Finally, someone is held accountable for making threats about assassinating President Trump.
We can all agree that people have gone to extreme lengths over politics in the United States. While most citizens are capable of engaging in debate, criticism, and all-around discussion, some toe the line between expression and criminal behavior.
An Illinois man has been charged after posting detailed threats to assassinate President Donald Trump online. Joseph Pickett was charged with threatening the president of the United States after it was discovered that he had posted a series of alarming, profanity-laced rants against President Trump. During the course of his insane ranting, Pickett detailed the assassination of the president and even challenged the Secret Service to go after him.
They did just that when two of Pickett’s coworkers alerted the Secret Service to his posts. He had also boasted about his weapons arsenal, saying he was prepared for authorities as he challenged users to call the police. Pickett—who has been deemed a threat to the community—is being detained until a trial can take place.
In light of the recent attack on members of the GOP in Virginia, people who post rants such as this should be taken at their word. In the age of terrorism, nothing can be overlooked. That includes messages posted online. Social media has become one of the largest platforms for communication. It’s also how many people in the world receive and share news. Sadly, it has given criminals an outlet to share their sick acts by streaming live videos.
The trend of depicting violence against President Trump is disturbing. The high-profile dragging of Kathy Griffin demonstrated that most Americans are not interested in speech that depicts violence against anyone, let alone the president of the United States. There are other ways to communicate opposition to policy and “resist” that don’t include threats via graphic images of violence or social media posts detailing assassination. Much of the divide in the United States is caused by lack of intelligent dialogue. Instead of challenging and engaging in civil debate, people often jump straight to the extreme. It has gotten to the point that expressing political opinion is often met with some type of negative label.
Pickett illustrates the need to closely monitor social media posts that threaten national security. There is a huge difference between exercising the constitutional right to freedom of speech and making threats against individuals—especially President Trump. There are no justifications that can explain away posting the material that Pickett did. He needs to be held accountable.
This should also serve as a lesson to Americans—especially outspoken celebrities—that violence isn’t something that will be tolerated and written off as simply expressing opinions in public forums. Users need to start utilizing the internet in a more productive manner and remain vigilant when it comes to dangerous red flags. One thing that can be observed after many of the recent attacks that have occurred in the United States is that where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire.