CLASSIC CASE – AT 8:32 A.M. ET: We've been discussing, at Urgent Agenda, what steps can be taken to prevent the kind of multiple killings we've seen recently, first in Colorado, now in Wisconsin.
Specifically, we've wondered when the "right of privacy" gives way to some common-sense rules that can prevent a tragedy. There's an ongoing threat in New York, right now, that makes clear what we're talking about. It's usually agreed that, to use the classic expression, you don't have the right to yell "fire," when there is no fire, in a crowded theater. Apparently, some haven't gotten the message. From the New York Post:
The NYPD will subpoena Twitter today to force the social-media site to identify a psycho poster who is threatening a “Batman”-style shooting rampage at a Broadway theater, The Post has learned.
“This s--t ain’t no joke yo — I’m serious, people are gonna die like aurora,” the lunatic scrawled in one tweet, referring to last month’s massacre at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater during a midnight premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises.”
Twelve people were killed and 58 wounded in that carnage.
“Gosh I’m still making this hit list damn I wanna kill a lot of people,” the nutjob warned in another chilling tweet about the bloodshed he would unleash at the Longacre Theatre in Midtown, home to Mike Tyson’s one-man show, “Undisputed Truth.”
Detectives immediately sent an “emergency request” to Twitter in an effort to unmask the sicko — but the social media site flat-out refused it in an e-mail the next day, the sources said.
“We appreciate the timeliness and sensitivity of this matter, and have reviewed the reported Twitter account,” the e-mail said.
“While we do invoke emergency-disclosure procedures when it appears that a threat is present, specific and immediate, this does not appear to fall under those strict parameters as per our policies.”
The response prompted the NYPD to dispatch officers, including heavily armed Hercules teams, to the theater, sources said.
“We’ll cover the theater until we find this guy,” said police spokesman Paul Browne, adding that the NYPD obtained the subpoena yesterday from the Manhattan DA’s Office in order to unmask the account holder — whose online handle is being withheld for security reasons.
“We needed a name and we needed it fast. Twitter said no,” Browne fumed.
COMMENT: The police are right. Twitter is nuts. Their apparent invocation of the right of privacy goes far beyond what is reasonable. There are clear threats involved here.
What is remarkable is the silence on this issue of "news organizations" that regular print the national secrets of the United States on grounds of the "people's right to know."
We'll keep you posted as this story develops.
August 7, 2012