I literally threw up in my mouth a little when I read this article…
Brought to my attention by a link posted on twitter by our very own Todd Fokus Walton, the good folks over at Raw Dawg Buffalo have an article up about a Tuesday federal court ruling that says its ok to threaten our very own President of the United States. A “man” from La Mesa, Walter Bagdasarian, posted racial epithets about President Barack Obama and called for people to shoot him during his 2008 Presidential campaign. Historically, making threats towards the POTUS would earn you a swift march off to jail. Which it did at first. Six firearms and another email of the same nature were found when Secret Service raided the man’s home. In Bagdasarian’s defense, he said he was “drunk and joking”. The man was summarily convicted of threatening the President. But the federal courts overturned that ruling. Apparently the federal courts decided it shouldn’t apply to our current President, saying that the speech is protected by the First Amendment, and that there was no way the man could have actually carried out the threat. Here’s what the judge had to say on the ruling:
Judge Stephen Reinhardt stated, “When our law punishes words, we must examine the surrounding circumstances to discern the significance of those words’ utterance, but must not distort or embellish their plain meaning so that the law may reach them”. Judge Reinhardt was joined in the 2 to one decision by Chief Judge Alex Kozinski. Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw dissented.
Although the divided panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals stated that Bagdasarian’s comments were “particularly repugnant,” they went on to add that saying Obama “will have a 50 cal in the head soon” and a call to “shoot the [racist slur]” weren’t violations of the law under which he was convicted since the statute doesn’t criminalize “predictions or exhortations to others to injure or kill the president.”
So we can threaten the President of the United States, because its protected by the First Amendment, but cannot burn the US Flag. Even if its my own US flag that I brought with my own money. We can threaten the President of the United States, but can’t say various words in an Airport. If I say, “that seafood last night was the bomb” while I’m standing in an airport, I would be arrested, detained and interrogated. But if I say, “I want to bust my guns” at the POTUS, in an open internet chat room or that very same airport… Nothing.
Is this truly the country we live where threatening the POTUS is fine and dandy? Somehow, I don’t even think I’d be writing this article, if GW Bush was still President…. What are those lyrics from that Kanye West song again?… Oh yeah… “Racism’s still alive, they just be concealing it”.
*Please keep in mind that the opinions expressed at the end of this article are purely my own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the rest of the Hip Hop Democrat staff*