WNYC, it isn’t. Via NYT CityRoom, after two previous mistrials, white supremacist-nationalist internet radio host and blogger Harold “Hal” Turner — who broadcasts from his home in North Bergen, New Jersey — was convicted today of threatening to assault or kill not one, not two, but three federal judges from Chicago after blogging about them upholding a local handgun ban. He’s looking at doing up to 10 years of hard time. What were the comments?
“The government — especially these three judges — are cunning, ruthless, untrustworthy, disloyal, unpatriotic, deceitful scum. These judges deserve to be killed…If they are allowed to get away with this by surviving, other judges will act the same way.”
Some lawyer noted to the Times that had Turner stopped at “scum” he would’ve been fine. You think? What Turner should actually be put in prison for is mediocre blogging. Also, blasé use of the Oxford comma. All of which goes without saying that the issue at hand — guns in Chicago — is kind of a problem out there.
Advocates for Turner’s cause and defense cite the first amendment and his relationship with the F.B.I. as a paid informant on violent white supremacy groups. As for that relationship, now that it’s out, it’s probably discredited his entire body of work to the white supremacist “community”), and are we supposed to believe that this paid informant was all-along working for the greater good? Hell no! Haven’t you seen The Departed? At the end of the day, Turner’s a rat, and a racist one, too. As for the First Amendment, well…Does “deserve to be killed” constitute a threat on these judges’ lives? Via CBS News’ Charles Cooper, another blogger notes precedent in the result of 1969’s Brandenburg v. Ohio, in which a KKK speech including the line “it’s possible that there might have to be some revengeance taken” was overturned as a threat by the U.S. Supreme Court. Turner’s case may not be through quite yet. The ACLU has yet to issue a statement on the matter, though dollars to donuts — as they’ve protected hate speech before — they probably will.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 13, 2010