By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Approximately one hour after Justin Carter posted a sarcastic comment on a Facebook thread, his life began to unravel.
The first reaction occurred behind the scenes, in another country. The 18-year-old Carter had no way of knowing that, while he did grunt work at a drapery shop in San Antonio, a person in Canada saw his comments — posted 60 days after the Sandy Hook school-shooting tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut — freaked out and initiated a 24-hour chain reaction of insanity that would wind up with Carter facing 10 years in prison.
Carter's comments were part of a duel between dorks, and may have had something to do with a game with strong dork appeal called League of Legends. But the actual details and context of the online exchange are, in the eyes of Texas authorities, unimportant. Prosecutors say they don't have the entire thread — instead, they have three comments on a cell-phone screenshot.
One of the comments appears to be a response to an earlier comment in which someone called Carter crazy. Carter's retort was: "I'm fucked in the head alright, I think I'ma SHOOT UP A KINDERGARTEN [sic]."
Carter followed with "AND WATCH THE BLOOD OF THE INNOCENT RAIN DOWN."
When a person writing under the profile name "Hannah Love" responded with "i hope you [burn] in hell you fucking prick," Carter put the cherry on top: "AND EAT THE BEATING HEART OF ONE OF THEM." (The Austin police officer who wrote up the subsequent report noted: "all caps to emphasize his anger or rage." )
That's when someone in Canada — an individual as yet unidentified in court records — notified local authorities. Because Carter's profile listed him as living in Austin, the Canadians sent the tip to the Austin Police Department. Along with a cell-phone screenshot of part of the thread and a link to Carter's Facebook page, the tipster provided this narrative: "This man, Justin Carter, made a number of threats on Facebook to shoot up a class of kindergartners. ... He also made numerous comments telling people to go shoot themselves in the face and drink bleach. The threats to shoot the children were made approximately an hour ago."
The information was forwarded to the Austin Regional Intelligence Center, an information clearinghouse for law enforcement agencies in Travis, Hays and Williams counties.
Center personnel ran Carter's name, found either a driver's license or a state ID card and discovered that the address listed was "within 100 yards" of Wooldridge Elementary School. Based on a Travis County prosecutor's belief that there was probable cause to charge Carter with a third-degree terroristic threat — which carries a penalty of two to 10 years — a judge issued an arrest warrant. U.S. marshals traced Carter to the drapery shop in San Antonio, where he worked, and handcuffed the cherub-faced, brown-haired teen. Until that point, his only brush with the law was a temporary restraining order two years earlier.
After his booking into the Bexar County Jail, authorities discovered that he actually lived in New Braunfels — Comal County. After his transfer there, his bond was increased from $250,000 to half a million dollars.
According to Carter's attorney, Don Flanary, the 18-year-old suffered brutal attacks in the Comal County Jail during the four months he was held there.
Police records allege that, upon being booked into Bexar County Jail, Carter stated, "I guess what you post on Facebook matters."
He had no idea.
When officers searched Carter's home, Flanary says, they did not find the hallmarks of a lunatic.
"They found no guns in his house," Flanary says from his San Antonio office. "They found no bomb-making materials." He follows this up with a dash of sarcasm that's not a far stretch from the rhetorical flourishes that put his client in peril: "They didn't find The Anarchist Cookbook. ... They didn't find, you know, a bunch of newspaper clippings on the wall — conspiracy theories, with yarn from one place to another. They didn't find pentagrams and candles. He wasn't listening to Judas Priest."
Flanary's explanation for this is simple: His client is not a nut. But Flanary can't say the same for the jam his client's in. "This whole thing is totally and completely bonkers."
In the absence of any other evidence mentioned in Comal County prosecutor Laura Bates' filings, it's hard to disagree. Despite repeated calls, the Houston Press was unable to speak with Bates or anyone else in the Comal County District Attorney's Office — a receptionist told us that the only person authorized to speak to the media was District Attorney Jennifer Tharp herself, and she was unavailable.
One of the most striking things about the evidence so far tendered by the state is what's missing: the entire thread — which wasn't on Carter's Facebook page — containing the damning comments.
