Crime of Making a Terrorist Threat

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The states and the feds have enacted laws that make it a crime to make a terrorist threat. For a layman’s introduction, see this explanation. This tells us, among other things, that a person can commit this crime by his speech alone, even if he has neither the intent nor the means to carry the threat out. The intent need only be that the words spoken are intended to be taken as a threat. Imagine a hate crime where there is no crime except the expression of hatred, that being enough to have committed the hate crime. This is analogous to these terrorist threat laws. Imagine calling in police because some little kid points a toy gun or his finger, and says “Bang, bang, you’re dead”. This is already happening. These things are all birds of a feather. Penalties are severe.

These laws are oppressive. They make crimes out of many varieties of ordinary statements made by ordinary people in many situations. Someone who speaks in anger, or when tipsy, or because they’re upset, or without meaning what they say, can suddenly be in hot water. It is not uncommon for people to say “I’ll kill you” without meaning it. These laws give the justice system heavy artillery to fire against anyone who falls into its clutches for any reason or who happens to say something resistant to authority or police or any other person. These laws provide ammunition to any ordinary person who wants to make trouble for someone else by accusing them of uttering threats. These laws suppress all speech for fear of saying something that can be taken as a threat. These laws lead the way to even more oppression in which anything said or written that is against the system is taken as threatening to it. India has such laws. Ecuador has such laws. I am sure that we could fill many volumes with examples of oppression by restriction of free speech.

3:44 pm on June 28, 2013
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