Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Did This Guy Just Threaten to Kill Us Because We're Liberal?

According to several news sources today, including the Tracy Press, Vineyard owner and seriously messed up GOP candidate for California's 11th District Congressional seat, Brad Goehring, posted this as his Facebook status briefly early this morning:

“If I could issue hunting permits, I would officially declare today opening day for liberals. The season would extend through November 2 and have no limits on how many taken as we desperately need to ‘thin’ the herd.”

He cleared the status line when the response he got was... uh... less than overwhelmingly supportive, but not before it had been seen be darn-near everybody on Facebook and the adjacent internet. From there, Keith Olbermann picked up the story, threatening to refer henceforth to such monumental gaffes as "making a Goehring."

When asked for comment, Goehring's campaign manager, Carl Folgiani, said that it was a "joke" and it was all a big misunderstanding and anybody reading the status could clearly see that Goehring was using hunting as a metaphor for voting.

Hunting liberals? Thinning the herd? See, now... I'm not a hunter by any stretch, but when you go hunting for reals, it doesn't tend to involve the civilized, constitutionally sanctioned process by which citizens of a representative government cast ballots to determine precisely who shall represent them in either part of a bicameral legislative body. That thing I just described there, that's what we liberals like to call "voting." At least the way we do it here in a America. I've gussied it up a bit, but you get the idea.

"Hunting," on the other hand, is the act by which people deliberately set out to stalk prey, with the stated intent of killing said prey. I'm pretty sure even Ted Nugent would agree with that description.

As I said, I'm no hunter.  But I am a writer. Degreed and everything  While I haven't the first clue about the joys of hunting, I know all about metaphors.  A metaphor is linguistic device by which you substitute one action for another because the two are closely related enough that the substitution becomes descriptive and poetic.  Voting.  Hunting.  Not closely related.  At least not by sane people in a civilized society.  Hunting. Stalking. Killing. Shooting.  Harming.  These things are all closely related.

Since Mr. Goehring has trouble defining things, I thought I'd like to help him out with another definition -- a legal one:  Terroristic threat.  Here's how the website US Legal Definitions defines it:
"A terroristic threat is a crime generally involving a threat to commit violence communicated with the intent to terrorize another, to cause evacuation of a building, or to cause serious public inconvenience, in reckless disregard of the risk of causing such terror or inconvenience. It may mean an offense against property or involving danger to another person that may include but is not limited to recklessly endangering another person, harassment, stalking, ethnic intimidation, and criminal mischief."

Then the site goes on to give an example of the language in one state's statute of same, which reads as follows (note, in particular, the highlighted provision):

A person commits an offense if he threatens to commit any offense involving violence to any person or property with intent to:
  1. cause a reaction of any type to his threat[s] by an official or volunteer agency organized to deal with emergencies;
  2. place any person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury; 
  3. prevent or interrupt the occupation or use of a building; room; place of assembly; place to which the public has access; place of employment or occupation; aircraft, automobile, or other form of conveyance; or other public place;
  4. cause impairment or interruption of public communications, public transportation, public water, gas, or power supply or other public service;
  5. place the public or a substantial group of the public in fear of serious bodily injury; or
  6. influence the conduct or activities of a branch or agency of the federal government, the state, or a political subdivision of the state.
Just as a minor point of interest.... The state that US Legal Definitions uses as it's example? Texas.  The state that actually is pretty supportive of people being able to say whatever they damn well please. Even Texas thinks that free speech ought to be controlled sufficiently that someone shouldn't publicly threaten to harm others.  

I've said this so many times before, but I feel compelled to say it again. A note to political pundits, reporters, and politicians.... If I promise not to tell you how to cover a party convention or stage a filibuster, will you promise to quit trying to be literary satirists?  I'd be so grateful. Comedy is best left to the professionals.


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