"The state tells us Facebook didn't give it to them," Flanary says. He's unsuccessfully tried to find "Hannah Love," the only other profile included in the cell-phone screenshot; at this point, it's still unclear whether "Hannah Love" is the anonymous Canadian tipster.
Flanary believes it's paramount that if someone is criminally charged on the basis of his words, a jury needs to see all the words. In this case, that includes whatever comment precipitated Carter's hyperbolic rant.
"If you understand the English language, when someone says, 'I'm fucked in the head alright comma,' that is a preparatory phrase ... in response to a previous phrase. Presumably, someone [said] to him, 'You are fucked in the head,' or words similar to that."
But Flanary says that Bates presented a truncated version of the comments to grand jurors. They did not see "I'm fucked in the head alright, I think I'ma" before "shoot up a kindergarten." If this sounds like the nitpicking of a defense attorney, that's precisely the point.
"When you're dealing with speech," Flanary says, "... it is absolutely, 100 percent important that the words that you are charging people with are actually the words that they said and not some misrepresentation. And that's what ... this prosecutor did, is misrepresent to the grand jury what he said."
Still, there's an even bigger problem, according to Flanary: His client's comments are not a "terroristic threat" as defined by the Texas Penal Code.
According to the indictment, Carter's statement met two of the necessities required by state law: His words were uttered "with the intent to place the public or a substantial group of the public in fear of serious bodily injury," or uttered "with the intent to cause impairment or interruption of public communications, public transportation, public water, gas, or power supply or other public service."
But Flanary likens the Facebook thread at issue to a fight on the playground. Just a couple of people spouting off. Citing two key federal court rulings, Flanary says, "There must be a clear and present danger, and there must be a true threat. And if you don't have a true threat, then the First Amendment protects your speech. Plain and simple."
Flanary also accuses law enforcement of coercing a confession from Carter while he was in jail.
Evidently, law enforcement personnel were unable to pinpoint legal jurisdiction as swiftly as they were able to make an actual arrest: For some reason, it wasn't until March 19, 2013, more than a month after his arrest, that Carter was questioned by a New Braunfels detective. He was still in the Travis County Jail, unindicted.
Although Carter had been assigned a public defender, she wasn't present during the questioning — and wasn't notified about it — and, according to Flanary, detective Joe Robles implied that Carter could go free if he would just admit to being the same Justin Carter who posted the comments.
"Once one has a lawyer, it is unethical for the prosecutors to send any part of their team — to include detectives — to speak with someone who is represented," Flanary says.
"Never mind the unethical implication and the downright shady nature of the action; when an officer goes and talks to a man who's in jail [and] tells them, 'Waive your right to an attorney because we're letting you go,' or makes that implication, then that waiver is not given voluntarily anyway — and so it's like coercing a confession, from a legal standpoint. ... It's like, 'Hey, if you talk to us, we'll let you go, but if you don't talk to us, you can sit here and rot.'"
Frightened and naive, Carter copped to the comment. Instead of being released, he had only managed to transfer himself to another jail and double his bond. Emboldened by the confession, Comal County authorities moved him to their jurisdiction and secured an indictment on April 10.
"Then he sits in jail for another two months," Flanary says. "He has a court-appointed lawyer in Comal County. And this court-appointed lawyer, as far as we can tell, did nothing other than get an offer from the state. And the prosecutors offered him eight years in prison."
The Comal County District Attorney's Office did not intend for Carter to suffer what happened next, Flanary says, but it was reasonably foreseeable: He was sexually assaulted.
"He definitely was not kept safe, " Flanary says. "And that's why it's not good to have innocent 18-year-old [guys] in jail with very, very dangerous people."
Though Carter's family had already gathered thousands of signatures for an online petition calling for a judicial review of the case, created a "Save Justin Carter" Facebook community page to raise interest in the case and sold T-shirts to raise money to cover his bail, the goal was beyond their financial reach. He was stranded in jail.
But by July 2013, Carter's defense had gained momentum in two important ways: Flanary stepped in and offered his services pro bono — something he wanted to do because, he says, "This stuff is messed up." And then news coverage of the case, which up to that point had been reported on mostly by Austin and San Antonio media, went global.
