Friday, June 26, 2009

FBI Arrests White Supremacist Blogger Hal Turner For Threatening To Kill Federal Judges.

We've all become used to hearing right wingers complain that they are being unfairly blamed for the deaths of people like Dr Tiller.

Well now the FBI have arrested a right wing talk jock, Hal Turner, for threatening to assault and murder three federal appeals court judges for rulings they made upholding handgun bans in Chicago.

Nor was he subtle in the threats which he making:

Internet postings on June 2 and 3 proclaimed “outrage” over the June 2, 2009, handgun decision by Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook and Judges Richard Posner and William Bauer, of the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, further stating, among other things: “Let me be the first to say this plainly: These Judges deserve to be killed.” The postings included photographs, phone numbers, work address and room numbers of these judges, along with a photo of the building in which they work and a map of its location.

Turner’s posts also “referred to the murder of the mother and husband of Chicago-based federal Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow in February 2005,” saying, “Apparently, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court didn’t get the hint after those killings. It appears another lesson is needed.
The American right wing appear, to me at least, to be bordering on the insane. To listen to O'Reilly after the death of Dr Tiller was to see the face of shamelessness.

I don't know if O'Reilly's constant rants had anything to do with Tiller's death, but I do know that he helped to create the atmosphere in which such a killing was more, rather than less, likely to take place.

And, when Tiller was killed, O'Reilly took to the air without even a hint of regret that he might have had any hand in this tragedy.

Hal Turner has taken this even further than O'Reilly did. He is actually claiming that, "lessons are needed" and giving out the judges names and addresses whilst stating, "Let me be the first to say this plainly: These Judges deserve to be killed."

If that's not an incitement to violence then I don't know what is.

No doubt Turner's great friend Sean Hannity will spring to his defence and argue that we are witnessing some form of assault on free speech. But free speech carries with it responsibility. I am not allowed to shout "fire" in a crowded building. And people like Hal Turner should not be allowed to wish for the murder of three judges - and tell people where these judges might be found - without paying a price.

I have no great hope that this will in any way reign in the American right. The O'Reilly's and the Hannity's are too clever to ever be as obvious and as stupid as Turner has been.

But, at least, a line has been drawn in the sand. If you issue direct threats you will be arrested.

Hat tip to Think Progress.

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