Quantcast

«

»

Sep 17 2013

PA Man Arrested for Threatening the President

Here’s a story that I think helps illustrate the danger of the far-right rhetoric about President Obama being a traitor, a Muslim, an ally of the terrorists, and so forth. A man in Pennsylvania has been arrested after threatening Obama’s life in an email to the White House and found to have a stockpile of weapons. Oh, and he did this just before Obama was to have an appearance near his home.

A federal grand jury in Scranton on Tuesday indicted Nicholas Savino, 42, 328 Melrose Ave. He is accused of sending an email to the White House Aug. 16 that read “President Obama the Anti-Christ. As a result of breaking the constitution you will stand down or be shot dead,” according to a news release from the U. S. attorney’s office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania on Thursday.

Mr. Savino is charged with threatening to kill the president of the United States and transmitting a threatening communication in interstate commerce…

On Aug. 23, the day of Mr. Obama’s visit to Northeast Pennsylvania, Clarks Summit police and the Lackawanna County SWAT Team served a warrant and seized ammunition and weapons from Mr. Savino’s home on behalf of the Secret Service.

There’s nothing wrong with saying that Obama has violated the Constitution. He has, in many different ways, as did his predecessor in most of the same ways. But if you add to that the idea that he’s the Antichrist, all rationality is gone and pure fanaticism has replaced it. And that is always dangerous.

27 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    Synfandel

    “Stand down”? What does that mean…resign?

  2. 2
    busterggi

    This guy must be Kesseler’s running mate.

  3. 3
    leni

    Funny how they only seem to mind when it’s the black guy “breaking” the Constitution. Asshole probably had no problem with Bush doing it. Or Clinton.

    And I bet if you asked him how exactly Obama “broke” the Constitution, you’d probably get a word salad string of bullshit about Sharia law and “takin our guns away” and not a fucking peep about the actual violations.

  4. 4
    Pieter B, FCD

    I was gonna say something, but leni said it all.

  5. 5
    Area Man

    I’m so glad conservatives had such a snit over that DHS report about violent right-wing extremists.

  6. 6
    Usernames are smart

    And I bet if you asked him how exactly Obama “broke” the Constitution, you’d probably get a word salad string of bullshit about Sharia law and “takin our guns away” and not a fucking peep about the actual violations. — leni (#3)

    Don’t forget some derp about “Obamacare” and maybe Benghazi.

  7. 7
    John Pieret

    I suppose that, as long as you are going to have dangerous fuckwits, that they they are also stupid enough to send emails to the White House where the Secret Service can read them right away is a plus.

  8. 8
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    The only thing that suprises me about this, frankly, is that given the extremist rhetoric and hatred out there we’re not seeing many more such cases.

  9. 9
    lorn

    Irony is that two things are likely to be, or to become, true:

    1) This guy, true to typical right-wing wacko form is probably deeply concerned with Obama interfering with his gun rights, and perhaps even confiscating guns,

    2) Writing a threatening e-mail to the POTUS has caused him to lose his right to hold and own firearms.

    He will, of course, blame the confiscation of his firearms on a Obama.

  10. 10
    dingojack

    Firstly, is his address relevant? Why was it published it the first place? Why is it being repeated? Hmmm?

    Secondly, [Mr Sorvino emailed] “President Obama the Anti-Christ. As a result of breaking the constitution you will stand down or be shot dead.”
    That’s it? That’s a direct, specific and creditable threat? Really? (Who will do the shooting? When will this shooting occur?)
    I’m really hoping there was more than that to justify the Lackawanna County SWAT Team (on behalf of the Secret Service) breaking down a door only to discover [surprise!] a cache of weapons an ammunition*. Surely there’s a lot more that they’re not releasing (to avoid ‘copy-cats’ and the like).

    Thirdly, “There’s nothing wrong with saying that Obama has violated the Constitution. He has, in many different ways, as did his predecessor in most of the same ways. But if you add to that the idea that he’s the Antichrist, all rationality is gone and pure fanaticism has replaced it. And that is always dangerous.”

    Oh I see. This guy is ‘a fanatic’ (as judged by whom, exactly?) based on the use of on the phrase ‘Anti-Chist’.**
    Nice to see armchair psychologists justifying taking away rights by using such deep, thoughtful analysis.

    Yep, there sure is a lot that’s disturbing here, and it’s not just Mr Sorvino.

    Dingo
    ——-
    * What? No giant day-go silicone dildoes and hard-core porn? No copies of the ‘Director’s Cut’ DVDs of Silence of the Lambs and oversized cocktail frocks?
    ** I suppose it’ be OK to break into the houses of those who called Dick Cheney ‘the Prince of Darkness’ too?.

  11. 11
    barry21

    Dingo, you seem to be reading the blog piece in the light least favorable to the writer.

    Ed is in no position to grant or take away ANYONE’s rights, let alone those of some coot in Lackawana County. HE didn’t arrest the guy, the police did (in conjunction with, not on behalf of, the Secret Service .)

    What I read Ed saying is that one can point to evidence of various Constitutional violations Obama has made, and claims can be assessed on their merits. However, the brand “anitchrist” is a conversation-stopper.

