Join 3,572 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


University "journalist" threatens the President's life.
December 5, 2000 3:30 PM   Subscribe

University "journalist" threatens the President's life. How stupid do you have to be??? Don't they know that threatening the President's life, even in a joking manner is a Felony Offense?
posted by da5id (25 comments total)

 
Wow. That's . . . stupid. I can't believe her freaking EDITOR didn't say anything.

Well, at least she can take solace in the idea that while it likely ended any career plans she may have had, at least it was poorly written. Way to go!

posted by Skot at 4:01 PM on December 5, 2000


File this post under "O" for "Overreaction".
posted by lagado at 4:24 PM on December 5, 2000


Does anyone have the paragraph "removed at the request of government authorities"?
posted by dhartung at 4:47 PM on December 5, 2000


Nope. Sorry. I gotta slack the SS; protecting the President, even if he *is* an asshole, just might be the Hardest Job In The World.
posted by baylink at 4:48 PM on December 5, 2000


The only thing I can find that could be construed as a threat is this:
You promised you would release him during your presidency, and, well sir, I believe your eight years is almost up, and the lame duck is about to be shot. Ha, ha, ha; I mean it, literally.
Is this what you're getting all hot and bothered about?
posted by rcade at 4:49 PM on December 5, 2000


does anyone else remember the sketch on "The State" where the teacher was telling the kids not to threaten the president's life? then the fbi would rush in and take the teacher away for just saying it out loud.
posted by sugarfish at 5:13 PM on December 5, 2000


Is that the graf that was yanked?

If so, I'd say yeah, the SS would move on that; they're not known for having a sense of humor.
posted by baylink at 5:13 PM on December 5, 2000


That graf is still there. I overlooked a note at the top of the column, Notice: This article has been edited since it was originally published on Dec. 5, 2000. A paragraph has been removed at the request of government authorities..

Free Republic had a copy of the column in a thread, but I can't find it again.
posted by rcade at 5:15 PM on December 5, 2000


Is that the graf that was yanked?

No. There was a much more specific threat in the original article. Anyway, the piece is now gone entirely. The link goes to a blank page, and the rest of the site shows no sign it ever existed.

Which is a good thing, because it was one of the most singularly horrid pieces of writing I've ever seen make it to publication, even by the low standards of college newspapers. And that's before we even get to the death threat. Well, the specific threat was something about shooting the president in the elbow (???) if he didn't pardon Leonard Peltier. And she didn't even get to that until halfway through her rant, which tells you something about her journalistic qualification. I mean, burying the lead, sheesh!

Whoever this girl is, she was never going to be a journalist or a professional writer of any sort anyway, judging from this piece. Now, the paper's editors, that's a different story. They are definitely in need of a few serious whacks with The Career-Defining Clue Bat.

Free Republic had a copy of the column in a thread, but I can't find it again.

I just looked for it; it's gone too. My guess is some idiot probably responded with a vague Clinton threat of his own somewhere in the thread; that spells instant deletion of any FR thread, since the software there can't handle deleting single posts.
posted by aaron at 8:57 PM on December 5, 2000



The Secret Service was behind the removal of the article. More proof that certain things, like presidential death threats, should never be published, even in jest.
posted by jia at 1:08 AM on December 6, 2000


Can someone explain this to a Brit? Are you all joking or is it really a tabboo to threaten the president's life? What was so shocking? I'm curious - while a written threat on the Queen's life (say) might "shock" the more conservative people across here, I can't imagine anything that would get the kind of blanket condemnation in this thread....

posted by andrew cooke at 1:33 AM on December 6, 2000


Yeah, threatening the life of the President in any way is specifically illegal. It is, as noted, a federal offense too.
posted by donkeymon at 8:15 AM on December 6, 2000


We're not saying that we Americans all think that threatening the President is the ultimate taboo and we're all shocked. We're saying that the Secret Service is notorious for erring on the side of massive overreaction to any threat, so that making such a threat is dumb and just asking for trouble.

posted by straight at 8:20 AM on December 6, 2000


Ahhh... The equivalent of saying that the Queen Mother su

[Connection Dropped]

posted by andrew cooke at 9:08 AM on December 6, 2000


A newspaper story containing the columnist's threat.
posted by rcade at 9:11 AM on December 6, 2000


Ah, she was going to shoot him in the elbow. That should have been a tipoff right there. The elbow, like the buttocks and the adenoids, is well-known as a Comedy Body Part. Anything's funny if it involves the elbow. If she'd said she was going to shoot him in the throat or the gut, that wouldn't have been funny.

