Discussion: Case Involving Facebook Threats Against Ferguson Cop Part Of Debate About Online Threats

Discussion for article #234472

To paraphrase the old drug joke: If the Internet magnifies your personality, what if you start out as an asshole?

This guy gets arrested, and yet the thousands of RWNJ’s, including some of their political representatives, make threats towards our President aren’t in prison. I agree making threats should be investigated, and if they are threats with evidence of intended violence should be legally actionable (although ANY threats towards the President should be considered legally offensive, IMO). It’s just too bad the laws aren’t applied equally.

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Good Heavens. This SCOTUS heard arguments in a free speech case that involves rap lyrics with menacing or angry words? That’s a scary thought all by itself. Aren’t most of them in their late 70’s? Just yesterday they learned about the World Wide Web and not a one of them has probably ever sent an email yet…I’ll bet most of them still listen to the King of Swing too.

Allusions to the death of someone is not necessarily a direct threat, as repulsive as that may seem. I just don’t see how anyone can make law or summarily decide on a blanket standard to address all potential threats that encompass free speech. The law should take on a potential death threat or “cause to commit harm” on case by case basis based on supporting evidence of actual intent. If the Supreme Court goes ahead and makes bad law in regards to limiting free speech, where one set of standards towards any negative posts results in a sweeping net on offensive words, the overall intent will result in suppression of all 1st amendment protections based on “offensive” postings. That’s often a subjective thing as we’ve so often seen.

The popularity of social media sites like Facebook and its users’ willingness to speak their minds have landed people in jail and left lawyers arguing over what constitutes a “true threat” — one not protected by the First Amendment — and what is simply an exercise of First Amendment free speech.

“…what constitutes a “true threat” (-snip-) and what is simply an exercise of First Amendment free speech.”

That answer seems plain as night and day.