Saturday, 29 June 2013

Teen Faces Eight Years in Prison for Making Joke

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We’ve all heard the stories about little boys punished for shaping their fingers like or drawing a gun, or even just uttering the word “gun.” But out of Austin, Texas, comes a story that makes those incidents look like case studies in common sense. The Daily Caller reports:

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.

What happened next was that a Canadian woman saw the quip and called the police, after she found Carter’s address and determined it was near an elementary school. (It’s real unusual for people in urban areas to live near schools, and men bent on committing violent massacres will never drive to their target. You know, the carbon footprint deterrent and all.) What then transpired? Did the police actually go and question Carter? They sure did. Then they arrested him and threw him in jail.

And he has been there since March.


All for making a joke.

In America.

And he now faces eight years in a penitentiary if convicted of “making a terrorist threat.”

Yes — in America.

When asked about the case, an Austin police detective trotted out the already tried-and-true Newtown justification and wrote, “In light of recent situations, statements such as the one Justin made are taken seriously.”

Seriously or stupidly?

Let’s get real. Carter’s comment is easily recognized as a joke regardless, but anyone with two brain cells to rub together knows that the phrase “eat their still-beating hearts” has almost become a clichéd element of humor. And who has never said “I’m going to kill you!” in jest?

Moreover, just consider the hateful rhetoric liberals often use — with impunity. John Hawkins provided some examples (I sanitized them a bit) at Town Hall, writing:

"I want to go up to the closest white person and say: 'You can't understand this, it's a black thing' and then slap him, just for my mental health" — New York city [sic] councilman Charles Barron

"..And then there's Rumsfeld who said of Iraq 'We have our good days and our bad days.' We should put this S.O.B. up against a wall and say 'This is one of our bad days' and pull the trigger." — From a fundraising ad put out by the St. Petersburg Democratic Club

"F*** God D****d Joe the God D****d Motherf*****g plumber! I want Motherf*****g Joe the plumber dead." — Liberal talk show host Charles Karel Bouley on the air.

… Charlie - "you know F--- it .... and George Bush wife? I'd F--- that b***h to death" — "Shock Jocks" Opie & Anthony talk rape & violence with their guest "Homeless Charlie."

So how do these truly vile statements stack up against Carter’s little quip? While Carter was obviously light-hearted, these people clearly hate the targets of their “humor.” This isn’t to say these liberals intended to behave in accordance with their words any more than the Texas teen did. But there’s a profound difference: Given the hatred expressed, you get the feeling that some of them might act upon their statements if they could get away with it. Note, though, that none of these acid-tongued “terrorist-threat” makers is sitting in jail.

So is it that being liberal means never having to say you’re sorry? Or is it that humor just isn’t for the “little people”?

Look, the Newtown excuse has already gotten a bit stale. Not only should we be mindful of what Ben Franklin said about not sacrificing liberty for security, but do you really think arresting people for making jokes enhances our safety even one iota?

This is also an example of how, as society’s faith wanes and superficiality waxes, we become more Pharisaic. Increasingly we lose our ability to discern the spirit behind things and instead just judge them on style; we care less and less about a person’s heart and simply demand he pay homage to the deities of doubleplusgood rightthinking with the requisite symbolism. You can believe in the God of Israel as long as you bow down before Caesar.

The bottom line is if we’re going to imprison people for making jokes, the place that once was America has become a sad joke. And it will only get worse until we understand how to handle political opponents: "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun." Oh, and if any prying eyes don’t like that brand of rhetoric, know that I was just quoting Barack Hussein Obama. Maybe we can share a jail cell together.

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