What Happens When You Tweet Obama Death Threats?

A little over a week ago, we introduced you to Jay Martin, the man who very explicitly wished death upon Barack Obama via Twitter. He has disappeared from the Internet. What happened to him?

Conservative blogger Solly Forrell, and 19 year-old Washington state resident Jay Martin were two idiots whose outrage over the health care vote on March 21st inspired them to tweet Obama Death threats. (Martin tweeted: "If I lived in DC i'd shoot him myself.. Point Blank. Dead Fucking Serious." Read all his death tweets here.) Martin's Twitter account is now down, and he hasn't responded to our emails. Solly Forrell's last tweet was a few hours after he threatened Obama. The Secret Service reportedly began investigating both of them shortly after their threats. So, are they, like, in Guantanamo Bay now or what? We emailed Secret Service expert Vince Palamara—who's interviewed dozens of former Secret Service members and been in History Channel documentaries and everything!—and he explained what likely happened to Jay Martin.

How seriously would the Secret Service have taken Jay Martin's tweets?

The Secret Service investigates any/ all threats, even ones allegedly made in jest.

Would they treat a threat on the Internet differently than one directly sent to the White House?

They treat the internet just as importantly as they do a person writing a "snail mail" letter to the White House. In fact, one can argue that the internet is even more threatening, because a vile and threatening blog or message can impact and influence other like-minded persons.

Last week, ABC reported that Martin was "under investigation" by the Secret Service. How does the Secret Service conduct their investigations?

Quickly and discreetly: they don't like a lot of publicity, to ward off copycats. They will consider the motive, means, and opportunity—and mental state—-of the person or persons and weigh the consequences accordingly. If the person making the threat does not have the means to carry it out (a young school child or a handicapped invalid), that is taken into due account. Also, if the person is adamant that their threat was not to the level of what it might of inferred, they will take that into proper consideration. I would almost guarantee that Jay Martin would have been visited. An arrest would be the judgment of the agents and their investigation.

What kinds of penalties or consequences does Jay Martin face?

5 years in prison, perhaps more, if weapons or planning were in the works. [If the threat was determined to be less serious] a "watch list" would be made up of those individuals or groups that warrant monitoring of some fashion, especially when a dignitary is visiting a certain region, as well as periodic checks whenever the chief executive is in the region.

So, that's what you get if you post Obama death tweets. Jay didn't seem like the kind of guy with an elaborate plan to assassinate the president, so we're guessing he got a knock on the door from some Secret Service agents, a slap on the wrist, and will now have a big black van parked outside his house whenever Obama comes to town. If you're reading this, Jay, we'd love to hear about how all this worked out for you!