It gets uglier and uglier in Cranston, RI, the town where Jessica Ahlquist was successful in removing an illegal prayer banner from a high school auditorium. School prayer was banned by the Supreme Court in 1961, so should hardly be a surprise to anyone that a call to ask "Our Heavenly Father" for guidance is over the line. Unfortunately, many local residents do understand the first thing about basic constitutional rights.
Cranston Police are "combing through" social media networks and websites and "those messages that are construed as extremely threating in nature will be identified and their authors will be called in for questioning," said Cranston Police Chief Col. Marco Palombo Jr.
In a release, Palombo said that the department is conducting a "proactive investigation" into "threatening comments being made through social media outlets directed at Cranston High School West student Jessica Ahlquist amid the court decision regarding the removal of the prayer banner from the school's auditorium."
"While it is clear that some of the messages could constitute 'cyberbulling,' which is prohibited under the recently legislated Safe Schools Act, other comments that have been posted could possibly fall under the Cyberstalking and cyberharrassment prohibited statute which calls for in part, 'a purposeful course of conduct that would cause a person reasonable emotional distress and to be in fear for their safety,' Palombo said.
Along with investigating the social media messages, Palombo said Cranston Police will have extra patrols over the weekend both at Cranston West and by the Ahlquist residence. Some people posted Ahlquists' home address on news websites.
The extent of the anger is downright scary. Jessica Ahlquist is American hero, who was praised by the Judge in the case as being "articulate and courageous".
Unfortunately, the local media in RI and even government officials have been encouraging a witch hunt which has led to the vicious attacks. For that can stomach it (and personally I could not):
Several websites and blogs have been archiving them by taking screen captures. One of those sites, jesusfetusfajitafishsticks, has dozens of the messages archived.
Let's hope those that have crossed line will be punished and the Constitution will gain the respect that it deserves. It should start with the Cranston School Board next week re-affirming the judge's ruling and reminding all community members that we live in land of laws made by men and woman. This is not a theocracy and cyberbulling should not be tolerated.
Finally, if you might want to support the Jessica Ahlquist Scholarship Fund, a great way to show our support for all she has done for the secular community.