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I know you're in England, but comments like that about a US Presidential candidate aren't smart and can get a visit from authorities on behalf of the Secret Service. Action words such as 'shot' should never be used in regards to a sitting president or presidential candidate - even if you're just talking about fecal matter.

Let's see, we have a sitting President running for President who today says gay people should be allowed to marry. His opponent says he might not be opposed to hospital visitation rights but opposes civil unions that are marriage in all but name, and he opposes marriage period for gay people (unless they're ex-gays marrying a person of the opposite gender). There are conservative gays who will tell us we should be happy with Mitt Romney for his willingness to let us visit each other in a hospital.

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As has been said often, the USA and UK are two nations divided by a common language. In the UK, political lampooning has history going back years and truthfully, by the standards of the 1700s and 1800s, Rick's language is mild.

There are many things that concern me about Milt Romeny, and his viewpoint on gay marriage is just one of them.

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If you've ever read some of the goings-on in early US political debates, federal, state, or local, and campaigning, you'd be amazed. Some of the behavior, between office-holders and citizens, or between fellow officials...pretty rowdy. Fistfights, name-calling, duels, caning, swords, pistols. Then there were the articles in newspapers, magazines, and handbills. Whew! You didn't want to get mixed up in those. By those standards, Rick's comments are very mild. The current paranoia by officials, bureaucrats, and badges is yet another symptom of the underlying problems our governments (at home and abroad) face.

There was a time when all government, or at least most government, was local. If you didn't like something, you could go see the head of the village, walk in, and say you thought his/her actions and ideas stink, or even punch him/her in the nose without too much more than maybe a punch back to your own nose. Of course, some places, you might not wake up from that. But by and large, you could say so. You could do that with the local craftsman or shop owner too. Really, you should probably not hit anybody in the nose as a preferred and regular solution. Not only does everybody have a sore nose and want to punch you out, but in general, it does not overly endear you to them in future interactions.

But somewhere along the way, we decided you weren't supposed to be able to tell the guy or girl in charge that he or she was doing a lousy job and straighten up and fly right. It was somehow disrespectful, not done, too dangerous, and you could be a dangerous threatening element if you so much as told the guy or girl off. If you went so far as to make any comment that could be construed as a threat, you were really someone to watch, and if you actually did something physically, well, welcome to the modern-day equivalent of the dungeon, and have a nice day.

Citizens of our own country ought to have the right to object verbally and say what they think should be done. Citizens of foreign countries ought to have the same right. In fact, it's guaranteed among the Bill of Rights. But unfortunately, many, including those elected or appointed or employed by, this government or that government, seem to have developed the opinion that is a quaint old document. The Founding Fathers would not have agreed, and said so at some length, and often. If only present-day officials and their employees would remember that and perhaps reread those quaint old documents written by those men and women in the funny costumes, perhaps we'd be better off.

To the point: I took Rick's statement to be a general expression, not a specific intention of action.

If someone (Joe) gets irritated and says, "I could just strangle you!" we don't immediately expect Joe to go over and start choking Jack or Mary at work or Joe's wife or young kid, no matter what trouble Joe's kid just got himself into, like wrecking the car or getting Suzy pregnant or perhaps kissing Johnny. -- If Joe does in fact attempt to strangle someone, then we can hope someone knew Joe really meant it and took action to stop it, or we can all be surprised that Joe would do such a thing. But there *is* a difference between saying something like that and actually meaning to do it and carrying it out.

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No matter what freedom we may have to express our opinion wherever we may be, the Secret Service, charged with protecting the U.S. president, takes every uttered threat extraordinarily seriously and will travel halfway around the world and invoke the aid of local authorities to investigate such envisioned threats with heavy-handed thoroughness, causing no end of embarrassment, personal inconvenience, and a severe pain in the ass, no matter how innocent the intent of the comment.

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