Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Luke Angel's email - a lesson to all Presidents, parents, and drunk teenagers

I will be disappointed if the story about the British teenager Luke Angel being banned for life from the US for sending an abusive email to Barack Obama turns out to be accurate. This is how the story is being reported today in the UK.
I feel for the boy’s parents knowing that they have spawned an idiot son. But a life ban would not only be disproportionate, it would call into question what citizens in other democracies admire most about the US – its fierce dedication to freedom of speech as enshrined in the First Amendment.
It would be a rum do if the US Constitution prevented action being taken against a barmy pastor threatening to burn a stack of Korans yet allowed an inebriated youngster to suffer the lifetime consequence of a single night on the Bacardi Breezers.
There are many reasons for foreigners to be denied entry into the US – Obama has just lifted the bar on HIV carriers after a 23-year ban. Stopping convicted criminals entering your country makes good sense but calling the President a prick shouldn’t earn the same sanction.
I don’t suppose our prime minster is losing any sleep over the Facebook page David Cameron is a prick. But then, to be fair, Obama can’t be accused of being overly sensitive. The FBI intercepted Angel’s email before it landed in the Oval Office and started the ball rolling that led to the boy’s ticking off by Her Majesty’s constabulary.
I suspect the officers may have invented the ban to make a far from contrite Angel see the error of his ways.
However we don’t know the contents of the email – if there were threats rather than insults directed against the President, the Bureau had no alternative but to act.
Angel – by name though not nature – has serious problems if, as reported, his offensive email was prompted by boozing while watching a TV programme on the 9/11 atrocity.

5 comments:

  1. Is this an American site? If so, I'd better keep my opinions to myself :/

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  2. We still have freedom of speech. More than probably any country in the world. Anyone can say whatever they want about our president... as long as it doesn't include threats, which as I'm understanding, it did.

    You have no idea how many US citizens post, protest and scream and yell about Obama, calling him every name in the book...

    They can say whatever the hell they want, racist or dumb as the comments may be, and all that's completely acceptable... They just can't legally threaten him.

    Threatening anyone, let alone the president, is illegal.

    It's not simply about calling someone a prick.

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  3. Dear Anon,
    Thank you for your comment. I know freedom of speech prevails in the US hence the caution I expressed in addressing the original Luke Angel ban story. Subsequently it appears, according to Homeland Security rules, foreign nationals who are banned are never told and only discover it when they try to enter the States. GC

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  4. Freedom of Speech in the US does not extend to foreigners. The Patriot Act, post 9-11, revived "Ideological Exclusion" as a reason for denying entry to the US. Just take a moment to check out the ACLU web site(www.aclu.org/national security/ideological-exclusion). Over the years, ideological exclusion has been used to keep out at least two Nobel literature prize winners, a fate that the creator of this blog need not fear

    Onlyconnect

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  5. Dear Anon,
    Thank you for this contribution. I was told that the only thing you can be sure of in life is death and taxes - now for myself I can add not winning the Nobel prize for literature. GC

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What do you think? GC