Greta Thunberg in Iowa Visit: Inspiration, and Threats

October 7, 2019


DES MOINES, Iowa – A Waterloo high school teacher is on administrative leave after he left a threatening Facebook comment on a news story about climate activist Greta Thunberg’s Iowa City visit Friday.

Matt Baish, a science teacher at Waterloo West High School, posted “Dont have my sniper rifle” Thursday on an article shared from Little Village Magazine about Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish girl who has been a leading voice of youth activism around climate change.

Baish’s comment, in addition to his own Facebook page, appears to have been deleted. But screenshots of his comments were posted on the Waterloo Community School District Facebook page.

The teachers and students at West received a message about Baish on Friday, saying that he was put on leave, according to an email statement by Waterloo Schools director of school and community relations Tara Thomas.

“We are aware of a social media situation involving one of our employees,” the statement said. “The nature of the content shared rose to the level of putting this employee on administrative leave pending an investigation. We appreciate your patience as we sort through the details and thank you for respecting the process.”

Waterloo Police Lt. Kye Richter said law enforcement is also investigating the incident.


OWA CITY, Iowa – The adults are still failing kids, Greta Thunberg told thousands of Iowans Friday.

“We teenagers and children shouldn’t have to take the responsibility.” the teenage climate activists said. “But right now the world leaders keep acting like children, and somebody needs to be the adult in the room.”

Thunberg drove to Iowa City on Friday in a Tesla to lend a hand to the local teens waging their own climate strikes.

Her message to her peers in the Midwest was one of distrust and motivation. The 16-year-old, fresh off a damning speech at the United Nations, said Iowans cannot expect global leaders to take action to stop the flow of carbon dioxide emissions causing global warming.

They, too, must act.

“We will not beg world leaders to care and to act,” she said. “They have ignored us in the past and they will ignore us again. We will instead tell them that if they won’t do it, then we will.”

The 16-year-old Swede said she sees a tipping point. More and more people around the world are becoming activists.

“Together, we are unstoppable,” she said.

Thunberg traveled to the United States in August on a sailboat to reduce emissions. In September she delivered a biting speech to world leaders at the United Nations in New York.



18 Responses to “Greta Thunberg in Iowa Visit: Inspiration, and Threats”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    It’s amazing how Greta’s presence can bring out the crowds—-doubt the crowd would have been half as big if she wasn’t there. Don’t remember if I gave a full report of the school strike I attended on 9/20 at John Handley HS in Winchester, VA.

    Only about 30 kids “struck” out of an enrollment of ~1400. Some good speeches and signs. About 40 “citizens” attended as well, mostly older retired-age folks—-we were kept about 50 feet away from the kids, but were able to talk to them and vice-versa from that distance.

    The Shenandoah valley of VA is “red country”—-I wonder if Greta’s presence would have made a difference in the numbers

    • Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

      School strike in Adelaide, Ozstralia. Favorite sign, ‘Stop Annoying Sir David Attenborough’.
      Interesting that that was a strike at an individual school, haven’t heard of that before. What was the attitude of the school hierarchy?? Here it was the usual all city event and was effectively ‘officially’ encouraged by teachers and schools. Cast of thousands with kid marshals directing crowds. Many adults from all cross sections of society. Only speech I got close enough to hear was by a union rep, totally off topic and thus damn annoying.
      Get SDA and Greta on the same stage and stick it to the ‘she is too young’ recalcitrants.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        Strikes at individual schools are probably more common in the USA, especially in suburban and rural areas where the schools tend to be located in isolation from built-up areas. There were several at schools around the DC Metro area, like Winchester at schools in the “boondocks”.

        The school “hierarchy” went “with the flow” and allowed the event, but controlled it tightly. Armed city police and an armed school resource officer separated us. I dealt with similar demonstrations back in the day as a school administrator, and the best way to deal with them was to allow the students their freedom of expression, tell them they had 15 minutes, and simply tell them it was over after that time and shoo them back to class—-that’s the way the Handley administration handled it. At Handley, the students were at the end of the raised arched balcony at the top of the right hand staircase, while we were kept outside a fence at the bottom—-see photo—-trees obscure the site.

        PS John Handley HS has been recognized by Architectural Digest magazine as “the most beautiful public school in Virginia”. It likely is.

        • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

          It occurs to me that separating you from the kids was intended to protect them from any attacks from the denier community.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            “The safety of our students” was their stated rationale, even though it appeared that there were NO “deniers” or obvious threats visible. I had to laugh at the armed resource officer who stood a few feet behind and to the side of the principal with hand close to gun as I talked to the principal. Almost asked him if he practiced that “face” in the mirror every morning but figured it would be a wasted effort—-he was the only “threat” I saw that day.

    • Not-in-my-name Says:

      If all seven million of her supporters bought a mirrored umbrella perhaps they could reflect some sunlight and bring about global cooling. In reality they haven’t got the sense to understand anything about science and the consequences of their actions. They are destroying the present society and have no idea they will have nothing left to support them in the future.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        In reality, Nothing-in-my-brain hasn’t got the sense to understand anything about science and the consequences of his ignorant denialism. He and his ilk are destroying the present society and have no idea they will have nothing left to support them in the future.

        (Isn’t it amazing how some replies just seem to write themselves?)

      • It comes down to two things the hard science has been telling us all along. These brave young people fully understand the world they will be left. I hope you will after reading this carefully sourced article:

        The Simple Proof of Man-Made Global Warming
        The two most basic Smoking Guns proving that carbon from fossil fuels is warming the Earth.

        by Brian Dunning

      • redskylite Says:

        Great quote, appropriate here I think (sooner the better)

        We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away.


      • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

        Maybe those silly kids think that the arctic melting at an increasingly rapid rate affects the jet stream.
        Maybe those goofy young people paid attention to paleoclimate data that show the equilibrium point for 400ppm CO2 settles out at tens of meters of sea level rise.
        Maybe those idiots who expect to live the bulk of their lives after 2030 believe that even in the US, many cities will become virtually unlivable because of sea level rise and increasing days over 100°F after the people who could afford to leave did, taking the tax base with them.

  2. redskylite Says:

    Amazing – adults threatening a school child with fire power, what is the matter with these evil people, shame on them.

    Before Greta there was the gentle Poet Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner from the Marshall Islands, with the same message, which was largely ignored, as is the plight of the Marshall Islands and the other small island states.

    Save the hatred for those that truly deserve it, all those who think they know better, those who ignored (or ridiculed) all those warnings and advice, from experienced climate scientists, paleontologists, biologists, decent science institutions and universities.


    Journalist David Wallace-Wells depicts a planet no longer fit for humans. He warns that by 2050, if we don’t change course, storm damage and sea level rise will grow a hundredfold and there will be hundreds of millions of climate refugees. “If the science is scary, the best thing to do is to share it with the public,” he tells FRANCE 24.

    Greta “thinks so clearly about the matter of inter-generational justice, and is able to articulate that in a way no adult can deny. ”

    • neilrieck Says:

      Look how many times Americans killed, or tried to kill, their presidents (or anyone else). Americans love to kill 😦

      • dumboldguy Says:

        Uh, Niel? It’s HUMANS that “love to kill”, not just Americans. Canada’s per capita homicide death rate is nothing to cheer about.

        • neilrieck Says:

          Humans do love to kill but the good old USA is the only country in either the G7 or G20 with open carry laws.

          Humans are a tool making, tool using, species. When someone straps on a pistol before leaving home in the morning, most are probably thinking “self defense”. But we all know that a smaller fraction are thinking “someone is going to be shot today”. Is defense necessary because criminals have had easy access to handguns for far too long? Perhaps. But this whole debate becomes moot when someone decides to go “human hunting”. I do not understand why any rational person would even joke about shooting a fellow human, politician, or climate activist (Greta, in this case).

  3. neilrieck Says:

    Not all Republicans think Greta is a bad thing. Yesterday afternoon on the Howard Stern program (Sirius Satellite Radio) I heard an interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger. While he still associates himself with the Republican party, he said he was pleased to meet Greta and that she was making a lot of sense. Later in the interview, Schwarzenegger reminded everyone that it was Republican presidents who (originally) had made the largest contributions to clean air, clean water, and public park lands. He also mentioned that it was later presidents who, with lobbyists, had changed Republicanism into something different. As I heard this I recalled a recent interview on TVO (TV Ontario – kind of a PBS for Ontario, Canada) where it was said the many modern Republicans begin their careers by first “paying the crazy tax” (saying: “evolution is bunk”, “the world is only 6000 years old”, “climate change is a hoax”, etc). This causes other Republicans to do even crazier things like bringing snow balls into the senate or appointing coal executives to run the EPA. Just food-for-thought.

  4. Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

    Thanks, interesting.
    Relatively, my high school could be considered a cut above Quonset huts.

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