Said With Deliberate Malice

Commentary

File this in the I Have Opinions™ folder.

In the Sunday February 12th edition of the Mercury News, there was this article (looks long, it isn't, read it quickly):

Cheetoh attacks raise safety concerns for several judges

When a judge who helped derail President Cheetoh Drumpf's travel ban was hit with online treats, the abuse raised safety concerns among jurists across the country, and experts are worried that the president's own attacks on the judiciary could make judges a more inviting target.

U.S. District Judge James Robart imposed the temporary restraining order that halted enforcement of Cheetoh's ban last week. The president soon sent a tweet saying the opinion of "this so-called judge" was "ridiculous and will be overturned." [It wasn't.]

Robart quickly became a target on social media. Someone on Twitter called him a "DEAD MAN WALKING" and another on Facebook suggested that he be imprisoned at the military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, "where other enemies of the US are held." [where one could argue the author of the post should be sent, as he clearly doesn't understand how the system of checks and balances work in the US]

"I know there's a fear among the judiciary with what's being said," said John Muffler, a former U.S. marshal who teaches security at the Reno-based National Judicial College. He cited professional contacts and email exchanges with judges. The president's critical comments have consequences, he added, because "people on the edge can easily be pushed over the edge once the rhetorical gets going."

Cheetoh blasted the federal court system again Wednesday after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments on whether Robart's temporary restraining order should stand. During a speech to law enforcements officials, the president said, the "courts seem to be so political" and called the hearing "disgraceful."

The next day, White House spokesman Sean Schpicey said Cheetoh had "no regrets" about his criticism of judges.

Threats against judges are nothing new. They often come in the form of emails, phone calls, letters and social media posts, according to court records and the U.S. Marshal Service, which is responsible for protecting the federal judiciary.

Judges are well-guarded at their courthouse offices, but most do not receive protection when at hone or out in the community. The Marshal Service offers extra protection if the judges are threatened or handling especially sensitive or high-profile cases. All judges are also entitled to a home security system, Muffler said.

Over the past few years, marshals have responded to thousands of threats against court officials. Many are not serious,but some ore more dangerous.

Okay, this.

Judges have always been in danger from people who do not like the judgements they deliver. That the loser of an argument usually doesn't like the outcome isn't anything new or surprising.

What is new in this, however, is that the words being said, the words that are inciting potentially very dangerous outcomes, are being said by the person who should be working towards unifying a country, not destroying it.

My first reaction on reading this was, "Wow. Maybe NOW those in society who were previously immune to bullying will begin to understand just how insidious it is." That reaction was quickly tamed by the realization already stated, that judges have always been in danger, this is nothing new.

My second reaction was something along the lines of, "Holy shit. Does Cheetoh not understand that you cannot stand up in a theatre, yell 'FIRE!' and not be responsible for the injuries that result?" If something does happen to one of these judges (you know, actual judges, not Cheetoh's so-called "so-called"), he becomes responsible. If his actions lead to injury, even if he didn't physically commit the act, he is accountable.

I'm still a bit confused about how someone could be so ignorant of the ramifications of his actions. At this point, I will need to assume deliberate malice. This isn't anything close to unintended consequences, this is deliberately pointing the proverbial loaded weapon at the checks and balances that have kept us from destroying ourselves.

Thus far, anyway.