Ah, free speech is grand, isn’t it? Well… yes. But with certain limits. Verum Serum takes note of one couragious first amendment (and, apparently Occupy Wall Street) supporter who chose to explore those limits in a rather ill fated and short lived way. Seeing that South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley had “allowed” police to arrest some members of Occupy Columbia, he did what any rational, concerned citizen would do. He jumped on his Facebook page and threatened to murder her.
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – A South Carolina man is accused of threatening the life of Gov. Nikki Haley on Facebook, but he claims he was only making a point about free speech.
When 26-year-old Nathan Shafer heard about the arrests of 19 Occupy Columbia members outside the State House last Wednesday, he did what lots of people do when they get angry — he vented about it on the Internet. He saw Gov. Haley’s Facebook post about the arrests and Haley’s comment that she “appreciate[s] freedom of speech,” and that’s when authorities say Shafer crossed the line.
“I hope someone murders you before I do,” Shafer said he commented on the post. “How’s that for freedom of speech?”
The next day, Shafer says two State Law Enforcement Division 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.
Verum Serum has the clip of Mr. Shafer’s arrest at the link above, for your heartwarming, holiday video needs. What happens to him next, though, is still up in the air.
As the KLTV reporter notes, another person once similarly threatened President Obama in a similar fashion and wound up not being convicted. (
Need a reference on that. UPDATE: Here’s the link to that story, hat tip to Moe Lane.) Either way, there have always been limits on free speech. Mr. Shafer’s claims that this was “an exercise” in his first amendment rights will very likely fall on deaf ears. If he’d been a bit more obtuse in referencing possible violence and focused more on complaining about the governor’s policies, he’d likely stand a fairly good chance of walking. But hoping, “somebody murders you before I do” is a significant jump over any lines or gray areas.
So many villages. So many idiots. So little time.
(Edit: Speaking of village idiots, it would be nice if I’d spelled the title correctly. sympathizer. Huh. Must get more coffee.)