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Commentary:

On rare occasions something strikes me as unjust and against my better judgment I try to use my powers for good. I really should resist these impulses, since the replies from these letters are seldom funny, more often my missives are completely ignored, and I am incapable of righting most wrongs.

A couple years back, a then Michigan assistant attorney general went completely off his fucking nut, and decided to start a one man crusade of persecution against some poor college student, solely because said student didn’t have the decency to keep his homosexuality hidden. Andrew Shirvell started a blog where he posted pictures of then University of Michigan Student Assembly President Chris Armstrong with badly drawn swastikas on his forehead. Those were the nice posts.

Yeah, Shirvell was and is a douchbag.

I’ve not written about this before and the letter has remained unposted for nearly two years. I’ve been conflicted on the idea of putting this up. Generally, I like there to be a little bit of humor with my letters and I was trying too hard with these. I also didn’t want to shine any more light on the situation and I didn’t want to add further stress to Armstrong’s life. A big part of me was convinced Shirvell was legitimately mentally ill. Making fun of the crazy and insane is indeed what I do, but not when it might actually be a truly diagnosable condition. Lastly, I didn’t want people thinking I was trying to cash in on an unfortunate event. There seemed to be no upside here. I’ll get to why I am finally posting this in a bit.

I’m all for free speech and if Shirvell had asked me if I would back his right to spew this crap I would have been right there with him. I despise the messenger and the message, but the antidote to bad speech is more speech. When someone gets some traction with a message of hate it gives people a chance to publicly denounce that individual’s speech, to castigate him, and to give him a metaphorical kick in the yarbles. Free speech does not mean speech without consequences. Like I said, I’d back Shirvell’s right to say the stupidest of shit, but this doesn’t mean I agree with him.

Shirvell lost his job even though his boss at the time was defending the pathetic worm’s right to say this stuff. Again, I agree he had the right to his views, but as soon as he made them public he was incapable of holding the office of Michigan assistant attorney general. You can’t go around very publicly saying part of the populace is unfit and then pretend you are able to represent the interests of that group without bias. Shirvell didn’t keep his actions confined to speech either. He defamed Armstrong, he stalked the man, and he harassed him online. He crossed the line. This isn’t a matter of opinion anymore. A jury of Shirvell’s peers have decided he’s an asshat.

At any point prior to the verdict all Shirvell had to do was say he was sorry and that he made shit up. Instead, he decided to defend himself at trial and now has a 4.5 million dollar judgement against him proving he’s also stupid. This is why I am writing about this now.

Thanks for tuning into A Very Special Episode of Jackass Letters.

If you feel so inclined you can read the letters I wrote regarding Andrew Shirvell including the one I sent to him. Janet Welch was the only person to respond. Shirvell was fired before I got around to writing the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission.

Five letters, only one reply. And yes, I really did send Chris a couple bucks for beer.

Also, if it’s not obvious, fuck Shirvell.

By Christopher L. Jorgensen

Website: http://jackassletters.com

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Christopher L. Jorgensen
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