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  (Source: Nation States)
Speechcrime charges on the rise in the U.S., marine is also involuntarily committed for his protest speech

Frustrated with the U.S. "War on Drugs", which he believed was a farce, and with a seeming increase in police violations of U.S. citizens' civil liberties, Matthew Michael created a group on Facebook, Inc.'s (FB) social network targeting the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency with angry statements.

I. Protest the U.S. Government?  Think Again

In one post, he reportedly wrote, "War is near. Anarchy and justice will be sought...I'll kill whoever I deem to be in the way of harmony to the human race...BE WARNED IF U PULL ME OVER!!"

The posts -- while threatening in a vague manner -- did not name any specific DEA agents, or even make any clear plan for violent action.

But the U.S. Department of Justice caught wind of the post and has now been given the go-ahead by a federal judge -- Judge William Lawrence of U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana -- to charge Mr. Michael with three counts of transmitting threats in interstate commerce.

Anonymous Likes Facebook
Protesting the U.S. Gov't on Facebook could land you in prison for 20 years or more.
[Image Source: James Martin/CNET]

Each of those charges, according to 18 USC § 875 (the U.S. Criminal Code) carries up to a 5-year sentence.  Under U.S. criminal law, sentences can be served consecutively or concurrently (see this helpful Yahoo! News post).  The decision of how to assign the sentences, if the defendant is found guilty, is up to the Judge during the sentencing phase.

That means that Mr. Michael faces a maximum prison sentence of up to 15 years, all for speaking out against the government in an incendiary manner in Facebook.

Judge Lawrence argued the case should be allowed to proceed, despite the ambiguous nature of Mr. Michael's comments, writing, "The First Amendment does not insulate all speech from criminal consequence. Certain categories of speech having little or no social value are not protected, and threats are one such category.... It would be inappropriate for the court to enter a verdict of not guilty based solely on the face of the indictment unless the court could imagine no facts that would render Michael's posts unprotected. That is not the situation here."

II. Marine Also Imprisoned Without Trial

The case echoes the story of U.S. Marine Brandon Raub.  After honorably serving his country on tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, Mr. Raub, 26, had grown disillusioned with the U.S. federal government, and like Mr. Michael took to posting vague, frustrated, incendiary commentaries to Facebook.  

Those posts led to local authorities and federal agents in Chesterfield, Virginia detaining Mr. Raub and then exploiting the state's involuntary commitment laws to label the protester as "mentally ill", effectively imprisoning him indefinitely and without trial in a state-run veteran's hospital.

Prison
How did the U.S. reward ex-Marine Brandon Raub for honorably serving his country? They locked him up via involuntary commitment rules, all for a protest post he wrote on Facebook. [Image Source: Banmiller on Business]

Such rulings are questionable given that in the 1969 case Brandenburg v. Ohio, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, "[T]he constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action."

In other words, unless specific, immediate violence is promised, you're free to make statements of protest against the government -- even violent ones.

III. Speech Crime -- a Dark and Dangerous Road

But it's also important to remember that speech is not action, and often times speechcrime legislation -- even mild provisions outlawing threats of imminent violence -- proves merely a vehicle to unload more severe censorship upon the unwitting public.

A critical example Germany's 1933 decision to suspend "the Fundamental Rights" in its Articles of Government if "if public safety and order in the German Reich are considerably disturbed or endangered".  The Third Reich seized the opportunity by staging a fire at the Reichstag building, which they then blamed on protesters/terrorists, leading to a blanket suspension of protest speech against the ruling regime.  That censorship proved critical to the atrocities and oppression that ensued, as the Reich was able to send anyone who spoke out against its policies to prisons or concentration camps.

In other words, treating threats of violence as speechcrime can be cleverly used as a prelude to suspending free speech in general, if the ruling regime can argue that a "terrorist" threat (possibly staged) mandates a broader removal of civil liberties.  Already accustomed to seeing their speech somewhat limited, the public will provide far less resistance.

In a threatening display of power, the Nazi state would eventually commit to a bloody execution via gun and guillotine of convicted "speechcrime" offenders who belonged to the White Rose movement, who had distributed non-violent fliers in Berlin proclaiming, "Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and protection of the individual citizen from the arbitrary action of criminal dictator-states."

Today both of America's ruling parties support so-called "free speech zones", or their various euphemisms, which essentially block citizens' right to directly speak out with words or written signs against politicians at political rallies.

And today Mr. Michael faces speechcrime accusations, which echo those of historic regimes past.  And while he does not face the death sentence for his speechcrime, he does face the prospect of spending over a decade of his life in prison; all for posting something the U.S. government found threatening.

Sources: CNET, Richmond Times-Dispatch



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Free speech =/= incitement to violence
By boeush on 10/16/2012 5:12:31 PM , Rating: 4
Even under the U.S. First Amendment doctrine of Free Speech, direct incitement to violence, crime, or insurrection is not protected.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imminent_lawless_acti...

Now, as to whether this particular instance fits under the current doctrine, is for the courts to determine.




RE: Free speech =/= incitement to violence
By Ristogod on 10/16/12, Rating: -1
RE: Free speech =/= incitement to violence
By MightyAA on 10/16/2012 7:38:57 PM , Rating: 3
Don't know where you are from, but in my area, judges are elected officials. Don't vote for them if you think they are on the wrong team...

And the jury? They are citizens... not government lackies...


RE: Free speech =/= incitement to violence
By pandemonium on 10/16/2012 9:11:21 PM , Rating: 3
What an incredibly convenient and ignorant way to excuse how hypocritical the system is. I suppose you think all of the fat politicians are rightfully voted in as well? You're right, they are. By those pulling strings with biased media coverage with a lot more money and power than you'll ever have. Not fair? Too bad. This system "voted" them in.

The fact of the matter is these threats weren't specific, therefor have no basis of factual evidence, therefor are not identifiably criminal. They're vague, generalized warnings of resentment.

