As oxymoronic as it sounds, apparently stealing free newspapers can get you in a lot of trouble, at least some places. The University of Florida and the University of Texas have both filed successful criminal complaints against students for taking complete printings of their student newspapers. Recently, David Horowitz of has been raising a stink over several incidents at places like Brown University where students collected all the newspapers to prevent his ad against reparations for slavery from running. Here at Tennessee Tech, six freshmen recently made off with all the Oracles to protest what they called an "offensive" editorial that "crossed the line." (At least they took the papers to a recycling center! I got a copy of the paper before they stole them... the article was insulting and a little moronic, but definitely not worth that much trouble.) The police filed a report, but so far the university wants to keep it from being a civil liberties case and is just asking the students to pay for the publishing costs... plus a little, maybe. The newspaper is pushing to press charges, though.

Apparently, the major issues involved in "stealing" a free newspaper are censorship and being fair to advertisers. At least here, everyone is running around squealing about the First Amendment -- by taking all the copies of a badly copy-edited newspaper before everyone got a chance to poke fun at it, the students were violating the editors' right to free speech.

So just remember, don't steal free newspapers!
By the way, I'm not trying to slander our dearly beloved Oracle, often nicknamed the Orifice. You can't call a newspaper with misspelled headlines and run-on opening sentences "well copy-edited."