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Facebook: Getting to Know the Secret Service

picture-29.thumbnail.pngSo some idiot created a poll on Facebook "Should Obama Be Killed" with four answers:

Yes

Maybe

If he cuts my health care

No

Okay the stupidity of this is effing mindboggling. Not just the third answer which make no sense at all but, WTF are you thinking?  You know how joking about explosives at the airport will get you in Big Trouble and most likely make you miss your flight–imagine what this kinda crap will do to you!

Perhaps this poll writer never saw the episode of the sit-com One Day at Time (starring Mackenzie Phillips, so this post has some weird synchronistic tabloid value) where spunky divorced mom Ann gets so upset about her phone bill that she writes everyone from city council to the President and signs the letter to the President "ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls no more for thee." She was being poetic and punny–this was back when a number of phone companies were run by the Bell conglomerate–but the Secret Service took her very seriously and showed up on her doorstep, because *surprise* the President is coming to town and his route goes under Ann’s apartment window.

This episode was written little more than a year after the two attempts on President Gerald Ford’s life. It made a very clear point to me. You don’t make even vague threats about the President. You don’t joke about killing government officials. An you sure as sugar is sweet don’t post polls on Facebook, a data-minefield, about stuff like that. And for gods’ sakes, you don’t vote "yes" either.

I called my local Secret Service office about an hour after the first post about this went up on The Political Carnival, and the nice agent told me he’d gotten about five calls so far and they are aware of it. In that hour over 100 more people had taken the poll. After voting you had to "join the application" to see the results. As if.

The creator of this repulsive poll and the people who took it-most likely even those who didn’t join to see the results; Facebook has great tracking ability–have absolutely no protection under Facebook’s Terms of Service.It could be argued that no subpoena is necessary, and even if one is, I doubt the Secret Service would have too much trouble getting one (see bold, emphasis mine).

We may be required to disclose user information pursuant to lawful requests, such as subpoenas or court orders, or in compliance with applicable laws. We do not reveal information until we have a good faith belief that an information request by law enforcement or private litigants meets applicable legal standards. Additionally, we may share account or other information when we believe it is necessary to comply with law, to protect our interests or property, to prevent fraud or other illegal activity perpetrated through the Facebook service or using the Facebook name, or to prevent imminent bodily harm. This may include sharing information with other companies, lawyers, agents or government agencies.

Okay, maybe some of 497 people who have taken this to date are kids who have no real concept of what they are voting on, to them it’s an abstract; "killing" isn’t real, it’s just words, just goofing around. But the person who made this poll is savvy enough to add in a (wrong-thinking but still there) reference to health care. And this person is full of hate towards this country–because after all Obama was elected by the majority, and a political murder would cause such an economic upheaval it would make the last year look like a boom. And then there is personal loss that would be felt by family, friends and millions around the world. WTF, you ignorant moron!

No matter how much Bush was loathed–and yes, W got the "he’s Hitler/Nazi/facist" treatment at times, which is a place we just shouldn’t go for so many reasons I could do a whole other post–I can’t recall any such personal, vitriolic outpouring of hate for any president. Is it the intertoobs? Video games? A sense of limitless freedoms coupled conversely, perversely, with a fear of all freedoms being crushed–and crushed by the very desperate acts these hatemongers and their unthinking followers commit?

And then there’s this part of me that wonders if this isn’t some elaborate sting by the now (one hopes) New Media-savvy Secret Service to lure potentially dangerous types into their field of awareness, an online-lite version of an undercover agent offering a jihadist terrorist wanna-be a truckload of explosives. 

UPDATE: The Secret Service is investigating and the poll, created by the Facebook user, hase been pulled.

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Lisa Derrick

Lisa Derrick

Los Angeles native, attended UC Berkeley and Loyola Marymount University before punk rock and logophilia overtook her life. Worked as nightclub columnist, pop culture journalist and was a Hollywood housewife before writing for and editing Sacred History Magazine. Then she discovered the thrill of politics. She also appears frequently on the Dave Fanning Show, one of Ireland's most popular radio broadcasts.

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