League of Legends Player Faces Eight Years For "Terroristic Threats"

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League of Legends Player Faces Eight Years For "Terroristic Threats"

League of Legends

A Texas teenager has been in jail since March for uttering a terroristic threat while playing League of Legends.

During a League of Legends match this February, one of 18-year-old Justin Carter's opponents called him insane in a Facebook comment. Carter, in response, wrote, "Oh yeah, I'm real messed up in the head, I'm going to go shoot up a school full of kids and eat their still-beating hearts," according to his father Jack, followed by "lol" and "jk," shorthand for "laughing out loud" and "just kidding." But a woman in Canada took the threat seriously: She searched Google and found Carter's old address was near an elementary school, and then called the police.

Carter was first arrested in February and then jailed on March 27, where he has remained ever since, facing up to eight years in prison for making a terroristic threat. "These people are serious," his father told KHOU. "They really want my son to go away to jail for a sarcastic comment that he made."

Some of the enthusiasm behind Carter's prosecution is simply a matter of timing, as he made the statement just a few months after the mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School that left 20 children dead. "In light of recent situations, statements such as the one Justin made are taken seriously," an Austin police detective said in a statement.

But his father said Justin doesn't keep up with current events and didn't appreciate the significance of his words. "These kids, they don't realize what they're doing. They don't understand the implications. They don't understand public space," he said.

"If I can just help one person to understand that social media is not a playground, that when you go out there into social media, when you use Facebook, when you use Twitter, when you go out there and make comments on news articles, and the things you are saying can and will be used against you," he added.

Carter's friends and family have started an online petition to bring attention to the matter, calling for his release and for the laws regarding "terroristic threats" to be changed and clarified. A hearing on the case is scheduled for July 1.

Source: KHOU.com, via Daily Caller

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"These kids, they don't realize what they're doing. They don't understand the implications. They don't understand public space."

Then maybe you should teach them. The number of vitriolic, bile-spewing teenagers online is far too high. This guy even seems to know that you shouldn't just write anything that comes to mind on the internet, but he never bothered to communicate that to his son. For that matter, just teaching him to ignore trolls on the internet and take the high road could have been good. I hope this teaches some people that valuable lesson. Besides, he's 18. He should take responsibility for his words and actions.

That said, I've actually been on that end of the "you don't really have freedom of speech" issue, and I think they are taking it too far. 8 years? That seems a bit much for someone with no history of violent behavior or mental disorders (I assume).

I'm torn, becuse on one hand I don't think he really deserves eight years for this, but on the other hand maybe this will force stupid kids to realize that saying moronic shit online has consequences.

Nobody understands irony on the internet. But then again, nobody seems to understand irony in the real world either, so I guess that's to be expected.

I'm confused with the inclusion of League of Legends in this article. From what I gather, he was using Facebook whilst playing a league match? I'm not going to get into how much that bother's me in the first place, but instead it seems to be irrelevant. I don't recognize the name of the player, and they don't mention any affiliation he might have, so it seems that he's just happens to play. Also, if an opponent messages you on Facebook, wouldn't they have to actually know you on Facebook? If the actual conversation was shown, instead of an except, maybe I wouldn't be so confused.

Andy Chalk:
But his father said Justin doesn't keep up with current events and didn't appreciate the significance of his words. "These kids, they don't realize what they're doing. They don't understand the implications. They don't understand public space," he said.

I feel for the dad but the teenager is 18 - that's a legal adult. That means if you break laws, you go to big-boy jail. That's part of the deal, along with getting to buy big-boy booze and vote in big-boy elections. Being an adult means you are responsible for your behavioir in a public space.

Not keeping up with current events is one thing if you're talking about international news or the passage of bills through the House and Senate, but with the total media saturation that was Sandyhook coverage I think it's disingenuous to suggest he'd never heard of it. I want to say that, having heard of it and making the comment as a joke speaks of a dangerous lack of empathy, but I can't quite go there. Different people process tragedies differently, and lots of people make jokes others find inappropriate. There's no crime there.

