With the inauguration of Donald Trump upon us, a Florida man who posted a video making a clear threat to kill Trump on inauguration day was arrested yesterday outside a Subway submarine sandwich store. While the individual is currently being evaluated by the court in regards to his mental health, from the basis of one report, it looks he has been suffering from known mental health issues. Surprisingly, the man apparently has ties to the Clintons.
The video threat he made against Trump was clear, and was posted publicly on one of Trump's favorite forums, Twitter. Clearly, he missed this helpful, and rather poignant FindLaw Blotter blog from a couple months ago. However, the video gives any watcher pause, as the man at one point inexplicably states: "My other name is lord Jesus Christ," then says: "I'm just following orders." Notably, the man uses the social media handle JesusChrist1701. In his video threat, he also keeps challenging the Secret Service by asking them: "What are you going to do about it?"
First Amendment and Threats
While the First Amendment affords people the right to speak out against the government and its officials, not all speech is protected. When a person makes a public threat of violence, or murder, against a public official, or anyone for that matter, there is no First Amendment right to free speech.
Furthermore, most state laws also make it a criminal act to threaten violence against another person, even if done via the internet.
Mental Health and Crime
When a person is mentally unstable, they may be able to access resources from the state to help them get help. However, the state cannot force a person to get help unless they are a danger to themselves or others.
This means that many individuals who do need help, and will not get help on their own, don't get help until it is too late and they have gotten arrested, or injured another person. What's worse is that, frequently, mentally unstable individuals are incarcerated rather than sent for psychological treatment. However, there are some jurisdictions that are keen to this issue and have treatment programs for mentally ill arrestees.