The voice of Amanda

The safety of being online?

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In the news: a teenager facing jail time for making the “sarcastic” comment “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.” He is looking at 8 years for “terroristic threats.”

How it went down: This 18 year old, Justin Carter, was talking to another gamer online. A comment from another gamer called Justin “insane, crazy, messed up in the head,” eliciting his inappropriate response. An outsider following the conversation reported it to police, obviously feeling it merited more than just a shrug.

This has gotten lots of responses from people online, mainly criticizing Obama (okay?) and our government over reacting. It’s funny because after a tragedy people wonder why nobody had done anything when signs pointed to odd behavior. Maybe this kid would never shoot up a school. Maybe he is just a punk. He’s obviously stupid to make a comment like this only two months after Sandy Hook. It is not only distasteful, but truly could be seen as threatening.

Carter’s father defends his son by saying he doesn’t watch the news or read newspapers. I don’t think that ignorance is the best defense, plus he clearly knew what he was insinuating.

So do I think he needs 8 years in prison? That seems a bit much if he has zero priors and undergoes a psych evaluation. I don’t think that we should turn the other way because someone claims to be sarcastic when making disgusting remarks. Someone who says them really means it and as we have learned, it’s easier to do something when the words are first spoken then after a tragedy occurs.

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