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December 05, 2003

It used to be a free country...

I read a story on CNN tonight that just plain pissed me off.

I am not necessarily an Eminem fan. He is purposely controversial and he gets the media attention and it sells more records. I can understand that. I think I do something similar here... some of the stances I take are a little more on the controversial side just so I can get a rise out of someone. Debate is a good thing.

Anyway, this point of this story was that the Secret Service has opened up an investigation into a bootleg song done by Eminem. Their excuse is that it could be a threat to the president. I read the lyric and I found a snippet of the song. The lyric in question is "Fuck money, I don't rap for dead presidents. I'd rather see the president dead."

OK. It isn't a well wish, but I think it is a long way from being a threat against the president. Eminem did not come out and say that he was going to kill the president. In fact, he didn't even name the president. So, isn't this so called threat vague to say the least.

Last I checked, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution says that the government cannot abridge free speech. That, to me, says that anyone can say pretty much anything. If someone wants to jump up and down and say that they want to kill the president, they have that right. You may not agree with it, but they have that right. If they are pointing a gun at the presidential motorcade while they are shouting, then that is another. I can't find anything anywhere that says it is illegal to say that you want to kill the president. Even if there is a law out there somewhere, it would be clearly unconstitutional and should be overturned.

This is a freaking song and one that hadn't even been released to the public. Paranoia can be a good thing, but this is a little extreme.

I am sure that this post has just gotten me on some list as a threat to the president. I'll have to keep my eyes out for the unmarked black helicopters now.

"Free speech is intended to protect the controversial and even outrageous word; and not just comforting platitudes too mundane to need protection." - General Colin Powell

December 04, 2003


They. It is an interesting word.

Webster's Dictionary defines it as meaning "those ones - used as third person pronoun serving as the plural of he, she, or it or referring to a group of two or more individuals." It is used to point out people and their actions... They are going to the store or they are working really hard.

It is also used as a way for people to pass the responsibility for their actions on to someone else.

Take the current situation in Cincinnati, Ohio. A 350-pound crack head named Nathaniel Jones who was drunk and hopped up on PCP died while being placed in police custody. This guy took a swing at one of the cops and it took six cops using their nightsticks to get him down on the ground and handcuffed. While he was down, he had a heart attack. People are coming out and saying that the reason that he died was that "they" were out to get him. Who? The white cops, of course. Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that Nathaniel Jones was black.

So, what the lawyers, the NAACP and the dead guys family is saying is that it really wasn't Jones' fault. It was the police officer's fault that he weighed 350 pounds and had an enlarged heart. It was the cops fault that he was drunk and on drugs. The officers must have baited him into taking a swing at them. And, of course, Jones had nothing to do with the fact that that he kept swinging after they tried to restrain him.

Folks, get over yourself. Nobody was out to get him. There may be some training issues that have to be resolved with the cops, but when you see a ham-sized fist coming at your head, you do what you have to do. Jones was obviously self destructive and he finally imploded. I'm sorry that he died, but he did it to himself. Yes, the coroner says that he wouldn't have died if he hadn't been in the fight, but he wouldn't have been in the fight if he hadn't placed himself in that position.

"We've gotten to the point where everybody's got a right and nobody's got a responsibility." - Newton Minow