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Teen in jail for months over 'sarcastic' Facebook threat

Dragonfly

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Teen in jail for months over 'sarcastic' Facebook threat - CNN.com

(CNN) -- It was a sarcastic Facebook comment during an argument about a video game. And, according to the father of 19-year-old Justin Carter, it was enough to land his son behind bars for months, facing the possibility of years in prison.
According to court documents, Justin wrote "I'm f---ed in the head alright. I think I'ma (sic) shoot up a kindergarten and watch the blood of the innocent rain down and eat the beating heart of one of them."

Jack Carter said his son followed the claim with "LOL" and "J/K" -- indicating that the comment wasn't serious.

But someone else -- Carter says a woman in Canada -- noticed the comment and reported it to authorities. Coming two months after the deadly shootings at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, the report wasn't taken lightly. According to court documents, Carter lived less than a half-mile from an elementary school in New Braunfels, Texas.
Thoughts on this?

Is the kid a potential threat, or just the victim of current idiotic policy?
 

RabidAlpaca

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Possibly years in jail? We don't even send our rapists to jail that long. Unreal.

I'm not saying there shouldn't be some (little) consequence for saying things like that, but this is far, far too extreme. I think a stern talking to and a warning would be enough, and possibly a misdemeanor for repeat offenders.

On the other hand, that wasn't a directed threat, it was ambiguous, so I don't see how this doesn't get protected under the first amendment.

IE: "I'm going to shoot XXXXX school up" vs "I'm going to schoot a school up"
 

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There's got to be more; otherwise his freedom of speech has been violated. Dumb thing to say but bring stupid isn't a crime.
 

Dragonfly

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This is sort of similar to the ice cream and bottled water arrest recently involving a college girl and 7 law enforcement agents.

Just seems like such an extreme over-reaction.
 

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There is another thread on the forum addressing this.

My thoughts-
This isn't an 8 year old eating a pop tart, this is an ADULT. 19 is adult. I was in a military hospital recovering from wounds at his age.

I truly doubt he never typed any crazy crap before. It would be a break from reality to claim he was such a good boy and this was just a poor joke taken out of context.

EVERY right has limits, you can't yell fire in a theater, you can't slander or libel someone and in this day and age terrorist threats are serious.

While it appears the young man didn't have the tools needed to attack a school, that isn't the issue or what he was arrested for.

The Judge is being harsh on the poor wide body, but his lawyer has taken 4 months to get around to asking for a reduced bail?

These laws have been in place since way before Newtown, that there are a few ignorant putzes out there who claim no knowledge of Columbine makes no difference. As many are wont to say when it suits... words have meaning.

You don't need an AR to be guilty of making a terrorist threat, just a fat mouth bigger than your pea brain.

This is why it amazes me some of the 'patriot' crap a few love to post... Big Brother doesn't have to be watching, any one can report your over the top butt.

Bet his Happy Meal butt learned online ain't Vegas... :peace
 

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Unless there is more to this story this was obviously a joke. Seriously, is it because the joke was about kids. How many of us have said things like "I am going to kill you" when a friend or sibling got under your skin.

This is tantamount to outlawing hyperbole.
 

Captain Adverse

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There is another thread on the forum addressing this.

My thoughts-
This isn't an 8 year old eating a pop tart, this is an ADULT. 19 is adult. I was in a military hospital recovering from wounds at his age.

I truly doubt he never typed any crazy crap before. It would be a break from reality to claim he was such a good boy and this was just a poor joke taken out of context.

EVERY right has limits, you can't yell fire in a theater, you can't slander or libel someone and in this day and age terrorist threats are serious.

While it appears the young man didn't have the tools needed to attack a school, that isn't the issue or what he was arrested for.

The Judge is being harsh on the poor wide body, but his lawyer has taken 4 months to get around to asking for a reduced bail?

These laws have been in place since way before Newtown, that there are a few ignorant putzes out there who claim no knowledge of Columbine makes no difference. As many are wont to say when it suits... words have meaning.

You don't need an AR to be guilty of making a terrorist threat, just a fat mouth bigger than your pea brain.

This is why it amazes me some of the 'patriot' crap a few love to post... Big Brother doesn't have to be watching, any one can report your over the top butt.

Bet his Happy Meal butt learned online ain't Vegas... :peace
I've never agreed with the idea "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" has any applicability beyond medical usage.

Our society has used this little dictum to create a whole slew of laws restricting individual liberty simply because a possibility exists someone might commit a crime, when in fact they haven't done anything harmful at all. At least not until such previously harmless acts are criminalized in a premeptive attempt against the possiblity they might lead to actual crimes involving harm.

