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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Georgia Tech Tragedy Is Best Met with Calm

Georgia Tech is a tight-knit community, accustomed to solving hard problems in productive ways, and we will continue to do that.


In light of current events on the Georgia Tech campus, I feel the need to reach out to the liberty movement with a message: do not sensationalize what has happened at Georgia Tech over the past few days.

For those not familiar, on Saturday, September 16th, Scout Shultz, the head of the Pride Alliance was shot and killed by Georgia Tech Police after refusing to drop a multi-purpose tool. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation reported that the event was a police suicide, citing suicide notes in their dorm and the discovery that the initial call to the police came from Scout.

Outside actors began a violent protest that included defacing the campus and burning a police cruiser.

Surely the incident necessitates productive conversations about mental health, police protocols, the use of force, suicide, the respect of police, and more. These conversations are desperately needed to minimize the chance that anything like this will happen again.  

However, as soon as Sunday, many media sources spun the story with a political tone.

Following a vigil hosted by Scout’s friends and members of the Pride Alliance on Monday, outside actors began a violent protest against the Georgia Tech Police Department that included defacing the campus and burning a police cruiser. These protesters were not the friends of Scout, nor members of Georgia Tech’s Pride Alliance, and it would not be apt to equate them.

As the President of the Young Americans for Liberty chapter here on campus, I knew Scout. We first met when I reached out to the Pride Alliance to create a joint event between our two clubs. At first, they were hesitant, citing opposition to our economic philosophy, but soon they invited me to a meeting with other Pride Alliance members to discuss the details. Following that, I began to attend a few Pride Alliance meetings, and Scout made me feel accepted.

We never saw eye to eye on economic policy, but that’s okay. Scout and their friends were and are peaceful, open-minded, and devoted to productive discussions between opposing ideologies.

This tragedy should prompt a serious rethinking of the use of deadly force in the face of non-compliance.

The general sentiment at Georgia Tech is that of support for both friends of Scout and the Georgia Tech police. We are a tight-knit community that is accustomed to solving hard problems in productive ways, and I have every bit of confidence that we’ll do that in the coming future.

If any good could come of this tragedy, it should prompt a serious rethinking of the use of deadly force in the face of non-compliance. Surely there are better ways to protect the community and guard the precious value of human life.

In the meantime, I ask my fellow libertarians, please be devoted to civil and productive conversations and do not exacerbate the situation as various news sources did prior to the protest. Allow us within the Georgia Tech community to heal and find solutions.

In the words of Scout’s parents,

We ask that those who wish to protest Scout’s death do so peacefully. Answering violence with violence is not the answer. Our goal is to work diligently to make positive change at Georgia Tech in an effort to ensure a safer campus for all students.

This is how we will truly honor Scout’s life and legacy.”


  • Jackson Morgan is a 5th year Computational Media student attending Georgia Tech. He serves as President of the campus’s Young Americans for Liberty Chapter and as a FEE Campus Ambassador.