Lauren E. Becker, known on Twitter as @MsBecker, has won FIRE’s contest for the best tweet promoting our video about our case at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Lauren’s tweet was chosen from more than 300 entries collectively receiving more than 1,000 votes at Prizes.org. Her winning entry, which included a link to the video, was:
When they try to kill your free speech, you should be awake. You should be facing them. You should be armed. prizes.org/Best-tweet-abo…
— Lauren E. Becker (@MsBecker) December 27, 2011
The tweet echoes Captain Malcolm Reynolds’ declaration of honor from the TV series Firefly when Reynolds says that, should he ever kill a certain passenger, it would be when that person would be awake, facing him, and armed. Quoting Captain Reynolds is what led to Professor James Miller being referred to the "threat assessment team" at Stout.
FIRE intervened on Miller’s behalf and produced a video highlighting the absurdity of the case and featuring legendary author Neil Gaiman, who himself had tweeted about the case. Our contest helped us promote the video, which has now been viewed more than 83,000 times.
We chose as finalists those entries that were on topic, that communicated free speech and anti-censorship values, and that were clever, pithy, and original. Lauren’s tweet was just that, and her entry received the most votes from the Prizes.org community, earning her $300. Three runners-up also received prizes in the contest.
Lauren is from Fullerton, California, and currently studies at Western State University College of Law. We asked her why she entered the contest, and she answered:
I am an avid protector of the first amendment. I believe that criminalizing or subverting speech is dangerous in a free society– in any society.