19-year-old Texas teen Justin Carter is facing charges for making “terroristic threats” over Facebook after playing a round of League of Legends.
When Carter and his friend were finished playing a match of League of Legends (LoL), he got into an argument against his opponent over Facebook.
Jack Carter, Justin Carter’s father, said “Someone had said something to the effect of ‘Oh you’re insane, you’re crazy, you’re messed up in the head,’ to which 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.'” The lines following this threat “LOL” and “jk,” said Carter’s father.
Although the joke may have been “sarcastic” as Justin’s father puts it, a woman from Canada did not share the same point of view when she saw his post. The Canadian woman searched Google and discovered Carter’s old address, which was close to an elementary school. As a result, she called the police.
Carter has been in jail for since March 27, 2013, turning 19 during his time in jail.
What makes this situation so grim is its timing. When the woman called the police in February, this was two months after the Sandy Hook Elementary School incident occurred in Connecticut where dozens of children were killed by a gunmen, causing much of the U.S. to turn to an emotional state.
“Justin was the kind of kid who didn’t read the newspaper. 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 public space,” said Jack Carter.
Jack Carter continued and 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.”
To reel in more people to this situation, friends and family started an online petition for Carter’s charges.
What do you think? Was Justin Carter out of line with what he said? Does he deserve to be in prison for eight years? Should his punishment be lessened? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
[Editor's note: People of the internet; this situation is a perfect example of why you should be careful about what you say to strangers online. You never know who is out there reading what you say whether it's friends, family, future employers, and in this case, people in a different country who have the ability to call the police on you. Just be careful and don't say asinine things.]
Robbie Key is a “Reviews and News Editor” for Analog Addiction, Entertainment Editor for the Pine Log newspaper at Stephen F. Austin State University, and blogger for IGN. Follow his completely relevant Twitter updates, watch his awesomtacular YouTube videos, and view his LinkedIn profile.