Editorial: A threat made even in jest unacceptable

Newspapers get a lot of feedback every day in a variety of formats: phone calls, mail, email, virtual submissions and even reader comments. Every once in a while they will get some calls, emails and letters that are anonymous. Less often they receive threats — or perceived threats — like the one that arrived in Monday’s mail here at the Daily.

The white envelope was addressed to the Northen [sic] Va. Daily and postmarked Oct. 18. Inside were two clippings from the Oct. 18 Northern Virginia Daily. One clipping was from 1A: “In reopening, GOP gets a sharp rebuke.” The story had a photo of President Obama with it.

The letter sender crossed out the word GOP and wrote “The Devil” on the headline. On Obama’s photo, the writer drew horns on the president’s head, and below it wrote “KILL THE DEVIL.”

Taped to this clip was another story from the Daily’s Region front page that day: “Donations aid students in need.” Printed below that article was “This should have been on front page!! Not the Devil.”

It never ceases to amaze how some people will take their hatred of another up 10 notches to actually issue a threat. Nobody says you can’t hate a politician, but threatening to kill someone — even in jest — is not acceptable. To threaten a president, who is under the protection of the Secret Service, is not only unacceptable, it’s against the law.