Certainly it must have been written in jest….
Maybe it was not meant so much as a threat, but simply a reminder that the tenor of public discourse continues to spiral downward as our society, increasingly torn and tattered by the political and economic environment, unraveling around us.
Following the United States House of Representatives’ passage of legislation designed to delay and derail the ability of Syrian immigrants to come to the United States, I posted two commentary pieces at Wait, What?.
The first took Connecticut Democratic Congressmen Joe Courtney and Jim Himes to task for being among the 47 Democrats to join the House Republicans voting in favor of the bill, Congressman Courtney and Himes – You have brought shame on our nation and our state, I can no longer support you (Wait, What? Friday, 11/20/15), while the second sought to provide readers with the facts about how the U.S. refugee system really works PLEASE take a moment to review the facts about the U.S. Syrian refugee issue (Wait, What? Saturday, 11/21/15).
CT Newsjunkie, a website dedicated to providing people with Connecticut news and a wide range of commentary was kind enough to include a link to the first blog in their “Friday Night Fix!” email highlighting the week’s news and providing suggested reading material for the weekend.
For their part, the Hartford Courant’s CapitolWatch Tweeted a link to the blog with,
“You have brought shame on our nation:”@jonathanpelto disappointed in Rep. Courtney’s vote on Syrian refugee bill.”
A Hartford Courant editor turned to his own Twitter Account to add,
“Trouble on the fringe: @jonathanpelto throws @RepJoeCourtney under the bus.”
A significant number of readers responded to the two Wait, What? Blog posts, some added their opinions by commenting on the What, What? Blog while others communicated by email.
The range of opinions was extensive. People have strong feelings about issues like immigration. This blog has thoughtful readers across the political spectrum and while some of the comments and emails were harsh, none could be defined as abusive or threatening.
And then Sunday night came a comment from a reader who apparently resides in Fairfield County and wrote, among other things;
I have actively campaigned against Jim Himes, and I have proudly voted against him in the last two elections. I now congratulate Jim Himes for his sensible vote, and I gladly invite all you stupid libtards to consume my feces.
Hey Jon, I’m talking to you — polish my nutsack. Hope you meet the same fate as Chris Stevens!
The reference to the “same fate as Chris Stevens!” appears to be to the killing of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, who was murdered, along with others, in a terrorist attack on September 11, 2012 at the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.
Conservative radio show host Laura Ingraham has claimed that the body of Ambassador Stevens was “dragged through the street,” while other conservative commentators have said he was also sexually assaulted, before being murdered. Both claims were determined to be untrue by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, an Accountability Review Board that investigated the Benghazi attack, and by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Of course, let’s face it, there is no doubt that a blog comment like that is meant as a joke, perhaps nothing more than a very colorful way to articulate opposition to my commentary pieces.
Besides, this is the United States of America where the Freedom of Speech is the cornerstone of our form of government, which, in turn, is the greatest experiment in an open, egalitarian, large-scale democracy in human history.
In the United States, we don’t kill people because of what they say or write.
Well there was Alan Berg, the Denver talk show host who was gunned down in his driveway, but that was thirty-one years ago and besides that was different, he was assassinated by a White, neo-Nazi, right-wing extremist group because he was liberal, Jewish and known for his outspoken and acerbic commentary. (Ah… Well… Let’s just say it was a long time ago and leave it at that.)
As noted, people just don’t kill bloggers and commentators because they don’t like what they say and write.
True, four bloggers and a publisher have been killed in Bangladesh this year, but that’s different.
Bangladeshi-born US writer Avijit Roy, founder of secular Bangla blog site Muktomona, was hacked to death on February 26, 2015 as he was leaving a university book fair.
Oyeshekur Rahman Babu, a writer and blogger, was chopped to death in central Dhaka on March 30, 2015.
Science writer and blogger Ananta Bijoy Das was killed in a similar attack in north-eastern city of Sylhet on May 12, 2015
On August 7, 2015 attackers entered the apartment of blogger Niladri Chattapadhay and chopped him to death.
And Faysal Arfin Deepon, whose company had published Avijit Roy’s work was stabbed him to death in his office on October 31, 2015
But those killings didn’t occur in the United States, all four were murdered in Bangladesh by Islamist militants with links to al-Qaeda.
And while there have been similar attacks in other parts of the world, they all took place somewhere “over there.”
According to Reporters without Boarders, not counting the hundreds of journalists who have been killed as a result of their reporting over the past couple of years, at least 215 bloggers have been murdered and more than 250 more have been imprisoned for the their crime of commenting on the news and the world around them.
Syria, whose refugees have become the focal point of the anti-immigrant rhetoric has seen the largest number of bloggers murdered over the past two years, a total of at least 72 individuals.
However, assassinations of bloggers have also occurred in Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh Brazil, Mexico and elsewhere.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Mexican activist and video blogger José Luis Rodríguez Muñiz posted a commentary critical of his the region’s Governor, Mayor and politicians calling them “bola de ratas” (or “Ball Rats” in English.) Hours later he was shot to death by unidentified gunmen.
But this is the United States,
We’re different… In our country, people are allowed to speak their minds.
I mean, I’m sure the comment posted to Wait, What? was meant as a joke and how dangerous can a joke be?
Heck, even Donald Trump was probably joking when suggesting My Fans Were Right To Beat Up Black Protester
After his supporters beat up a Black Lives Matter protester on video, Donald Trump suggested that they may have done the right thing.
The protester, a black man, reportedly started chanting Black Lives Matter at a rally in Birmingham, Alabama on Saturday. In a video captured by CNN reporter Jeremy Diamond, rally attendees swarm around the man, kicking and punching him as he curls up on the ground.
Trump was asked to weigh in on his supporters’ actions on Fox & Friends Sunday morning. “Maybe he should have been roughed up,” he said. “It was disgusting what he was doing.”
Yeah, it’s probably all a big joke.