Anti-Bush MySpace Page Draws Secret Service Visit

Teen questioned for online Bush threats is the latest in a string of cases where the United States Secret Service has interrogated students for expressing anti-Bush sentiments (in a way that apparently violates the law). So just a reminder that "Americans that they need to watch what they say" and "There ought to be limits to freedom."

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Pens not Swords

Pens Not Swordsis an essay on Poets Against War.

We can speak out.We must speak out.
In the winter of 2003, as the West Wing of the White House was announcing plans for a preemptive 'Shock and Awe' campaign against Iraq, the East Wing was preparing an altogether different event. First Lady Laura Bush was putting the final touches on a symposium on 'poetry and the American voice,' designed to celebrate the poetry of three of the country's most important poets: Langston Hughes, Walt Whitman, and Emily Dickinson.

Among the contemporary poets who received an invitation to come to the White House on February 12, 2003 was Sam Hamill, founder and editor of Copper Canyon Press, one of the country's most influential poetry presses. Hamill, a former Marine, a Buddhist, and a pacifist, felt in his gut that he couldn't go to the White House as a guest of the First Lady, not at that time. Instead, he wrote an email to about 50 poets, inviting them to 'speak up for the conscience of our country' by sending him poems for peace, which he would arrange to have delivered to Laura Bush at the symposium. And he called for February 12 to be a day of poetry against the threatened war.
Poets Against War like MySpace is a peaceful way to demonstrate the democratic right to speak out.

Um

Yeah, um, what part of "death threat" is difficult to understand? Next shall I be seeing articles here about how injust it is when people are arrested for saying "fire" in a theater?

Re:Um

Well, you're welcome to try and find such an article. :0 I'd guess the person would be more likely thrown out of the theater. And they're not all death threats here... the SS is being overzealous, some would say -- take those t-shirt arrests, for example. Maybe there's a reason why students are more conservative even -- more through fear than anything else?

Re:Um

Yes, because as we all know the American teenager is easily intimidated.

Re:Um

Hey, putting a 14-year old girl alone with federal authorities without her parents just might do it. All the while, keep in mind, the administration passively defends the right of prominent citizens to call for the assassination of foreign leaders.And just imagine what would happen if an uber-liberal wrote a book claiming that many conservatives were guilty of a crime which carried the death penalty. How much outrage would that spark?

Re:Um

"Hey, putting a 14-year old girl alone with federal authorities without her parents just might do it."

It might but you were implying that a broad swath of students were leaning conservative out of general fear.

Is there some specific book you are referring to? There's already been one discussing the assisination of President Bush and a recent snuf flick to match.

Dumb girl / Wasted federal time

Ms. Wilson should have known better to post images of violence against our President, particularly in light of the past five years. And especially since she considers herself a person of peace. If we in the anti-war movement cannot give up violent fantasies against our enemies, then we shouldn't be protesting.Having said that, the feds wasted valuable resources going to California, dragging her out of the classroom and questioning her. Particularly when she had already replaced the page.Why? Because how is a minor in California supposed to get close enough to the President to do any harm? Particularly when he rarely visits the state. IF this girl was at a school in the DC area or IF this questioning had taken place a day or two before a Presidential visit, it might have been justified. But as it was, they wasted time and resources that could have been spent on more credible threats.I don't know if I've expressed this publicly, but I'm convinced that if the President does come to any harm, it will be at the hands of a supposed supporter. Someone who is registered Republican and who will have made some financial contributions to the Republican party. Why? Because posing as a Republican is the only way an operative could hope to get close enough to the President to do damage. Otherwise you're going to get routed to a "free speech area" a mile away from the President's speech. Not the best way to get to your target.And if the girl follows through on rededicating her MySpace page to organizing against the Iraq War, the Administration will have transformed a somewhat unorganized angry adolescent into another footsoldier for an organized anti-war movement.

Re:Dumb girl / Wasted federal time

I suspect they have Secret Service Agents in California ( since I have one living in my building in Florida - nice woman -has a cat - looks librarianish) The Secret Service does many other things than protect the president.

The Secret Service is obligated to investigate every threat against the president (about which they know). They do that for every president (and vice president and all other executive office personnel who do not have their own investigative department - State has one, Agriculture has one, etc) They did it for Clinton, they did it for Reagan, and I'm sure they have been doing if for much longer than I've been alive.

Lets get a grip here, they work days, this was not the crime of the century, the kid is in school during the day, school is a controlled enviornment, they met with school officials who called the kid to the office. Have you never been called to the school office?

The kid explained she was being a goofball, they apparently believed her and all ended well. However consider the case if the kid were a real nutjob, a homicidal -shoot up the school type. The intervention of the secret service could have been the important turning point that made the parents realize that their child required intensive help.

No the Secret Service didn't drive from Washington to interview the girl, but what is the worst that could have happened, the girl could have been referred to counseling if she was deeply troubled. Turns out she was just being an idiot and expressing herself in an inappropriate manner, as adolescents are often wont to do. President fine, kid fine, Secret Service just doing their job. It turned out well.

Re:Dumb girl / Wasted federal time

And especially since she considers herself a person of peace.

If she is a "person of peace" then that is hilarious.

Re:Um

um, the part that has it coming from a 14 year old girl's blog?

Re:Dumb girl / Wasted federal time

I read a news article about this over the weekend. Probably a fairly typical 14 y.o. acting before thinking. I thought the "person of peace" thing she said while posting a death threat against Bush was pretty funny too. My only concern is that her parents weren't contacted--I would have been pissed off too if my 14 y.o. had been questioned by the SS without my presence, but the SS did what they are supposed to do. I'd be blaming the school though--shouldn't they follow through on this?

Re:Pens not Swords

It wasn't perceived as a peaceful demonstration against Bush. It was perceived as a death threat. From what I read over the weekend, it included an image of Bush with a knife in his head or something like that. The kid crossed the line of free speech with the death threat.

Re:Um

You realize Myspace doesn't regulate what age people are on their site? You also realize that 14 year olds are perfectly capable of violent crime? And do you realize that according to the article nothing really happened? A girl was interviewed, then her file deleted. WOW SO HORRIBLE!!! Of course, if they didn't check her out and she pulled a Colombine or something then everyone'd blame everything on Earth to why it wasn't noticed that she was posting violent images. Uh huh.

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