Missoula, Montana residents woke up to find Easter eggs scattered around their home aimed at the children inside recently. The purple eggs were bedecked in glittery gold and contained a gold coin, white bunny and Nazi leaflets. One parent who found the propaganda before their child did, called the content “disgusting” and the timing of the placement “disturbing.” The leaflets promoted the notoriously violent Attomwaffen Division and called for "white revolution."
Is this a ‘Free speech’ issue when those leaflets are specifically from Atomwaffen Division, a group which calls for violent separatism to create a White Nation? This is a group whose members are currently implicated in five murders (three separate cases) and a bombing plot. When they circulate leaflets, is this still protected speech? Freedom of speech does protect abhorrent speech, but where does one cross the line into violent threats?
The FBI stated it was looking into this case but that, “Our focus is not on membership in particular groups but on criminal activity. The FBI cannot initiate an investigation based solely on an individual’s race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, or the exercise of First Amendment rights, and we remain committed to protecting those rights for all Americans." Sounds to me like the angry white boys who promote violence won’t be held legally accountable, unless possibly it’s found that they’ve trespassed? That’s my take from this statement.
The Attomwaffen Division’s views are pretty clear, violence and white supremacy. Yes it’s free speech, but at what point do their actual actions become enough to revoke that privilege? How can we hold space for unpopular speech while still targeting overtly violent groups? Is the real issue here the legal problems of terrorism law only applying to foreign influence, or is it more nefarious?
By Being Liberal contributor: Sarah Ficca