Friday Feedback: Terrorist Threats Not “Free Speech”

istock_000001483014xsmall.jpgFridays the LA Progressive features a comment that was particularly noteworthy. This week we are featuring a comment submitted by Thelma T. Reyna, commenting on “Tea Baggers, Ku Kluxers, and Red Shirts” by Berry Craig. Here’s Thelma’s comment:

I agree with Marshall that our right to free speech is one of the most inalienable rights in our nation, and we must always protect this. What distresses me is when this right is twisted into an excuse to slander innocent people, to spread vicious lies far and wide very publicly (to the detriment of our American society, such as the lies about “death panels”), and–most especially–when the vitriolic exercise of this right of speech foments potentially deadly dangers to our rightfully elected President of the United States.

Facts clearly show that death threats to President Obama are hugely greater than those toward any other president in our nation’s history. They are tremendously greater in number and frequency than toward President GW Bush, for example, despite the latter’s unpopularity. Death threats toward our president are so great, in fact, that our protective services are reportedly concerned that they cannot keep up with tracking and investigating them…for the first time in our history. This is frightening but not surprising in the ambience created by extremist folks exercising their “right of free speech.”

When Sarah Palin tells her fans to “reload,” when she uses rifle scopes to depict pictorially her political enemies, when her rhetoric in Tea Bag rallies is filled with gun/violence imagery, one needn’t wonder for too long if this might have an effect in encouraging an extremist or two to shoot the man the majority of us voted into office. You don’t have to have a psychology degree to know the power of mob “groupthink” and how it can easily spur people to violence. History and research prove the deadly effectiveness of such “mob psychology.”

So, yes, free speech is vital to our democracy. Terrorist threats, racism, and slander are not protected by our nation’s laws or the implicit codes of human civility and decorum.


  1. Elaine says

    Tea Party people do not promote violence, neither does Sarah Palin when she uses the term reload the only people that think that she is referring to a gun are probably only the elite liberal who try to make a mountain out of a mole hill like they do everything else. David Brooks said the country is divided between the educated & the uneducated. I know that Obama has divided us & class warfare is some of it but he thinks people like Sarah Palin because she didn’t go to Harvard isn’t educated & has an accent that people like her cannot do anything. She made a better Governor then Obama has made a Senator or a President. If he can’t get his way he just uses his Chicago politics & lets the SEIU & the AFL-CIO do his dirty work for him. The Nuclear program was suppose to be used as a deterrent. But he has to announce to the world that if they use biological or chemical warfare on us we will do nothing. If he would just stop sticking his big foot in his Harvard Elite Educated mouth, they would still be afraid we would. He shows transparency on things to our enemies that they do not need to know & especially hangs out our CIA agents to be killed but he does not show the American people what they are doing behind closed doors. Eric Holder calling all of us (Americans) weak made me mad enough but for Obama to let him try to take the CIA to court for obeying orders from the previous administration is just ludicrous. We were at war. No administration has the right to question a previous administration & their actions in a time of war. I understand Leahy is still trying to do something to Bush. Leahy is an idiot who has been in Congress to long. He needs to be replaced.
    This AFL-CIO giving his speech in the John F. Kennedy Building at that college made me laugh. He & Obama & the rest of the Liberals seem not to remember that Jack Kennedy sent the CIA to Cuba to try to assassinate Castro. He almost started & caused a war between us & Cuba & Russia because of that. Robert Kennedy tried to prosecute the Mafia in which their Father belonged. He got some of them. But both Jack & Robert ended up being shot & no one knew who really did it. This was horrible & I hope we never have to go through something like that again. It could have been Castro, the Mafia or someone else they screwed over. Not to say they didn’t have good reason for what they did, but they did not take into consideration the long reach of both of these group of people & the power they held. Obama deals with the likes of people that killed John & Robert Kennedy. They may not be the same group of people but they are of similar kind. I do not like that & that makes me fearful for what is going to happen to us if someone does not stop them.

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