However, neither are others required to share his sense of humor and his statement was intended to create a false sense of panic. (that's the joke. PANIC STATEMENT but oh I'd never do it) Freedom of speech does not extend to falsely shouting 'fire' in a crowded theater. (hey! there's even a wikipedia entry about this. hunh. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shouting_fire_in_a_crowded_theater )

Eight years seems steep but to me that means the laws should be changed, not that exceptions should be made for people convicted of breaking them.

Just my two cents.

It seems to me that I'd better go and turn myself in for all the times I've said out of anger that I was going to kill someone.

That's....kind of a gross overreaction, to say the least. Granted it's a stupid thing to say, especially on Facebook, and these jokes should be in private only. But I make stupid jokes around my friends all the time and I would hope none of them lost their wits long enough to think that I'm being serious.

ElFuzzy:
I'm confused with the inclusion of League of Legends in this article. From what I gather, he was using Facebook whilst playing a league match? I'm not going to get into how much that bother's me in the first place, but instead it seems to be irrelevant. I don't recognize the name of the player, and they don't mention any affiliation he might have, so it seems that he's just happens to play. Also, if an opponent messages you on Facebook, wouldn't they have to actually know you on Facebook? If the actual conversation was shown, instead of an except, maybe I wouldn't be so confused.

Because VIDEYA GAEMS R TEH EVULS.

(which basically means the media want to tie his gaming habits into his behavior and blame the game for his behavior instead of the kid or his parents)

Sometimes, justice can be too blind.

This reminds me of the dude in the UK who was arrested for joking on Twitter about blowing up an airport because his plane was delayed.

Luckily, he was released again pretty quickly because the judicial system here isn't quite so moronic.

Not sure how I feel on this. One the one hand, I want threats to be taken seriously. On the other, the punishment here is a little severe, if the legal equivalent of a "too soon" line. I don't want him to serve 8 years for a remarkably stupid comment, but on the other hand, if they found a legitimate terrorist threat, that time might be an appropriate incarceration. There are some places you just don't make certain jokes, not because of "tasteless" reasons, but because of legal reasons, like about bombs on airplanes, or fire in a crowded theater. Beyond that, I'm not sure I want Sandy Hook to be a go-to joke, and jailing the dumbass for making the "joke" is a great deterrent to stupidity. I mean, this wasn't the casual "haha I'll kill you stone dead" trash talk, but a very poignant instance of implication. Maybe if they started treating the casual use of "I'm gonna rape you" as an implied threat and responded appropriately, we could get some progress on that front.

what happen to that of "you are innocent until proven guilty"?
civil rights are a joke, it seems.

CriticKitten:
That's....kind of a gross overreaction, to say the least. Granted it's a stupid thing to say, especially on Facebook, and these jokes should be in private only. But I make stupid jokes around my friends all the time and I would hope none of them lost their wits long enough to think that I'm being serious.

ElFuzzy:
I'm confused with the inclusion of League of Legends in this article. From what I gather, he was using Facebook whilst playing a league match? I'm not going to get into how much that bother's me in the first place, but instead it seems to be irrelevant. I don't recognize the name of the player, and they don't mention any affiliation he might have, so it seems that he's just happens to play. Also, if an opponent messages you on Facebook, wouldn't they have to actually know you on Facebook? If the actual conversation was shown, instead of an except, maybe I wouldn't be so confused.

Because VIDEYA GAEMS R TEH EVULS.

(which basically means the media want to tie his gaming habits into his behavior and blame the game for his behavior instead of the kid or his parents)

Yeah, that's kinda what I got out of it too. It irks me that this'll probably hurt Riot in some way some time down the line.

Im not sure what i think about this notion of the kid being made an example of in order to deter trolling and vitriol online. Maybe search his house and see if theres piles of guns and a blueprint of the school, but 8 years is asinine, especially when the comment was followed by modifiers we use to signify the fact that were joking or pushing the sarcasm to the mac. He added the "lol jk" thinking it was a safeguard, and clearly that doesnt work that way. But actual murderers and rapists end up with less than 8 years. Im sorry but this is fucked up, and the word "terroristic" only makes it even more extreme of an overreaction. Check his house and look into it if you want to be safe, but for fucks sake dont lock the kid up until hes 26.

FranckN:
what happen to that of "you are innocent until proven guilty"?
civil rights are a joke, it seems.

Er, you have to claim innocence for that to work, it looks like he's not claiming not to have said it.

Jackel86:
"These kids, they don't realize what they're doing. They don't understand the implications. They don't understand public space."

Then maybe you should teach them. The number of vitriolic, bile-spewing teenagers online is far too high. This guy even seems to know that you shouldn't just write anything that comes to mind on the internet, but he never bothered to communicate that to his son. For that matter, just teaching him to ignore trolls on the internet and take the high road could have been good. I hope this teaches some people that valuable lesson. Besides, he's 18. He should take responsibility for his words and actions.

That said, I've actually been on that end of the "you don't really have freedom of speech" issue, and I think they are taking it too far. 8 years? That seems a bit much for someone with no history of violent behavior or mental disorders (I assume).

Do you really think a bunch of vitriolic, bile-spewing teenagers will listen to their parents when they say to mind what they say online? Most likely they'll just say "ok, I understand" then go right back to being complete jackasses. Maybe this will wake a few of 'em up.

That being said, 8 years still seems a bit steep. I'd expect a few years then have him be put on a watch list of some sort.

Elijah Newton:

Andy Chalk:
But his father said Justin doesn't keep up with current events and didn't appreciate the significance of his words. "These kids, they don't realize what they're doing. They don't understand the implications. They don't understand public space," he said.

I feel for the dad but the teenager is 18 - that's a legal adult. That means if you break laws, you go to big-boy jail. That's part of the deal, along with getting to buy big-boy booze and vote in big-boy elections. Being an adult means you are responsible for your behavioir in a public space.

Not keeping up with current events is one thing if you're talking about international news or the passage of bills through the House and Senate, but with the total media saturation that was Sandyhook coverage I think it's disingenuous to suggest he'd never heard of it. I want to say that, having heard of it and making the comment as a joke speaks of a dangerous lack of empathy, but I can't quite go there. Different people process tragedies differently, and lots of people make jokes others find inappropriate. There's no crime there.

However, neither are others required to share his sense of humor and his statement was intended to create a false sense of panic. (that's the joke. PANIC STATEMENT but oh I'd never do it) Freedom of speech does not extend to falsely shouting 'fire' in a crowded theater. (hey! there's even a wikipedia entry about this. hunh. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shouting_fire_in_a_crowded_theater )

Eight years seems steep but to me that means the laws should be changed, not that exceptions should be made for people convicted of breaking them.

Just my two cents.

Small correction, you can't buy booze in the US if you're 18. You have to wait 'till 21 for that. You can totally drive a machine that can easily kill, cast your vote on politics and government, get married, have sex, go to actual jail, and every other fun thing adults get to do. But drinking? Now that's just crazy!

While it was a stupid comment to make, considering the fact that he is 18 fracking years old, it does seem like they're just making an example of him. It's not very fair.

A lot of Americans (and some Canadians by the looks of it) are way too sensitive when it comes to vitriolic remarks. I would have investigated this "threat" too if I were the Texan authorities, but banging him up for eight years is ludicrous. We've seen murderers and drug traffickers go away for less time than this.

FranckN:
what happen to that of "you are innocent until proven guilty"?
civil rights are a joke, it seems.

ummm no one said he was convicted just arrested and charged, but thanks for playing.

You know whats sad. More fucked up injustice happens everyday. But as soon as america or a western country gets a bloody nose its a tragedy and everyone has to weep, and then its time to over compensate and over react. This is a joke. Do some fucking police work and look into him, if you have credible evidence fine toss his murdering planning ass in jail, if not then leave him to his online trolling. If we are going to start down this road about what you say online out of anger or poor fucking taste then we are going to be in North Korea style world sooner then fucking later. And lets face it online gaming does not bring out the Budda calm in players does it ? No.

NvrPhazed:

FranckN:
what happen to that of "you are innocent until proven guilty"?
civil rights are a joke, it seems.

ummm no one said he was convicted just arrested and charged, but thanks for playing.

