Jailed for Video Game Chat??

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Jailed for Video Game Chat??

Post by BlueLogic on Fri Jun 28, 2013 3:28 pm

Daily Caller:  Texas teen makes violent joke during video game, is jailed for months

Daily Caller wrote:
A Texas teenager who has been in jail since March faces an eight-year prison sentence because of a threatening joke he made while playing an online video game.
In February, Justin Carter was playing “League of Legends” — an online, multiplayer fantasy game — when another player wrote a comment calling him insane. Carter’s response, which he now deeply regrets, was intended as joke.

“He replied ‘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,’ and the next two lines were lol and jk,” said Jack Carter, Justin’s father, in a statement to a local news channel.

The statements “lol” and “jk” — meaning “laughing out loud” and “just kidding” — indicate that Justin’s statement was entirely sarcastic, said his father.

But a Canadian woman who saw the post looked up Carter’s Austin address, determined that it was near an elementary school, and called the police. Carter was arrested one month later, and has been in jail ever since. He recently celebrated his 19th birthday behind bars.

Authorities charged him with making a terrorist threat. If convicted, he will face eight years in prison.

“These people are serious. They really want my son to go away to jail for a sarcastic comment that he made,” said the elder Carter.

Authorities noted that recent school shootings like the one in Newtown, Connecticut have caused them to evaluate all potential threats seriously. Newtown was still fresh in their minds at the time of Carter’s arrest.

“In light of recent situations, statements such as the one Justin made are taken seriously,” said an Austin police detective in a statement.

Carter’s father said his son didn’t follow the news at all.  “Justin was the kind of kid who didn’t read the newspaper,” said Jack Carter. “He didn’t watch television. He wasn’t aware of current events. These kids, they don’t realize what they’re doing. They don’t understand the implications. They don’t understand.”

Carter’s parents have launched a change.org petition to convince Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot to release their son.

“Release Justin Carter from jail,” the petition reads. “Too many teenagers are being arrested, jailed and having their lives forever altered because of anti-terrorism laws and investigations that impede their 1st Amendment right to freedom of speech.”
A hearing to review Carter’s case is scheduled for July 1.

Shocked 

Yeah, that happened.  Someone in law enforcement is in dire need of extended unpaid leave.
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Re: Jailed for Video Game Chat??

Post by Raistlin Majere on Fri Jun 28, 2013 3:35 pm

I just saw this on the League of Legends forums...has anyone over there ever heard of investigating things such as this? I mean if that was serious then surely other indications must exist...

But really...if you can get arrested for things like that then I can mention several worse cases I have experienced over the years in gaming in general...

This is ridiculous and sad.

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Re: Jailed for Video Game Chat??

Post by Hrothdane on Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:21 pm

I will reserve my outrage until the hearing and law enforcement shows their evidence. If all they have is the "threat", then this is ridiculous.

I'm more concerned at the moment he hasn't actually been convicted of anything yet and he's had to spend so long in prison.

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Re: Jailed for Video Game Chat??

Post by RavenEyry on Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:27 pm

Sad stuff but similar things happen all the time. I think there needs to be a redefinition of what constitutes a real threat of violence.
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Re: Jailed for Video Game Chat??

Post by BleedingUranium on Sat Jun 29, 2013 3:40 am

If everyone who has ever said something like this were arrested, that would be every single person ever. Of All time.
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Re: Jailed for Video Game Chat??

Post by Hrothdane on Sat Jun 29, 2013 3:50 am

BleedingUranium wrote:If everyone who has ever said something like this were arrested, that would be every single person ever. Of All time.

Speak for yourself. While I don't think the guy deserves jail, I would never say anything like that.

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Re: Jailed for Video Game Chat??

Post by BleedingUranium on Sat Jun 29, 2013 7:16 am

Hrothdane wrote:
BleedingUranium wrote:If everyone who has ever said something like this were arrested, that would be every single person ever. Of All time.

Speak for yourself. While I don't think the guy deserves jail, I would never say anything like that.

I mean anything that would be legally defined as a threat. Which, these days in the States, usually just means opening your mouth.
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Re: Jailed for Video Game Chat??

Post by Hrothdane on Sat Jun 29, 2013 8:11 am

By the way, the article you quoted is wrong on one point. He didn't make the comment in the game; he made it during a Facebook argument afterwards. It doesn't change the fact that he shouldn't be jailed just for that comment, of course, but it does alter the narrative of the situation somewhat.

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Re: Jailed for Video Game Chat??

Post by Rifneno on Sat Jun 29, 2013 4:32 pm

Geez. Next thing you know, you won't be able to shout "fire" in a theater or "bomb" on an airplane...

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Re: Jailed for Video Game Chat??

Post by BlueLogic on Sat Jun 29, 2013 7:02 pm

Hrothdane wrote:By the way, the article you quoted is wrong on one point. He didn't make the comment in the game; he made it during a Facebook argument afterwards. It doesn't change the fact that he shouldn't be jailed just for that comment, of course, but it does alter the narrative of the situation somewhat.
Ahh, that does cast it in a different light because you're speaking in your real life persona. Still, I agree that he shouldn't be jailed for months awaiting a hearing for an off hand comment. I don't know whether to hope that there's corroborating evidence or not.
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Re: Jailed for Video Game Chat??

Post by Dwailing on Mon Jul 01, 2013 2:30 am

Rifneno wrote:Geez.  Next thing you know, you won't be able to shout "fire" in a theater or "bomb" on an airplane...
I would argue that there IS a difference here.  It's a matter of context, more than anything else.  He was having an argument with someone, and he made a comment that was OBVIOUSLY intended to be sarcastic.  If it happened in a conversation with someone in real life this wouldn't even be an issue.

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Re: Jailed for Video Game Chat??

Post by BlueLogic on Mon Jul 01, 2013 1:35 pm

Rifneno wrote:Geez.  Next thing you know, you won't be able to shout "fire" in a theater or "bomb" on an airplane...

Seriously Rif? I thought you were allergic to bad analogies or something. The equivalent would be if the boy burst into a school and started shouting that he was going to kill everyone. Posting a comment in FB chat about no particular target to no one who would be immediately affected, and then immediately qualifying the comment as sarcasm is hardly comparable.

I'll just assume someone posted for you while you were AFK.
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Re: Jailed for Video Game Chat??

Post by Rifneno on Mon Jul 01, 2013 3:55 pm

BlueLogic wrote:
Rifneno wrote:Geez.  Next thing you know, you won't be able to shout "fire" in a theater or "bomb" on an airplane...

Seriously Rif?  I thought you were allergic to bad analogies or something.  The equivalent would be if the boy burst into a school and started shouting that he was going to kill everyone.  Posting a comment in FB chat about no particular target to no one who would be immediately affected, and then immediately qualifying the comment as sarcasm is hardly comparable.

I'll just assume someone posted for you while you were AFK.  

The law is "don't threaten terrorist attacks" not "don't threaten terrorist attacks unless it's an incredibly stupid joke". Remember this story? Nobody was crying for that asshole. I'm not saying the kid deserves to spend years in jail, but don't expect an "unless it's a joke, because terrorist attacks are just hilarious" clause in the "don't make terrorist threats" laws. That's stupid.

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Re: Jailed for Video Game Chat??

Post by dorktainian on Mon Jul 01, 2013 4:05 pm

no such thing as freedom of speech anymore.  Whistling

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Re: Jailed for Video Game Chat??

Post by BlueLogic on Mon Jul 01, 2013 4:13 pm

Rifneno wrote:
BlueLogic wrote:
Rifneno wrote:Geez.  Next thing you know, you won't be able to shout "fire" in a theater or "bomb" on an airplane...

Seriously Rif?  I thought you were allergic to bad analogies or something.  The equivalent would be if the boy burst into a school and started shouting that he was going to kill everyone.  Posting a comment in FB chat about no particular target to no one who would be immediately affected, and then immediately qualifying the comment as sarcasm is hardly comparable.

