Dear Goddard College (Vermont) Interim President Bob Kenny,
Good day to you. It’s Chief Oliver here. You probably don’t know me, largely because you are a learned fella and the president of a college. Those just are not the circles I run in, so no worries. I am a small town police chief and largely insignificant in the world of higher education. I know of you, though. That is because you are the president of Goddard college- you are the big kahuna- the buck stops with you . You are also the person permitting a convicted murderer of a police officer to deliver a commencement speech at your college. So, while you may be learned; it appears you have not taken any courses in common sense and compassion. Sorry. I know that is blunt. I just can’t think of any nicer big words to use, because of my humble inner-city roots.
I make it a practice to not write killers names when I post on social media. I also do not use them on my radio show or in social interactions. I just don’t believe a killer should be famous for killing. I will, for a brief moment, divert from the practice, so there is no confusion about what I am discussing.
Mumia Abu Jamal is a killer. No number of anti-death penalty folks, Hollywood stars or academic types can change that. Officer Daniel Faulkner was a 25 year old police officer. He also served his country in the military. He traffic stopped a vehicle driven by Jamal’s brother. The driver punched Officer Faulkner in the face and there was an altercation. Against all odds in a HUGE city, Jamal happened to be sitting right across the street in a taxi-cab he operated. He walked up behind Officer Faulkner and shot him in the back. The officer was able to get a shot off, wounding the killer. As the officer was on his back, on the street, this killer stood over him, with the gun about a foot from Faulkner’s face…and executed him.
When additional police arrived, the wounded killer was still on scene, with the gun close to him. The gun was purchased and registered to the killer. The bullets removed from the officer belonged to the killer’s gun. The bullet removed from the killer belonged to the officer. The killer was an active Black Panther member, hated authority and detested the police. He was not a “journalist,” he was a cab driver and a hateful person. He was found guilty by a jury. Because of very aggressive anti-death penalty folks and because of the killer’s constant anti-government banter, it has become vogue to support a killer of a police officer. That, learned man, is an embarrassment and highly shameful. In spite of all of their hullabaloo and misleading people, he is NOT innocent.
When asked about your college allowing the killer to address graduating students, you offered: “Choosing Mumia as their commencement speaker, to me, shows how this newest group of Goddard graduates expresses their freedom to engage and think radically and critically in a world that often sets up barriers to do just that.”
I have to offer one idea for you. “Critical thinking” is a cute phrase and maybe even a good idea. In this case, critical thinking should have led you to the decision that your commencement speaker is a cold-blooded killer. He lost the right to speak to the public when he pulled the trigger five times and killed a public servant. Giving a killer a voice and platform is HIGHLY disrespectful to the family of Officer Faulkner and the families of murdered police all over the world. It is also offensive to common sense.
Lastly, I am sort of an educated guy. One of the things that has bothered me about learning more in a formal setting, like college, is it appears institutions drive students towards “critical thinking” and away from common sense. You have solidified that point, at least with your particular college.
Thanks for your time. Next year, if you folks think critically and invite Charles Manson to be a speaker, You will hear from me again.
Carry on…..Chief Oliver.