At what point does your voice become a weapon against yourself when you're simply trying to raise awareness of your beliefs? In this case, the man believes that the DEA is messed up. Granted he wasn't using much tact in his approach, but how thin-skinned is our government that they need to react so harshly to gray areas of freedom of speech? (I certainly don't agree with his approach, but I don't consider this damning evidence in lieue of some attack against anyone.)

As far as I'm concerned, they just justified his calls by trying to quell his uprising event with sentencing.

Now who's looking guilty...


RE: Free speech =/= incitement to violence
By Samus on 10/17/2012 2:36:30 AM , Rating: 2
US Military persons do not have traditional rights of citizens. That includes Freedom of Speech. He broke his oath to the United States Marine Corps, and fully knowing the penalty, should accept the consequences.


RE: Free speech =/= incitement to violence
By Solandri on 10/17/2012 3:32:42 AM , Rating: 5
He was not on active duty. He was honorably discharged from the USMC earlier in the year, and thus no longer under the curtailed freedoms of active duty personnel. He is free to say whatever he likes.


RE: Free speech =/= incitement to violence
By paydirt on 10/17/2012 9:21:51 AM , Rating: 2
Um, you can't talk about that kind of thing on the Internet unless you are referencing our penal code.

I'm totally fine with the government putting such folks in jail. If the word of such folks is true, if I "got in their way," then they would end me. I don't want them walking the streets.


RE: Free speech =/= incitement to violence
By JasonMick (blog) on 10/17/2012 10:39:02 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
I'm totally fine with the government putting such folks in jail. If the word of such folks is true, if I "got in their way," then they would end me. I don't want them walking the streets.
Look, I'm fine with police interacting with people who have made threatening comments differently -- that's just common sense.

But why can't they just make a note in their files about this guy and then when/if they do have to interact with him, they call backup and approach him in a safe/armed manner.

Your argument is intellectual lazy.

When you start punishing people for words not actions you essentially punish people for being human. There's a huge difference between what people say and what they actually do -- especially in settings where people feel a sense of comfort and privacy (e.g. the internet, although the privacy part clearly isn't all some people imagine).

Respond to actions not words.

You honestly (really) believe that everything "internet tough guys" say they would do in the real world? Rubbish.

It's not rocket science.


RE: Free speech =/= incitement to violence
By MaulBall789 on 10/18/2012 1:59:22 PM , Rating: 2
Because once an action takes place it's already too late. There's no way to approach a known threat in a safe/armed manner. Once the action happens, somebody dies. No cop, even with backup, would risk his or her life based on an assumption that some "internet tough guy" probably won't do what he says on facebook. That's simply asking for trouble. Doesn't matter if it's intellectually lazy or not, the scenario is not worth the risk. I think every situation is different and I wouldn't lock up everyone who rants against the US Government on fb, but if the threat is severe enough it needs to be investigated.


RE: Free speech =/= incitement to violence
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 10/19/2012 7:36:51 PM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately you are missing the biggest point of all this.

Laws do not PREVENT anything. Laws state CONSEQUENCES for doing or not doing something. It is people themselves that PREVENT themselves from breaking a law because they feel the consequences exceed the benefits. When a person feels the benefits of an action exceed the consequences, they take said action.

This silly notion that we can prevent things by passing laws is idiocy at its finest. If someone is willing to give up their life to take an action, there is literally NOTHING you can do to stop them, short of putting a bullet in them first (which is illegal without a clear and imminent danger).


By MaulBall789 on 10/24/2012 10:09:28 AM , Rating: 2
Ahhh, but there you destroyed your argument with the very last thing you said: without a clear and imminent danger.

Verbal threats, and especially publicly written threats, are a pure form of imminent danger. Whether they follow through with them or not isn't the point. It's a chicken or the egg scenario.

Guy in Colorado is writing out and planning this elaborate theater shooting, actually TELLS someone about it, that person reacts too slowly to get the information to the proper authorities, guy shoots up theater. I'm sure the therapist in this case was concerned about forever altering/ruining this kids life based on gory notebook drawings against him actually carrying out such a thing and ruining/forever altering the lives of many others.

quote:
If someone is willing to give up their life to take an action, there is literally NOTHING you can do to stop them, short of putting a bullet in them first


If they've put the threat out there, you can detain them and at the very least put that person through extensive psychiatric evaluation and get them out of the general public.

Publicly saying we should have the right to kill so and so, is not the same as I WILL kill so and so for whatever reason.


RE: Free speech =/= incitement to violence
By JasonMick (blog) on 10/17/2012 10:34:11 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
US Military persons do not have traditional rights of citizens. That includes Freedom of Speech. He broke his oath to the United States Marine Corps, and fully knowing the penalty, should accept the consequences.
Read the article... the guy complaining about the DEA was not a serviceperson.

You're thinking of the second person, who made unspecified comments and was involuntarily committed. He also was not active U.S. Mil. He was honorably discharged and was now living as a civilian.

Surely you're not suggesting that military members be stripped of their right to protest speech for life, even after they leave the service? That would just be insane...

As for the comments that were aired, I agree they are threatening a specific agency, but they are vague (no person) and I see no difference between them and celebrated pop culture, i.e. the rap band NWA who made millions singing songs with lyrics like:
quote:
You'd rather see me in the pen
Then me and Lorenzo rollin in the B3nzo
Beat tha police outta shape
And when I'm finished, bring the yellow tape
To tape off the scene of the slaugher
Still can't swallow bread and water

I don't know if they f--s or what
Search a n---- down and grabbin his n---
And on the other hand, without a g-- they can't get none
But don't let it be a black and a white one
Cuz they slam ya down to the street top
Black police showin out for the white cop


Now please tell me how that is acceptable speech (saying you're going to kill police), while a person saying he'll kill anyone he things is disrupting harmony and then criticizing the DEA is not?

Either are distasteful, but I think our elected officials are practicing a double standard when it comes to censorship -- whether they realize it or not.

I doubt NWA records are illegal in Indiana.


By Noonecares on 10/18/2012 12:09:11 AM , Rating: 2
NWA records are illegal in Walmarts. And they pretty much own any politician they want at any given time. Time for real life Minority Report. I am committing thought crimes.


By MonkeyPaw on 10/16/2012 6:13:59 PM , Rating: 2
People aren't really thinking too much when they put potentially incriminating statements on the internet. I'm sure not every angry person who said "I'll kill so and so" in an emotional situation actually means it. But to state it in writing gives the appearance of intent, and it is much easier to prove you said it than hearsay from, say, some drunk in a bar. Post a manifesto on the internet, and yeah, you will come off as a threat.


RE: Free speech =/= incitement to violence
By FrParlentAuxFr on 10/16/2012 6:17:55 PM , Rating: 5
Ok, how about this statement. I am ready to defend myself violently against the government if it behaves in a totalitarian way against me.

And conversely I will not use violence if the government does not behave in a totalitarian way.

Who has the right to judge if the Government is totalitarian? Neither me nor the government.

If the government arrests me because I make those threats to be violent only if the government becomes totalitarian, has the government decided that it can never be totalitarian? Isn[t that specifically totalitarian?


RE: Free speech =/= incitement to violence
By someguy123 on 10/16/2012 9:50:11 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think that's a fair comparison. You're qualifying it by saying you will do so in self defense. The person in the article threatened to kill anyone that pulled him over. Mick is saying it was a vague threat but that second line isn't all that vague.


RE: Free speech =/= incitement to violence
By JasonMick (blog) on 10/17/2012 10:41:26 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
I don't think that's a fair comparison. You're qualifying it by saying you will do so in self defense. The person in the article threatened to kill anyone that pulled him over. Mick is saying it was a vague threat but that second line isn't all that vague.
I could name for you literally hundreds of best-selling rap single lyrics that have equally specific threats of violence against the police.

Are you suggesting we imprison all the rappers who make such statements?


RE: Free speech =/= incitement to violence
By theapparition on 10/17/2012 11:24:29 AM , Rating: 2
That's true. Remember Body Count?


RE: Free speech =/= incitement to violence
By JasonMick (blog) on 10/17/2012 12:31:28 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Remember Body Count?
Oh yes a classic...

...
Or (while not directed @ a gov't agency) a more recent example is Chief Keef in Chicago who raps:
quote:
Pull up on your b--ch, bet she gonna like
Sosa b--ch, yeah, I done gon' hype
Pistol toting and I'm shooting on sight
A snitch n---a, that's that s--t I don't like
Your b--ch want do the team bet she won't fight
B--ch, we GBE -- f--k who don't like
And we ain't gon' fight, our guns gon' fight
The "shooting on sight" part is certainly as flagrant as anything Mr. Michael said, yet look @ Chief Keef -- he's got plugged by Kanye West, and picked up by BET, even as his songs are actually instigating (allegedly) REAL street violence in Chicago (right next door to Indiana -- note).

Talk about a double standard.

I'm not saying we should ban rap or imprison rappers.

I actually enjoy rap because I feel educated/enlightened folks that have studied history recognize that in nearly all cases violence only begets violence, and hence do not feel personally instigated to violence by it and can accept it simply as a cultural/artistic statement.

If the gov't's real objective is to keep cops and federal agents safe, by all means note a person's threats, and if they reach a certain level get a warrant and investigate them (i.e. do they ACTUALLY have a gun even?).

But don't use the excuse that you're too lazy to actually commit to investigation or safe police procedures as a cop out (literally) to pushing anti-dissent censorship on the masses.


By Master Kenobi (blog) on 10/19/2012 7:32:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I actually enjoy rap because I feel educated/enlightened folks that have studied history recognize that in nearly all cases violence only begets violence, and hence do not feel personally instigated to violence by it and can accept it simply as a cultural/artistic statement.

Educated and Enlightened folks generally do not see Rap as artistic. It is an unfortunate subculture that has broken into the main stream and for one reason or another is seen as "rebellious" and as such "cool". This is why Rap is so prolific within the USA, although is shares a much smaller following in many other countries.

There seems to be a correlation between those that prefer Rap music and those with lower IQ/education. Correlation does not however equal Causation. We should do some studies on this subject!


RE: Free speech =/= incitement to violence
By someguy123 on 10/17/2012 6:17:40 PM , Rating: 2
Rap is a form of entertainment. How is that comparable at all? People are killed in movies, but we realize these things aren't real and we don't protect people's rights to murder.

Guy threatens to kill anyone that pulls him over on his public facebook account and gets put up with generic charges, most of which I doubt will ever lead to tens of years in prison. I'd argue that it's a little different.


By Reclaimer77 on 10/17/2012 9:23:28 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Rap is a form of entertainment.


If you say so....


By mousewiz on 10/20/2012 12:59:02 AM , Rating: 2
The difference between music* and movies is that most people portrayed in movies are actors who are in character, and it's usually pretty obvious when this isn't the case. With musicians, though, it's ambiguous at best as to who's in character and who isn't.

I'd say that on the internet it's also pretty ambiguous who's in character and who isn't. Even if they're posting under their real name on their personal page.

* Focusing on rap is silly. Everything from country to pop to punk has examples where violence is 'advocated' and followed through on.


By Ammohunt on 10/16/2012 6:24:04 PM , Rating: 2
Only fools project their violent intentions those with true convictions act in a calculated way.


By marvdmartian on 10/17/2012 8:38:59 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, but the right of free speech is too easily eroded by those who have sworn to protect it....namely, politicians who write laws limiting it, police who enforce them, and judges who interpret those laws, once passed.

Isn't it interesting, too, that the very country which was formed after armed revolution against it's mother country, has laws on the books to prevent people from plotting its own overthrow?? Oh, the irony!


By danjw1 on 10/16/2012 5:26:36 PM , Rating: 3
Any member of the Military gives up their right to the basic protections of The Constitution. You volunteer, you are held to a different set of rules. These are the Uniform Code of Military Justice(UCMJ). I went into the military with my eyes open about that. Maybe Raub didn't; But he made the decision to join and swore an oath. This is not to suggest that they aren't also held to the civilian law as well, because they are. In a civilian court, they do have the same rights as everyone else.




