Snippet from James B. Byrne...


Name two.


-----Original Message-----
From: HP-3000 Systems Discussion [mailto:HP3000-L@RAVEN.UTC.EDU] On Behalf Of James B. Byrne
Sent: Friday, November 07, 2008 8:31 AM
Subject: [HP3000-L] Civil Discourse

Someone wrote:

> Since this list is not a Post Office, how does this statute apply?

"... or knowingly and willfully otherwise makes any such threat against thePresident, President-elect, ..."

The word "otherwise" provides for any and all other forms of utterance.

As for the OP not being a threat. I grant that it was not a creditable threat and that the words were carefully chosen to avoid the appearance of direct action.

However, there exists in law the concept of inflammatory speech with intentto incite lawless action. That renders the utterer as guilty of the offence they promoted as if they committed it themselves. The OP's first statement makes a direct reference to someone assassinating the president-elect, indisputably a lawless act. The second makes specific reference to that it should happen before inauguration day, "If it is going to happen, hopefully it will happen before January 20...".

This is clearly an expression of the OP's desire, the word hopefully in this context having no other possible interpretation. The juxtaposition of both statements by the OP are clearly inflammatory. "Dirtbag" is not generally considered a complementary term nor one commonly found in civil discourse.. These elements in combination makes the entire passage an utterance of athreat; the conditionals are taken for what they are, a fig leaf to evade personal responsibility for the words. Whether its contents are consideredby some believable or not does not change the essence of the utterance.

There are further inferences that can be drawn form the OP's statement.
For instance, was this utterance intended to inoculate fear for their person in a public official? This is an act of intimidation and whether or not the utterer had personal intent or addressed it directly to the target is quite beside the point. It is sufficient that it be made publicly.

I would point out for those too dull to make the connection with the OP's statement, that violence and the threat of violence, against lawful institutions, their officers and the populace that they serve, is the
essence of "terrorism". One person's "fair comment" is easily taken to
be "promoting terrorism" by someone so inclined and the OP's message went far beyond the pale of "fair comment."

It is well to recall that around the world there are very many people held in custody, often under deplorable conditions, for having made utterances with no more evil intent than that of the OP. A number of them are imprisoned by the United States Government itself or by national authorities acting on its behest.

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James B. Byrne
Harte & Lyne Limited
9 Brockley Drive vox: +1 905 561 1241
Hamilton, Ontario fax: +1 905 561 0757
Canada L8E 3C3

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