ATTENTION, CITIZENS: jokes about violence aren't funny. That's why Justin Carter spent months in pretrial confinement for a clearly mocking rant about a video game, and why Caleb Jamaal Clemmons spent six months in jail for an "experimental literary piece."
Now, of course, jokes by law enforcement are different. They are funny, and not threatening at all! Even though United States government asserts a privilege to detain and/or kill, without review or rebuke, any human being on the face of the earth, and even thought the United States government and the governments of the states maintain a monopoly on force and exercise it often, and even though you are eight times more likely to be killed by a cop than a terrorist, law enforcement jokes about violence must be taken in context as just gallows humor. Take those hilarious jokers at the ATF, for instance:
[T]he Justice Department finds itself on the defensive after a training manual surfaced that suggests federal agents could face a firing squad for leaking government secrets.
The online manual for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — complete with a photo of a turn-of-the-century firing squad — was obtained by The Washington Times from a concerned federal law enforcement official, and it immediately drew protests from watchdogs who said it showed a lack of sensitivity to gun violence and the continuing hostile environment toward whistleblowers.
See! Just a joke! It shouldn't be treated as threatening. Sure, law enforcement kills and brutalizes people all the time and Justin Carter and Caleb Clemmons haven't killed or brutalized anyone, but everyone knows you can trust law enforcement. We know they won't execute whistleblowers! They'll just retaliate against and prosecute them. Whistleblowers are perfectly safe from the ATF and FBI! I mean, unless the whistleblowers are kids living in a religious group's compound and they aren't fireproof.
Thanks to tipster Ian.
Last 5 posts by Ken White
- Free Speech Triumphant Or Free Speech In Retreat? - June 21st, 2017
- The Power To Generate Crimes Rather Than Merely Investigate Them - June 19th, 2017
- Free Speech, The Goose, And The Gander - June 17th, 2017
- Free Speech Tropes In The LA Times - June 8th, 2017
- I write letters - June 1st, 2017