Friday, November 21, 2008

Death threats against Obama - Shame on you America!

The Secret Service will not provide the number of cases that they are actually investigating. It is a sick American tradition that threats against a new president spike right after an election. But the Service admits that across the nation, local law enforcement officials are seeing more threats against President-elect Barack Obama than ever before. Since the November 4th election landslide, officials have seen more potentially threatening writings and other activities directed at Mr. Obama and his family than has been seen with any past president-elect.

The Secret Service has investigated the case of a sign posted on a tree in Vay, Idaho making the suggestion of a free public hanging of Mr. Obama. In North Carolina, civil rights officials complained of threatening racist graffiti targeting Mr. Obama found in a tunnel near the North Carolina State University campus. In a Maine convenience store was a sign inviting customers to spend a dollar to join a betting pool on when Mr. Obama might fall victim to an assassin. The money would go to the person picking the date closest to when Mr. Obama was attacked. The since taken down sign cheerfully closed with “Let’s hope we have a winner.” In Denver, a group of men with guns and bulletproof vests made racist threats against Mr. Obama and sparked fears of an assassination plot during the Democratic National Convention. Just before the election, two men in Tennessee believed to be skinheads were charged with plotting to behead blacks across the country and assassinate Mr. Obama while wearing white top hats and tuxedos. In Milwaukee, police officials found a poster of Obama with a bullet going toward his head on a table in the middle of the police station.

The Secret Service also cautions that the public should not assume that any threats against Mr. Obama or his family are due to racism. However, cases of racially hateful graffiti, not necessarily directed at the Obama family, have emerged in numerous reports across the nation. I guess the public is supposed to believe that this is just an unfortunate coincidence. Chatter among white supremacists on the Internet has increased throughout the campaign and since Election Day. But again, that’s just another one of those coincidences that doesn’t necessarily mean any racial hostilities are fermenting.

With the selection of Mr. Obama as the first black president, racists and white supremacists are using the belief of anonymity to post some serious hate on the internet. There are lengthy discussion threads about what will happen now that Mr. Obama has been elected as our next president. There are a number of white nationalists and patriots who inhabit these sites making derogatory postings with racist slurs.

The Secret Service cautions that the public should not assume that any threats against Mr. Obama or his family are due to racism.

Many of these people aren’t going to do anything they say. In many of the investigations already concluded the consensus was that there was no credible threat to Mr. Obama or his family. Most of these people are pretty toothless. But the behavior of these people and the sudden upsurge in racist slurs should be a concern to anyone with a genuine interest in the condition of race relations. It is true that none of these people may pose a threat to the Obama family, but many of these people may not hesitate to take their wrath out on the nearest or most convenient person of obvious African American descent.

I would expect that if anyone was to put together a message on the internet or anywhere else saying that he or she is going to go down to the local school and kill all the people there, that person would find his or her self under an FBI microscope and facing some kind of charges, if for nothing else for making somebody in law enforcement do some work. America has a rich history of people following through on their racial hate. We also have a history of blaming the victims of racial animosity for being attacked and defending themselves. People who try to get protection from being harassed, people who try to take their concerns to law enforcement, are dismissed with a roll of the eyes. Nooses are just pranks. Threats against our black president-elect don’t need to be taken seriously. And when people are attacked for having the same obvious ethnicity as our first non white president it will be nothing but a weird coincidence of ethnicity.

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