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Nancy Smith

Fired University of Tampa Professor Isn't the First Insensitive Judgmentalist

August 29, 2017 - 7:00pm

The University of Tampa just fired a visiting professor who suggested on Twitter that Texas deserves the deadly devastation from Hurricane Harvey because the Lone Star State voted for President Trump in the 2016 election.

Visiting Assistant Sociology Professor Kenneth L. Storey is out after he tweeted Sunday, “I don’t believe in instant Karma but this kinda feels like it for Texas. Hopefully, this will help them realize the GOP doesn’t care about them,” according to Twitter screenshots.

Storey added that “the good people there need to do more to stop the evil their state pushes. I’m only blaming those who support the GOP there.” He also said that the Trump voters in hurricane-prone Florida deserved the same fate.

Ouch.

Bad as Storey's comments were, they weren't the first time disaster victims were further victimized by people opening their mouths and playing God. In fact, Storey has a long way to go equal Christian televangelist Pat Robertson's hateful rhetoric. Allow me to explain.

Soon after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast, killing more than 1,800 and wreaking unprecedented devastation on New Orleans and so much of Mississippi Gulf Coast, Robertson weighed in with his own theory.

I remember it clearly because our family has a home near the water in Ocean Springs, Miss. and it didn't fare well in Katrina. More than a dozen people perished in our town.

"We have killed over 40 million unborn babies in America," Robertson said on his Sept. 12, 2005, broadcast of "700 Club."

"I was reading yesterday a book that was very interesting about what God has to say in the Old Testament about those who shed innocent blood. And he [the author] used the term that those who do this, 'the land will vomit you out.' ... But have we found we are unable somehow to defend ourselves against some of the attacks that are coming against us, either by terrorists or now by natural disaster? Could they be connected in some way?"

On the whole, Mississippians and others on the Gulf Coast are God-fearing people. I can assure you, Robertson's words found a way to make their hurt worse.

And the angry retorts his comment drew didn't shut him up, either. In 2010 after more than 100,000 people died after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, Robertson announced on the air it was a "pact with the devil" that brought on the 'quake.

Robertson blamed the tragedy on something that "happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it."

The Haitians, he said, "were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon III and whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, 'We will serve you if you will get us free from the French.' True story. And so, the devil said, 'OK, it's a deal.' "

Robertson got this true story from God and apparently the devil, too. 

Native Haitians, by the way, defeated French colonists in 1804 and declared independence.

"You know, the Haitians revolted and got themselves free. But ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after another." 

If only Haiti had stayed under the French boot ... what? No earthquake?

As for Storey, he quickly deleted the tweets after making headlines. But the damage was done.

“I deeply regret a statement I posted yesterday,” he later apologized, The Tampa Bay Times reported. “I never meant to wish ill will upon any group. I hope all affected by Harvey recover quickly.” (Robertson didn't apologize that I recall.)

“We condemn the comments and the sentiment behind them, and understand the pain this irresponsible act has caused,” university spokesman Eric Cardenas said in a statement Tuesday morning. “As Floridians, we are well aware of the destruction and suffering associated with tropical weather.”

Storey was sacked, and good riddance. I just want everybody also to remember Pat Robertson and keep this kind of crazy insensitivity in balance. Such words -- such sentiment in the name of righteousness -- are inhuman no matter what political note they strike.

Reach Nancy Smith at nsmith@sunshinestatenews.com or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith

Comments

Is it not interesting that this professor was fired for doing exactly what some evangelical Christians (Christian friends, note "some" qualifier) have been doing incessantly or centuries; nay, for millenia and continue to do, incessantly mewling about their "religious freedom" being violated? Just this past week we've heard former Houston Mayor Annise Parker objecting to Ann Coulter's and Kevin Swanson's suggestions that her election (Ms. Parker is a lesbian) caused Hurricane Harvey, the demented Coulter taking to Twitter and suggesting that the hurricane, which has killed at least 45 people, was “God’s punishment" for Texas. As far as I know, no-one has terminated their employment. This professor needs be re-hired, with apologies from the university, and the AAUP, the ACLU and the Southern Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges need to look into possible sanctions - including loss of accreditation. I do hope I'm not putting myself at too much risk by saying I really don't know what God has in mind for Texas, but I doubt it will be pretty (if he or she even works that way.) Is it not worth noting that these natural disasters seem to hit those parts of our fair land wherein vicious homophobia, transphobia, racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, fundamentalism and other decerebrate throwback ideologies are the order of the day? (By the way, for those who can't figure it out: the foregoing is an example of what is called "irony.")

