I'd be inclined to overlook this "Eric Luke" -- a Scottsdale musician-hipster, and apparent frame shop employee (nothing hip about that), who recently Twittered a wish to shoot the President "in the fuckin back of the head...oh boy." However, I see that political blog sites such as DemocraticUnderground, Political Carnival, and Donna Greathouse's DemocraticDiva.com already have up posts on Luke, who also longs to plug Vice President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Tall order, that.
Following his Twitter links, you find that Luke once played guitar in a band called Rocket Club, which he formed with musician Matthew Allen. Ironically, or at least seemingly so, Allen just criticized Obama-hatin' Pastor Steven Anderson today, writing, "here is steve anderson, the racist preacher from mesa's phone number. have fun..."
Minutes later, Allen Tweets, "Wow. I guess I went too far? I was reported to the white house for some tweets I posted earlier. Kinda sketchy."
That's an odd statement, as Allen has done nothing to be reported to the White House for, though posters on DemocraticUnderground claim to have reported Luke to the U.S. Secret Service. Luke, however, made the Twitter statement pictured above on September 11. If Allen had seen his friend's Web site, wouldn't he know what's being Tweeted there?
Luke is an even more marginal character than Pastor Anderson, in many ways. And, like a lot of folks on Twitter, he seems lacking in any mental filter whatsoever. At one point, he refers to the Rev. Jesse Jackson, as a "nicca," tells Mexican jokes ("why can't you play uno with mexicans? -- cuz they steal all the green cards"), and states that a local designer by the name of Yardley December is his girlfriend/fiancee.
Further down, Luke identifies himself as "Eric L. Arteaga," in this July 20 Tweet:
"my new health ins. card came in Eri E. Arteaga. WHAT THE FUCK. ERIC L ARTEAGA. fucking kike bastard pendejos."
He seems to have a FaceBook acount under that name, here. If he's of Mexican descent, I'd cut him some slack on the Mexican jokes, I reckon.
Could this be some lame jab at attention? Or is it the online bathroom scrawl of a moron sans sense or cents? Neither would surprise me.
Luke's got a grand total of 38 "followers" so far, which might argue for his overall insignificance. If his stated "wish" was a truthful one, Luke offers a lovely endorsement for this miracle of technology so aptly called Twit-ter. If this is all a joke or a stunt or just someone mouthing off, it would point out that threats and death-wishes against the president have become so unabashed and commonplace, that it's difficult to suss out the real from the fake.
I don't envy the job of the Secret Service in the era of social media. Can't be much like the Jim West/Artemis Gordon days, where all it took was a knife in the boot or some explosives in the heel to sort out the Miguelito Lovelesses of this world from the average idiots in circulation.
UPDATE 9/13/2009, 10:18 a.m.: Bubba, below, is correct. I had e-mailed Eric, asking for him to call me. But him having "protected" his Tweets seems an answer in itself. Thing is, I have copies of his entire Tweet history. And I'm guessing others do as well.
UPDATE 9/13/2009, 10:00 p.m.: Just received this comment from Eric via Facebook. I've invited him to contact me to discuss it further. I hope he does. (Re: below, his "followers" are now at 20. Last night, he had 38.) I'm willing to accept that there may be another explanation for what is on its face an outrageous and odious comment concerning the president. But this response alone leaves a lot wanting, considering the original language of Eric's September 11 Tweet.
As I'm sure you noticed, I have about 20 friends on my twitter account. Twitter is essentially a mass text message to your friends. The post that is being spread, and you wrote about, was taken completely out of context. It was in response to one of my followers posts. I realize you are a writer and need to investigate your story. However, giving out my information, IE: workplace, facebook link, fiance's links, band links, is simply unnecessary. The information, or opinions you wrote about me are false, and like I said, taken out of context.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.