Archived Story

Effigy image both disturbing and frightening

Published 11:00pm Thursday, November 8, 2012

The image making the rounds on social media is disturbing: A scarecrow vaguely resembling President Obama is perched on a front porch, holding a sign referencing an “assassin.”

The photo was taken at a residence near Ozark, and it has prompted a Secret Service investigation into the effigy and the person behind it.

As well it should.

In the wake of the polarizing and emotional presidential election, we’ve watched as Americans – and Pike Countians – have come to grips with the outcome. Opinions and emotions have been rampant, as it was a hard-fought campaign. Social media has provided an outlet for venting and in some cases, for healing and moving forward.

But this photo that appeared on Thursday? It’s not about moving forward.

It’s easy to assume the message behind this effigy is one of disrespect or hatred or even unabashed bigotry. It’s easy to see the photo and be repulsed, ashamed, even frightened.

And all of those reactions would be appropriate.

Our nation provides for the peaceful sharing of our opinions – and the right to hold differing views and opinions. Our democracy has survived for more than 240 years – even through the strife of civil war and the righting of decades of wrongs through the Civil Rights Movement. To see an image that appears to be blatantly hateful and threatening is beyond disappointing – it is disturbing.

As Americans, we should respect our leaders – agree or disagree with their decisions or political philosophies. And we should respect each other, regardless of our differences.

  • Observer

    I haven’t seen the effigy at issue here, but it is a long American tradition to express dissent though “hanging in effigy”. It is important that the word quoted as being on the effigy was “assassin” not “assassinate”. The former is an accusation, the latter is an incitement. My guess would be that the person who created the effigy is protesting the use of drone air craft throughout the world to carryout the assassinations of individuals selected by or with the approval of the president.
    Inasmuch as Ozark is a military town and owes much of its economy to Fort Rucker, the individual responsible may not be able to make a protest and be identified for fear of retaliation by chamber of commerce types – or he could be a member of the military and barred from such insubordination.
    This does not appear to be a threat and hence the secret service should not be involved unless it sees its duties as being too comparable to the gestapo of KGB whose mandates included silencing protest or criticism of the “leader”.

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  • Observer

    My earlier post was based only on the scant information provided by The Messenger. Since reading that editorial I have encountered a complete and reasonable accounting of the facts of the case in the Dothan Eagle. The sign on the effigy did make reference to “assassin” but it was in the context, “Pray for the assassin” posted on the effigy wearing an Obama mask.

    It is obvious that this was not a threat directed at the President, nor was it a racist remark – it is equally obvious that the expression was meant as a protest against the actions of Obama as President in which he has specifically authorized the use of deadly force with the intent that persons who have never been tried or convicted of any crime would be killed.

    The Messenger should be ashamed of itself for publishing such a biased and unfounded attack without bothering the investigate for a single fact. Even the Secret Service agent who was called upon to investigate acknowledged that any citizen has a right to criticize the president and take him to task for actions or inactions and that if there was no threat involved it was beyond law enforcement jurisdiction.

    The Messenger should direct its righteous indignation at itself for such shoddy journalism – get a fact before you go into a rage and make unfounded accusations.

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  • OldSchoolPike3Worker

    The writer of this article is incorrect, we don’t live in a democracy, we live in a republic. If you don’t believe me, just recite the pledge of allegiance, note the part that says “…and to the republic for which it stands…”

    Perhaps if more people knew the difference between a republic and a democracy, we wouldn’t have to know the meaning of the terms like, “fiscal cliff.”

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