Yes, and the Lord loves liberals so much, He gave California the San Andreas Fault. Don't you just love how tolerant, loving, and open to divergent views liberals are? I recognized this hypocrisy way back in college, and decided not to participate in it. Bigotry comes in many diverse forms. This kind is very popular these days. The far left is tolerant of everybody...except everybody to their right. Almost everybody.

How about more on Kenneth L. Storey "SSN",...So we parents can be conscious of (and rebuff) the possibility that "Storey" (and/or his ilk) just might "visit" to "teach" at our kids colleges next...

First, this article seemed more about Robertson than Storey. That is unfortunate, because I thought that you would have focused more on what Storey did. Did he tweet this out on his own time? On his personal Twitter account? Did he send it to the world or just students? Did he use his position to add legitimacy? If he did not use his position and did not just focus on students and used his private account ..... Explain how the dismissal could occur and how the situation could be applicable to other persons. I believe that it was a stupid comment on his part and I'm pleased to know that he was disciplined for it, BUT on what basis. I suspect it was a broad clause that allowed the school to act.

Nancy, Please explain to your readers your exact view on the ANTIFA attack on college campuses. Are you in favor of the discriminatory view the members have on frees speech? Do you personally dislike conservatives and deplorable s as "Sillary" Clinton called them? Interested in a public reply to your readers can also read. Jack Dali

Does everyone get the irony that this statement was made by a professor of SOCIOLOGY (which Webster's defines as, "the systematic study of the development, structure, interaction, and collective behavior of organized groups of human beings). This guy makes his living studying community interactions and responses yet he feels justified in blanketly blaming GOP-supporters for some unspecified evil in Texas as evidenced by the landfall of a natural disaster. Kudos to the University of Tampa for their swift action and may the US World & News Report remember this quack's "tweet" when it comes time to rank the next institution at which he lands. If there is any Karma, that will be a junior high somewhere IN TEXAS.

When your core beliefs are rooted in communism this is the way you think!

How CURIOUS.... HOW DO YOU FIRE A "VISITING" PROFESSOR? Caught up to you, Nancy! Is ALL your stuff MISLEADING?

I don't get this, Tampaguy.

Geesh, what Barbara said goes for me too. Only Mr. Trump said the same thing two weeks ago and the media went nuts. ALL sides WERE wrong, and they do need to be called out!

Really??? You never meant to wish ill upon the residents of TX??? You're a professor a 1/2 notch above a freshman, you are what society calls an intelligent person (for you a misnomer) WTF were you thinking, I guess when you got axed you found Jesus or is that a political correctness comment that you consider taboo. Kenny, do your homework and forget about sociology when you make stupid comments like this because sociology is what I consider intellectual( again a misnomer on your part) masturbation when it comes to the societal problems we currently have today. Today, we are in a different world and like the good liberal you are, you are freeze dried in the past, Its 2017 get with it! The left is imploding

Well this Storey has a happy ending:)))))))

Agreed. But this is one time only, how many other liberal teachers are corrupting students with personal views in lieu of an academic view? Governor Scott and any administrative body that governs the conduct of State Funded University's should review all current staff and "professors" such as the Twat. I made it a mission to write to the governor and forward all the twitter post along to other followers and they did the same, Let that be a lesson to any future ANTIFA academia staff that spreads this vile hate to students and on campus or public forums where they reflect any employment to federal or state agency's or beneficiaries of Government funds.

I rarely agree with you but when you are right you are right. There are divisive messengers on all sides and they are wrong and need to be called out in their turn

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