By Solandri on 10/17/2012 3:37:54 AM , Rating: 2
Raub was honorably discharged from the USMC earlier this year, prior to the events described in the article. The UCMJ does not apply. He was an ordinary citizen at the time of his arrest; he's just a veteran so qualifies for care at Veterans' hopsitals.


By inperfectdarkness on 10/17/2012 4:31:32 AM , Rating: 2
The UCMJ does not contradict your fredom of speech. It does put limits on what you can do regarding things like being in uniform, using your official duty title, etc. But it does not abridge freedom of speech. The problem here is that this first individual would be equally guilty of what he's accused of--regardless of his military status.

Don't get me wrong, I abhor the abridgment of our first amendment rights. That said, there are some forms of speech which aren't inherently protected (threats against the president, for example).

As someone else already noted, people committed to action are probably better served by remaining silent. Obtain a CCW and maintain proficiency.


By Sazabi19 on 10/17/2012 8:20:03 AM , Rating: 2
Yes... the UCMJ most certainly contradicts your freedom of speech, but you know this BEFORE you take oath, it's not just sprung on you. Don't like the president when you are in the service? Oh well, you keep your mouth shut. Don't like the govt. and think it is doing something wrong? Keep your mouth shut. Speaking out against your county, govt., or commander and chief is most certainly punishable. Being RETIRED you can say what you wish, you are no longer in the service. Being INACTIVE doesn't mean you are not in the service, just that you aren't currently active, you are still held to a certain level of professionalism.


By inperfectdarkness on 10/18/2012 6:45:31 AM , Rating: 2
There's a difference between being of a differing opinion, and being a dissenter. No military can effectively maintain high standards if the "yes-man" mindset is perpetrated as being the only appropriate one.

I most certainly can disagree with the course of action that the president, congress or even my military leaders outline. The key is, I must still follow their orders, unhesitatingly and without complaint/grumble. I cannot bad-mouth them, nor should I voice my concerns to subordinates (you complain UP the chain, not DOWN).

If that is not how you interpret the UCMJ, then you and I will respectfully disagree on this. If we were not supposed to have our own opinions on such matters, then Lt. Calley's defense of "I was just following orders" would have stood (provided the order was actually proven).

The reality is, we're tasked with doing what is CORRECT based on the UCMJ, the Geneva Conventions, and the applicable ROE. Without active independant thought, one is incapable of doing so.


Godwin
By SigmundEXactos on 10/16/2012 4:16:25 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, the article managed to Godwin itself -- that has to be a record.




RE: Godwin
By Hellfire27 on 10/16/2012 5:11:46 PM , Rating: 3
I was thinking the same thing. Although, I don't think it counts.


RE: Godwin
By paydirt on 10/17/2012 9:27:40 AM , Rating: 2
LOL. wiki'd that.

The article references "Nazis" and the "Third Reich" but by itself is not a discussion.


A learning experience
By Beenthere on 10/16/2012 6:06:38 PM , Rating: 2
He should have known that threats against the govenment and attempts to incite violence against government employees was illegal and it would land him in prison. He knows now.




RE: A learning experience
By FITCamaro on 10/17/2012 8:01:37 AM , Rating: 2
So I guess you believe that most of the Occupy Wall Street crowd should be arrested too then. Since many of them were explicitly calling for the overthrow of the government.


RE: A learning experience
By Rukkian on 10/17/2012 9:23:14 AM , Rating: 1
Calling for overthrowing the government and saying that he will shoot anybody that pulls him over are 2 completely different things.

If somebody on the occupy movement said Any government employee that comes near me will get shot, then yes, lock them up, especially if it is in writing.


Um... no it doesn't
By vol7ron on 10/16/2012 9:29:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
"[T]he constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action."
quote:
In other words, unless specific, immediate violence is promised, you're free to make statements of protest against the government -- even violent ones.

You can't just put "in other words" in front of something and then say something completely different




RE: Um... no it doesn't
By JasonMick (blog) on 10/17/2012 11:02:57 AM , Rating: 2
Wrong. Please read some reviews on Brandenburg v. Ohio before offering up your own divergent opinion.

The key word is:
directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action

Making violent, angry statements about the government was precisely the kind of speech the case allowed -- basically a hate group member had promised "revengeance" against the government.... but it was not in an imminent sense, so it was allowed.

That's the same reason why rappers can sing about killing the police. If they went out on the street and told a cop they were going to kill them, that WOULD be (according to the precedent) committing a crime, as that's an imminent threat. But saying it in a future context is not. Some comment in an internet post (e.g. this), speech (as in Brandenburg), or in a song (e.g. rappers) is not an IMMINENT threat... it's really not that hard to understand.

Besides, with today's digital technology, it's lazy to practice speechcrime @ all. Simply note reported instances of violent speech and react more cautiously when encountering the person (the state has Mr. Michael's license plate number, I presume?).


get the hell out of here
By SPOOOK on 10/20/2012 7:26:04 AM , Rating: 2
this is bs weclome to the ussa commy country




grab the tinfoil!
By superstition on 10/22/2012 2:57:40 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
A critical example Germany's 1933 decision to suspend "the Fundamental Rights" in its Articles of Government if "if public safety and order in the German Reich are considerably disturbed or endangered". The Third Reich seized the opportunity by staging a fire at the Reichstag building, which they then blamed on protesters/terrorists, leading to a blanket suspension of protest speech against the ruling regime. That censorship proved critical to the atrocities and oppression that ensued, as the Reich was able to send anyone who spoke out against its policies to prisons or concentration camps.


Crazy tinfoil hat conspiracy theories...




Navy Seal Copypasta
By fearrun on 10/17/2012 5:57:16 PM , Rating: 1
I was a bit amused when this reminded me of the common copypasta with a threatening response. This is a long version found at, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsZMbs5PC64 .

