Skip

December 14, 2002
4:32 AM   Subscribe

I found no post related to the kid in Bellbrook Ohio being persecuted by his classmates, the high school Principal, and then the Secret Service for wearing a "NOT MY PRESIDENT" T-shirt. The persecution began when he drew crosshairs on the forehead. You can support irony by buying one for $13.00 at Fat Wreck Chords.---I only post it now, three days later, as I see in my weblog's referer log that it's topical enough that that's how a few people found my site.
posted by giantkicks (49 comments total)

 
That 'news' has to be some of the worst writing I've seen. Yeeesh...
posted by CoolHandPuke at 5:11 AM on December 14, 2002


Yes, not the best of writing, but it sounds more like a script to be read on the air on a news program.

As for supporting "irony"...if this kid is getting questioned by the Feds for wearing this, why would anyone in their right mind order one? Personally, I don't see the humor in wearing a t-shirt with damn crosshairs on the President of the United States' head.
posted by JaxJaggywires at 6:10 AM on December 14, 2002


*this is stupid*

Where exactly is the 'persecution' here?
posted by revbrian at 6:11 AM on December 14, 2002


hahah, keen observation, cool hand.
"They must've got one of the studetses write-ups for the school newspaper.
Because it reads that way.
And the writer sounds like a suck-up.
I learned nothing of substance after reading it."
posted by the aloha at 6:13 AM on December 14, 2002


As for supporting "irony"...if this kid is getting questioned by the Feds for wearing this, why would anyone in their right mind order one? Personally, I don't see the humor in wearing a t-shirt with damn crosshairs on the President of the United States' head.

I don't think the original t-shirt has cross hairs - the kid drew them on.e
posted by carter at 6:35 AM on December 14, 2002


The kid is stupid, but why would any Prinicipal in their right mind call the FBI? It used to be you were asked to change your clothes. It all seems like a waste for everyones time.
posted by sebas at 6:39 AM on December 14, 2002


if this kid is getting questioned by the Feds for wearing this, why would anyone in their right mind order one?

Perhaps because there can be more important issues than getting questioned by the Feds? Do you really pee your pants just because someone wants to talk to you about something? Me, I've done nothing wrong and welcome questioning from anyone.

I think putting crosshairs on the picture is pretty stupid and juvenile--but then, he is a teenager, so I guess it's not all that inappropriate or unexpected to be stupid and juvenile. What I think is far MORE stupid and juvenile (and dangerous), however, is treating something like this as a legitimate threat to the President (or whatever reasonable facsimile thereof). Or pretending to do so in order to foster an atmosphere of threat and desperation, or to justify an increase in authoritarian control. As far as I'm concerned, threatening the President (or not threatening him, but using threatening symbology to make a point) is no more or less serious an action than threatening any other human being. He is not God, people, nor even King. He is simply one of us, elected to do a job for us. It's wrong to legitimately threaten him in the same way and to the same extent that it would be wrong to threaten your neighbor or co-worker.

Agree to disagree with the kid; make him change his shirt in order to remain in school if you must. Anything beyond that is absurd.
posted by rushmc at 6:45 AM on December 14, 2002


I dunno what the big deal is, guys. I personally feel much safer at night knowing that a specific teenager is unable to wear a tacky shirt thanks to the FBI, who have this terrorism thing on lock-down ya heard?
posted by mcsweetie at 6:52 AM on December 14, 2002


Agree to disagree with the kid; make him change his shirt in order to remain in school if you must. Anything beyond that is absurd.

Yes, because we know that high-school students, particularly anti-social boys, never commit violent crimes.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:01 AM on December 14, 2002


I am totally with you, McSweetie. I would love to be there to see a gaggle of Feds in stretchy polyester suits, cheap sunglasses and those little earphone thingies converge on the school, homing in on "the kid with the t-shirt."

