America prides itself on free speech. However, if you threaten to hurt or kill the president, expect a knock on your door. What’s more, if you’ve got guns, you won’t have them for long after posting specific threats against the POTUS or his family.
The U.S. Secret Service investigates these threats. Not surprisingly, they have no sense of humor about them. With all of the vitriol that’s flowed since the election, Secret Service agents have been busy,
Former U.S. Secret Service special agent Tim Franklin, who is now a criminology and criminal justice professor of counterterrorism and cybercrimes at Arizona State University, said in a phone call Tuesday that “it’s the people who have a true and genuine intent to do harm that the Secret Service is worried about.”
That’s why one-off posts and people with no record of threatening messages tend to get passed over. He said the Secret Service is looking out for trends and consistent behavior, like the person who repeats their intent to kill the president over time. If someone has made threats in the past they are more likely to get investigated when they post another “Kill Trump” post.
“They’re not going to to beat down the door of everybody who makes a negative Twitter comment,” Franklin said, which may be a relief to anyone who tweeted an off-hand and not entirely serious death wish for the new president.
But for users who use certain language and specific details about the president, his location and how the assassination will happen, the Secret Service will likely take notice.
Want to lose your guns for life? Want to spend up to five years in a federal prison? Take to Twitter and announce that it’s your life goal to assassinate Donald Trump like cops say this idiot did, per the NY Daily News:
A suburban Cleveland man who tweeted that his “life goal is to assassinate Trump” was charged with making threats on the president-elect, the feds said.
Zachary Benson, 24, also tweeted “F—ing fools. I hate you all” just as election returns assuring Donald Trump’s victory hit national airwaves, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Monday and obtained by WKYC-TV. Investigators said he was later apologetic about the tweets.
“Diplomacy. F—ing fools. I hate you all. I want to bomb every one of your voting booths and your general areas,” Benson tweeted at 1:25 a.m. on Nov. 9, according to investigators.
“My life goal is to assassinate Trump,” he tweeted 17 minutes later, the complaint showed. “Don’t care if I serve infinite sentences. That man deserves to decease existing.”
“Decease existing?” That constitutes criminal misuse of the English language right there.
Heather Lowrey added her warm wishes for President Trump, too. Cops say she used Twitter to post her hope that someone would be kind enough to assassinate the Commander in Chief. From the Louisville Courier-Journal:
A Louisville woman could face up to five years in prison if charged and convicted for a tweet suggesting somebody assassinate President Donald Trump, a U.S. Secret Service official said Tuesday.
The U.S. Secret Service field office in Louisville is still investigating the tweet sent by Heather Lowrey, according to special agent Richard Ferretti. It said, “If someone was cruel enough to assassinate MLK, maybe someone will be kind enough to assassinate Trump. #bekind #trump #lovetrumpshate,” according to a screenshot provided to the Courier-Journal.
Lowrey’s Twitter account has since been deleted, as has her Facebook page. In addition to the U.S. Secret Service investigation, Lowrey has faced consequences from at least three employers.
Ferretti said Tuesday that U.S. Secret Service agents have interviewed her and several others and conducted a background check. At the conclusion of their investigation, they will submit the results to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which will decide on potential charges.
With Heather’s idea of “kindness” and “love”, who needs any enemies?
In short, those who don’t like President Trump should feel free to criticize him. This is a free country after all. But they shouldn’t be stupid about it.
Those who don’t care about serving “infinite sentences” in a federal correctional facility? By all means, go right ahead and post away to your over-sharing heart’s content. Who knows? Maybe future threat-making Trump haters will get to meet Zachary Benson in person.