The 26-year-old North Carolina man arrested for allegedly threatening the life of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, surprise surprise, is sympathizer of Occupy Wall Street protesters. According to WISTV, Nathan Shafer was arrested Wednesday for threatening the life of Gov. Haley by commenting on a post made by the Governor on her Facebook wall November 16, "I hope someone murders you before I do, how's that for freedom of speech?"
WISTV reports that Shafer made the comment after hearing about the arrests of 19 Occupy Columbia protesters outside the State House last Monday.
State Law Enforcement Division agents visited Shafer in Charlotte two days after the comment. Shafer tells WISTV that he "retracted and deleted his statement, promised he wasn't serious and apologized to the Haley family." Two days after the visit Shafer was told he would be prosecuted for the threat. and turned himself in at noon Wednesday.
While Shafer claims he was not serious and "the whole situation is completely ridiculous and blown out of proportion," several commentators have asked why should comments made by Tea Party members be considered threats, but Occupy Wall Street statements seen as in jest? Howard Portney points to the case of Brian Dean Miller, the Dallas man sentenced to 27 months in jail after posting on Craigslist:
"People, the time has come for revolution. It is time for Obama to die. I am dedicating my life to the death of Obama and every employee of the federal government. As I promised in a previous post, if the health care reform bill passed I would become a terrorist. Today I become a terrorist."
WISTV acknowledges another federal court ruling from July that said a man was merely exercising his free speech rights when he posted online statements calling for President Barack Obama's assassination.
The State reports that Shafer is charged with threatening the life, person or family of a public official. A SLED arrest warrant said he admitted to making the threat.