The FBI has charged a Philadelphia man with threatening to kill Rep. Eric Cantor. Let’s just say this guy apparently has a bunch of issues, including issues with Jews. Details here.
PREDICTION: The climate has gotten so hateful right now in the country, look for the FBI to take these kinds of threats very seriously — whether the person threatened is a Democrat, Republican, liberal or conservative. With these charges it has now served notice that it’s not going to look the other way.
There is a difference between free speech and a threat of bodily harm — and in a democracy people should feel as if they are completely free to express their views and vote as they choose without seriously fearing that if they do that they or their families will be murdered by someone who sees things differently. Clearly, law enforcement officials have to determine what is over the line — and with these charges they’ve signaled that they do not intend to merely sit and ponder that question forever until someone’s body is being lowered into the ground.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.