On August 24th a Kentucky man by the name of James Evans was arrested for “terroristic threatening” after being reported to authorities for posting some of the lyric’s from the song “Class Dismissed (A Hate Primer)” by Exodus to his Facebook. The status took the following lines from the chorus:
“Student bodies lying dead in the halls, a blood splattered treatise of hate. Class dismissed is my hypothesis, gun fire ends in debate.”
Evans was released on Wednesday after spending eight days in jail, he commented on the situation saying:
“It’s nonsense. I feel like my civil rights have been violated. You know first amendment freedom of speech out the window. Even all the guys I was in the cell with they thought it was nonsense themselves. I had several officials tell me it was nonsense that there was no reason why I should have even been here.”
Exodus guitarist Gary Holt also added his two cents:
“The idea that an individual in this great country of ours could be arrested for simply posting lyrics to a song is something I never believed could happen in a free society. James Evans was simply posting lyrics to a band he likes on Facebook, and he was locked up for it. The song ‘Class Dismissed (A Hate Primer)’ was written as a view through the eyes of a madman and in no way endorses that kind of fucked-up behavior. It was 2007’s Virginia Tech massacre perpetrated by Seung-Hui Cho that was the subject and inspiration to write the song, one in which we put the brakes on playing it live after the Sandy Hook shooting, as we did not want to seem insensitive.
As some of us in Exodus are parents, of course these things hit close to home, it’s every parent’s worst fear. These moments are the stuff of nightmares, and life – as well as music – isn’t always pretty. But when we start to overreact to things like lyrics by any band – including Exodus – and start arresting people, we are caving in to paranoia and are well on our way to becoming an Orwellian society.”
This is pretty ridiculous that someone would get arrested for posting music lyrics to Facebook. Granted, they are somewhat inflammatory lyrics and I don’t know if the police looked to see if this was an original message, song lyrics, or something else. Then again, I don’t know what police protocol is for something like. You do have to consider, what if it had been a poem about suicide? Next thing you know the person who posted it is on suicide watch. It seems like it’s a pretty fine line as to how we should interpret social media postings like this and how authorities should handle them. You can find the local news stories from Kentucky here and an update here.
The song is off the band’s 2010 release Exhibit B: The Human Condition, which is a killer record. So here is the full album on for you to listen to, if you’re only interested in the song in question skip to track 5, although I highly recommend the entire record. Exodus will be releasing their new album Blood In, Blood Out on October 14th via Nuclear Blast.