La Vergne, Tennessee

La Vergne, Tennessee is one of the fastest growing communities in Tennessee (and probably in the Southeastern United States). A few short years ago, the population was approximately 9,000. Today, there are more than 25,000 residents who call La Vergne "home" and it continues to grow. This blog is dedicated to keeping our community updated on current events, and serves as a guide for restaurants, entertainment, schools, and more. Welcome to La Vergne!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

When You Try to Control Free Speech

Our sweet little blog here in La Vergne has sometimes faced controversy, from people telling other commenters to "Shut up." and saying this site is too negative blah blah blah. But we have many many times advocated the right to free speech, have encouraged conversation, the flow of ideas, and interaction with our community leaders and residents. We deeply appreciate our constitutional rights to voice our opinions, to share our triumphs and tragedies.

But (and you'll probably be seeing this in the news very soon), a middle Tennessee company has taken steps to stop free speech from one of the most eloquent bloggers in our area. See, her husband lost his job and accepted an invitation to meet with JL Kirk Associates, an employment agency that charges employment fees IN ADVANCE of helping someone find a job... (apparently this is not commonplace among headhunters). They require the spouse to attend the interview so they know they'll have full familial support etc. Katherine Coble wrote about her experience with the company and her little post was well on the way to being noted, but forgotten, as most posts generally are.

But JL Kirk didn't let free speech rest. An employee wrote a very long comment attacking Katherine Coble and posted information that most people would have considered confidential in the comment. Kat replied to the comments and a prairie dog affect began (little heads popping up to check things out). Then it got ugly ugly ugly with a capital U.

JL Kirk sent Katherine Coble an official "cease and desist" letter threatening legal action if she didn't remove her post about the company and all related comments (including, by the way, the official from the company who inexplicably commented).

Nashville is Talking picked up the story. So did Newscoma. Instapundit. Bill Hobbs. Aunt B. The Knoxville News-Sentinel. Home-Ec 101. Blogs in South Carolina. Politician Bob Krumm. Did I mention that the company has already started a new word? When you've "Kirked" something, you've screwed up in a major way. And the list goes on: Say Uncle, Smiffster, Toys in the Attic, Salems Lots, the best librarian ever (Women's Health News), and the wonderful Lynnster. Also our local girl Ginger posted.

So let this serve as a reminder that free speech is an honored, almost-sacred right in this glorious nation. Be careful what you say, but always remember that you have the right to speak your opinion. Your voice matters.

UPDATE: The story continues to grow. Google now has over a million hits when JL Kirk is typed, including reports from the Better Business Bureau about the company. Seriously, people need to be aware of the power of the Internet when taking a stand that appears to be "bullying." I seriously wonder if the company will survive this Internet typhoon.

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