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Re: Death Threats
On Sat, 21 Sep 1996, Timothy C. May wrote:
> Hey, I'm a candidate for President, too (at least I know of someone who
> plans to vote for me). Does this mean I am protected against various
> threats, and veiled threats? Let me know, as I seem to be under attack by
> certain Russian-developed spambots.
> More seriously, the whole set of protections the President has is
> inconsistent with our nominally anti-royalist approach. Of course, America
> long ago created its own royalty. Even dynasties (how else do you explain
> Teddy Kennedy getting away with the Mary Jo Kopechne thing?).
> Actively (and plausibly) threatening _anyone_ is a kind of crime (*), but
> there is no reason to make special laws covering certain persons.
The law specifically criminalizing threats against the President (and
other specified persons) gives federal authorities jurisdiction to
investigate the cases, which frequently have interstate connections. It
is relatively difficult for a state to investigate and prosecute an
That's not the only reason for the law, though.
> (* Why do I say "actively (and plausibly) threatening _anyone_ is a kind of
> crime"? Don't I believe in free speech? Well, if I hear that Vladimir G.
> Nulis says I should be killed, and that he is coming to California to take
> care of this, I have no compunctions, liberrarian or otherwise, about
> shooting first at the first sign of his appearance on my property.
> Understandably, the government does not wish this to happen. Thus, I have
> no problem with illegalizing direct and concrete threats. General threats,
> such as "all lawyers should be taken out into the parking lot and garotted"
> are not specific, direct, and concrete, and hence fall under the free
> speech provisions.)
> --Tim May
> We got computers, we're tapping phone lines, I know that that ain't allowed.
> Timothy C. May | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
> [email protected] 408-728-0152 | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
> W.A.S.T.E.: Corralitos, CA | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
> Higher Power: 2^1,257,787-1 | black markets, collapse of governments.
> "National borders aren't even speed bumps on the information superhighway."