TEMPE, AZ—ASU Law Professor Nicholas Thompson’s 1L Con Law class was going smoothly this past Tuesday morning, as Thompson lectured on the infamous Dred Scott Supreme Court decision. That changed when a student raised her hand to inquire as to why Justice Taney was willing to deny Scott his freedom, when the language of his opinion seemed to strongly imply that he believed the treatment of blacks in the nation to be morally regrettable.
“Good question,” Thompson replied, “there’s a strong argument that slavery did fly in the face of the Judeo-Christian values that many claim to be the foundation of the United States, which—”
Professor Thompson never finished his sentence. At that moment, a student in the class could hold his tongue no longer. First year student Gary Mill slammed his fist on the table and exclaimed, “Oh, come on!” What followed was a roughly 27-second tirade about the professor’s obvious attempt to evangelize the entire class.
Rising to his feet as the power of Mill’s rhetoric created a de facto zero-gravity pocket of hot air around him, the outspoken liberal delivered what many of his classmates have since dubbed “The Garysburg Address.”
As a result, the entire class was forced to pause their education to be enlightened by Mill’s immovable sociopolitical beliefs. We got in touch with one student who said he thought the entire ordeal was “surely a joke” and he didn’t see “how Mill could think anyone gives a shit.”
Other students defended Mill’s outburst. When we asked Mill’s classmate John Case what he thought of the episode, he muttered something about the First Amendment, and how Professor Thompson never would have gotten tenure before “Obummer” was elected president. Case said that he was grateful for Mill’s interjection, referring to him as a “hero”: “I can’t speak for everyone, but I personally have a tough time thinking for myself when a professor is speaking. If Professor Thompson is going to try and subliminally evangelize me, thank God we have people like Gary Mill in our class to shut that ‘Jesus’ b-s down. Gary’s kind of a secular Jesus, standing up for those who can’t stand up for themselves, and then getting crucified for it. Now, if you’ll excuse me.” Smiling, Case left to go find Mill and tell him about the brilliant ironic metaphor he’d just given in his interview.
Mill appeared yesterday afternoon on a local radio talk show to address his outburst, and put to rest accusations that he is “callous,” “indifferent to his peers’ expensive legal education,” and “the worst.” We were lucky enough to sit in on the interview.
Mill’s introductory remarks got right to the point of his outburst:
“Everything I do, I do for the people. As a former elected official of the Arizona Society of Secularism [ASS], I consider it my duty to protect the minds of my fellow students from the brainwashing of our professors. It’s common knowledge that law students don’t really have the ability to critically think for themselves, and everyone knows they’re terrible at spotting the personal biases and opinions of others. Here’s the thing: You can’t outlawyer a secularist. I know how to affect people with my words, whether they want to be affected or not.”
At this point, Mill glanced out the window as a passing school bus caught his eye, mumbled “Fucking YMCA,” and then continued the interview.
Following a few more remarks by Mill about the vitriol spouted by Professor Thompson, the radio station began taking callers to ask Mill questions of their own. The first question came from a fellow law student, who asked Mill whether he was aware that he may have been in violation of both the school’s Honor Code and the intellectual property rights of ASU and Professor Thompson.
Mill laughed off the notion that he had violated the Honor Code, which requires that students not flagrantly and needlessly create distractions in the classroom. Mill fired back at the caller without hesitation.
“Do you consider standing up for justice to be a distraction? And per the intellectual property question, I’m not going to let ASU’s gestapo policies stand in the way of making sure everyone knows my opinion. I’m doing a public service here, guy.”
Responding to another caller’s suggestion that Mill should consider that “Nobody cares what you think. Students pay tuition to learn from their professors,” Mill again laughed.
“Impossible,” he said, “next caller.”
After the conclusion of the radio interview, we got Mill to answer one final question from us: Have we heard the last of Gary Mill?
“Absolutely not,” he said. Staring into the distance, a glow seemed to emanate from behind Mill’s eyes. “The 1L morning section, ASU Law, and the greater Phoenix area have a metric shit-ton of Gary Mill in their future.”
When informed of this, Professor Thompson remarked, “God be with us all. Don’t tell Gary I said that.”