Friday, July 21, 2006

watch out for anthrax annie

Maybe I shouldn’t care so much, but I am surprised this hasn’t gotten more play. Memo Pad, part of (yes, that’s Women’s Wear Daily), broke the story on Tuesday (via rawstory):

If you falsely yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater and everyone tramples each other to death, you get sent to jail. So what should be done with Ann Coulter, who has argued that The New York Times should have been blown up by Timothy McVeigh and that Times executive editor Bill Keller should be executed by firing squad?

This was the question one Times source asked on Friday after an employee at the paper of record received an envelope with an X scrawled through it and a suspicious powder inside. "This thing makes all of Ann Coulter's comments a little less funny," said the source. "I wonder if she considers herself at all responsible when lunatics read her columns and she says that we should be killed."

So Memo Pad went and asked her, sending an e-mail to her AOL account. And guess what? She not only responded, but claimed to be the sender of the mysterious powder.

"So glad to hear that The New York Times got my letter and that your friend at the Times thinks I'm funny," she wrote back. "Good luck in journalism and please send me your home address so we can stay in touch, too.”

I first saw the story on AmericaBlog (who got it from Editor & Publisher), and there are a couple of interesting posts over at TPM Café (here and here), but, as best I can tell, that’s it.

Now, we all know that AC was never funny, but this is really not funny. In fact, I’d call it, at a bear minimum, the equivalent of joking about having a bomb on a commercial airliner. Try that sometime and see what happens. Someone in the comment threads for the TPM pieces suggests that making bioweapons threats was made specifically illegal under the Patriot Act (of all things).

In an age where we round up men in Miami for having the wrong workout routine, isn’t it about time the FBI or NYPD showed Coulter how to exercise her sense of humor from the inside of a holding cell?

PS Kudos to Memo Pad’s Jacob Bernstein for some simple, heads-up journalism.


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