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President Barack Obama tonight spoke, in the most stark, pressing, and persuasive way I've ever heard from him, of The Choice we face as a nation in this election: between an America where we all come together and one in which we're on our own; between an America that believes in keeping our jobs here and one in which we send jobs to other countries; between an America that believes in the fundamental right for people to live free from fear of ill health or of insurmountable college loans and one in which we have to give up our rights just so that a few can be given even bigger tax breaks; between an America that affirms its commitment to truth and science and one in which we shun the facts of our ailing planet and our impact on it; between an America filled with daughters who advance just as far as sons and one in which that reality never gets realized; between an America in which young immigrant children who've arrived without a choice can pursue the full extent of choices we as citizens should all be able to and one in which those same young boys and girls spend their lives reigned in by unfulfilled potential vitiated by the threat of deportation; between an America that is filled with hope for a brighter future and one in which we live within the shadows of the past.

But The Choice is also about something far weightier, something far longer-term than our economic prosperity or the American Comeback or of freedoms to love and marry who you want or pursue whatever dreams you have regardless of your background or your fortunes.  It's something far outside the boundaries of this election alone: it's a choice between the kind of world in which hope is codified into our laws and values as a nation, and one in which the seeds of division, exclusion, and anger triumph over the greater good—wherein the fabric of society is allowed to erode at the vestigial hands of hate.

I believe that this latter, pernicious world view—that cynicism borne out of a lack of compassion, or out of an abundance of xenophobia, or out of an inability to disagree intellectually without being viscerally disagreeable, or, yes, out of racism—is precisely what drives the engines of inequality and persecution and of the many other ugly virtues that get so easily labeled "human nature".

Because when a 16 year-old white girl takes to Twitter to openly call for the assassination of our President, you have got to wonder where we, as a society, have gone wrong; why we, as a society, have failed; how we, as a society, have allowed hatred to incubate within such a young, malleable mind.  It is a choice that, as President Obama paralleled tonight in his invocation of our rights and responsibilities as a nation and as a society, we all shoulder the burden of making, because the consequences of that choice will shape a future of our own making.

I am speechless at the tweet and what it represents.  Let it sink in your conscience once again:

Someone needs to assassinate Obama...like ASAP #DieYouPieceOfShit
That tweet has been RT'd over 300 times.  Over sixty people have marked it as a Favorite.  The kid has actually gained followers since she tweeted that.  I can only hope that the Secret Service and FBI are already contacting her and her parents, as we all should be contacting the Cincinnati Secret Service Field Office at CINCINNATI 513-684-3585 or the FBI via its tips website.  As is, ordinary citizens have already pastebinned  basic, openly, and publicly available information about her, including her school's contact info, should you feel inclined to leave an overnight message about hope or give an early morning ring to the Principal.

I just called and left a voice message on the principal's answering machine saying that, as a former schoolteacher, I believe communities and schools, in addition to parents, share the responsibility of talking to kids about the consequences of their actions, and to guide them away from the kind of hatred behind actions such as these.  I also wished the Principal well in light of the possible media firestorm that Alyssa's tweet may portend.  (Alyssa Douglas tweets are coming in at about 20-50 per minute)

We may never be able to stamp out bigotry or hatred or injustice completely, as weeds unto the grass can never truly be eradicated, but we can choose a future in which the kind of tolerance, acceptance, and hope that our President believes in and spoke about tonight grabs these sorts of sentiments by the roots and yanks them from the grip of our society's youth, because, as we can see in this example of Alyssa Douglas, that grip intensifies perhaps irreparably by the time someone reaches adulthood.

It's about time we made The Choice for what kind of future we want for tomorrow's sixteen year-olds and for our nation.

UPDATE

Should you care to get in touch with, say, the Principal, or, oh, the Guidance Counselor.

Full School Contact List: available publicly.