Although your actions have caused no harm, these actions are themselves to be considered criminal? So we as a society, having become so fearful of the possibility of harm, should create "thought laws" such that citizens can't even express jokes about such things? Worse, so our children can't even play "bang bang" games with their fingers or toy army figures without fear of being expelled from schools or playgrounds?

This is why "patriots" post...the fear of losing more and more liberty in the name of public security.
 
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Dragonfly

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Unless there is more to this story this was obviously a joke. Seriously, is it because the joke was about kids. How many of us have said things like "I am going to kill you" when a friend or sibling got under your skin.

This is tantamount to outlawing hyperbole.

Hell - I've joked about taking my own kids out.

Bill Cosby has a great comedy routine about "I brought you into this world, I can take you out."

There was no specific threat to a specific person, and the complaint came from a woman in Canada who somehow was able to "eaves-drop" in on the "conversation".

The whole thing, based on what little information is provided, stinks to high heaven.
 

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I've never agreed with the idea "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" has any applicability beyond medical usage. Our society has used this little dictum to create a whole slew of laws restricting individual liberty simply because a possibility exists someone might commit a crime, when in fact they haven't done anything harmful at all. At least not until such actions are criminalized in a premeptive attempt against actual criminal acts. Now, although your actions have caused no harm, these actions are themselves a crime. So we as a society, having become so fearful of the possibility of harm, have created "thought laws" making us so fearful of arrest we can't even express jokes about such things. Worse, our children can't even play "bang bang" games with their fingers or toy army figures without being expelled from schools or playgrounds. This is why "patriots" post...the fear of losing more and more liberty in the name of public security.
Bit much don't you think? No thought laws, laws against threatening people. There is a difference. There is a difference between an 8 year old eating a pop tart and a 19 year old MAN running his Happy Meal Mouth.

'Patriots' post to vent and blow off steam, if 'patriots' were serious then these laws would have been challenged in court years ago. Seems the ACLU is the patriot here. These laws can be changed- but most 'patriots' seem far more interested in playing the angry/victim card than putting on their shoes and attending to the situation.

I'd also opine many 'patriots' are happy with Achmeed getting jacked on 'threat' talk but not sweet widebody Bubba.

I'm also pretty sure if a guy threatened many a 'patriot's' family with mayhem, murder or some such, they would RUN to the cops wanting 'SOMETHING' done.

But hey, do more than post, change the law...
 

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I work with a guy who was driving drunk. He hit a college-aged girl which resulted in a hospital stay of about a week with some fairly serious but not life-threatening injuries. After he hit the girl he drove off and left her on the side of the road. Hit and run while being drunk. Do you know how much prison time he got? 60 days. He might get out early too.

Now tell me, does one sentence from a teenagers conversation, taken out of context of the rest of the conversation, warrant months of jail time and possibly much more?

One must take a great deal more into account before going off the deep end regarding a teenagers online conversations.
 

Captain Adverse

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Bit much don't you think? No thought laws, laws against threatening people. There is a difference. There is a difference between an 8 year old eating a pop tart and a 19 year old MAN running his Happy Meal Mouth.

And exactly what actual harm has this "19 year old MAN running his Happy Meal Mouth" done? So some Canadian biddy was offended and perhaps "frightened." Has any school kid been harmed?

...Seems the ACLU is the patriot here. These laws can be changed- but most 'patriots' seem far more interested in playing the angry/victim card than putting on their shoes and attending to the situation.
Wrong argument to use with me, since I actively support the ACLU.

I'd also opine many 'patriots' are happy with Achmeed getting jacked on 'threat' talk but not sweet widebody Bubba.
Again, wrong argument to use with me, since as a lawyer I know the difference between the crime of "assault" which is what a terrorist does when he makes a viable threat, and Free Speech, such as when a "19 year old MAN running his Happy Meal Mouth" on his Facebook page responds in regards to a comment on his "video gaming skills."

I'm also pretty sure if a guy threatened many a 'patriot's' family with mayhem, murder or some such, they would RUN to the cops wanting 'SOMETHING' done. But hey, do more than post, change the law...
Again, clear threats vs joking comments...major and easily discernable differences there. Try again.

A kid creating a web-page and then posting a series of "articles" praising and advocating specific acts of murder and mayhem may be an indicator and give reason for suspicion if found. But to insure it is not simply literary license or a means of venting frustrations some investigation is warranted. But automatic arrest and charges? No way.

In a case like this where it is clearly a mere joke? Not even a "warning" is necessary. Just shrug and move on.
 