Simple rules for comics shooting scenarios:
Elbow, funny.
Throat, not funny.
Ass, funny.
Gut, not funny.
Isles of Langerhans, funny.
Groin, not funny.
Scalp, nape of neck, collarbone, unclear (best avoided for standard comedy purposes).
posted by rodii at 9:37 AM on December 6, 2000


Do they have the same no tolerance laws, about making jokes about having a bomb at the airport, in Europe that we have in the states? I remember news of the weird type articles about people making obvious jokes when presented with that rather odd question, and thinking it was crazy. The lack of objectivity about the scale of the threat has become normal to me, very sad.
posted by thirteen at 9:48 AM on December 6, 2000


Let us not forget that this law does not apply to Jesse "You better not come to North Carolina without a bodyguard*" Helms.

* I don't have the actual quote in front of me. If you have the actual quote handy let me know if I erred.
posted by ethmar at 1:42 PM on December 6, 2000


"Mr. Clinton better watch out if he comes down here," Helms said. "He'd better have a bodyguard."
posted by youhas at 2:35 PM on December 6, 2000


Thank you.
posted by ethmar at 2:40 PM on December 6, 2000


thirteen: no, generally we have a sense of humour. There are certain exclusion zones (the El Al desk, for instance) but the one thing that all Brits are taught when travelling to the US is never, ever to try to lighten the tone when dealing with Immigration officials or US Customs. In fact, it's something of a relief to know that passport control in the UK doesn't require that rictus non-smile. As long as you're white, that is.
posted by holgate at 3:00 PM on December 6, 2000


We're saying that the Secret Service is notorious for erring on the side of massive overreaction to any threat, so that making such a threat is dumb and just asking for trouble.

Is the action taken by the Secret Service in this case really "massive"? Clinton's making his first presidential appearance in Nebraska on Friday, and my guess is that the Secret Service has to check out this stuff, no matter how dopey.

If the student writer ends up going to jail or something equally absurd, then I'd be worried.
posted by bilco at 3:34 PM on December 6, 2000


What makes threatening the life of the President any worse than threatening the life of anyone else? I mean so bad that it needs its own law? Just asking.
posted by lagado at 7:05 PM on December 6, 2000


Hmmm... he's a bit busy, juggling the keys to The Bomb, and we don't want his elbow joggled?

Was that a serious question, lagado? If so, *you* go do the job without SS protection, and can I have your car?

To Mr. Cooke: yes, it is a federal felony to threaten the life of the President, VP, their families "or certain other persons under the protection of the Secret Service".

We did this a month or two back; someone cited the statute number in the thread. It's also a federal crime to make a joke in an airport or on a plane about bombs, or hijacking.

Personally, I don't know exactly where I stand on these issues. I'm not one for zero tolerance laws... but I don't wanna be on the plane with the guy making bomb jokes either.

The airport security people are reputed to be *even less* amused by this sort of stuff than the Secret Service peopler are; I've heard stories of strip searches with armed guards present.
posted by baylink at 8:08 PM on December 6, 2000


Interestingly, the Guardian's campaign to revoke the 1701 Act of Settlement is also accompanied by the wish to amend or reinterpret the 1848 Treason Felony Act so that "only
calls to overthrow the monarchy by violence would be an offence." The Human Rights Act is starting to kick into effect.
posted by holgate at 5:33 AM on December 7, 2000


« Older Is V2_OS the next Linux?...   |   Sony's latest ad campaign... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments