Jack Thompson is a hero.
At least, that's the word from America's Freedom Festival, an event taking place in Provo, Utah this week. As reported by the Deseret News:
America's Freedom Festival at Provo honored four individuals with 2008 Freedom Awards Wednesday night... The honorees... personified some or all of the festival's four traditional values of family, freedom, God and country...
A lawyer dedicated to protecting children from violence, obscenity and pornography in the media, Jack Thompson was honored especially for his defense and support of families.
Thompson... said that while his life has been filled with persecution and ridicule, he would go back and do it all over again, with even more fervor than before.
Now, Utah County, where the festival takes place, is an extremely conservative corner of the United States. So it is perhaps understandable that organizers there value Thompson's conservative Christian agenda. That's their call.
However, to consider Thompson only on his values crusade ignores a troubling list of negatives that stretches from Orem to Salt Lake City. Consider that this "American hero":
- has been recommended for a 10-year disbarment by the Florida Bar
- has been judged guilty of 27 ethical offenses by a Florida judge, who is sending her recommendation to the Florida Supreme Court
- the 27 offenses include things like: "Knowingly making a false statement", "Engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation" and " Engaging in conduct in connection with the practice of law that is prejudicial to the administration of justice"
- may no longer submit filings to the Florida Supreme Court, in part because he included porn pictures in a motion (and NOT in a pornography case)
- included gay porn pictures in a federal court filing (also not a pornography case)
- received a cautionary visit from the U.S. Marshals following a federal court filing in which he wrote "...enemy combatants at Guantanamo are to get more due process from federal judges than what I am to have. I guess my "mistake" was not killing 3000 people to make my point..."
- called for the impeachment of Utah's Republican Attorney General when the AG suggested that a video game bill written by Thompson would be unconstitutional
These items are strictly a matter of record, and do not include Thompson's strident cultural rhetoric (with which one may or may not agree) or his penchant for sheer vitriol. Moreover, Thompson himself has written that he expects to be disbarred by the Florida Supreme Court.
There seem to be two possibilities here. One is that the selection committee did not conduct due diligence on its nominee. The other is that they just didn't care. Perhaps the committee was aware of Thompson's issues but chose to believe that they are part of some vast cultural conspiracy against him waged by liberals, the video game industry, the Florida Bar, Florida Supreme Court, US District Court, gays, shock radio, the Republican Blank-Rome law firm, various judges, the Alabama Bar, etc.
But at some point the idea of a conspiracy that large becomes silly. What's happening to Thompson now is more like a judicial consensus on the man's behavior.
How did America's Freedom Festival fail to see that?
GP: We've made several attempts in recent weeks to get an explanation from the committee as to why Thompson was chosen for the award, but got little more than the fact that he was nominated and ultimately selected. That lack of openness is especially troubling in light of the fact Utah County's government is the sponsor of the award event (i.e. - the taxpayers footed the bill for this award).
More local coverage in the Provo Herald-Extra...