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i heard about this one on NPR. stupid comment; warrants a serious investigation, but no jail, IMO. as for charges, probably not. have to take things like this seriously, but use some common sense, and look at the comments case by case.
 

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Thoughts on this?

Is the kid a potential threat, or just the victim of current idiotic policy?
Not sure. I do know I've gone my whole entire life without threatening to kill a classroom full of children. My thoughts are that sending this kid to jail didn't happen just in the vacuum of his Facebook comment. IOW, there's more to the story.
 

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And exactly what actual harm has this "19 year old MAN running his Happy Meal Mouth" done? So some Canadian biddy was offended and perhaps "frightened." Has any school kid been harmed? Wrong argument to use with me, since I actively support the ACLU. Again, wrong argument to use with me, since as a lawyer I know the difference between the crime of "assault" which is what a terrorist does when he makes a viable threat, and Free Speech, such as when a "19 year old MAN running his Happy Meal Mouth" on his Facebook page responds in regards to a comment on his "video gaming skills." Again, clear threats vs joking comments...major and easily discernable differences there. Try again. A kid creating a web-page and then posting a series of "articles" praising and advocating specific acts of murder and mayhem may be an indicator and give reason for suspicion if found. But to insure it is not simply literary license or a means of venting frustrations some investigation is warranted. But automatic arrest and charges? No way. In a case like this where it is clearly a mere joke? Not even a "warning" is necessary. Just shrug and move on.
I've been reading the posts using such things as a pre-teen threatening to kill her brother because he is teasing her about a boy or a comedian telling a joke on stage with a guy threatening to do a massacre online. Not the same thing.

Communicating a threat doesn't require action to be illegal- don't like that concept, change the law.

When it comes to 'patriots' and Achmeed you are changing the story. I didn't say the police would act, i said the 'patriots' would be happy. I didn't say 'clear or viable' threat, but the same deal- no weapons, bombs or materials... the terrorist threat rule was all fine and good until slackers started getting in trouble.

You moved the goalpost on the terrorist threat, you compared apples to oranges.

My point about the ACLU and the 'patriots' are at least the ACLU is doing something more than complaining.

There wasn't an automatic arrest. the cops served a search warrant and a WEEK later a judge issued an arrest warrant. lets try and stick to the facts. Time will tell if the kid had more than just a big loose online mouth... in the other thread on this it was reported the 19 year old said, eat their still beating hearts... a rather common saying back in my grunt days (this guy is no grunt)- he didn't. The dad claims the 19 year old said he was joking, the court record doesn't support that. The dad said shoot up a school, the 19 year old was rather specific about a kindergarten, blood of the innocent rain down and eat the heart of one of them.

What makes me wonder is the lawyer is just now getting around to asking for the bond to be reduced... months after the fact so while i don't know if 500,000 was appropriate I do know the lawyer seems poor at best.

That you as an individual have no problem with someone 'joking around' communicating a threat against your kids isn't the issue. I sincerely believe most 'patriots' would demand SOMETHING be done.

The problem is where do we draw the line? Is this the first wild rant? Doesn't seem likely does it? I mean that was a very good and somewhat specific rant the wide body launched. If later he had dome something to a bunch of 4 and 5 year olds... do you think the 'patriots' would just shrug and say- that is the price of freedom?

Would they if it was one of their kids?

Much of the ill named Patriot Act I believe to be bogus, but this adult was investigated before arrest, he could have had his bond reduced months ago, he was rather specific in his rant, and this wasn't kids yelling bang on the playground.

My take away on this is perhaps if enough Bubbas get rolled up in the terrorist threat law maybe a few 'patriots' will do more than bitch online.

or not... :peace
 

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"Joke" or not, a 19 year old should have more ****ing sense than to do that. **** him if he doesn't wasn't to face the consequences of making a stupid decision. I have no pity for him.

Frankly, the most offensive thing about his comment is that real jokes are being associated with it. And don't get me wrong, it's not the subject matter that was the problem. It was his delivery. Comedy is all about delivery. If you deliver a "joke" about dead children that comes across like a some toilet-baby trailer park kid trying to sound "tough", you have failed miserably at delivery. That terrible delivery alone is worth 10, maybe 15 years in prison, IMHO.
 

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Communicating a threat doesn't require action to be illegal- don't like that concept, change the law.

When it comes to 'patriots' and Achmeed you are changing the story. I didn't say the police would act, i said the 'patriots' would be happy. I didn't say 'clear or viable' threat, but the same deal- no weapons, bombs or materials... the terrorist threat rule was all fine and good until slackers started getting in trouble.

