The news Friday that an Oakland, California jury had convicted a local man in the murder of a newspaper editor was tempered by the news out of Olympia Washington that NPPA Past President Tony Overman and his employer were the target of another example of domestic terrorism when anarchists vandalized Tonyâ€™s home and the newspaper property.
Back in April of 2010 Tony was assaulted by an anarchist, who sprayed his face and camera with paint, while he was photographing a public rally in Olympia.
This latest incident, in which the vandals painted the word â€œsnitchâ€ on Tonyâ€™s truck and the newspaper building, is nothing less than terrorism, the use of violence and threats of violence to intimidate an individual or organization.
The local community has rallied around Tony and the paper showing support in the form of letters and messages in social media. A public rally in support was staged Saturday at the paperâ€™s offices.
It is important that we all recognize these attacks for what they are, a criminal act, and donâ€™t mistake them for any form of protected speech.
The news out of Oakland was welcome in that it confirmed that the criminal justice system will eventually deal with thugs and terrorists who think that their actions should be immune from the scrutiny of the news media and hope that by violence, or threat thereof, will prevent coverage.
Hopefully the news out of Olympia will eventually confirm this as well when the perpetrators of this attack are prosecuted.
No journalists should have to fear violence, especially in the United States where we value free speech and the rights of our press so highly, just for doing their job.