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View Diary: Ted Nugent, stochastic terrorist (47 comments)

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  •  Does it cheapen the term, though? (1+ / 0-)
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    Do we really want to draw an equivalence between someone engaging in inflammatory, but Constitutionally protected, speech and someone who sets off a truck bomb next to a federal building filled with men, women and children?

    •  I understand what you're saying. (2+ / 0-)
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      Sylv, Neon Vincent

      But what's "constitutionally" protected under the free speech amendment is not absolute.  There has long been a caveat in terms of when your free speech is harmful to someone else.

      I would say that threats against the president are more than equal to yelling fire in a crowded theater.  Nugent has also suggested Obama put a shot gun in his mouth.  This is incendiary to the point of endangering the president, as well as other liberals.  And as we know, Nugent isn't the only one guilty of this.

      Say some right wing nut takes his shot gun to a democratic rep's town hall meeting and levels 30 people.  Then tells us he's  he's carrying out Nugent's orders to "shoot those liberals like they're coyotes."  For me, it's hard to see that as any different than Bin Laden inciting violence in a stochastic manner, which he did.

      Whether it's one or thirty, or 3,000, killed, does that change the definition of the problem?

      •  The legal standard, VA v. Black (1+ / 0-)
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        history first

        True threats are "those statements where the speaker means to communicate a serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence to a particular individual or group of individuals."

        I think you have to consider the word "serious" in this context.  Glib, tossed-off lines don't cut it, nor does an expression of something other than an intent to commit an act of violence.  The threat itself can be criminal even if someone wouldn't carry it out, but a threat has to be conveyed by the language.  I don't think Nugent's or Burke's comments meet either standard.

        If someone tells us he's carrying out Nugent's orders, than his opinions are presumptively not to be taken seriously.  And Bin Laden didn't incite violence, he ordered it.

        The study of law was certainly a strange discipline. -- Yukio Mishima

        by Loge on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 04:11:19 PM PDT

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        •  Thank you for the background info! (1+ / 0-)
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          This is truly a tough area constitutionally. But I think the notion of "stochastic speech" or "stochastic rhetoric" is worth exploring.

          Limbaugh calling into question a woman's virtue is one thing. Nugent telling an audience he wants Hillary Clinton to "ride" his machine gun is something very, very different.

          Warning: That light at the end of the tunnel just might be an oncoming train.

          by history first on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 05:13:58 PM PDT

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        •  Hearing you. (0+ / 0-)

          Do I think Ted Nugent is going to "do something."  No, I don't.  I think he's a coward with a big mouth.  And I understand his oblique threat won't stand up to legalities. Nevertheless, it WAS an oblique threat.

          But, my point is not whether Nugent was "serious," but who he might influence that is serious. And if someone says he's carrying out Nugents orders, why would we not take that seriously?  Not in the manner of actual orders, but in the manner of, well, "stochastic terrorism."  After all, the guy said liberals should be shot like coyotes.  

          MY GOD.  Are we so inured to the crazy right that all we have to say is, well, free speech, you know?

          And, I do NOT agree that Bin Laden "didn't incite violence, he ordered it."  Yes, perhaps the "order" part is right concerning 9/11.  But there can be NO doubt that before 9/11 and after 9/11, when his wings were so severely clipped, that Bin Laden engaged in "stochastic terrorism" whenever he could.  He could no longer order anything, but that didn't stop him from trying to incite violence, which he did for years after 9/11.

          These are tough questions.  And I'm not in a hurry to make new laws or knee jerk just because Ted Nugent is a jerk.

          But I do think there is a very slippery slope here, and by the time you've defined the problem, much damage has been done.

          I'm NOT In favor of making what Ted Nugent said and did illegal.  I AM in favor of having a label for people like this, for having an awareness of their poison---an understanding amongst the community. Labels can help with this.

          Because without definition, or consideration---just a "well, it's his right to say it"---we rob ourselves of the chance to understand better and define what threatens us.  When we discuss and understand, we don't need laws to stop guys like Nugent. They simply become shunned.

          We're not there.  America is SO divided right now, that it seems there are no cultural mores here that can hold up against a political campaign.  That has not been true for most of my life time, but it's true right now.

          My end point---people like Ted Nugent need a label, in the sense that we must decide as a community, how we feel about guys like this. We must arrive at a consensus about what's over the cliff---not necessarily legally, but certainly, socially.

          •  I agree broadly, (0+ / 0-)

            But to the extent we need a label it shouldnt be one describing something rather different, like terrorist.

             his rhetoric has tangible harm already in that a cheapened discourse makes it harder to love problems.  The trouble rests on the issues he felt he was advancing by running his mouth.

            The study of law was certainly a strange discipline. -- Yukio Mishima

            by Loge on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 06:14:44 PM PDT

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