Flanary was particularly incensed at the $500,000 bond, saying, "The Texas Constitution and virtually all case law from it says that it's illegal to keep someone under conditions of bond they can't afford."
Flanary requested a hearing to reduce Carter's bond, and Carter's parents took advantage of the media interest and began speaking about the emotional costs of the situation. (Unfortunately, Flanary didn't want Carter or his parents to comment for this story.)
In a CNN interview, Carter's father, Jack, said that his son was under suicide watch.
"He's very depressed," Jack Carter said. "He's very scared and he's very concerned that he's not going to get out. He's pretty much lost all hope."
Carter's mother, Jennifer, told the World Socialist website in June 2013 that when she first found out her son had been arrested, "I thought as soon as the police talk to him, they will see it was a joke and let him go. If anything, it would be a misdemeanor. I thought if they talked to him, they would realize it was just his sarcastic sense of humor."
When asked what kind of person Carter was, Jennifer said, "My son is sarcastic and has a dark sense of humor, for sure. But he's a pussycat. He can't fight. He has a younger brother, and when they would fight, Carter would always lose."
Then, shortly after Flanary requested the bond-reduction hearing, good news came in the form of an anonymous donor who put up the money for Carter's bond.
But in an August 2013 update on the Save Justin Carter page, Jennifer Carter expressed her continued fear over her son's future. "Justin is out of jail," she wrote, "but he is not free."
If Carter is to be measured by his Facebook activity, he is, with a few notable exceptions, a pretty typical kid. At least for a nerd.
Certainly, he appears to be more comfortable online, where he met fellow fans of games like League of Legends and Minecraft. He boasted of high gaming scores, griped about school and work, and wrote a zombie-apocalypse story in which he alternately protects "New Austin" from the cannibalistic walking dead and gets laid like a champ. He playfully sparred with his parents, who are divorced, and doted on his younger brother.
The big red flag is his reference to a temporary restraining order a high school ex-girlfriend obtained against him in October 2011. The ex, who asked not to be named, says that when she told him she wanted to end things after two weeks with him, Carter's behavior scared her. She says he talked about hurting himself — and her.
"At first I thought he was just playing," she says. "I blew it off."
But then, she says, "He started threatening me, saying that he would kill me. ... I told the school officers, [and] they started watching him really closely. He would say that he would shoot up the school." She also accused him of stalking her.
Because she and Carter were juveniles at the time, the order is not public, and the woman said she did not have a copy. The woman said she was in foster care at the time, and ran away from her group home before attempting to secure a permanent restraining order.
"There wasn't a determination either way about the veracity of her claims, and he [was] never given an opportunity to answer it," Flanary says, adding that it's entirely irrelevant to the charge against his client.
Carter made light of the restraining order at the time, writing on Facebook, "Wow [I] can't believe im already at the phase in my life where my crazy ex takes a restraining order out on me>.>now [I] have to go to court when im not even gonna argue it im just gonna be like YES GIVE ME ONE TOO PLEASE [sic]."
Shortly afterward, Carter claimed he was engaged to another student, writing that "she is the love of my life and I am so happy, please be happy with me, If you are interested in attending our wedding which we be held late next year, please let me know thank you [sic]."
But comments posted earlier that year are darker. In January 2011 he wrote, "Noone likes me, I have no friends. I'm ugly, I'm annoying. The only good aspect is im smart. Too smart. Soo smart it borthers people. They think im crazy im not christian another strike against me. Im weird. Noone likes the weird random kid [sic]."
In April he wrote, "Suicide. Yea. Im thinking about it, wish I had bigger balls. Id fucking kill my self RIGHT NOW, but no im a pussy I hate my self [sic]." This was followed a day later with "kill self," which drew concern from his mother.
Jennifer Carter posted on her son's Facebook page, with unknowing prescience, "You really need to think about what you're posting, Justin, you have people worried about your safety ..."
According to Flanary, a funny thing happened when Carter got a new lawyer and media coverage exploded.