I'll just assume someone posted for you while you were AFK.  

The law is "don't threaten terrorist attacks" not "don't threaten terrorist attacks unless it's an incredibly stupid joke".  Remember this story?  Nobody was crying for that asshole.  I'm not saying the kid deserves to spend years in jail, but don't expect an "unless it's a joke, because terrorist attacks are just hilarious" clause in the "don't make terrorist threats" laws.  That's stupid.

Yeah, that pilot should have known better. TSA doesn't joke about anything. Still, there's a big difference in the audience. If the threat is made toward intended victims, or toward authorities, there is much more cause for real and immediate concern. In a private conversation with a third party, there is no cause for concern enough to override the obvious context of the statement. Also, plain common sense informs us when a "joke" may not be well received in certain circumstances. Don't waste your time looking for that in government these days.
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Re: Jailed for Video Game Chat??

Post by Rifneno on Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:47 pm

Yeah... like I said, I'm not saying the kid deserves the shitstorm he's getting, but I don't blame the government for taking things too seriously. I'd much rather they were too vigilant with terrorist threats than not vigilant though. I'd be very surprised if he gets any real punishment when it gets to court.

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Re: Jailed for Video Game Chat??

Post by Hrothdane on Mon Jul 01, 2013 6:53 pm

If the prosecution cannot prove intent, then they have no case according to the Texas penal code. What the intent actually was also determines whether it's brought up as a misdemeanor or a felony, so it's kinda important that they have something to go on there. Federal authorities are not the ones that incarcerated him and charged him, so this is purely Texas' boondoggle if this is really as big a fuck-up as the current information leads us to believe.

The Texas authorities spent a month before actually picking the guy up. Either A. They have the worst terrorism response time ever for a threat they considered extremely serious, or B. They took their time and actually gathered some evidence that we haven't heard yet. They haven't said anything in the articles yet because the prosecution has no need to show their cards before the actual trial and they are typically loathe to do so. As well they should be because it's their duty to try people in the court of law, not the court of public opinion.

We literally only have one side of a story, and everyone is acting like we know every detail. The parents' have every interest in making the authorities look stupid, and the media has every interest in giving us a sensational story that gets a strong emotional reaction.

We don't know the conversation in full. We know one comment and a summary of the preceding comment given via a biases source. How did the Canadian woman have access to read his Facebook comments? Was she a friend or did he have his page set to public? If the former, then she might have had personal experiences with him that made her worry about the coment. If the latter, then he had no expectation of privacy.

Am I saying that it's impossible that Texas fucked up? Of course not. I have as much faith in the Texas legal system as Rick Perry has in Buddha. I'm saying that people need to stop making kneejerk emotional reactions when all the information comes from one biased source.

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Re: Jailed for Video Game Chat??

Post by BlueLogic on Tue Jul 02, 2013 3:07 pm

The story is looking quite different than first reported in some media outlets (as many here have pointed out).

GameInformer corrects the record.

GameInformer wrote:We've recieved numerous tips about the story of 19-year-old Justin Carter, a person who has been charged with making "terroristic threats." Some are circulating information that Carter made these threatening statements during or immediately after a League of Legends match. In truth, whether or not he was playing League of Legends has nothing to do with the matter.

The events of the case, which have gathered steam thanks to a community petition started by Carter's family, took place in February. A tip was provided to the Austin, Texas police department after Carter made a threatening statement on another person's Facebook page that stated, "I'm f***ed in the head, alright. I think I'm going to shoot up a kindergarten and watch the blood of the innocent rain down and eat the beating heart of one of them."

According to New Braunfels, Texas police lieutenant John Wells, Austin police issued a warrant for Carter's arrest after discovering that his father lives approximately 100 yards from an elementary school. Carter was apprehended in San Antonio, Texas and is now in New Braunfels on $500,000 bond facing third-degree felony charges. If convicted he will face two to ten years in prison.

