Help me be not illegal.
July 25, 2006 5:28 PM   Subscribe

Would facitiously naming a website "Government Hit List" put me on a government hit list? More specifically, would it be illegal if the title was properly disclaimed and the content appropriately limited? Of course, there's a bit

A friend suggested that I call it a "Government S*** List" instead, but I feel that "Hit List" would better capture the site's ethos and be less likely to limit my audience.

Each page (via php-includes) would include a standard sentence or two disclaiming violence and clarifying that the site exists to facilitate meaningful change in government through peaceful means.

Additionally, I would be careful not to include any information (such as a street address) that would directly facilitate, or any statement that would appear to support any violent action.
posted by The Confessor to Computers & Internet (16 answers total)
No matter what disclaimers you use, calling it a hit list implies violence.

This is no longer a free country. If the government thinks you're a threat, they can simply disappear you. If they point The Finger at you and call you a terrorist, they can take all your assets and lock you up for life without a trial... without ever proving a damn thing, in fact. All it takes is the finger.

I would suggest not calling it a hit list.
posted by Malor at 5:36 PM on July 25, 2006

You'd be discussing government officials you'd like to see "hit"?

Are you retarded?

A girl on LiveJournal got a personal visit from the Secret Service in 2004 for posting about wanting Bush to die. People are being arrested at Republican rallies for wearing t-shirts bearing negative messages. Your supposedly precautionary measures won't mean shit if the FBI/SS/DoHS decide there's even a sliver of a chance you're dangerous.

Stick to "Shit List."
posted by Zozo at 5:36 PM on July 25, 2006

Illegal? Certainly not.

Would it award you the good fortune of some black helicopter government agency keeping a closer eye on your site, or more importantly, you? Maybe, maybe not..

Hard to answer that question but if you're worried that the government would be displeased by some dark corners of your private life you may want to rethink your premise.
posted by jckll at 5:38 PM on July 25, 2006

Boy, that sure looks harsh now. I was speaking strongly to underscore my point: this is a colossally bad idea. Going through with it would be unwise and potentially dangerous to your liberty and security.

No offense intended, sir, but don't be an idiot.
posted by Zozo at 5:38 PM on July 25, 2006

On preview, I guess I may have misunderstood the content of your site. If you are compiling a list of government officials you'd like to see killed, yes, that could be illegal, particularly if one of them is the decider.
posted by jckll at 5:39 PM on July 25, 2006

You'll end up in the gulag, don't do it.
posted by fire&wings at 5:47 PM on July 25, 2006

You could try using Katz Global.
posted by vizsla at 5:54 PM on July 25, 2006

Response by poster: *Confessor shakes his head*

As I posted in my original question, the disclaimer would clarify that the site exists to facilitate meaningful change in government through peaceful means (such as calling or voting out of office); certainly nothing illegal.

Hit list, then, would be used as in the second definition on this page; figuratively rather than literally. I'm wondering if the existence of that primary definition, even disclaimed, would be illegal in itself.

I'm certainly not questioning the obvious illegality of murder or intent thereof.
posted by The Confessor at 5:57 PM on July 25, 2006

It would be legal, and those who are telling to cower are complicit in the very thing that you'd want eliminated, I'd think.

You can always change it if challenged; domain registration is cheap.
(So long as it's clear from the content that you want these people fired or impeached, you're more likely to end up as an internet celebrity than in a gulag).
posted by klangklangston at 6:04 PM on July 25, 2006

Governent Shit List looks like Government(')s Hit List in a url.
posted by leapingsheep at 6:26 PM on July 25, 2006

as klang said, this thread is a good example of exactly the power being questioned. free speech has been chilled in this country - not eliminated, certainly, because calling your site whatever you want is surely legal - but chilled by a fear of some sort of extra-judicial repercussion down the line. is self-censorship any better than real censorship? ...probably, but it's a matter of degree.

it's just sad, that's all. just... sad.
posted by ab3 at 6:36 PM on July 25, 2006

For the good of the US and the world, do it. For your own, do not.
posted by jamjam at 8:03 PM on July 25, 2006

i think that zozo's link is the exception rather than the norm. people in government sometimes fuck up and do stupid things, and these stupid things get reported. it doesn't mean that everyone in the secret service is retarded.

when did tin hats become the norm around here? "government hit list" isn't incriminating - hell, you could argue that it's like a top-10 list or something. i say go ahead with it.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 10:18 PM on July 25, 2006

Just do it. If the Secret Service do come knocking, just explain that you didn't mean it literally. What would they have to gain from locking you up for the hell of it, after all? America is fucked up, but I don't think it's quite that fucked up.
posted by reklaw at 7:32 AM on July 26, 2006

I'd be worried about selective punishment. There's nothing illegal about having that site with that name but if you upset someone they may decide to call your bluff and sue you or arrest you. At that point you will have to afford to defend yourself, especially if they get your ISP or domain registrar to suspend your account. So it may be fun until you get some media attention then the next thing you know you're signing a plea to never publish on the net again.
posted by the ghost of Ken Lay at 8:16 AM on July 26, 2006

If this gives them a fit do you really think that a hit list isn't going to?

If you want to advocate the violent killing of government officials then you should go get yourself a book deal or a tv show. We civilians don't get away with it.
posted by phearlez at 2:23 PM on July 26, 2006

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