Death threat made against SC Gov. Nikki Haley—by Occupier
posted at 12:11 pm on November 26, 2011 by Howard Portnoy
Remember all those columns by lefty commentators following the Tucson massacre providing evidence of the Tea Party’s penchant for violence against politicians? Their authors probably wish you didn’t remember—not with the acts of real violence by Occupiers now part of the public record.
And definitely not now that one of the movement’s own has taken a page out of the alleged Tea Party handbook and threatened the life of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. For 26-year-old Nathan Shafer, however, “crosshairs” (aka print registration marks) on a map simply didn’t cut it. Instead, he made his threat in words. In a Facebook post addressed to the governor, Shafer wrote, “I hope someone murders you before I do.”
Columbia, South Carolina, station KLTV reports that Shafer’s post was a reaction to a post by Haley herself, which was made after the arrest of 19 Occupy Columbia members outside the State House last Wednesday. On her Facebook page, the governor wrote:
I appreciate freedom of speech. I do not appreciate mattresses on the grounds, urinating in the bushes and damage of state property. Occupiers were given until 6:00 to move off the property. They are welcome to picket during daylight hours. We respect the Rule of Law in South Carolina.
Shafer claims the purpose of his post was to make a point about freedom of speech. But the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division evidently takes a different—and dimmer—view of the limits of free speech. Says KLTV:
The [day after Shafer’s Facebook post] two … agents visited him in Charlotte to discuss the comment. Shafer says he retracted and deleted his statement, promised he wasn’t serious and apologized to the Haley family.
None of which was sufficient to get the state to back off. Notes KLTV: “Threats against public officials are naturally taken very seriously, even when a comment was supposedly made in jest.” Accordingly, SLED agents informed Shafer that he faces prosecution for his alleged threat, prompting him to respond, “I just think the whole situation is completely ridiculous and blown out of proportion.”
At issue now is whether a “reasonable person” would view the statement in question as a genuine threat.
The article notes that a federal court ruled in July that a man who posted online statements calling for President Barack Obama’s assassination was exercising his free speech rights. Specifics of the case in question are not given, but suffice it to say that threatening the life of a U.S. president is a class D felony punishable by between 5 and 10 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine.
In the most famous case to date involving an assassination threat against President Obama, Brian Dean Miller, of Dallas, Texas, was sentenced to 27 months’ jail time after posting on Craigslist:
People, the time has come for revolution. It is time for Obama to die. I am dedicating my life to the death of Obama and every employee of the federal government. As I promised in a previous post, if the health care reform bill passed I would become a terrorist. Today I become a terrorist.
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