A little theatre of the mind - imagine your high school principal (vice principal in my case) looking you in the eye and saying this:

"I realize Billabong is a surfing company. If we were in California or Florida where they do a lot of surfing, I would understand. But we don't surf here so where do we draw the line?" Dombrowski said.
Story here
posted by planetkyoto at 7:05 AM on December 14, 2002


Does the SS have nothing better to do than to roust high school jerkwads? And as for the two stoolies who came forward, you're gonna go places in America.
posted by letterneversent at 7:09 AM on December 14, 2002


I thought everyone involved in this school incident was a bit dense, but along a similar and far more serious line,

I don't suppose anyone here remembers the veiled threats (about assasination, specifically) made publically by at least one national republican leader concerning the prospects of Bill Clinton travelling, during his presidency, to a certain southen state? - I would look it up, but I bet someone on Mefi recalls the specific incident.
posted by troutfishing at 7:09 AM on December 14, 2002


Hmm...Try this tiny URL version.
posted by planetkyoto at 7:09 AM on December 14, 2002


Key point: It is patently illegal to threaten the life of the President of the United States. The Secret Service (and the military) take threats against the President (both real, perceived, and those intended as "jokes") VERY seriously. Calling him "not MY President" is fine...but the cross-hairs were an engraved invitation to the authorities to make sure that the kid wasn't involved, or knew anythinga about, a potential threat to the President.
posted by davidmsc at 7:32 AM on December 14, 2002


It is patently illegal to threaten the life of the President of the United States.

Unfortunately it is not patently illegal for the President of the United States to threaten the lives of people living in other countries ...d
posted by carter at 7:50 AM on December 14, 2002


Yes, because we know that high-school students, particularly anti-social boys, never commit violent crimes.

Suns go nova too, but I wouldn't structure my life around fear that ours will in my lifetime.
posted by rushmc at 7:50 AM on December 14, 2002


Key point: It is patently illegal to threaten the life of the President of the United States.

And it shouldn't be, any more or less than threatening the life of any other human being. He ain't all that.

Not to mention that sometimes a threat is not a threat (how many people have you threatened to kill in your life? your parents? kids? spouse? boss? guess you'd better go turn yourself in at the station now). Think "credible" and "legitimate" and "context."
posted by rushmc at 7:55 AM on December 14, 2002


You don't get to joke about killing the president (its like you don't get to joke about bombs at an airport)... it always results in an investigations if its reported. It even *gasp* happened during the previous administration!

Note what happened to the Seanbaby and Old Man Murray (R.I.P.) guys. This was for a web ad that said "what better way to tell the president you want to kill him than with a FCIPH email?" -- obviously a joke.

People need to stop crying wolf (er, "fascist") about the wrong things -- you want to complain about something, complain about the seemingly permanent suspension of habeas corpus.
posted by malphigian at 7:58 AM on December 14, 2002


rushmc: that is a different question. I think its a fair point that they should be able to parse out what is a joke or not, but that is a very different point from the implication that this is something new with the Bush administration.
posted by malphigian at 8:06 AM on December 14, 2002


davidmsc: What? An engraved invitation? The Secret Service does of course have a duty to follow up on every credible threat to the President, but they also have a duty to use good judgement in determining what is credible. Even the Secret Service is not above the Constitution of the United States. I have a hard time believing the Secret Service would find crosshairs on a t-shirt a credible threat

Key counterpoint: How many kids have been questioned by the FBI for wearing T-shirts with Osama bin Laden's crosshair-sporting mug on them? How many people would truly believe that the act of wearing an Osama-in-the-crosshairs shirt represented a statement of a credible threat on Osama bin Laden's life? Is it even within the realm of possibility that this particular Ohio suburban kid could act on a threat against the President any more than he could against bin Laden? The fact that bin Laden is bin Laden is irrelevant. It is illegal for Americans outside the military to murder foreign nationals. A threat against bin Laden is therefore a threat to commit illegal homicide, no matter how unpopular the man may be among middle-class Ohio suburbanites for being an evil mass-murdering fuckhead.

What we have here is nothing more than political fundamentalism, a climate of stifled dissent brought on by a palpable fear of terrorism, whipped up by the media to sell ad space and welcomed by a neo-conservative authoritarian central government to push their agenda forward.

