Thursday, March 16

Be Careful What You Say

We've all done it at one point in time, lost our cool on a blog and said things we shouldn't. Then there are those of us that seem to live in that place where we let our passion for a particular subject carry us to the place where our common sense disengages and our lesser demons express themselves in our posts and comments on a regular basis. I think we forget that our words can come back to haunt us, and some on the receiving end of our "threats" and "popping off" don't think we're funny or "just kidding."

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says she and now-retired colleague Sandra Day O’Connor were the targets of an Internet death threat last year because of their citation of foreign law in decisions.

Hum, seems odd doesn't that someone would be so unhinged by a foreign law citation that they would actually make death threats against a sitting SC justice, but then again maybe one person's abortion-rights passion is another person's foregin-law passion.

“Although I doubt the current measures will garner sufficient votes to pass, it is disquieting that they have attracted sizable support,” said Ginsburg. “And one not-so-small concern — they fuel the irrational fringe.” She then revealed the online threat.

Disquieting is a interesting way to put it. The article continues: of the marshal of the Court, who is in charge of security for the justices, alerted her to a Feb. 28, 2005, Web “chat” posting that began, “Okay commandoes, here is your first patriotic assignment.” After mentioning that Ginsburg and O’Connor invoke foreign laws and rulings, the posting continued, “This is a huge threat to our Republic and constitutional freedom . . . If you are what you say you are, and NOT armchair patriots, then those two justices will not live another week.” Ginsburg did not indicate where on the Web the message appeared or if any investigation ensued.

I think the lesson we can take from this is we all need to remember that our words are very much public when we post and comment on the web. We may forget that while we are talking to those we consider to be friends, that the conversations are not "private" chats, and that our anonymous nics are no protection from prosecution. New provisions in the Violence Against Women act now provide protection from harassment of any individual by any individual even if that person is hiding behind an Internet nickname.

Ya'll be careful out there and remember the Iron Fist rule "If you think you are too drunk to post, then you are too drunk to post," or in this application, "If you think you are too angry to post, then you are too angry to post," so back away from the keyboard, take a walk, stand under a cold shower, or do whatever you have to do to chill out. The laws of this country are finally catching up to the trends in cyberstalking and harassment. It's better to be safe than sorry.

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