Oh yeah, he's only been in jail for three months, I see nothing to be concerned about.

major_chaos:
I'm torn, becuse on one hand I don't think he really deserves eight years for this, but on the other hand maybe this will force stupid kids to realize that saying moronic shit online has consequences.

I'd say a shorter sentence, since he is a legal adult and you really can't say crap like that, particularly at times like that, but it wasn't a legit threat. Not even on the internet. I'd agree it's a good lesson to kids too. Never and nowhere inside any sort of civilization can you do or say absolutely anything you want. That's just life.

I remember reading in an exchange on a forum, one person accusing the other of being a nazi sympathiser, because they identified themselves as a feminist. The persons response was something along the lines of:

"clearly because I support womens rights, I also plan to commit genocide against the jews"

I mean, I thought it was an attempt to demonstrate the false analogy by reducto ad absurdum, poking fun at the ridiculous nature of the accusation.

Clearly I thought wrong, that person is a terrorist and must immediately be thrown into the blackest pit from whence they will not be seen again. I mean its not like prison is for keeping dangerous people isolated at extreme cost to the tax payer.

Also, wasn't the excuse of fire being shouted in a crowded theatre coined by people who wanted to squash the speech rights of people spreading an anti-war leaflet talking about the blood bath that the first world war was?

Edit: I thought as much, wikipedia even talks about it first paragraph.

On a less sarcastic and more thoughtful note, when you let ill thought out laws be rushed out in times of panic and fear they are going to have negative ramifications.

I'm honestly surprised at people who seem perfectly comfortable with the idea that we now live in a "be careful what you say" society. This kid - and he is a kid - spends three months in jail and faces a longer sentence than some killers simply because we are too afraid to make a call between a genuine threat and shit-talk on the internet, and this is somehow okay?

You know how there was no chance in hell he was serious? People actually paid attention to him.

Just more waste of money and stealing 8 years of this kid's life. sounds like the American Justice system to me!

But his father said Justin doesn't keep up with current events and didn't appreciate the significance of his words. "These kids, they don't realize what they're doing. They don't understand the implications. They don't understand public space," he said.

This father needs a good slap upside the head, along with the son and the woman who reported him. Sure the kid didn't mean it, but if you have an internet connection you know about Sandy Hook.

We don't F around in Texas. This poor bastard is going to crucified.

Andy Chalk:
I'm honestly surprised at people who seem perfectly comfortable with the idea that we now live in a "be careful what you say" society. This kid - and he is a kid - spends three months in jail and faces a longer sentence than some killers simply because we are too afraid to make a call between a genuine threat and shit-talk on the internet, and this is somehow okay?

I've got to agree - some people are just trash-spewing jerks, but trash-spewing isn't a threat, and if you start construing it as a threat, then everyone's got to watch what they say, not just in terms of vitriol, but sarcasm, black humour, jokes in intentional bad taste, and jokes in unintentional bad taste. Not everyone is good at understanding how what they'll say will be interpreted, sometimes people slip up, and for the consequences to even POSSIBLY include something like this - 8 years of jail time and probably going on some watchlists - is nuts.

If a threat is ACTUALLY a threat, then yes, some sort of intervention should happen. But this is not a threat, this is a joke in bad taste, and taking action in this case is tantamount to arresting on suspicion, which is just wrong. There's no intent here - and since the laws in place here are meant to stop intention before it turns to action, there's also no act which should be prosecuted under the spirit of the law. This is really just sad.

Land of the free my ass.

The fact that something like this can go anywhere in the 'justice' system shows just how far America has fallen.

Irridium:
Small correction, you can't buy booze in the US if you're 18. You have to wait 'till 21 for that. You can totally drive a machine that can easily kill, cast your vote on politics and government, get married, have sex, go to actual jail, and every other fun thing adults get to do. But drinking? Now that's just crazy!

*eye roll* Cannot believe I missed that - shows how long it's been since I've been either age, really. It was a last minute swap-out for being able to buy porn. And smoking? Are cigarettes 18+?