And yes, protesting that the line on "credible threat to the President" seems to be a lot more conservative than it has been is a minor point next to all the other scary post-Reichstag-Fire stuff that's been going on in Washington since last September, but it is only in documenting and understanding the boundaries of the new limits on American freedom that we can hope to combat them.

I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. - Thomas Jefferson
posted by Vetinari at 8:07 AM on December 14, 2002


This isn't about the FBI not investigating claims about killing the president. It's why this vice-principal saw the need to call the FBI over a t-shirt. I'm sure it's a great lesson to the kid and he'll be a model citizen from now on without any grudge at all. Way to go...
posted by sebas at 8:08 AM on December 14, 2002


Vetinari: Good points, but please check my post above, the "threat" from seanbaby was even less credible than this one, and that was during the clinton administration, it is NOT a new policy -- no matter how obvious the joke, you always get investigated.

They probably need to change that policy, but its not a sign of anything about the current administration.

Sebas: Now that makes sense, the vice principal is clearly screwed up.
posted by malphigian at 8:18 AM on December 14, 2002


kinda makes me wonder why i never got in trouble back in the day for wearing this JFA t-shirt.
posted by irix at 8:41 AM on December 14, 2002


The problem is that if they don't follow up on the report (or make the report) -- even knowing that it's very likely not credible, then later the kid did try to kill the president, there'd be all kinds of news stories about the shirt and how the administration knew or the FBI was notified and didn't do anything or...

Waste of time? Without a doubt. Creating an oppressive environment? Yeah, probably. But, what would you do? You'd do what they do, because when it comes down to it, it's all about CYA.
posted by willnot at 8:44 AM on December 14, 2002


Key point: It is patently illegal to threaten the life of the President of the United States.

And it shouldn't be, any more or less than threatening the life of any other human being.


This is certainly true. But a threat to the president is also a threat to the government and the rest of its citizens, and is therefore more of a concern. The potential for national and international upheaval is very great.

(For this same reason, I thought it was wrong to impeach a president for behavior -- lying, fooling around with interns -- that would lose any private citizen their job.)

It would be nice if you could write a law that itself distinguished serious from frivolous threats. But that's hard.
posted by oddovid at 8:58 AM on December 14, 2002


A threat against bin Laden is therefore a threat to commit illegal homicide

I guess that means that ... bin Laden's threat to kill ME is illegal, too. Yes!! FINALLY we've got him, dead to rights! I'm calling the cops...

Seriously, though: the Secret Service investigates all threats to the president. You can't make a decision about what's frivolous and what isn't unless you ask some questions. They probably think it's stupid, too, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't go talk to the kid. What if he's Oswald, or Hinckley?
posted by coelecanth at 9:21 AM on December 14, 2002


The hassling of these young'ns for their clothes has apparently reached such epic proportions that Anti-Flag now brings you this handy-dandy guide of what to do if you ever get "busted for trying to walk"
posted by guyincognito at 9:25 AM on December 14, 2002


if they don't follow up on the report (or make the report) -- even knowing that it's very likely not credible, then later the kid did try to kill the president, there'd be all kinds of news stories about the shirt and how the administration knew or the FBI was notified and didn't do anything or...

So? Do we want our government to create policy because the press might say something negative or because it is sound policy?

But a threat to the president is also a threat to the government and the rest of its citizens, and is therefore more of a concern.

To a point, but mostly I don't buy that argument. There are lots of people who do very important jobs--we don't make special laws making their lives worth more than those of the rest of us.

The President is replaceable. It's happened before, it'll happen again. The world doesn't end when it happens--often (every 4 or 8 years), it doesn't even squeak much.
posted by rushmc at 9:46 AM on December 14, 2002


I could get away with this at my school. Wait does crosshairs over Morrissey's head count??

9< Back in my day we didn't have "duck food"
posted by KettleBlack at 9:48 AM on December 14, 2002


Vetinari-

Love the name. :)

/offtopic
posted by kayjay at 11:26 AM on December 14, 2002


For Valentine's dayy I might make shirts that say "I *Heart* Bush to Death" with a little cross-hairs over the heart.