"What the fuck did you just fucking say about me, you little bitch? I'll have you know I graduated top of my class in the Navy Seals, and I've been involved in numerous secret raids on Al-Quaeda, and I have over 300 confirmed kills. I am trained in gorilla warfare and I'm the top sniper in the entire US armed forces. You are nothing to me but just another target. I will wipe you the fuck out with precision the likes of which has never been seen before on this Earth, mark my fucking words. You think you can get away with saying that shit to me over the Internet? Think again, fucker. As we speak I am contacting my secret network of spies across the USA and your IP is being traced right now so you better prepare for the storm, maggot. The storm that wipes out the pathetic little thing you call your life. You're fucking dead, kid. I can be anywhere, anytime, and I can kill you in over seven hundred ways, and that's just with my bare hands. Not only am I extensively trained in unarmed combat, but I have access to the entire arsenal of the United States Marine Corps and I will use it to its full extent to wipe your miserable ass off the face of the continent, you little shit. If only you could have known what unholy retribution your little "clever" comment was about to bring down upon you, maybe you would have held your fucking tongue. But you couldn't, you didn't, and now you're paying the price, you goddamn idiot. I will shit fury all over you and you will drown in it. You're fucking dead, kiddo."




Two things
By Ammohunt on 10/16/12, Rating: -1
RE: Two things
By geddarkstorm on 10/16/2012 4:18:28 PM , Rating: 2
Saying "[you'll] kill whoever [you] deem to be in the way" is also kinda questionable speech. There are other uglier things out there, though, but I personally can't say if that's covered under free speech or not. Better to err on the side of "yes" than "no", always; but I am left kinda wondering about that guy's mental soundness.


RE: Two things
By JasonMick (blog) on 10/16/2012 4:23:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Saying "[you'll] kill whoever [you] deem to be in the way" is also kinda questionable speech. There are other uglier things out there, though, but I personally can't say if that's covered under free speech or not. Better to err on the side of "yes" than "no", always; but I am left kinda wondering about that guy's mental soundness.
Sure it might be a sign of mental illness, but is it a criminal offense???

People say all sorts of things in frustration.

Why not prosecute people for actual actions, rather than speech, intent, and thoughts? If he's really murderous, then he will likely wind up in prison anyways for violence or violent attempts.

As they say, actions speak louder than words.


RE: Two things
By geddarkstorm on 10/16/2012 4:24:30 PM , Rating: 2
I absolutely agree. If they just brought him in to have him psychologically analyzed sure, but criminal offense it obviously is not. Again, since you point out that no one was directly named nor any methods of imminent intent given.


RE: Two things
By ArcsinZ on 10/16/2012 5:04:16 PM , Rating: 2
Look how many people are upset about the shooter in Colorado at the Batman premier. They are saying that the therapist should have come to the authorities before his actions. So when someone isn't arrested for making threats (I do actually believe he made threatening statements to any authority who pulled him over, which IS illegal) and carries through we bitch. If someone gets arrested for making those same threats we bitch. Which would you rather have? Free speech with the exception that when that free speech impedes the freedom of others it should be disallowed? Or do we say people can make whatever threats they want and we should wait until the massacre before making the arrest?

Also, you seem to be constantly mistaking arrests and charges with being found guilty. People have their day in court to defend their positions.


RE: Two things
By JasonMick (blog) on 10/16/2012 5:10:25 PM , Rating: 1
Thomas Jefferson wrote:
quote:
“Occasionally the tree of Liberty must be watered with the blood of Patriots and Tyrants."
Granted, he expressed his threat in a more eloquent fashion than Mr. Michael, but at their base level aren't the comments somewhat similar -- a threat of violent rebellion towards politicians and their minions whom the writer views as tyrannical?

As to his day in court, I agree with you absolutely, that's why I think articles like this or a similar piece I spotted on Reason.com are important... it raises attention for this critical case and hopefully draws the watchful eye of civil liberty watchdogs like the ACLU.


RE: Two things
By ArcsinZ on 10/16/2012 5:31:54 PM , Rating: 3
He made a specific threat. "I will kill anyone..." That is in no way the same as talking theoretically about the fact that revolution is necessary at times.

The landmark case in our early years as a country (I don't remember the case, I'll look it up later) was a man who heard the canons firing announcing the president. He made the remark to the person next to him that he wouldn't mind if one of those canons shot through the president. It was ruled that simply stating that he wouldn't mind if the president was killed is not the same as threatening to kill him. The same with Jefferson's quote vs. the quote in the article. A specific threat to kill those who pull him over vs. the idea that violence is sometimes needed.


RE: Two things
By TSS on 10/17/2012 8:48:08 AM , Rating: 2
It's so hard to read isn't it?

The quote is not "i will kill anyone...", though that's most asuredly what whoever got this charge rolling actually read.

The quote is, "I'll kill whoever I deem to be in the way of harmony to the human race." You can stop quotes at the end of the sentance, because that's what we've defined as a section of transferrable information. At least when you're discussing semantics.

And it's vague. Anybody can be subject, but only those who he deems, and via the vague rules of "being in the way of harmony to the human race". This could even include himself, since killers are most certainly in the way of harmony to the human race.

And as far as i know, the DEA doesn't pull people over. The police pulls people over, the DEA lifts you from your bed at 7 AM.

Plus i would look at the added bonusses of it being on the internet so it should be taken with a mountain of salt, and that this gentlemen in question is undeniably stupid, for doing it with his own, or atleast a trackable facebook account.

The fact that this is even being discussed shows how far we've regressed as a society. He's stupid for doing it trackable, the government is being stupid charging him for this, and we're stupid because we even have to discuss the whole thing (it should be painfully obvious he's not guilty).

I think most telling about this whole debate is that Raud guy. Not what happened to him, but that there are 4-5 comments about how you restrict your speech when you sign up to the militairy, and all comments have been awnsered multiple times that he had been discharged before it happened. Why are there people on the internet that cannot read, and why are there even replies to them? Everytime something like that is said and replied to it adds NOTHING to the debate, and thus the debate doesn't move forward.

