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Don’t you dare insult your local congresscritter

July 5, 2019

Yesterday was July 4, Independence Day here in the United States. I was unable to write as I spent the day engaged with a brisket and a woefully inadequate smoker which required constant attention, along with hot wings and beans (others were responsible for the other requisites like potato salad). Maybe it was helpful to not write as one can engage in a lot of contemplation while monitoring and tending to a brisket in a woefully inadequate smoker (did I mention that, yet?). My contemplating has lead me to conclude, once again, that some people simply don’t like liberty, not really. Oh, they enjoy the freedoms and rights they exercise and perhaps some others of which they approve. But when it comes to the rights they don’t routinely (or ever) exercise, or the freedom of others to do things of which they disapprove, it becomes evident they simply don’t value liberty for its own sake. For instance…

The Honorable Representative from the State of Florida, Frederica Wilson, has opined that people who insult or mock members of Congress, online, should be prosecuted. Now, if I give the good congresscritter the benefit of the doubt, she might have been suggesting only that it is against the law to threaten a member of Congress. That is absolutely true. If so, she should have been more clear, because what she seemed to be saying was that mocking or insulting members of Congress was equivalent to threatening them.

Bull****

Telling someone you are going to beat them to death is a threat. Posting pictures of them and/or their family(ies), under certain circumstances, can be reasonably perceived as a threat. Those and similar actions are illegal and can and should be prosecuted, for (at least) two reasons. First, such threats are generally illegal. You don’t get to threaten people. Second, I’ll go so far as to say that threatening a member of Congress can be reasonably construed as a threat to our constitutional system of government. So, don’t threaten people. Clear enough?

Here are some things that are not threats.

  • Dear Congress critter Wilson
    • You’re stupid.
    • All that pink. What? Being a US Representative doesn’t pay enough so you’re selling Mary Kay on the side?
    • That hat looks like something out of a bad 70’s sitcom about black people.
    • Your willingness to abandon anything that even approximates due regard for the Constitution marks you as someone who should have never been elected and calls into question the ability of your constituency to form coherent thoughts.
    • You suck.
    • Who helped you with your makeup, the Crypt Keeper?
    • It’s called freedom of speech, you inarticulate moron.

Comments such as those are arguably accurate in their perspective and, though somewhat rude, do not constitute threats.

Let’s play a little bit with both categories. Let’s say the following are all addressed to me.

  • “RM, you aren’t from Texas (true and not a threat), your brisket-smoking efforts are the worst kind of cultural appropriation (meaningless), and the next time I get word of you attempting to smoke a brisket, I will walk into your backyard and put a f***ing bullet in your head (definitely a threat).”
  • “Your guitar playing is torture for adults, children and animals alike (maybe true, maybe not, but not a threat) so I’m posting your picture online (not a threat).”
  • “You can’t drive worth s*** (that’s a matter of opinion). You’re such a danger when on the road that I want everyone to know you, your car and where you live, so here are pictures to let everyone know to avoid the roads anywhere near you (not a threat, though IANAL).”
  • “Libertarian, huh? Yeah, we’ve read that crap you write. Black Bloc is coming for you, pal. Here are some pix of you, your house and your family, along with the schedules all of you follow. We’re gonna get you and you’ll never see it coming. Better be careful when you’re outside your house, buddy. Be a shame if something happened to your or your family (threat).”

See? Easy to tell the difference.

Finally, did I mention that my smoker is woefully inadequate?

 

 

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  1. Insulting congresscritters revisited | retiredmustang

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