SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO-AM) - A Texas teenager has been jailed since March for a threatening joke he made while playing a video game.
From the Daily Caller:
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.
A Canadian woman saw the posts on Facebook, discovered that Carter lived near an Austin elementary school and alerted police.
The Newtown shooting was still fresh in everyone's minds. An Austin police statement said, "In light of recent situations, statements such as the one Justin made are taken seriously."
Carter was jailed. And he's still sitting there almost four months later.
Police were absolutely right to take the threat seriously. We live in a day and age when young men carry out horrific crimes of violence. God forbid this young man carried out an act of violence and police had done nothing. They had a duty to look into it.
However, how much investigation does it require to figure out the kid was joking? You don't need to be Columbo to figure out this kid is guilty of bad taste, not making terrorist threats.
Callers to my radio show seemed unconcerned about Carter's prosecution. "This is the climate in which we live today," said one listener. "He should have known better."
I'm the first to agree that there are limits on free speech. There are, and should be, consequences for making threats.
But these weren't threats. It was a joke told in poor taste. It should outrage every American that this young man has been sitting in a jail since March because he said something politically incorrect.
Some law enforcement officers and prosecutors think America is a police state. They're showing the same kind of over-reaction and lack of judgement that many school administrators display when kids innocently bring butter knives to school.
Let me share my perception of the climate in which we live.
We live in a climate of fear. Americans allow authorities to prosecute people for politically incorrect or borderline speech because we think it makes us safer. What we're really doing is killing off liberty and freedom for an illusion of security and safety.
We live in a climate of hysteria. The fear that someone may harm or attack us is leading to an increase of government abuse. The government says its keeping us safe from terrorists while it collects the phone records of millions of average Americans. But who is keeping us safe from the government?
We live in a climate of intolerance. There are words that cannot be spoken in public. We have the "N" word and the "R" word. Soon more words will be added to the list. Ideas will follow. Support for traditional marriage was classified last week as "hateful" by a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Common sense in this country is dead. However, the Thought Police are alive and well.
Greg Belfrage is heard mornings from 6am-9am on KELO Newstalk 1320 AM / 107.9 FM.