You moved the goalpost on the terrorist threat, you compared apples to oranges.
I never said a threat needs to require action to be assault. Acting on the threat would make it battery, murder, or whatever other criminal harm ensues. However, in order for something to qualify as assault, the person claiming to be assaulted must have a rational good faith belief that the person making the threat intends to carry it out.

That does not appear to be the case here. It seems to be a knee-jerk attempt to punish this guy for speech people simply disapprove of in light of the recent school attacks.

I guess this may be a matter of semantics, since I consider myself a firm believer in the Bill of Rights and the principles evoked in the Declaration of Independence, which would label me a "patriot" to many who also adhere to that ideology.

I think the term you really should be using is "reactionary," but that's just my opinion.

As for the rest of your argument, while I agree with some parts (your feelings about the Patriot Act for example), I consider the rest illogical slippery-slope fallacies which serve to undermine First Amendment protections of free expression. In my personal view (knowing the Courts have since modified this in attempts to uphold all these new "thought police laws") free speech should not be abridged unless there is a clear and present danger of harm.
 
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JayDubya

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Jonathan Swift was a terrorist then, fo sho.
 

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I never said a threat needs to require action to be assault. Acting on the threat would make it battery, murder, or whatever other criminal harm ensues. However, in order for something to qualify as assault, the person claiming to be assaulted must have a rational good faith belief that the person making the threat intends to carry it out. That does not appear to be the case here. It seems to be a knee-jerk attempt to punish this guy for speech people simply disapprove of in light of the recent school attacks. I guess this may be a matter of semantics, since I consider myself a firm believer in the Bill of Rights and the principles evoked in the Declaration of Independence, which would label me a "patriot" to many who also adhere to that ideology. I think the term you really should be using is "reactionary," but that's just my opinion. As for the rest of your argument, while I agree with some parts (your feelings about the Patriot Act for example), I consider the rest illogical slippery-slope fallacies which serve to undermine First Amendment protections of free expression. In my personal view (knowing the Courts have since modified this in attempts to uphold all these new "thought police laws") free speech should not be abridged unless there is a clear and present danger of harm.
I don't see this as knee jerk. The Police investigated and a WEEK later the judge issued the arrest warrant. What time frame is knee jerk to you?

Long before Newtown terrorist threats were illegal. Something triggered the response by both the police and a judge- the father and Right wing bloggers are playing a bit loose with the truth. I'd say let the legal system- part of the Constitution I swore an oath to support and defend- work it's magic.

And no there is no need for an individual to fear in this case but the police to believe and a judge to agree. That is the nature of mass murder- no one person to feel THEY are threatened. This isn't 'thought' police, but a rather specific threat by an adult. I'd imagine many 'patriots' would be castigating the authorities, as those who use 'thought police' and other terms are a bit critical of authorities, if they just said, 'oh it's free speech' and the goober went and killed a bunch of little kids.

No I use 'patriot' to describe those who claim a great love but have not served and or just sit on the couch complaining and believing the right wing blogs and slants. The ACLU is more patriotic than many 'patriots'.

I too am a firm believer in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the need for able bodied men to serve their nation, and if you don't walk the walk, then don't talk the talk.

I also believe the Bill of Rights is not limitless and the line in which at least an investigation should be conducted is just what the 'poor' adult did.

I understand you see it differently- for now...
 

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I don't see this as knee jerk. The Police investigated and a WEEK later the judge issued the arrest warrant. What time frame is knee jerk to you?
Knee-jerk is a reflexive reaction, the term being based on what happens when a doctor hits a pivot point on the Knee. Timing has very little to do with it when refering to public actions taken in response to public stimuli.

Something triggered the response by both the police and a judge- the father and Right wing bloggers are playing a bit loose with the truth. I'd say let the legal system- part of the Constitution I swore an oath to support and defend- work it's magic.
Here we have some grounds for agreement. We do not know all the facts, and it is possible that some other evidence was uncovered which points to "real" danger. Still, if what the facebook page showed was what the father claims...it seems a bit of a stretch this guy was making any viable threat. I guess we'll find out if the issue ever comes to trial. My hope, if that be the case, the government has a lot more than simply this, or other inane comments he may have made taken out of context.

And no there is no need for an individual to fear in this case but the police to believe and a judge to agree. That is the nature of mass murder- no one person to feel THEY are threatened. This isn't 'thought' police, but a rather specific threat by an adult. I'd imagine many 'patriots' would be castigating the authorities, as those who use 'thought police' and other terms are a bit critical of authorities, if they just said, 'oh it's free speech' and the goober went and killed a bunch of little kids.
And here again we disagree because the police and judge should not be involved in the first place unless a credible threat has been made. What was the "credible threat" if the statement was made in the context it occurred as claimed by the father in this case?