Comal County prosecutors, who wanted Carter off the streets for eight years, offered 10 years' probation, with Carter pleading guilty to the felony charge. Flanary says he was insulted.
"The fact is, the case should be dismissed," he says. "He didn't do anything wrong. ... That's what dictatorships all around the world used to do. They'd say, 'If you confess to your crimes against the state, we will let you go.' I mean, fuck you. I didn't do anything wrong. ... 'Just admit you're a witch or we'll burn you. Why won't you just admit you're a witch?'"
Flanary is adamant that the case has been handled in just that way.
"The way that the criminal justice system is supposed to work and was envisioned by our founding fathers is: First you prove the crime, then you get the punishment," he says. "That's clearly how it's supposed to work. But now, in Justin's case, [it's] 'Let's do the punishment first and then we'll see if we can prove the crime later.' The damage has been done. And I suspect they know the damage has been done. I suspect that maybe one of the reasons they're holding on so hard is because they fear a lawsuit."
Flanary says that, as the father of two kids in elementary school, he understands why Austin police wanted to follow up on the tip from Canada. But, he says, police questioning should have revealed a somewhat dorky kid who wrote something dumb and offensive, not a kid bent on mass murder.
"If they're spending their time chasing around people like Justin Carter, I hope they're not missing the real dangers to society, the real school shooters," Flanary says. "There's only a finite number of police, and if they're chasing around guys who are being mean on Facebook, where are the ones fighting crime?"
"I suspect that maybe one of the reasons they're holding on so hard is because they fear a lawsuit."
Bet your boots that is true and they should be sued out of existence. I hope they arrest me for this impolite comment.
What happened to the boy is unforgivable. The prosecutor is a real dirt-bag!
Sad truth there are to many like her.
This is all about men's alleged right not to be have their threats taken at face value.
I don't have to look very far to imagine what similarly moving story the Dallas Observer would have written if Hannah's warning had not been heeded and Carter had indeed gone and shot up a school -- as young alienated self-centered white males with a "dark streak" tend to do.
If it is a terrorism charge then the law assumes you are guilty until proven innocent. Welcome to the legal reality that average Muslims face in America...
Thats terribly wrong what he has said, but can someone please explain to me why this youngster is being prosecuted for posting something so hate full on social media, the new black panther can stand out in public and talk about killing white people/crackas and their babies is being overlooked and not considered a act of terrorism or racial hate. Kill the Crackers, Kill them all: http://youtu.be/DDb2byj74oY
black panther kill some crackers.flv: http://youtu.be/hVcfymOvoUo
What we have now is some prosecutor who is dumber than a box of dirt and willing to go to take any moral detour to avoid owning up to his mistake. Prosecutors will kill people to avoid admitting a mistake.
This isn't just the local police this is the NSA and the architecture of oppression that is being built and rammed down the throats of the American people. We are currently living in a Stasi like tyranny and the worst and most visible cases of this going on are happening right now in the state of Texas.
the government is using stories like this to take away our freedoms... and everyone is supporting it, purchasing stock in it, and raising a family in it. pretty soon theyre gonna take up a third mortgage on bullshit.
and theyll get taxed too.
When we see news of school shootings we all say, "Why did no one step in and do something about this clearly unhinged person before they went off the deep end?".Now though, we're seeing a person who has made threats of violence and he also has several of the markers of past school shooters: He's clearly depressed, possibly bipolar, he's been bullied, he's an outcast, he's made threats before and had a restraining order taken out on him, he has suicidal ideations and he fantasises about being a hero and being loved.
You know something? I have been thinking about making this comment for many years, yet now I have decided now is the best time ever to have my say:
I have long realized that I, Gordon Hilgers, indeed could have a happy life, a prosperous life, a nice wife, plenty of happy children...
...if I could only get the HP/UP chicken-head girlie-boy's auxiliary Adolph Hitler plastic Jesus manufacturing prostitution machine off my behind.
Actually, there is enough blood and bone marrow--ripe for the taking!--right inside Parkland Hospital if those goobermenches wanna try this trick again.
HULLABALOOYA over genes.
I hope Dallas--HP/UP slaves for Confederate Jebus--is unhappy for many years into the future.
Thanks a lot, Dallas white coons! "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!"
This is about the stupidest thing I've heard. We have now officially gone off the deep end in overreacting to what people rant on the internet. We need a serious attitude adjustment with regard to separating words from actions. This is not screaming "Fire" in a crowded theater or actually threatening to do bodily harm. This is howling at the moon and damning all the things that frustrate you. If you have not done that at some point in your life, you are officially dead.
This act breaches the point of having "Thought Police" and criminalizing fantasy and free speech and goes way past "1984" and "Minority Report". Let this kid out. We have done him a grave injustice and any Public Prosecutor who does anything but release him without prejudice is abusing their position and should be removed from office. Or alternatively. maybe blown up and fed to wolves...
Let's see what reaction that gets. Awooooooooo!
Stupid people in positions of authority are becoming way too common. Let's try a little common sense for a change.
Watch and learn: This kid has pissed off some people, and they are gunning for him.
TERRORISTIC THREAT. (a) A person commits an offense if he threatens to commit any offense involving violence to any person or property with intent to;
Define Intent: the thing that you plan to do or achieve : an aim or purpose.
There was no intent, therefore no crime. This is clearly a 1st amendment violation. Anything else is arguable. This case lacks in evidence and lack in intent. It is futile to try to prove anything else or that there was intent to hurt anyone. So let the kid go, and let Ronald Miller from Celina go as well.
The only evidence in this case is a facebook message and nothing else.
I learned a long time ago that jokes, particularly the ones of particularly poor taste, do not translate well when typed out. Sounds like this kid is paying the ultimate price for having a fucked up sense of humor. If anything, this kid is only guilty of not understanding his audience.
POST THE NAMES OF EVERY INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBLE FOR THE INCARCERATION OF THIS KID!
JUDGES. LAWYERS. COPS. ALL OF THEM
What an absolute idiot. There's an entire generation that has no idea what it means to edit themselves or keep their stupid mouths shut.
He most def has mental issues. Does he deserve to stay in jail? No. He will be a richer idiot after this. As for that idiot in CA, I say worry about CA!
Reading Texas penal code 22.7, it's obvious that in order to qualify for anything, Justin's threat should have been specific, he had to intend to cause panic, fear, evacuation etc. of that specific school. The small article "a" he used in his sentence, such as in "a school" ruins all that completely. Without naming the specific target, it can't be terrorist threat. The conclusion that "a school" must be the school he lives closest to, should be laughed out in any sane court.
But even if he named _the_ specific school, which he did not, he had to make that threat known to the people related to that school, in order to cause the actions specified in the law. He did not.
Does he have a criminal record or a violent history? No he doesn't. Maybe he was feeling depressed at the time. He is a victim here and the people responsible for his hardship will pay. Karma will eat your souls. Buddha would be on his side at this time. Free Mr. Carter or else you will pay. Karma is coming for everyone involved.
I hope the system gets sued out of this one. Poor guy, this is way to harse if you ask me. That is the craziest thing I have read about in a while. I guess there is no such thing as freedom of speech.
Every such case should list the contact info for all of those involved in the decision process so they begin to feel some heat politically.
He is a poor nobody working at a drapery store. If his name was Suckerberg or Bieber or Lohan he could say and do anything and never be touched.
This is how our corrupt system of injustice now works, where the serfs have become fodder for prosecutors and private prisons while the elites do what they want, steal trillions and laugh all the way to the bank.
we have 5% of the worlds population and 23.4% of the worlds prison system population..is this any surprise..go down to the courthouse and observe a day of court. this shit happens 24/7
A sexual assault happened? This level of negligence on the part of Texas authorities escalates the matter into another plane entirely. They now should face charges of crimes against humanity, since sexual assault is a form of torture.
What is the point of making an example of one kid? I have read a thousand comments worse than the ones he mentioned, and none of which I believe have any sincerity behind them. Why waste so much time and resources on one dumb kid? Give him a fine if you want to punish him. Scare him shitless. Deny him from internet access from anywhere he lives. I don't know, but jail time?
This is wrong. He will go in a scared kid, and come out someone else. Over nothing. Shit like this is what disgusts me about the 'justice' system.
@martin192 Problem is that they did heed the warning and pursued the case even though it was obvious he was being a sarcastic twat.
@miasosa_1979 what does THIS have to do with Justin?? You've basically said; we should not be worried about white kids who make death threats but rather we should focus on the scary black man. The two men said the SAME THING you racist bitch. Seriously. I had a bit of sympathy for the kid until you came here with god knows what type of mental gymnastics and post something about an alleged "black panther" to absolve the white kid of his failings. GTFOH.
@miasosa_1979 Would you like to ask a real question or do you want to scream about how much you hate the Black Panthers?
@miasosa_1979 The answer is simple but in truth may not make much sense. The young man made a direct threat to shoot a specific target where as the Black Panther made threats that were a bit vague and as silly as it may seem, are protected under the "Bill of Right" as sick as that may seem. He was careful not to cross the LEGAL THRESHOLD of what would constitute a Terrorist threat. I don't agree with the premise I'm just explaining what it the unfortunate reality
@miasosa_1979 The answer is simple but in truth may not make much sense. The young man made a direct threat to shoot a specific target where as the Black Panther made threats that were a bit vague and as silly as it may seem, are protected under the "Bill of Right" as sick as that may seem. He was careful not to cross the LEGAL THRESHOLD of what would constitute a Terrorist threat. I don't agree with the premise I'm just explaining what it the unfortunate reality.
@ugglybabee You should give them more credit that you are.
I can assure you the prosecutor knows EXACTLY what they're doing, and they know it's wrong. They just don't care, because the only thing prosecutors care about is locking up as many people as possible for as long as possible.
You think a District Attorney gets themselves reelected by bragging about all the people they set free? You think that flies in TEXAS? We're talking about a state where the Governor intentionally let an innocent man be executed for a crime that NEVER EVEN HAPPENED and then blamed the resulting controversy on Jews.
@nonojoeyno The government is not taking away your freedoms. What the government is doing is protecting itself from whack jobs that might repeat the types of activity we're seeing today - extreme violence in public places. This young man unfortunately decided to use free speech in a manner akin to yelling fire in a crowded theater. In Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969) SCOTUS overturned a the 1917 Schenck case that allowed a man to shout "fire" in a crowded theater. Opining harm to school children without other corroborating intent creates the case which will now ebb its way through the court. The question is whether Brandenburg holds in the instant case. Were the young man's First Amendment Rights usurped by the states reasonable attempts to protect the lives of the innocent? When I was a child you could say what you wished to a child and anything else was considered simply bad manners or something to be settled between parent and child or parent and parent. I am personally aware of a case where a young man called a girl a "hure" - he had no idea what a whore was albeit his middle school age. The girls had been egging he and his friends on - they had said far worse to them - yet the young man ended up with a black mark on his otherwise pristine record. This eighteen year old faces far more serious consequences largely because someone used the law - and convinced local authorities to do the same - to get back at him. He is not innocent in this venture. He said angry, unintended things that could be perceived as "terroristic" in nature. I loath the modern term terrorism because I think the use of the term is dangerous and imprecise. Social media allow expression of free speech in a manner different then the Founders could have envisioned. The immediacy coupled with bad manners allows people to say and do things that are extremely unhealthy for our society.
@jaded.maggi The comments you've made suggest that you are personally involved with this story. Do you know this kid personally? "He's clearly depressed, possibly bipolar, he's been bullied, he's an outcast, he's made threats before and had a restraining order taken out on him, he has suicidal ideations and he fantasises about being a hero and being loved." Those are a great deal of assertions without any proof what so ever. This article stated nothing about any of that with the exception of having a restraining order two years prior, and it does not state what the order was for. This kid broke no laws. He did not display any actions that would be considered out of the ordinary for any teenager. His statement was meant to provoke an shock and awe reaction as indicated by the verbiage used. I am a psychologist with a several degrees from a Major D-I University and sir you have no idea what you are talking about.
I am not particularly angry at the dim-bulb, limp-wristed fools for trying that little rabbit trick.
All that wasted time and talent. For what? I cannot help but continue to ask:
For what? So the white coons of Highland Park can get "their negro" back?
That's a laugh. My family and many Black citizens across the South practically invented the Civil Rights movement.
Why'd you do it? Fix this. Now.
@quadibloc1 You've never been in jail, have you. 17 guys in a cell meant for 10. Guards come around three times a day, when meals are delivered. Assaults, both sexual and simply violent, are very common. Nobody cares.
@rockyboyy said: "I have read a thousand comments worse than the ones he mentioned"
No doubt, for anyone even cursory familiar with inet forum culture, the sarcastic tone of the comment in question is 101% obvious. Problem is, the people who charged the kid, don't belong to that group. Plus, I suspect, English is not their native language, so they don't see much difference between "yeah, sure, I will go and shoot a school" and "tomorrow I will shoot the school on my street".
@quenificent @miasosa_1979 - the Bill of Rights is anything but sick, it's a perfect protection of our rights given by God. Free speech is a two way street and that's the most wonderful thing about it. You can say anything you wish to say against anyone or anything. The 1st amendment is a great way for people to also figure out there are consequences to the things that come out of your mouth so be prepared to accept them and pay them when you mouth off too much. One day, when you no longer have this Bill of Rights, you will see the error of your judgement of them but then it will be too late and your head will be gone. ;-) Protecting that Bill of Rights is extremely important.
He didn't shoot up a school. He wasn't planning to shoot up a school. He didn't even have the MEANS to shoot up a school. He was NEVER going to shoot up a school, that was obvious to the police and prosecutors, and it's an act of utter insanity to prosecute him as if he was intending to do that. And you know it. You sound like a coward defending this prosecution. A real coward.
There's nothing wrong with INVESTIGATING when someone sends in a tip like "I don't know if he's serious but this guy said something about shooting up a school." But when the investigation turns up NO EVIDENCE of any plot to do that, you don't pile on charges against a teenager FOR SAYING SOMETHING STUPID ON THE INTERNET. If his only transgression was scaring people by saying something stupid without thinking first (something teenagers do all the time), you give him a slap on the wrist to make it clear to him that he must never ever ever do that again and you move on. You don't send some kid THAT WAS NEVER A THREAT TO ANYBODY away for ten years, or even two years. He's not a bad person, he just did something stupid and it doesn't serve the interests of society to lock him up.
You disgust me, hiding behind statutes and court rulings to justify something that you know is morally wrong. Just because the prosecutors technically have the authority to do this doesn't mean they should!
@dfwenigma @nonojoeyno - No, the government IS taking away our freedoms. The NSA and TSA, alone, are both violations of our 4th amendment and that's just the tip of the iceberg. The govt is supposed to protect our rights, not violate them. Might want to take a look at some of the executive orders (also illegal) being passed lately. HUGE violation of our rights and the constitution!
It's not really imprecise. I happened to find the Texas statute regarding "Terroristic Threats", and it's very precise, but I'm having a hard time believing that whoever decided to prosecute this kid had actually read this. It's just as clear as mud that this doesn't apply.
(a) A person commits an offense if he threatens to commit any offense involving violence to any person or property with intent to:
@dfwenigma @nonojoeyno Protection instead of abuse of power, would have been too put him into a mental institution for the obvious therapy he needs. Not a jail to be raped, and probably come out more resentful against society than he was to begin with. Way to be naive. But hey all the power words, and overly analytical droning on really made you sound intelligent so props!
Did you even read the article in its entirety? If so, you're doing your "several degrees in psychology" a grave injustice.
Here's some copy-paste for you...
"He's clearly depressed..." - "In January 2011 he wrote, "Noone likes me, I have no friends. I'm ugly, I'm annoying. The only good aspect is im smart."
"...he's been bullied, he's an outcast, ..." - "Too smart. Soo smart it borthers people. They think im crazy im not christian another strike against me. Im weird. Noone likes the weird random kid [sic].""