[Note: Hyperlinks in this update have been removed.  See UPDATE X4]

UPDATE X2

Haven't seen any news items about this (yet), but that may change in the morning.  In the meantime, here's an article titled Alyssa Douglas May Soon Become The Most Hated Woman In America (Twitter Reaction):

Alyssa Douglas is a 16-year-old Caucasian girl who might have just ruined her life.  She’s a hairdresser and a high schooler just trying to live a normal life, who will graduate in 2014. But from this day forward, her reputation, her chance at ever getting a job and her life have taken a twisted turn for the worst. Douglas decided to recklessly tweet something which is considered a threat to our national security, and she could be held liable for her actions in a court room or even in a jail cell.
Could turn out to be an overstatement, but I do agree with this:
A divided nation didn’t get us through Vietnam, Pearl Harbor, 9/11 and many other tragic events in our nation’s history and it won’t get us through this recession if we continue to spew hateful things at each other without coming up with positive solutions to help move us forward. Politicians have to stop the negative rhetoric because it’s starting to get into people’s heads like Alyssa, the Ft. Hood shooters and the shooter involved in the failed attempt to assassinate Gabby Giffords.
UPDATE X3

Good morning, folks.  The diary's been re-posted by Cleveland's R&B Station 93.1 FM WZAK.  Let's continue to dialogue.

UPDATE X4

I have removed hyperlinks to the pastebin link in which someone has posted publicly available information, none of which is personally identifying about the girl, and have removed the hyperlinks to her public high school's publicly available contact info as well.  Here's why:

A few comments this morning have falsely labeled this diary as an incite to violence, which it is not and has not ever been.  My diary is about the choice we as a society need to ponder in order to craft a future in which tweets like this, and the sentiments behind them, become less frequent. This tweeter, her age notwithstanding, made a grievous error in a public forum (Twitter), and in today's society, it's to be expected that publicly available information about her would surface.  Heck, she attends a public school, and schools are communities that act as proxies for the worldviews we as people adopt.

It takes a village to raise a kid, even today, and that girl's village should hear about her actions and address them.  We as observers have the right to contact them, and at no point did my diary encourage anything but respectful contact.  This diary is not "rallying for harassment" of her community, but I could see how a small percentage of readers might get that impression.

However, this diary has gone viral, and I would hate for it to be misrepresented as, or purposely misused by the right as, some sort of "the Left does it too" false equivalency.   The stupidity and vileness of her tweet aside, no harm should befall her for exercising her right to free speech, even if her exercise thereof carries legal consequences in inciting violence against our President.

As for the student's name being in the diary title, well, she used her full name in her Twitter handle of the tweet that went viral, so there shouldn't be any qualms about this.

Other than for the links (which can still be found easily on the web), I stand by my assessment of this girl, who, for what it's worth for you in the "She's Only 16...She's A CHILD, for Christ's Sake!" crowd, is only two years removed from being able to join the military.  Let that sink in.  Within 24 months, this "kid" could in theory directly serve under the Commander-In-Chief she last night openly called for the assassination of.

I also stand by my assessment of our society, because we absolutely shoulder the collective burden of why our world currently fails its Alyssa Douglases.

She made her choice.  We have got to make ours.

 

UPDATE X5

Still no updates from MSM outlets or, obviously, from the SS, but the website Bostinno posted an article titled "Twitter Explodes With Anger After 16-Year-Old Girl Calls For President's Assassination"

Interesting word choice in certain portions of the article aside (I'll leave up to you to interpret its leanings), it does a decent job of capturing a slice of Twitter users' highly involved response last night.  It also raises an interesting point, one which our generation is currently grappling with the ramifications of given how new it is: how the internet affects our consequences–

Whether Douglas got a knock on the door that evening from officials investigating her hateful, misguided tweet, or the shock of hundreds of people slamming her and calling her out for her particular choice in words remains unclear, however, what is obvious is that the internet never forgets, and even when you try to wipe your online-trail clean, others have captured your regrettable rants.
Will stay on the lookout for any new news, but I think we can all assume now that the SS is all over this.  With or without our efforts, we will never know.
FINAL UPDATE!

HOORAY! Confirmation that the SS has already met with the poster.  Cincinnati.com reports in Secret Service investigates Ohio teen's tweet about Obama

Alyssa Douglas, a high school girl from the Clarksville area, in Clinton County, sent out a tweet Thursday night saying: “Someone needs to assassinate Obama...like ASAP.”

Now the Secret Service is investigating the threat. The Clinton-Massie School District had a meeting with Douglas and her parents.

Bloggers and Twitter users followed the incident today with a discussion of hate speech.

The local Secret Service office said it will report its findings to the U.S. Attorney's Office for Southern District of Ohio.

It is possible that the tweet will be determined to be not a legitimate threat to the president’s well being.

Emphasis added.  To those of you who think using the person's name in this diary was injurious, recall–and take note here–that this is standard practice in diaries and news articles online and offline.

Thanks for discussing hate speech, privacy, and The Choice.

OBAMA2012 NOVEMBER 6, 2012!


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