Nineteen-year old "League of Legends" player Justin Carter, a Texas resident, is now in jail and could be there for up to eight years. His crime? Making an insensitive comment on Facebook about a "League of Legends" match he had played.
Carter, who has been in jail since February, has been charged with making a "terroristic threat." His trial is scheduled to begin July 1, according to the Daily Mail.
Carter and a friend got into an argument about the game, commonly referred to as "raging" in the gaming community. This led Carter to post a Facebook comment, which he now most certainly regrets.
"I'm going to go shoot up a school full of kids and eat their still beating hearts," Carter said. He also reportedly added "lol" and "jk" to the post.
A Canadian woman saw the comment, noted that Carter lived near Woodridge Elementary School in Austin, and immediately reported him to the police.
However, according to Justin's father, that's not the full comment. Here's the entirety of what Carter said, according to his dad, including context:
"Someone had said something to the effect of 'Oh you're insane, you're crazy, you're messed up in the head,' to which [Justin] 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.'"
We tried to track down Justin's Facebook account in order to verify what the exact comment was, but we didn't have any luck. Assuming that what his father said is accurate, the kid is doing hard time for making a sarcastic comment. Is it in poor taste? Absolutely, but that doesn't mean that he should serve a prison sentence for making an insensitive, gruesome comment.
If kids are going to be imprisoned for making dumb comments on Facebook, then you might as well lock up half of Facebook's users. Then again, why not try to police the conversations that occur within online game communities? Log onto any online game and you won't have to wait long to see and hear 12-year-olds make comments just dumb as Justin's, if not worse. Why not imprison them too? Writer's note: My suggestion of policing online communities and imprisoning people for making dumb comments are sarcastic. Had to make it clear, just in case.....
Violence of any kind is terrible, whether it's perpetrated by kids or adults, gamers or non-gamers. But was there any evidence to suggest that Justin Carter was planning an attack of any kind? Was he stockpiling weapons? Drawing up plans? No, he was just a kid angry about a "League of Legends" game who made a dumb, insensitive comment. Raging is a crime now, apparently. Who knew? (Sarcasm again, FYI)
The Carter family has set up a Change.org petition advocating for the release of their son as well as a change in criteria for investigating "terroristic threats."
What do you think of this case? Do you think Justin Carter should go to prison for his comments? Why or why not? Are you a "League of Legends" or online gamer? If so, what are the worst comments you've heard and seen made by gamers, in-game or not? Sound off in the comments below.
I cover video games, tech, privacy issues and more for IBT. Prior to joining the staff, I wrote for Major League Baseball, Computer Shopper and other publications. I earned...
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