No wonder i've been coming here less often lately....


RE: Two things
By paydirt on 10/17/2012 9:38:44 AM , Rating: 2
Um, its not obvious he's not guilty, that's why there is all this discussion.

I personally don't want to be "deemed to be in the way" of any of these satanic nuts, and would rather they be off the streets.

A tenet of satanism is promising to "obliterate anyone who gets in my way."

Your argument is too logical, and that's just not the way the world works... even our court system.


RE: Two things
By Invane on 10/17/2012 12:49:59 PM , Rating: 2
Where in THE hell did satanism come into this?

And his argument for the man's innocence is 'too logical'? Excellent rebuttal. Perhaps we should start consulting the psychic hotline to determine guilt as logical arguments are an invalid way to do so.

And YOU want this man off the streets? Great. I want people unable to follow logical arguments of innocence off the streets. Fortunately for you, what I want regarding you is as relevant as what you want regarding the man being discussed here...and that would be not relevant in the slightest.

Logic is how our courts should operate. We have prior case law citing that unless a threat is imminent, which this is clearly not, then it is not a criminal act.

What this IS is a clear example of the government slowly moving the line of what our constitutionally guaranteed rights allow. Over time, they will do this until we reach a point where our constitution means nothing.

Our country was BUILT on violent protest. To disallow STATING that violent protest may be necessary again is to subvert the ideals that formed this nation. Acting on that is another matter, and carries its own set of consequences.


RE: Two things
By Trisped on 10/16/2012 8:41:12 PM , Rating: 2
It is a criminal offense. You are pledging (informally) to kill someone. That shows criminal intent. If you are so out of control that you do not realize you are threatening to kill someone then you are out of control enough to actually do it.

People need to realize that they are held accountable to what they say, no matter how they are feeling.

The individual in the first case 100% deserves to go to jail, as he was attempting to push his agenda through terrorism (using threats to instill terror so others would not act against his wishes).

The second case is probably a case of insanity, the result of the marines time deployed. He is fortunate that someone realized that he was messed up and did not stick him up in front of a firing squad. The US Marines are very strict on speaking against the President or US government, especial in public. You know that when you sign up. In essence you agree to follow this rule, and accept the consequences when you do not. I am glad that this marine is getting the help he needs.

As for "Why not prosecute people for actual actions" the fact is that speech is an action, one that often leads to more physical recognizable actions. It is 100% OK to disagree with the current ruling party, a department in the government, or even your neighbor. It is illegal to threaten them.

Personally, this makes sense to me. The US government grants me the right to be secure in my person, belongings, and property. If someone is threatening one of those things, then (by law) the US government is required to step in, because I am no longer secure. That might require the arrest of a vandal, or the deployment of armed forces to keep a hostile nation from performing a land grab.


RE: Two things
By Fujikoma on 10/17/2012 7:40:51 AM , Rating: 2
I work with a lot of people that make the comment that they'd like to strangle management... quite a few with hate in their voice. Probably no different than this guy. The government didn't check to see if he was actually complaining or serious before it started it its inquisition.


RE: Two things
By Invane on 10/17/2012 1:06:29 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It is a criminal offense. You are pledging (informally) to kill someone. That shows criminal intent. If you are so out of control that you do not realize you are threatening to kill someone then you are out of control enough to actually do it.
...
As for "Why not prosecute people for actual actions" the fact is that speech is an action, one that often leads to more physical recognizable actions.


Speech often leads to more 'physical recognizable' actions? 'Often'? So you think that people that say they want to strangle someone, or hit someone, or even kill someone 'Often' follow through with that? And that merely stating you want to strangle someone means you're out of control?

I'm willing to bet that the number of times these 'informal pledges' are followed through with is absolutely miniscule compared to the number of times they are not followed through with. This is why SAYING something is not the same as DOING something.

There's a reason that a threat is not a criminal action unless it is imminent. The reason is that the number of people that carry such a threat out is miniscule compared to the number of people that cool down and move on.

Prosecuting this 'informal pledge' that was probably stated during a bad day or when the guy was angry is absolutely ridiculous unless you have a much better set of evidence showing he actually intended to do it.

What you propose would lead to filling our prisons with people who just happened to be pissed off and said something stupid. Fantastic plan.

You know what scares me? People like you, who live in constant fear of every idle threat posted on the internet and think the government immediately needs to step in to save them from the bogeyman. You are the reason we end up with ridiculous rights curtailing legislation and further government empowerment every day.


RE: Two things
By Trisped on 10/30/2012 5:58:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
What you propose would lead to filling our prisons with people who just happened to be pissed off and said something stupid. Fantastic plan.
No, what I propose would not fill the prisons. It would require people to maintain control of themselves. If you are "pissed off" then you are not in control, by definition.

The punishment does not have to be jail time. More likely you would be sent to classes to help you learn to control yourself. And just FYI, what I stated is very common practice and often required by law.


RE: Two things
By FITCamaro on 10/16/2012 4:28:45 PM , Rating: 3
Sure and maybe next I'll get arrested for saying I don't like Obama and you'll be completely fine with it because its not you.


RE: Two things
By geddarkstorm on 10/16/2012 4:38:11 PM , Rating: 2
Heck no, I would be in prison right there next to you.

But that's a little different than saying you're going to kill people whom you deem as in the way of humanity's harmony, whatever that even means. Not saying that's not free speech, as I agree and think it is; but when you string "war", "anarchy" (especially) and "killing" together with arbitrary notions and other vagueness, and then try to bring more people together under the same sentiments, I think it does kinda deserve a watchful eye. But criminal charges just for saying those things? Never. The government is clearly in the wrong here.


RE: Two things
By JasonMick (blog) on 10/16/2012 5:06:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
But that's a little different than saying you're going to kill people whom you deem as in the way of humanity's harmony, whatever that even means.
It really depends on the context.
quote:
“Occasionally the tree of Liberty must be watered with the blood of Patriots and Tyrants."
Hey, that sounds kind of like a death threat. They might be talking about the government. Who would say such a crazy thing. Let's put him or her or in prison for 15 years.

