Walter Bagdasarian was convicted on two felony counts of threatening a Presidential candidate when he wrote angry comments on an internet message board in 2008. The comments were racist and directed toward then Presidential candidate, Barack Obama. The messages were: “Re: Obama fk the niggar, he will have a 50 cal in the head soon” and “Shoot the nig.” People need to remember that every word you write on the internet is very, very public.
Bagdasarian’s conviction was reversed by an appeals court in July, 2011. However, the Justice Department has since asked the U.S. Court of Appeals of the Ninth Circuit to reinstate Bagdasarian’s conviction. That court refused to hear the case. The government is not commenting on whether they will ask the Supreme Court to hear the case. They contend that this case threatens to “undermine democracy” and discourages candidates from running for public office, so it is likely that they might send it to the highest court in the land.
Is it just that the “n word” was used in Bagdasarian’s post? Remember Sarah Palin’s target map? She posted a map of the United States with crosshairs on specific states with the corresponding Democrat’s name listed below. There are many that believe Palin’s map contributed to Gabriel Gifford’s shooting. Was Palin put on trial for threatening legislators? No. Somebody actually got shot on Palin’s list and still nobody was charged. Which is more threatening – crosshairs over a person’s name or a racial slur followed by a directive to shoot the person?
Do you think Bagdasarian’s case should go before the Supreme Court? Why or why not?