Our Take
Normally this wouldn't be the kind of story we run, but given the misconception that Carter's comments were made within a game and that League of Legends had anything to do with this, we felt compelled to dispel the inaccurate information. According to lieutenant Wells, the comments were left on the Facebook page of someone unknown to Carter. Especially following the recent school tragedies, authorities are taking these matters very seriously.

Considering the kid didn't even know the person who's face book page he posted on, the context within which he could be considered joking is all but eliminated. So, perhaps that explains how a woman in Canada got involved in all this. Good for her for taking this seriously and expending the effort to locate and call the proper authorities.

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Re: Jailed for Video Game Chat??

Post by Dwailing on Tue Jul 02, 2013 3:50 pm

BlueLogic wrote:The story is looking quite different than first reported in some media outlets (as many here have pointed out).

GameInformer corrects the record.

GameInformer wrote:We've recieved numerous tips about the story of 19-year-old Justin Carter, a person who has been charged with making "terroristic threats." Some are circulating information that Carter made these threatening statements during or immediately after a League of Legends match. In truth, whether or not he was playing League of Legends has nothing to do with the matter.

The events of the case, which have gathered steam thanks to a community petition started by Carter's family, took place in February. A tip was provided to the Austin, Texas police department after Carter made a threatening statement on another person's Facebook page that stated, "I'm f***ed in the head, alright. I think I'm going to shoot up a kindergarten and watch the blood of the innocent rain down and eat the beating heart of one of them."

According to New Braunfels, Texas police lieutenant John Wells, Austin police issued a warrant for Carter's arrest after discovering that his father lives approximately 100 yards from an elementary school. Carter was apprehended in San Antonio, Texas and is now in New Braunfels on $500,000 bond facing third-degree felony charges. If convicted he will face two to ten years in prison.

Our Take
Normally this wouldn't be the kind of story we run, but given the misconception that Carter's comments were made within a game and that League of Legends had anything to do with this, we felt compelled to dispel the inaccurate information. According to lieutenant Wells, the comments were left on the Facebook page of someone unknown to Carter. Especially following the recent school tragedies, authorities are taking these matters very seriously.

Considering the kid didn't even know the person who's face book page he posted on, the context within which he could be considered joking is all but eliminated.  So, perhaps that explains how a woman in Canada got involved in all this.  Good for her for taking this seriously and expending the effort to locate and call the proper authorities.  
This puts things in a whole new light.  The context is completely different, and, put bluntly, I agree entirely with the authorities bringing him in.  If it was made in jest, then I would say it was insane that they arrested him.  However, since the context has made it improbable for that to be the case, then the only way to take his comments is seriously.

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Re: Jailed for Video Game Chat??

Post by BansheeOwnage on Fri Jul 12, 2013 5:03 am


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Re: Jailed for Video Game Chat??

Post by Terramine on Fri Jul 12, 2013 7:57 am

Congrats government, ruin a person's life over a joke. Woooo go murica.

But more seriously, I like how they basically act like making a statement is so horrible. Freedom of speech people, what they should've done is proved he actually was going to... otherwise, still innocent. And that article trying to say things were blown out of proportion, isn't changing anything... people's reaction is still in proportion. I don't care if the threat was taken seriously... I consider this on the same level as insulting a police officer being a crime. All of which, I think is absurd.

BTW can I say how interesting it is that someone just spent 500,000$ on some random kid's bail? I think that restores a little faith in humanity.

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Re: Jailed for Video Game Chat??

Post by Rifneno on Sat Jul 13, 2013 1:29 pm

Freedom of Speech doesn't mean what you think it means...

You know how China can put you in prison and sell your organs for saying their government is full of dicks? That's what the first amendment is about. It was never about everyone having the right to make any threat they wanted. Ever. If you think freedom of speech is gone because you can't yell bomb on an airplane, then you're too sheltered to understand exactly how censored some parts of the world are.

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