What's that you say? It was Thomas Jefferson? Oh, okay then, that's fine...


RE: Two things
By bh192012 on 10/16/2012 6:18:43 PM , Rating: 2
Lets look at this from another perspective.

You live in the same town as this guy and you're a cop. Do you feel threatened?

Do you feel it's free speech to go up to a cop and tell him "I'm going to kill you if you pull me over?" What if you just have that as a bumper sticker? Or if your this guy's neighbor?

My mind is not made up on the morality or legality of all this, but it's an interesting discussion. Part of the law here might be intent. Does the defendant have the means to carry out his threat? If they get a warrant and find the guy has a loaded gun in his glove box? Does he have previous offenses etc. Did he just get pulled over (making this threat more specific?)

Think on this.... Thomas Jefferson goes to your house, knocks on your door Senator Mick, and says {in a Sam Jackson voice} “Occasionally the tree of Liberty must be watered with the blood of Patriots and Tyrants."

So yeah, context matters. I'm guessing that's what this trial will attempt to demonstrate.


RE: Two things
By FITCamaro on 10/17/2012 7:59:26 AM , Rating: 2
People say impassioned things all the time. That doesn't justify being arrested for it.

Were liberals arrested for saying they hoped Bush would die when he was president?


RE: Two things
By Rukkian on 10/17/2012 10:11:57 AM , Rating: 2
Hoping somebody would die, and saying you will kill any cop that pulls you over are 2 completely different things.


RE: Two things
By Reclaimer77 on 10/16/2012 6:26:29 PM , Rating: 2
This is why we have the highest percentage of our population in prisons, by a huge margin, in the world among developed nations.

Yes what he said was stupid, yes he's clearly upset or not right in the head. Or maybe he was just blowing off steam. But goddammit, this man served his nation and maybe he needs help. Maybe he's got Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or something. Is throwing him in jail for speaking words really the best way to deal with this for everyone involved? Really?

I don't know it just seems like the richest most powerful and "smartest" nation in the world could find a better way to deal with a lot of these so-called "crimes" better than imprisonment. I believe firmly in being hard on crimes, true crimes that actually HURT people or whatever, but this???


RE: Two things
By thurston2 on 10/16/2012 7:56:29 PM , Rating: 2
The war on drugs is why our prison population is so high.


RE: Two things
By Solandri on 10/17/2012 4:00:58 AM , Rating: 2
I've heard that before but if Wikipedia is to be believed, it's simply not true.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incarceration_in_the_...

According to Wiki, 22% of the prisoners in federal and state prisons are in there on drug charges. Drop down to the graph on prisoners per 100,000 population and you'll see a 22% decrease just drops us from #1 to #2 (behind Russia). We'd still have 5x more prisoners per capita than Europe and Canada.

I suspect what's causing the mismatch is that there are actually two ways to count this. If you look at number of people sent to prison each year, then the length of prison sentence does not matter. Someone in for 1 year on a drug charge counts as one person. Someone locked up for 30 years on murder counts as one person. Consequently, the number of people sent to prison on drug charges is a large percentage of the total.

But if you look at the number of people actually in prison at any given time, the guy in for 30 years for murder represents a 30x longer stay in prison than the 1 year drug offender. Consequently the percentage of prisoners who are there on drug charges is smaller.

Since the accusation in this case is prison population (percentage of population imprisoned on drug charges at any given time), the second definition is the relevant one. And the war on drugs is not responsible for the high incarceration rate in the U.S. The culprit is more likely "get tough on crime" laws like three strikes, mandating longer prison terms.

If the accusation had been that a large percentage of the population had been convicted and served prison time, then the first definition would be the relevant one. And the war on drugs is responsible for the high number of people with criminal records.


RE: Two things
By Rukkian on 10/17/2012 10:17:51 AM , Rating: 2
One thing that is not shown in that 22% is how many of the other prisoners are in due to drugs second hand - killing somebody for their drugs, assaulting officers, bribery, gangs, etc. Alot of this would go down if it were not profitable for the cartels and drug lords to sell drugs. If drugs were sold openly (and taxed) you could fund many more treatment options for people with problems, and get the drug money out of the criminals.


RE: Two things
By JasonMick (blog) on 10/16/2012 4:20:01 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
1. You can't yell fire! in a crowded theatre
Who's yelling fire?

There's a pretty steep line between that and protesting the government, even if you choose to do so with offensive statements.
quote:
2. While wearing a uniform you are subject to UCMJ.
Are you referring to the marine?? He was honorably discharged. He was no longer in service when he exercised his free speech online to protest the government.

If you're suggesting that his protest speech should be permanently censored for the rest of his life because he at one time served our country, I would argue you are badly misguided. I think we should honor our men and women who serve, not punish them.


RE: Two things
By geddarkstorm on 10/16/2012 4:22:34 PM , Rating: 2
The government sounds clearly wrong in the Marine's case. He like any of us has every right to rail against the government as much as he wants. The first guy you could make an argument he's threatening to kill people arbitrarily, even if it is vague, but the Marine? It is a dangerous trend, and things like "free speech zones" need to be stopped, as they clearly violate the Constitution.


RE: Two things
By JasonMick (blog) on 10/16/2012 4:27:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The government sounds clearly wrong in the Marine's case. He like any of us has every right to rail against the government as much as he wants. The first guy you could make an argument he's threatening to kill people arbitrarily, even if it is vague, but the Marine? It is a dangerous trend, and things like "free speech zones" need to be stopped, as they clearly violate the Constitution.
But I think you hit the nail on the head when you described it as a "dangerous trend". That's the problem with speechcrime verdicts...

Once you open the floodgates, it becomes laughably easy to prosecute anyone who you happen to disagree with for supposed speechcrimes, if you find a willing court. It may be eventually vacated by a higher court, but you may end up imprisoned for years, if not decades as the mess makes its way through appeals.

