Threats on presidents’ lives then and now

Threats on presidents’ lives then and now
Johnny Depp (Image: YouTube screen grab via NBC News)

I suppose one should pity Johnny Depp. That’s the humane takeaway from a slideshow at Friday’s Telegraph under the headline “Scandal, flops and a very expensive private life: charting the steady decline of Johnny Depp.”

It’s fair to say at this point that if Depp’s career is headed toward the skids, then the last thing in the world he needed to do was to make a threat on the life of the U.S. president before a crowd of thousands of witnesses at Cineramageddon, a youth-oriented film festival in Glastonbury, England.

But threaten he did, and to wild applause, rhetorically asking an already amped up crowd on Thursday, “When was the last time an actor assassinated a president?”

He then provided an answer of sorts: “I want to clarify, I am not an actor. I lie for a living. However, it has been a while, and maybe it is time.”

He obviously knew before making his “joke” (which is what he called it in a public apology issued exclusively to People magazine) that it was ill-advised. He even prefaced the crude remark with a self-directed caveat of sorts: “I’m not insinuating anything – by the way, this will be in the press and it will be horrible.”

But the damage he has inflicted on his career is the least of his worries — or should be. The Washington Examiner reports that and Oregon man who threatened on social media to kill Barack Obama was sentenced in May to 63 months in federal prison.

Depp may not have to fear facing five years in stir. According to the Mail Tribune, a newspaper published in Medford, Ore., the charges that the convicted man, John Roos, pleaded guilty to included not only threatening the life of the president but possession of an unregistered explosive device.

Which is not to suggest Depp is free and clear. Although legal experts are divided on the question of whether what Depp did is prosecutable, the Secret Service is looking into the matter.

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.

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