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Lee Harvey Oswald, where are you now that we need you?

Blog post   •   Feb 01, 2017 13:51 CET

Packard on the side of a truck parked at a shopping mall in Oregon in 2013

Unlawful? Hate speech? Bad taste? Funny satire? I don't understand...?

In 2004 the UK newspaper the Guardian famously wrote: “John Wilkes-Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr, where are you now that we need you?” following the election of George W Bush. Naming presidential killers of the past, the gist of the writing is pretty clear. The Guardian later apologized, in spite of the fact that it appeared in a satirical and humorous column by Mr. Brooker.

Variations of this has since appeared in cartoons, on the side of trucks and on placards, and uttered at many rallies and demonstrations (e.g: http://keprtv.com/news/local/man-defends-lee-harvey-oswald-where-are-you-when-we-need-u-sign-11-14-2015). As political satire, many people will find it very funny, as a political slogan maybe not so much. If written in a newspaper, it is very different from a chat received from a good friend. Context is important. Audience is important.

If it were to be taken seriously, no doubt, it is a distasteful unwanted uttering, but it is not an incitement to action and it presents no immediate threat to anyone. Therefore, the uttering is lawful in almost any modern nation's laws, including the First and Second Amendment in the US constitution.

If you write such a lawful utterance on social media, are your sure it will not have a negative impact on you? The opportunities and chances your life will present you with is not governed by and protected under the rule of law. A future employer, an organisation, a club or a condominium association will act on very different criteria from those of the justice system. What about a future land lord, or parents-in-law?

A fully lawful uttering can have consequences you cannot oversee because it will spread beyond the audience it was intended for, now and in the future.

If you think you have nothing to hide, it is probably because you don’t know it yet. What is legal and socially accepted were you are with your life right now, may be very different from where you are in a year or two.

You should probably protect yourself better, and there are alternatives. Check out https://idka.com – a subscription based social media, built on Scandinavian trustworthiness, that takes care of your privacy.

Be social, stay private!© Idka AB of Sweden

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