A New Jersey "shock blogger" known for inciting with his words said nothing in court Monday when he appeared on a charge of inciting violence against state lawmakers.
Harold "Hal" Turner, 47, a blogger and Web talk show host, is accused of calling upon his readers and listeners to "to take up arms" against Connecticut Sen. Andrew McDonald and State Rep. Michael Lawlor and a state ethics commission official because of controversial legislation on Catholic parish finances, according to a news release from state officials.
He was angry over legislation that would have given lay members of Roman Catholic churches in Connecticut more control over their parishes' finances.
According to his Web site, he planned to "talk about the attack by the State of Connecticut against the Catholic Church, and I'll give out some home address info for some state officials."
He was arrested before that happened.
Turner's journey to Hartford started when Lawlor complained to Capitol Police after one of his aides found the blog online, according to court papers. He expressed concern for his safety and for the safety of Sen. McDonald, police said.
When police contacted McDonald about the blog, he also expressed concern for his safety, police said.
An officer called the phone number posted at the top of the blog and Turner answered. When questioned, Turner immediately took responsibility for writing and posting the blog, calling it "very terse commentary," according to court records.
"It's certainly my intent to motivate the public to get involved in this, and certainly we hope that nobody's going to go off the deep end and do something terrible, but you never can tell," he said, according to police.
Capitol Police in Hartford obtained an arrest warrant charging Turner with inciting injury to persons or property and police in North Bergen, N.J. took Turner into custody. During the brief hearing, he was mum. He remains free on a $25,000 bond and is next due back in court July 14.
Here's the colorful commentary from Turner's Website that got him into trouble in the first place:
“It is retaliating against citizens for exercising their right to petition for redress of grievances. This is tyranny and it must be put down,’ he wrote.
TRN advocates Catholics in Connecticut take up arms and put down this tyranny by force. To that end, THIS WEDNESDAY NIGHT ON "THE HAL TURNER SHOW" we will be releasing the home addresses of the Senator and Assemblyman who introduced Bill 1098 as well as the home address of Thomas K. Jones from the OSE.
After all, if they are so proud of what they're doing, they shouldn’t mind if everyone knows where they live.
It is our intent to foment direct action against these individuals personally. These beastly government officials should be made an example of as a warning to others in government: Obey the Constitution or die.
If any state attorney, police department or court thinks they're going to get uppity with us about this; I suspect we have enough bullets to put them down too.
The state pushed; it is about to get pushed back. Elected and other government officials
sometimes need to be put in their place. They serve; they do not rule. They need to learn their place or be put there by force.