"...he's made threats before and had a restraining order taken out on him..." - "The big red flag is his reference to a temporary restraining order a high school ex-girlfriend obtained against him in October 2011."
"...he has suicidal ideations..." - "In April he wrote, "Suicide. Yea. Im thinking about it, wish I had bigger balls. Id fucking kill my self RIGHT NOW, but no im a pussy I hate my self [sic]." This was followed a day later with "kill self," which drew concern from his mother."
"...he fantasises about being a hero and being loved..." - "...and wrote a zombie-apocalypse story in which he alternately protects "New Austin" from the cannibalistic walking dead and gets laid like a champ..."
The only thing that may be a stretch is the "bipolar" statement. Given the evidence that has been given only by this article, I think that @jaded.maggi is completely within bounds to comment (on this article) his opinions, and that he indeed does (unlike you) know what he's talking about.
And, if you'd read the article you'd know this, the reason for the restraining order was in fact given: "The big red flag is his reference to a temporary restraining order a high school ex-girlfriend obtained against him in October 2011. The ex, who asked not to be named, says that when she told him she wanted to end things after two weeks with him, Carter's behavior scared her. She says he talked about hurting himself — and her. "At first I thought he was just playing," she says. "I blew it off." But then, she says, "He started threatening me, saying that he would kill me. ... I told the school officers, [and] they started watching him really closely. He would say that he would shoot up the school." She also accused him of stalking her."
As well, your claim of "The kid broke no laws" is completely invalid as well. A terroristic threat is defined as a declaration of intent to commit a crime of violence against another with the intent of threatening a person, building, facility, or public or private habitat. I'd say "I think I'ma SHOOT UP A KINDERGARTEN" falls under that definition, wouldn't you?
I highly suggest that before telling somebody they have no idea what they're talking about, you read the entire context that is provided. You make yourself look particularly ignorant when you don't.
Stupid, white, hairless monkeys do the darnedest things,don't they?
Koko the Gorilla knows 350 words--maybe more. The white coons of HP/UP know one:
@msbcez @dfwenigma @nonojoeyno Hey your analysis and response is ...well lacking. But that's OK one liners work well - on CNN and especially Fox News - so people are well attuned to your views. Heaven forbid we engage in any kind of discourse. And heaven forbid you actually spend two minutes of time to do what I did - think - and research and then write. I know it's too much work - and it doesn't sound as cute either does it?
NO, I WOULDN'T, YOU MORON, AND HERE'S THE ACTUAL TEXAS STATUTE
(a) A person commits an offense if he threatens to commit any offense involving violence to
any person or property with intent to:
Remember Stanley Marcus and his dumber-than-a-box-of-rocks bit about "Upee", his friend from Mars? I met Stanley Marcus: A heck of a nice man. He had the best smile ever--as did Maya Angelou, although when I met her in the basement (I used to keep "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings", her wonderful poetry collection behind my desk at the Dallas Public Library and would read one poem a day to get started with a little inspiration), but then of course is the weapons manufacturing industry and the contempt of the South's white supremacist spoiled baby makers.
So sorry they had to go "on manipulate" the way they have.
I will remain happy, but I do hope someone does get hung for what has happened.
@dfwenigma , You, my not friend, are obviously a paid government employee. When did the young man have his psych eval? He obviously has mental issues but I think help would do more then prison. By your logic everyone that can be seen as any kind of threat should be locked away. Your "research" has nothing to do with this case, it's not even similar and it , in all honesty, makes you look like a scared ignorant idiot. You nor the justice system has the full conversation, plus the fact that he did "LOL, J/K" ... Maybe a police state were people who disagree with the mainstream is perfect for you, but I prefer to live in a FREE country where even if comments are stupid (just look at KKK and white power skin heads, they can and do talk about stuff worse than this kid did and are free) you wont be arrested and imprisoned. If he had specifically said I'm going to X school in X days then that would have been different. His comments were the same as video game trash talk, since that IS where it started ... I guess no one can talk trash anymore for fear the American Nazi machine.
@gordonhilgers there is something inherently wrong with you