"Carter's friends and family have started an online petition to bring attention to the matter, calling for his release and for the laws regarding "terroristic threats" to be changed and clarified. A hearing on the case is scheduled for July 1."

... And yet, I see no mention of legislation aimed at stopping people from acting like -raging, incoherent, psychotic, belligerent ASSHOLES- to one another online. Whether you believe the kid should eat crow for his stupid comments, or you believe the woman was way out of line to call the police, brought right down to it, you believe someone online dicked someone else online over.

And that is the correct interpretation of these things. People online tend to act with the mindset that the online is the old west. Well, guess what? After two decades now of rampant, unchecked assholery, people who DONT take joy in being a terrible human being are getting fed up with it. The essence of "Why We Cant Have Nice Things". You abuse it for long enough, and people will stop you.

Youve been warned, Internet. Youve been being warned with increasing severity over the last few years.

Whiskey Echo!!
mythgraven

mythgraven:
... And yet, I see no mention of legislation aimed at stopping people from acting like -raging, incoherent, psychotic, belligerent ASSHOLES- to one another online.

I don't think "being nice to people" is something you can legislate in a free society.

But you know, bullies destroying lives every day at schools for years is cool, because they don't have a gun or make terrorist threats. Doesn't matter that the harm done is just as real as it drives some to suicide, depression, and substance abuse.

Good use of taxpayer money and the legal system's time! /sarcasm (you guys should look that word up btw)

Colossal Idiots.

Fuck me, this is just ridiculous. A possible 8 years from a (admittedly idiotic) comment? Never mind that the guy has already been kept in custody for three months in this ridiculous event.

Christ, I never hope the police track all the jokes I've made that aren't in the greatest taste. I'll be put away until I'm dead 5 times over.

This is just plain wrong!

I mean if someone finds the comment, looks them up on the internet, finds out where they live, takes time to check out the neighbourhood and then files a police report... The lady who did that is the one I'm more scared of than this kid!

When getting the report take him in for a quick talk (interogation) and then make a psych test on him, everything seems normal, tell him to not make stupid jokes like that since some people actually take them seriously, especially after a dramatic event just happened, and let him go! Unless the psych thing comes out showing him being nuts, but in that case you give him help not throw him into jail!

The Land of The Free and The Home of The Brave.

mythgraven:
"Carter's friends and family have started an online petition to bring attention to the matter, calling for his release and for the laws regarding "terroristic threats" to be changed and clarified. A hearing on the case is scheduled for July 1."

... And yet, I see no mention of legislation aimed at stopping people from acting like -raging, incoherent, psychotic, belligerent ASSHOLES- to one another online. Whether you believe the kid should eat crow for his stupid comments, or you believe the woman was way out of line to call the police, brought right down to it, you believe someone online dicked someone else online over.

And that is the correct interpretation of these things. People online tend to act with the mindset that the online is the old west. Well, guess what? After two decades now of rampant, unchecked assholery, people who DONT take joy in being a terrible human being are getting fed up with it. The essence of "Why We Cant Have Nice Things". You abuse it for long enough, and people will stop you.

Youve been warned, Internet. Youve been being warned with increasing severity over the last few years.

Great idea mate!

Let's make being nice MANDATORY!

If you aren't nice, you get to go to jail.

Jesus Christ, what the fuck is wrong with you people.

mythgraven:
Youve been warned, Internet. Youve been being warned with increasing severity over the last few years.

Was this supposed to be ironic? It's hard to tell sometimes.

If you were serious, well I can only say that the choice between self censorship or mandated censorship is a distinction without a difference. Its like being given the choice to kneel or be knelt, the end result is the same.

What is the distinction between a right you may not exercise and a right you do not possess?

Andy Chalk:
I'm honestly surprised at people who seem perfectly comfortable with the idea that we now live in a "be careful what you say" society. This kid - and he is a kid - spends three months in jail and faces a longer sentence than some killers simply because we are too afraid to make a call between a genuine threat and shit-talk on the internet, and this is somehow okay?

Can't spend a dozen years controlling your populace through fear of terrorism and other things without shit like this occurring.

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