It appears that not-Joe the non-Plumber is refusing our kind offer of ice cold, frost-brewed Shut The Fuck Up. In a followup to his sickening “open letter” to the families of those gunned down by UCSB mass killer Elliot Rodger, Samuel Wurzelbacher explains on his blog that our military veterans died so that he could tell his readers what guns are really for: “Mostly for hunting down politicians who would actively seek to take your freedoms and liberty away from you.”
He lists, as examples, “Hitler, Mao, Kim Jung Il, Castro, Stalin,” but explains, explains elsewhere in his blog, that “freedoms and liberty” consist mainly of unfettered access to firearms, and if possible, an “automatic baseball bat.”
There’s also a bunch of predictable gun-nut argle-bargle (including the actual words “bla-bla”), and of course, a topical reference to the V.A. scandal.
As Wonkette points out, Joe’s comment displays all the sensitivity of a burlap condom, given the not-too-distant shooting of then-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, (whose current status as a former politician and activist leaves her off of Wurzelbacher’s list).
Aside from that, though, there’s the matter of Wurzelbacher telling people to assassinate politicians who seek to “take your freedoms and liberty,” which, unfortunately, isn’t necessarily illegal. In order to rise to the level of criminality, inflammatory speech must meet three requirements – intent, imminence, and likelihood:
For many years, the constitutional rule famously was that speech was unprotected if “words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.” Schenck v. United States, 249 US 47 (1919). However, the current rule is that “the constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.” Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 US 444 (1969).
Ironically, it’s Joe’s own (metaphorical) hair-on-fire wingnuttery that might help him meet the imminence standard (even though the only gun laws passed under President Obama have been to allow guns in Yellowstone and on Amtrak trains), but intent and likelihood are tougher nuts to crack. Conservatives have been saying dumb shit about violent resistance to the government since, well, since President Obama took office. How about that?
In the meantime, here’s hoping that Joe drinks deeply from that frosty brew we offered him, although I shudder to think what kind of “shot” he’d chase with it.