And god help us if the Supreme Court someday decides to reverse Brandenburg v. Ohio. Then it could really be open season...


RE: Two things
By ClownPuncher on 10/16/2012 4:56:12 PM , Rating: 2
Put the judge on trial.


RE: Two things
By ritualm on 10/16/2012 5:26:25 PM , Rating: 2
Life without parole you go!


RE: Two things
By Reclaimer77 on 10/16/2012 5:55:00 PM , Rating: 2
Just like us 'crazy' Conservatives have been saying all along about this Administration. In a word: Tyrannical.


RE: Two things
By ClownPuncher on 10/16/2012 7:27:31 PM , Rating: 2
And what us Libertarians have been saying for many more years than the last 4.


RE: Two things
By thurston2 on 10/16/2012 7:58:34 PM , Rating: 2
So sad that you only think this administration has been tyrannical, take off the blinders.


RE: Two things
By Rukkian on 10/17/2012 10:21:21 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, cause Obama is the reason this guy has been brought up on charges. I bet Obama was reading every person's facebook pages and found this one and sent his personal guards to go arrest him.


RE: Two things
By kingmotley on 10/16/2012 4:39:54 PM , Rating: 2
There is nothing about "free speech zones" that violates the Constitution. Perhaps it would be wise to read it first before commenting. Just a thought.


RE: Two things
By geddarkstorm on 10/16/2012 4:42:41 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think you know what they are? The whole "free speech zone" thing is about saying "you can't say anything in opposition to this event except in these areas we have designated, despite this being a public place". How is that not a violation of the Constitution?


RE: Two things
By Ammohunt on 10/16/2012 6:06:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Who's yelling fire?


Just illustrating a limit on free speech like it or not. Also threatening the president automatically suspends your right to due process among many others. You act like this is a new thing..

quote:
Are you referring to the marine?? He was honorably discharged. He was no longer in service when he exercised his free speech online to protest the government. If you're suggesting that his protest speech should be permanently censored for the rest of his life because he at one time served our country, I would argue you are badly misguided. I think we should honor our men and women who serve, not punish them.


Sorry read it as and active duty Marine forgot about the once a Marine always a Marine stuff. What about racial hate speech? which seem to be the trend would you defend a bigots free speech as well?


RE: Two things
By Reclaimer77 on 10/16/2012 6:31:56 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Just illustrating a limit on free speech like it or not.


That doesn't apply here because it happened online. You can't claim to have read something on a website and felt like you were being forced into a state of panic.


RE: Two things
By Jeffk464 on 10/16/2012 4:23:24 PM , Rating: 3
and you definitely can't spout out death threats


RE: Two things
By Jeffk464 on 10/16/2012 4:24:23 PM , Rating: 2
although 15 years is absurd and seriously doubt he will get even a small fraction of that


RE: Two things
By geddarkstorm on 10/16/2012 4:25:58 PM , Rating: 2
A death threat has to be against a specific person, I think, to count. Or if you say you'll off everyone in building X, then that is an imminent threat. Specifics are what tip the scales in the law, it seems.


RE: Two things
By Jeffk464 on 10/16/2012 5:30:49 PM , Rating: 2
sounds right


RE: Two things
By futrtrubl on 10/17/2012 3:28:13 AM , Rating: 2
He was pretty specific, ie anyone that pulls him over.


RE: Two things
By Solandri on 10/17/2012 4:14:13 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
A death threat has to be against a specific person, I think, to count.

Dunno if that's the case, but it's a stupid distinction. In one of the MMORPGs I played, there was a troublemaker player who harassed others trying to play the game. When people tried to PK him to force him to move and stop harassing, they were banned for harassing a specific player. The troublemaker meanwhile was not targeting a specific player - he was harassing people at random. And thus he was not punished. That's the kind of perverse justice which can arise if you qualify crimes or threats based on whether the victims are specific or random.

A death threat being against a specific person simply makes it easier to monitor the perpetrator and potential victim. i.e. it's a concession to the limited manpower of law enforcement - concentrate your resources where it's likely to do the most good. It's not a qualifier as to the seriousness of the threat.


RE: Two things
By Rukkian on 10/17/2012 10:24:48 AM , Rating: 1
Tell that to the cop that pulls him over. That is pretty specific.


RE: Two things
By RufusM on 10/16/2012 4:34:42 PM , Rating: 2
In the first case involving Facebook, this is no different than a person walking the streets spewing non-specific threats against the government. The US has a long history of protecting anti-government/establishment speech in particular.

I think it will be difficult to prosecute this person for criminal speech in this case unless he specifically named a person or target in his posts, or there is more evidence of conspiracy to commit these crimes such as a plan of action, an arsenal of weapons, etc.

On a side note, I have no idea why someone would publicly post those things. It's just asking for trouble.


RE: Two things
By NellyFromMA on 10/16/2012 4:49:37 PM , Rating: 2
Silly me. I read this article literally thinking someone peaceful suggested protesting via FB against the US gov. It turns out its just someone making a threat online. That's never been acceptable. This is not a story but an obvious outcome to a stupid action.

The following is a threat, not a call to protest:

quote:
War is near. Anarchy and justice will be sought...I'll kill whoever I deem to be in the way of harmony to the human race...BE WARNED IF U PULL ME OVER!!"


RE: Two things
By Kyuu on 10/17/2012 2:55:53 AM , Rating: 2
Have to agree here; I came in thinking it was some reasonable protest action or speech, and it's about a guy making a death threat.

How in the world is a guy saying he'll kill anyone who gets in his way, then saying "you better watch out if you pull me over!" not a fairly specific death threat? He's saying he's going to kill any law-enforcement officer who has the misfortune to pull him over.

Obviously this is not a slam-dunk case, and there's context and other things to take into account, but it seems pretty reasonable to bring him up on charges and let this go to trial. 15 years would be excessive for just a threat, in my opinion, but even if he was convicted on all three counts, he'll likely serve concurrent sentences, and not even the full five years.


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