    There is no evidence upon which one can build an argument that Obama is the fulfillment of New Testament eschatological prophesy. It’s a mere assertion. And an outrageous one at that.

    Your Cheney comparison doesn’t hold. First of all, calling Obama the anitchrist is not in itself punishable by law. It’s free speech. Ditto for calling Cheney “p.o.d.” It was the threat, not the label, that crossed the line into criminality.

    Second of all, Dick Cheney IS the Prince of Darkness.

  12. 12
    =8)-DX

    “Stand down”? What does that mean…resign?

    I’m not sure, but I immidiately thought of “Stand your ground”, which means: “If you’re black I can shoot you.”

  13. 13
    dingojack

    Ed wrote:
    “On Aug. 23, the day of Mr. Obama’s visit to Northeast Pennsylvania, Clarks Summit police and the Lackawanna County SWAT Team served a warrant and seized ammunition and weapons from Mr. Savino’s home on behalf of the Secret Service.”. [Emphasis mine].

    “…. [Mr Sorvino emailed] “President Obama the Anti-Christ. As a result of breaking the constitution you will stand down or be shot dead.”
    That’s a direct, specific and creditable threat? Really? (Who will do the shooting? When will this shooting occur?)” {Mine #10]

    Nope, still no criminality there. Perhaps if you squint hard enough…?

    If ‘one of us’ uses ‘Price of Darkness’ to refer to Cheney* – fine. If ‘the other’ uses ‘anti-christ’ it’s ‘a conversation stopper’ – if s all systems go for the local SWAT team and the ‘lock him up – he’s crazy’ bandwagon can get off and rolling.

    Talk the talk, just don’t walk the walk. Got it.

    Dingo
    ——-
    * “Second of all, Dick Cheney IS the Prince of Darkness.”
    You can provide citations that the formaer VP is in fact the fallen angel and supreme evil supernatural being of Judeo-Christian myth (unless of course that was “…a mere assertion. And an outrageous one at that.”). @@

  14. 14
    dingojack

    I wonder if the local SWAT team, armed (so to speak) with a warrant, that smash down the door of ‘16 Smith Street‘ to discover a ‘cache of weapons and ammunition’*, only to find out they were supposed to be at ‘16 Smith Road‘ instead, issue a retraction to their press release calling the people arrested ‘law-abiding citizens with a collection of firearms’?
    Everyone knows that only ‘perps’ have ‘caches‘.
    Dingo
    ——–
    * And the seemingly obligatory boxes of porn complete with giant novelty day-gllo dildoes etc. to parade past the cameras (in the back-ground, naturally) behind the hard-faced Police spokesman (or the like) reading the press-release writing next day’s headlines.

  15. 15
    dingojack

    Oops, my apologies to Mr Savino for getting his name wrong above (twice). Mea culpa.
    Dingo

  16. 16
    barry21

    The “behalf” thing is an issue of word choice. Maybe the warrant was executed by the locals, but procured by the feds, in which case “behalf” is the right word. It’s unclear in the article. My bad.

    Either way, you seem to be concerned with the elements for prosecuting the crime, not for investigating it. The “probable cause” standard used to obtain a warrant is MUCH lower than “beyond a reasonable doubt” used to judge a defendant.

    As for “direct, specific, and credible”: that language seems to be a means of assessing the likelihood of a person following through on a threat, but I don’t believe it’s a legal standard used in prosecution (or in obtaining a warrant).

    As for the “by who” and “when” questions: those may be important in assessing the seriousness of the threat, but neither piece of information is determinative of the line between speech and threat (see the Vikram Buddhi case in which the defendant was convicted for issuing a call for Iraqis to retaliate against George W. Bush by harming the president and first lady.)

    As for the Prince of Darkness thing: it WAS a mere assertion, and an outrageous one at that. I don’t think there is a realm of Darkness. I don’t believe that there is a royal sovereign in said nonexistent realm. If the realm did exist, and the King and Queen of Darkness had a baby boy, I don’t believe the evidence exists to show that Dick Cheney is said boy.

    Perhaps you should brush up on your understanding of irony.

  17. 17
    barry21

    I ended the last comment rudely. I am sorry for that.

    However, I do think you’re missing a key point with regard to irony.

    On the one hand, I believe that calling Cheney “the prince of darkness” is an example of hyperbole. For the most part, the people calling him that don’t actually believe that he is a demon.

    On the other hand, I believe that the people who refer to Obama as the antichrist ACTUALLY BELIEVE that Obama is described in Revelation’s eschatology. If the commenters at WND are being ironic, they are the greatest performance artists of all time.

    The “us” is group the people who are concerned with caricature. The “them” are the people concerned with prophecy.

  18. 18
    dingojack

    You see, that’s the difference between us.. You tend to think context (and guesses as to intent) modifies how one should treat a subject’s utterances, while I tend to expect that each utterance should be taken at face value and treated to the same set of standards*.
    If we are going to assume that the speaker’s intent was earnest religiously based threat, we should hold our own utterances to that standard too.
    Dingo
    —–
    * I fully acknowledge that neither approach is entirely satisfactory, BTW, but we should not let ‘our’ side get a pass because our assumptions about their intent are more charitable.
    (It should also be noted that Cheney used the phrase to describe himself (with some exasperated amusement).)

