Earlier this week, I discussed how vital videos are to our work here at FIRE. Videos provide concrete depictions of censorship on campus, revealing just how damaging restrictions on discourse are to the collegiate community. In order to highlight this chilling effect, FIRE launched a new high-definition video series in 2010 that explores what happens when a culture of censorship shuts down discussion of some of the most important issues in modern discourse—the very issues that need to be exposed to debate and dialogue.
The first feature in this series, "Empty Holsters," highlighted the widespread censorship of student dialogue and debate about carrying guns on campus, a restrictive trend that was particularly strong in the wake of the tragedy at Virginia Tech.
Gun rights are some of the most complex and contentious issues facing our society, and it is dangerously short-sighted and simply wrong to exclude different points of view on this debate from our campuses. By telling stories from schools like Tarrant County College, "Empty Holsters" revealed just how damaging censorship can be on critical debates over issues like concealed carry laws.
Features like this are the reason we started our video fellowship this year. Our series introduces the real casualites of censorship—students, professors, and dialogue—in a clear and visually compelling way. "Empty Holsters" is a key example of FIRE’s commitment to using cinema style, high-quality online videos as tools for public outreach. Joe Stramowski, our Sweidy Stata Video Fellow, has been able to use the canvas of video and the paintbrush of cutting edge technology to reach a whole new audience. I encourage you to consider supporting our video program and stay tuned for more great videos from 2010!