Earlier today, self-described conservative blogger Solomon "Solly" Forell posted a tweet that included a call for assassination, as well as this line: "We'll surely get over a bullet 2 Barack Obama's head!" It gets worse:
Forell then followed that tweet up with this one:
That tag he added? #TCOT? It stands for "top conservatives on Twitter."
According to his Google profile, Forell is the author of a blog titled Barack Obama Was An American Electorate Mistake, which centers around Forell's disappointment in Obama's presidency. This disappointment spills over into Forell's other blogs, including Anybody But Barack Obama 2012, and The Audacity of Hype, which both touch upon Forrell's disgust with the "cult" of Obama, "a man who has done little with his life, but has written about his achievements as ifhe had found the cure for cancer in between winning a marathon and building a nuclear reactor with his teeth."
Forell may think he's protected by the First Amendment when it comes to his tweets, but the law begs to differ, specifically 18 USC Sec. 871:
Whoever knowingly and willfully deposits for conveyance in the mail or for a delivery from any post office or by any letter carrier any letter, paper, writing, print, missive, or document containing any threat to take the life of, to kidnap, or to inflict bodily harm upon the President of the United States, the President-elect, the Vice President or other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President of the United States, or the Vice President-elect, or knowingly and willfully otherwise makes any such threat against the President, President-elect, Vice President or other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President, or Vice President-elect, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
You'll note however, that there's nothing specified about electronic threats. Perhaps that's why, as of now, Forell's Twitter account does not appear to be suspended; the tweet threatening the President's life was posted roughly six hours ago and has not yet been removed.
Update: While Forell hasn't removed the offensive tweets, he has posted an apologetic P.S.:
Uh, maybe the President would respect your opinion more if you didn't, you know, encourage people to kill him. Just a thought.
Update #2: Forell is now backtracking like crazy, complaining about "whining liberals" and asking that we "all renounce the harsh rhetoric about the POTUS. Several, including myself, hv used inappropriate language. Let's remain civil!" A little too late, I'd say.
Update #3: I just received an email from Twitter, dated 2:55pm PDT, stating the following:
We have removed this profile due to violation of Twitter's Rules, specifically listed under "Content Boundaries and Use of Twitter": *Unlawful Use: You may not use the service for any unlawful purposes or for promotion of illegal activities.
It is against the Twitter Terms of Service to use the service to commit illegal acts. Threatening the life of the president (or president-elect) is a federal offense under Title 18, USC, section 871. All accounts in violation of our Terms of Service are permanently suspended and we report to legal authorities accordingly.
However, as of 6:06 pm EST, Forell's account appears to still be up and running.
Update #4: Sam Gustin at DailyFinance is reporting that the Secret Service is now investigating Forell's tweets, with Secret Service spokesperson Max Milien stating: "We are aware of the actual posting and are actively investigating."
And though Twitter sent an email earlier declaring that Forell's profile had been removed, it appears that only the assassination-related tweets have been deleted from his account: as of 9:00 pm EST, his account still appears to be active.
[Conservative Blogger Urges Obama's Assassination On Twitter [DailyFinance]
[The Audacity Of Hype]
[Anybody But Barack Obama 2012]
[Barack Obama Was A Mistake]
[Solly Forrell's Twitter]
[Solly Forell's Google Profile]
This Is Getting Scary [Balloon Juice]
Related: Obama Death Tweeter Being Investigated By Secret Service [Gawker]