This effigy of Sarah Palin was hung from the rafters of a house in West Hollywood, California (Los Angeles Times article here).  Is this political commentary, hate speech, or a threat? 

Does the fact that it is integrated in a Halloween display make it okay?  The L.A. Country Sheriff seems to think so:

Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said the mannequin sporting a beehive hairdo, glasses and a red coat does not rise to the level of a hate crime because it was part of a Halloween display.

Jeff Fecke thinks it’s a threat and so should not be protected by the right to free speech.  He also doesn’t think it’s funny.  He writes:

It’s not less offensive because you put a white woman in the noose — during National Violence Against Women Awareness Month, mind you. The noose may have a special place in Hell for its symbolism in lynching, but there are plenty of women who are brutalized in this country… [It also] echo[s] the too-common dark times in our nation’s history, when politicians and activists have been silenced not with the ballot, but with the bullet.

What do you think?

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