I also believe the Bill of Rights is not limitless and the line in which at least an investigation should be conducted is just what the 'poor' adult did.
We can disagree here, although as you can see by my icon, I am a supporter of the "Patrick Henry" view of liberty. He was a rather fiery and seditious orator, who could likely have faced imprisonment for some of his statements were they made today (at least under your idea of free speech). Again, unless speech demonstrates a clear and present danger, it should not be abridged.
 
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Knee-jerk is a reflexive reaction, the term being based on what happens when a doctor hits a pivot point on the Knee. Timing has very little to do with it when refering to public actions taken in response to public stimuli. Here we have some grounds for agreement. We do not know all the facts, and it is possible that some other evidence was uncovered which points to "real" danger. Still, if what the facebook page showed was what the father claims...it seems a bit of a stretch this guy was making any viable threat. I guess we'll find out if the issue ever comes to trial. My hope, if that be the case, the government has a lot more than simply this, or other inane comments he may have made taken out of context. And here again we disagree because the police and judge should not be involved in the first place unless a credible threat has been made. What was the "credible threat" if the statement was made in the context it occurred as claimed by the father in this case? We can disagree here, although as you can see by my icon, I am a supporter of the "Patrick Henry" view of liberty. He was a rather fiery and seditious orator, who could likely have faced imprisonment for some of his statements were they made today (at least under your idea of free speech). Again, unless speech demonstrates a clear and present danger, it should not be abridged.
And I see the knee jerk reaction as being this outrage over at BEST half the facts and what the OP presents is readily proven otherwise- the 'daddy summations' vs the recorded postings of our adult, not kid. Due process has been served... the amount of bond is a bit high but the lawyer has taken months to get around to that part of this so don't blame the judge.

Go read other sites and see the rather big difference between what the police and records say the young ADULT posted vs what Daddy claims was said.

Ahhh Patrick Henry- a man I have NO I say again ZERO love for. All talk and no walk.... well he did walk out of the Constitutional Convention when he didn't get his way.... But he never risked a hair on his head in the cause of freedom, never got the whiff of grape, all talk.

He is the forefather of all 'patriots'...

Sedition is done in spades these days, he'd have to Beck or Limbaugh his way through the pack to get even 5 minutes of fame.
 

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And I see the knee jerk reaction as being this outrage over at BEST half the facts and what the OP presents is readily proven otherwise- the 'daddy summations' vs the recorded postings of our adult, not kid. Due process has been served... the amount of bond is a bit high but the lawyer has taken months to get around to that part of this so don't blame the judge.

Go read other sites and see the rather big difference between what the police and records say the young ADULT posted vs what Daddy claims was said.

Ahhh Patrick Henry- a man I have NO I say again ZERO love for. All talk and no walk.... well he did walk out of the Constitutional Convention when he didn't get his way.... But he never risked a hair on his head in the cause of freedom, never got the whiff of grape, all talk.

He is the forefather of all 'patriots'...

Sedition is done in spades these days, he'd have to Beck or Limbaugh his way through the pack to get even 5 minutes of fame.
tsk tsk, no respect for one of our countries "patriots" lol.

Anyway, gimme some links and I'll be happy to see what new developments have arisen. Always happy to keep informed.
 

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tsk tsk, no respect for one of our countries "patriots" lol. Anyway, gimme some links and I'll be happy to see what new developments have arisen. Always happy to keep informed.
yeah, I have little love for all hat and no cattle... Try CNN, Don Gross- his latest report says the 19 year old will have a hearing on July 16th on bail reduction. His lawyer is claiming some sort of abuse while in jail, perhaps no video games?

Or you can do what I did... type 'teen in jail for months' into your web browser. I got over 38 million hits. :2wave:
 

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First off, I'd like to say hello to the forums.

Secondly, what this guy said was distasteful and inappropriate. Maybe the police should have come to his door to have a serious talk about it due to recent events.

However, arresting anyone for posting an obviously sarcastic comment on Facebook, regardless of content, is blatantly unacceptable, immoral, and uncomfortably reminiscent of 1984's thought police.

In addition, I find it amusing how the definition of "terrorist" has changed so much. Before 9/11, mass murderers were not considered terrorists as far as I know. Now anyone who kills a bunch of people regardless of their other intentions is considered a "terrorist". This certainly raises a lot of questions about who exactly qualifies as a terrorist.
 

Ikari

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