Mrs. Polly Foils a Plot?
"Secret Service," the young man said. "Look, it's a comment on the Internet, I want to make it clear," I said. "But someone on the Huffingtonpost just made a threat against Obama."
I was on the phone with the New York Field Office of the Secret Service on Sunday. They pick up on the first ring, BTW, even though this is their busy season. Of course, should Obama win, the next eight years will be their busy season.
The Huffingtonpost is a one-stop-shop for every kind of Freeping, wingeing, blustering, petty, juvenile, gleeful trolling that its mostly liberal articles can inspire. Regulars needle each other joyfully, like the old guys in the back of a coffee shop, and interlopers set off cascades of derogatory comments. The stories on Huffingtonpost are given provocative titles designed to set adrenaline flowing into the good red bloodstreams of its viewers, and the comments on the stories frequently overwhelm each other, streaming in with such force that it's useless to try to keep up.
This commenter, though, was new. And he minced no words about what he wanted to do to the Obamas. Both of them. And with what weapons. When he was dumped off the site under one name, he came back, newly registered as something else, saying, "Think you can get rid of me that easily?"
That's when I looked up the Secret Service. I posted on Huffington that I was calling them, figuring that the commenter could be found even if he immediately stopped commenting. It's not like the telephone; you can't just hang up.
All that FISA spying ought to be good for something!
The young man heard me out, and said, "I'll have Intelligence call you back." Which they did, immediately. I told "Paul" about the comment(s), which was difficult since I don't use the "N" word, or the other ones--- when and where it occurred, and he and I both went to the Huffington Post to find the comment.
FLASH: the Secret Service doesn't spend a lot of time on the Huffington Post. "I've never been to this site before," said "Paul", sounding perplexed by the assortment of screaming headlines, multitude of categories, and the ever-flowing stream of comments. It took some time to find the Commenter, partially because my computer is agonizingly slow, partially because clicking within certain sections of the Huffington Post will send you off to the far reaches of the known universe.
We did find him, though. In case you think mere typing to an unseen entity will never amount to any problems for you, know this: "Paul" said, "All right, I'm calling Headquarters about this, they'll talk to the site owners, find the guy's IP, and we'll look into it."
Then yesterday, two skin/knuckleheads were arrested by the ATF for concocting a loony plot to assassinate not only Obama, but eighty other African-Americans, beheading some for good measure. They were going to start off their spree by robbing a gun shop, and were going to rob a neighbor, but were scared off by a dog. And, they met on the Internet. I can't help hoping that one of them was the disgusting gooberhead who posted on Huffington.
And remember the ATF? These are the guys whom John McCain's friend G. Gordon Liddy recommended shooting. And gave his own home recipe for where and how to shoot them.
This whole election has been upside-down-land: conservatives screaming about sexism, liberals condemning mothers who work, and Mrs. Polly teaching Secret Service guys how to navigate the Huffington Post. It's tiring living with all your mental furniture on the ceiling.
But our mental furniture has been rearranged so often in the last eight years that now we should be used to the room twisting around like Fred Astaire's in that famous scene from Royal Wedding. How agile will we be the next time the room shifts again?