30 May 2009

James Garfield, Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, William McKinley and...

Above is a list that does not need to expand. Those are the names of American Presidents who were assassinated while in office.
A classified advertisement in the Times Observer in quaint, quiet, and lovely Warren, Pennsylvania has now been withdrawn after law enforcement officials noted that it seemed to be calling for the assassination of President Barack Obama.
The ad linked the names of the four Presidents killed in office, and seemed to suggest the wish that President Obama meet the same end. The Times Observer has now taken the classified down, apologized (http://timesobserver.com/page/content.detail/id/517161.html?nav=5006) and turned over the identity of the person placing the ad to local and federal authorities.
Hey, I'm not so keen on a lot of things Mr. Obama does. And I think that the Secret Service will have their hands full protecting this particular President because of his historic significance as the first African American President of the United States. But even running an advertisement alluding to a hope for his demise is something to take seriously.
Threatening a sitting President is against the law, under United States Code, Title 18, Part One, Chapter 41, Section 871, which states:
Whoever knowingly and willfully deposits for conveyance in the mail or for a delivery from any post office or by any letter carrier any letter, paper, writing, print, missive, or document containing any threat to take the life of, to kidnap, or to inflict bodily harm upon the President of the United States, the President-elect, the Vice President or other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President of the United States, or the Vice President-elect, or knowingly and willfully otherwise makes any such threat against the President, President-elect, Vice President or other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President, or Vice President-elect, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
I'd bet that "conveyance in the mail" includes newspapers. The classified ad in the Times Observer ran only for a short time before it was noticed. In an era when newspapers seem to be losing ground, it's repugnant that someone used one of the branches of the media to make their stand.

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