"But Mr. FBI Man! It's just Cupid drawing a bead on G Dub!"
posted by nathan_teske at 12:45 PM on December 14, 2002


>>I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. - Thomas Jefferson

"except for the tyranny i used keeping those smelly, unintelligent slaves of mine in their place..." *

*not really a TJ quote. (hold deadpan expression)
posted by aiq at 1:46 PM on December 14, 2002


Am I the only one who thinks that if I were going to kill some prominent public figure, I wouldn't wear a shirt advertising it?

I guess I just don't have the mind of a killer. Oh well.
posted by zztzed at 7:02 PM on December 14, 2002


Shit... What ever happened to freedom of speach, and freedom of expression?
posted by SweetJesus at 8:12 PM on December 14, 2002


"Speech"

And I should think you'd have better judgement than wearing a T-shirt that says "I Have a Bomb" in to an airport.

This isn't first ammendment violation, it's just common sense. You don't tell people that you're "going to kill them" either.
posted by hama7 at 9:08 PM on December 14, 2002


Should a person be thrown out of school for wearing this?

After all, it's an admission of murder, hama7. Surely, in the black and white world of your home planet, they must be kicking kids out of school every day (and throwing them in jail, too) for wearing these shirts and proudly admitting their crimes...
posted by websavvy at 9:11 PM on December 14, 2002


This isn't first amendment violation, it's just common sense. You don't tell people that you're "going to kill them" either

What the hell are you talking about? Of course it's free speech. It's an unpopular stance, but it's still protected under freedom of speech.

As far as the government is concerned, freedom of speech is not limited to words flying out of your mouth. Freedom of speech protects a broad number of things, including the right to wear a shirt with a picture of the president with a cross-hair over his face. It may not be the smartest thing to do, but freedom of speech has nothing to do with protecting only intelligent speech.
posted by SweetJesus at 9:28 PM on December 14, 2002


Of course it's free speech. It's an unpopular stance, but it's still protected under freedom of speech.

O.K., then please call the president and threaten him, or yell "fire" in a crowded theater, or tell a clever 'knock-knock' joke about your possession of a handgun to an airport security guard and please be so kind as to inform us of the result.
posted by hama7 at 9:36 PM on December 14, 2002


Am I the only one who thinks that if I were going to kill some prominent public figure, I wouldn't wear a shirt advertising it?

I guess I just don't have the mind of a killer. Oh well.


LOL
posted by rushmc at 9:52 PM on December 14, 2002


Why exactly should I buy a t-shirt and support this?

I hate Bush, but I'm not interested in having him assassinated. I hate that the FBI is questioning him, but it's a perfectly valid concern. Most terrorists ARE stupid enough to tell people what they're going to do before they do it. Especially high school kids, i.e. Columbine.
posted by eateneye at 10:36 PM on December 14, 2002


Since when did people get so damned literal-minded? Having someone "in your sights" does not necessarily mean that you intend to kill them.
posted by rushmc at 12:15 AM on December 15, 2002


Should I be concerned when I return to the US in February for making this comment?

Customs always takes a longer time looking at my passport than my wife's; I always thought it was because I have such a common name...
posted by Dick Paris at 2:07 AM on December 15, 2002


Phones rings...
posted by Dick Paris at 2:07 AM on December 15, 2002


..."hello Mr. Paris....why don't you pass the time by playing some solitaire...
posted by clavdivs at 7:51 AM on December 15, 2002


Why did she have to show up at that party as the Queen of Diamonds! Arrggh! /tear

Great movie.
posted by Dick Paris at 9:05 AM on December 15, 2002


Heck if I know, rushmc.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 9:35 AM on December 15, 2002


You lost me there, Miss.
posted by rushmc at 7:57 PM on December 15, 2002


yes, the phrase "in your sights" does not denote an intention to kill, but a putting a target on someone's head does.
posted by eateneye at 11:22 AM on December 16, 2002


I would contend that they can be verbal and visual equivalents of the same concept, eateneye.
posted by rushmc at 7:27 PM on December 16, 2002


« Older The EU expands   |   So, Mr. Stephenson, what's next? Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post