The Norman Transcript

Opinion

April 3, 2013

Threats to officials are unacceptable behavior

NORMAN — We hope Oklahoma County prosecutors send a message to the politico that sent the threatening email to an Oklahoma state senator. Attempts to intimidate a public official with “a promise” to take action if a bill was not heard in a committee is not accepted political dialogue.

Published reports indicate Al Gerhart, the co-founder of the Sooner Tea Party, admitted to sending an email to state Sen. Cliff Branan about House Bill 1412, which prohibited Oklahoma cities and towns from embracing the United Nations Agenda 21 plan.

“Get that bill heard or I will make sure you regret not doing it,” Gerhart wrote. “I will make you the laughing stock of the Senate if I don’t hear that this will be heard and passed. We will dig into your past, your family, your associates and once we start on you there will be no end to it. This is a promise.”

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol and the OSBI are investigating the threatening email. District Attorney David Prater will have to determine if the email is a blackmail threat or protected free speech.

A few weeks ago, lawmakers themselves were warned about civility in their own ranks. It turns out the missiles hurled at them from the public are even more powerful than those inside the building.

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