Friday, November 09, 2007

Drawing the line

-- by Dave

There's a very fine line, sometimes, between bellicose but protected free speech and unprotected, criminal speech, i.e., threatening and intimidating speech. Certainly, we've been exploring that line in up-close detail since the rise of the Internet.

Everyone remembers the case of Neal Horsley and the "Nuremberg Files" case, in which the names and home addresses of abortion providers were posted along with "Wanted" posters. That site was eventually shut down, though it has since resurfaced without the threatening material.

Still, it's clear these people never give up:
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A federal judge ordered an anti-abortion activist to remove Web site postings that authorities said exhorted readers to kill an abortion provider by shooting her in the head.

District Court Judge Thomas Golden granted an injunction Thursday seeking the removal of postings on Web pages maintained by John Dunkle. The injunction, sought by prosecutors in August, also bans him from publishing similar messages containing names, addresses or photographs of health clinic staff members.

Prosecutors said one posting targeted a former clinician for the Philadelphia Women's Center, and that she later stopped providing reproductive health services because she feared for her life.

Dunkle, of Reading, said Thursday that the postings had been removed.

...One posting, which featured the provider's name, photo and address, stated that "while it does not sound good to say go shoot her between the eyes, it sounds even worse to say let her alone."

Dunkle has said he did not write the message on the blog, but that he did post it.

Did I forget to mention that these people call themselves "Christians"?

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