Monday, April 16, 2007

Idle threat of the week

During a week the name Don Imus was shoved down the throats of innocent victims all over the country, the panel of judges had a multitude of threats to sift through and rank by validity. When all was said and done we decided to go right to the top and recognize the most dramatic and threatening threat there is: The death threat.

As the week progressed it was reported death threats were issued against purveyors of racial justice, such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, crusaders for First Amendment rights, such as Don Imus, and even excellent public speakers, such as the Rutgers women's basketball team.

It was also a week that saw absolution in the Duke lacrosse case, which served as a reminder that though the principals in that affair had had their lives threatened over and over again, they all still remained very much alive.

There was a time, during the sixties, when the death threat took on deadly consequences and a public figure couldn't be blamed for taking each and every one seriously. The valid death threat also had a brief revival in the early eighties, as a Beatle and an Egyptian president were felled by assassins, and a Pope and American president almost met the same fate.

But ever since then, nothing. I think this is because now anyone who wants to make a grand political statement or impress Jodi Foster is far more likely to comment on a blog or call into a talk radio show than take a trip to the ammo shop. And if a deranged individual is bent on killing for effect, recent events prove it's more effective (and probably easier) to kill a bunch of random people than one specific person.

It can't be fun to hear that someone is planning on ending your life but, if you do, and you're famous enough for it to be a news item, rest assured, these days, you are more likely to die from a lightning strike or a ham sandwich than a bullet with your name on it.

And that the death threat takes Idle Threat of the Week for April 9-15.

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