You might recognize Chris King’s name from a little news meme that erupted last month when Secret Service agents arrested him for threatening on Twitter to kill President Obama when he tapped out messages like, “I am dying inside. And I am plainly stating to you that I am going to kill the president.” Of course King had to be a homo.
The Vermont-based Twitter threaten-er is actually a comedian whose “comedy routine included off-color jokes about the 9/11 terror attacks, his penis and being a gay man, says the newspaper Seven Days, and “has been leveling veiled threats against elected officials for years.” He’s also a discharged Navy veteran and supposed suffers from mental illness.
But why did the Secret Service focus on this nutjob rather than your average extremist? Because King made the threats repeatedly — even after the Secret Service twice visited him at home. Oh, and he owns guns.
King’s are the latest in a string of death threats sent to Obama via Twitter. The news website Gawker has coined the term “death tweet” and documented at least two other cases, including a Secret Service investigation of conservative blogger Solly Forell, who wrote, “The next #American with a #Clear #Shot should drop #Obama like a bad habit.”
King, who moved back to Vermont in 2005 to care for his sick father, himself picked up on the trend in 2009, linking on his blog to a story about an Oklahoma man arrested for threatening mass murder at a Tea Party rally via Twitter. “What does it take to get arrested around here? I have said way worse things,” King wrote in response on April 26, 2009. “Here’s one for starters, something that I said about George Bush: Ahem: ‘I openly advocate the immediate killing of the president by any means available.’” Two days earlier, King advocated on his blog the execution of every member of Congress.
After being indicted in October, King now faces a hearing on Monday to determine whether he’s competent to stand trial (and face a five-year prison term) or should be ushered into a mental health facility. No phones or keyboards allowed.