  19. 19
    Big Boppa

    Perhaps he was inspired by this:

    http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/klayman-mr-president-put-quran-down-get-your-knees-and-come-out-your-hands

    If so, can we please have Larry Klayman arrested as an accessory? Or for incitement?

  20. 20
    democommie

    Why was his address given? Pretty standard thing, these days. I

    n a nation of over 300M people, names that are identical in form and spelling are quite common. In some locales, South Boston for Instance, there is a fuckton of folks with the same, or similar ,birth and surnames. Again, in some locales, there are multiple persons with very similar names, (John Kelley, John Kelly, Johnny Kelley, Johnny Kelly, John E. Kelley, John E. Kelly–for example) living in close proximity, sometimes in the same apartment building, where a strong possibility exists that a defendant might be confused with another individual who is not a party to the case.

    IF the process was only followed in such cases as the ones I cite above it might be considered discriminatory. In a nation of over 300M people, about half of them seem to lawyers when things like that come up.

    As to the credibility of the threat. The Secret Service has lost 3 presidents to assassins’ bullets and nearly lost FDR, Truman and Reagan (I’m sorta torn on that last one, sorry). They take such things with about the same degree of seriousness as those folks at the airports who overhear some shit-for-brains traveler joking about having a bomb to carry on the plane. IOW, they have NO fucking sense of humor and act on anything that seems, at least to them, to be a problem. Since most of us dislike having MOST of our presidents whacked, we go along with them on this.

  21. 21
    democommie

    And I forgot about Jerry Ford.

  22. 22
    dingojack

    Is handing out the pitchforks, torches, tar and feathers ‘standard procedure’ nowadays too? Or do you have turn up for the necktie party with your own supplies?
    Dingo

  23. 23
    uncephalized

    @dingo your objections are absurd. We should take all utterances at face value regardless of context or prior knowledge of the speaker’s ideological leanings? We can’t post satirical comments with religious content because someone might not get the joke? Calling a war criminal the Prince of Darkness in a clear attempt at humor, even with no accompanying violent rhetoric (whether intended literally or not) is somehow comparable to a man clearly and directly threatening the life of the sitting President and offering up an eschatological religious justification for his psychosis? Fuck that noise.

    Your assertion that we can’t assume the guy is a fanatic is just as laughable. He emailed death threats to the White House. That’s plenty of evidence to question his mental stability. The religious justification is icing on the cake and, in the CONTEXT of his threats, is credible evidence that he is also a specifically religious type of fanatic.

    You are taking the goal of being “impartial” and allowing it to blind you to the obvious and glaring reality that this guy is a potentially dangerous nutcase with guns who has issued a direct, written death threat to the President of the United States (which is a felony, in case you’ve forgotten).

  24. 24
    bahrfeldt

    “Stand down”, in the sense used, should be the same as “cease and desist”, as in “stop what you’re doing or I’ll shoot you because I’m in charge here”.

  25. 25
    democommie

    “Stand down.’ because he saw it in a movie, maybe “The Rock”, that breathless thriller with Nicholas Cage and Sean Connery where the Navy SEALS or whatever are massacered by the bad guys after a whole bunch of times, “Stand down.” being shouted by the massacererists?

    Dingojack is simply making the same mistake a lot of people make (people here included) who think that because their country might not have such draconian laws on their books those laws are illegal, immoral or unenforceable in other countries. I’m personally somewhat affronted by Sharia law or the legal systems in places like Singapore. I don’t spend time in those places and I don’t have to live under their laws so whether I like them or not is not likely to make any difference to those who do have to live in those places.

  26. 26
    freehand

    Oh, good grief, am I going to have to defend Mr. Savino here? “Stand down” is common military parlance for backing off from an aggressive stance. Maybe Savino was a soldier; it’s not uncommon usage.

    On the other hand, Dingojack, really? Let me assure you that everything in this email excerpt cries “US religious fundamentalist low-information voter”. He is not using hyperbole when he calls Obama the Antichrist, but is instead making an absurd but literal accusation. And yes, “or be shot” is a direct and personal threat. If we bump into each other in a movie line and I say “move or die, jerk” I am not asserting that some natural process will likely result in your demise if you do not change your ways (e.g. “Stop smoking those cigarettes, or you’ll die”). I am instead making a direct, immediate, and personal threat.

    The Secret Service here interrogated a religious leader for threatening to pray at the president until he was dead. (They let him go without charge.)

  27. 27
    democommie

    @ freehand:

    I know that it’s a military term. I also know that in the four years I spend in the AF I never heard it used. The only place I’ve EVER heard it used is in movies. I’m sure that other’ mmv but without knowing the moron’s background I’m going with, not career military.

    “The Secret Service here interrogated a religious leader for threatening to pray at the president until he was dead. (They let him go without charge.)”

    True. Otoh, they invited that piece-of-shit Rick Warren to give an invocation at the Inauguration after he did a little raindance praying, IIRC.

Leave a Reply

Switch to our mobile site