A jury in Brooklyn found right wing radio talk show host and blogger Hal Turner guilty of threatening to murder three federal judges, Friday:
"Turner was arrested and charged in June 2009 for writing Internet postings that month that proclaimed “outrage” over a handgun decision by Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook and Judges Richard Posner and William Bauer, of the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, stating, among other things: “Let me be the first to say this plainly: These Judges deserve to be killed.” The postings included photographs, phone numbers, work address and room numbers of these judges, along with a photo of the building in which they work and a map of its location." [FBI press release]
Turner was incensed over a handgun-related decision by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. One of the judges he threatened was Richard Posner, himself a blogger, author, and public intellectual.
Turner has yet to be sentenced. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
If only the justice system took threats against abortion providers as seriously as they do threats to federal judges. Sadly, posting the home addresses of providers is a popular sport among radical anti-choicers.
The logic for being so strict about threats to judges is clear: It's bad enough to threaten anyone's life, but it's doubly serious to threaten a judge because the justice system can't function when judges are intimidated. The same logic should apply to threats against abortion providers. Abortion is legal. Death threats are calculated to deprive women of their rights by intimidating doctors. Anti-choicers should not be allowed to hijack the health care system.
[Photo credit: flickr user Anas Ahmad, licensed under Creative Commons.]