”. Although I completely disagree with Churchill’s statement, I completely agree with what was said in class which was that the investigation being launched and finding Churchill guilty of academic misconduct was just an excuse to fire him for his comments on 9/11. Churchill definitely deserved some sort of punishment for academic dishonesty but to fire him was just too much. There are people like Churchill all over the place and sure firing them solves the problem for now but in doing so, the University actually attracted even more of the media’s attention and possibly popularized Churchill among some groups. Again, I don’t really understand what he said but what I have understood is that Churchill felt that a catastrophe such as what happened on 9/11 was inevitable but what really bothers me is that he felt that the victims of 9/11 did something wrong which was why they were attacked. He stated something along the lines of “why would someone be attacked if they did not do anything wrong”. He then went on to explain that the people working in the World Trade Center were “evil people” and “ignorant” who were self absorbed and only cared about profiting. Although there was bound to be someone that was like this, to say that everyone, including the U.S. government is like this and deserved whatever happened was wrong. However, Churchill was free to say whatever he wanted to and ultimately it is the people’s own decision to hear him and actually care about what he has to say or just ignore him.
Shouting Fire: Churchill’s Thoughts on 9/11