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Tags: freedom of speech, judges, Turner, violence
There is a line where the freedom of speech crosses over to incitement to commit violence.
Free speech is one of the reasons this country is what it is but that freedom should come with some sense of responsibility.
Incitement to commit violence should not be considered free speech. It is a direct threat.
The NYT reports that Harold Turner an Internet radio host from North Bergen NJ has been broadcasting from his home studio since 2001.
At one time is was seeking political office in NJ but when the Republican party chose a Hispanic woman instead of him he decided to turn to broadcasting his hate radio program.
He is known for his anti-immigration and anti-Semitic broadcasts.
He was arrested in June for threatening to kill three Chicago judges who had ruled in favor of a gun ban. Turner posted on his website “These judges deserve to be killed. Their blood will replenish the tree of liberty.” He continued “The government — especially these three judges — are cunning, ruthless, untrustworthy, disloyal, unpatriotic, deceitful scum. If they are allowed to get away with this by surviving, other judges will act the same way.” He also posted the names, photos, phone numbers and work addresses of the three judges. When he was arrested Federal agents found three semiautomatic handguns and a shotgun, along with 350 rounds of ammunition.
The prosecution in the case stated “That is not just political rhetoric. It is not O.K. — very definitely not O.K. — for him to call for their execution and their murder.”
The defense countered that Turner ”..was nothing but a shock jock”. The defense also claims that Turner was an FBI informant who was pushing the limits to try to try to infiltrate the radical networks.
The FBI supposedly dropped him as an informant because of his outspoken, over the top positions.
Turner seems like another right wingnut who may actually win this case on the grounds that his freedom of speech was violated.
Hopefully he will not drive someone to commit violence and we will regret letting him off the hook, like the release from prison of the eventual cop killer in Seattle.