At Least He’s Not Your Congressional Staffer

A now former staffer for an Arizona Republican Congressman has figured out a new way to get in trouble using Twitter. From the website Legistorm:

A constituent services aide to Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) resigned Friday afternoon hours after LegiStorm brought his tweets about violence and heavy drinking to the attention of Roll Call.

The aide, Blake Schritter, a constituent services representative and a rising Republican activist in Arizona, talked about shooting others, even after the immense national publicity over the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) – who occupies the seat in the neighboring district – and Rep. Anthony Weiner’s (D-N.Y.) indiscretions involving Twitter.

Schritter opened his Twitter account – named “drunkenbs” – in May at the behest of a conservative blogger friend. Some of his tweets since then:

“The line at the post office is moving at a glacial pace. I’m ready to open fire with a handgun to get some damn service!”  

“I can’t believe how unprofessional liberal professors can be. I’m sitting here, cleaning my gun, thinking…this is a classroom!!!” (Schritter studies criminology in graduate school.)”

“Mom: you could move home and live with dad and I. Me: I would rather choke a unicorn and drink heavily.”

According to Legistorm, Schritter initially denied that the account was his, but soon afterwards it was deleted and Rep. Gosar’s office announced that they had accepted his resignation. As well they should have — it’s never okay to threaten to choke a unicorn.

28 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. shrubHugger says:

    And not because he tweeted bad/insensitive jokes, but because he had to resign. I dunno, at some point public employees should have the same rights to free speech as the rest of the public. As long as he wasn’t tweeting on public time or from his work computer, who cares?

    I get that Twitter is this new tool where individuals who have a face in the public get to stream their unfettered thoughts into the universe and it is probably wise that people excersize some sort of filter, but if the guy wasn’t acting in an official capacity and he kept both a personal and public twitter, why shouldn’t he be able to tweet whatever dumb thought dances across his head?

    It raises some interesting questions: should public employees have to keep seperate twitter and FB accounts? What about reporters who are supposed to unbaised? I know some reporters who do have two accounts, but then I have also seen Bartles do personal tweets and work tweets from the same account. Same with legislators. Should public employees not have an account at all, or if so keep it very very private? Not be friends with any work colleagues, but then that takes away a vital networking aspect to FB/Twitter. Even that option never really works because all it takes is one acquiantance to c/p what you said to the world. And then, how far down the food chain does it have to go? Congressperson to interns? Non-partisan staff? Where does it end? How far are we going to limit one’s free speech so as not to hurt the sensibilites of strangers?

    Sure you can say that public empl. or legislators should excersize a filter but what fun is that? Personally, I like the obsurd, inane, sarcastic posts/tweets as opposed to the boring day to day mundane garbage: “I just had my teeth cleaned and ate toast” even if I don’t agree with them or even find them mildly offensive because at least they are saying something. And it gives a true insight to the person and not some fake image. It’s relatable, even if it is something you don’t agree with.  

    • Colorado Pols says:

      Apparently he was Tweeting often about getting drunk. Publicly talking about how much and how often you drink alcohol isn’t a good idea for anybody in any job.

      Or maybe Gosar just really likes unicorns.

      • Colorado Pols says:

        This probably wasn’t just about the fact that he was publicly Tweeting dumb things, but about the things he was doing that he was describing in the messages.

    • Barron X says:

      .

      not clear on the concept of Congressional “non-partisan staff.”

      .

    • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

      However, the “willing to open fire with a handgun” one is bad enough I’m surprised he didn’t get arrested, not just fired. People are pretty sensitive to that kind of thing and if I saw it coming from someone I worked with but didn’t know well enough to be certain it was stupidity rather than a threat, I might report it. Except that the insecurity state has gotten so overzealous that I might not, solely because if someone wasn’t violently inclined already, dealing with law enforcement in this day and age would sure make them that way. It would be a tough call. (Which is a shame–before Columbine and 9/11, I would have been fairly confident that such a report would lead to questioning, but not out and out abuse or harassment.)

      Drinking, though? If he’s not coming to work drunk, it should be his business whether or not he wants to tweet about it.

      I also find it a bit offensive that LegiStorm is bragging about causing the staffer to lose his job. I mean I guess if they really thought he was a threat, they have a right to be proud, but it doesn’t seem he did anyone any harm–looks like gloating just for the sake of self-indulgence, which is a pretty ugly thing to do. Whether or not he’s a drunken asshole, he’s a human being who will now face some huge challenges finding further employment (unless the NRA is hiring) thanks to them. They could at least refrain from sounding so smug.

      In conclusion: Until someone passes a law banning stupidity, I tend to rankle at the implication that people should never, ever be permitted to fuck up.

  2. BlueCat says:

    Freedom of speech has never meant freedom from the possible fallout of your speech.  You’re free to call your boss a dick in public but it probably won’t do your career with that company much good.

    Everyone ought to know that what you tweet is easily exposed. If you are a staffer and you tweet something that could be a PR problem for your boss you probably will be toast. If you are a pol and tweet something obscene, it will be a problem. There is no guaranteed privacy in social networking.  

    There is also no excuse for being ignorant of that simple fact by now. Anybody who works for anyone in politics who doesn’t know by now that talking about shooting people will probably get you fired is probably not sufficiently astute to be an asset on any staff.

    I mean, come on. This is no longer the dawn of a surprising new age.  We are dozens of twitter and other social media induced resignations into the new reality.  

  3. Barron X says:

    .

    he didn’t actually threaten any Unicorns.

    .  

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