Texas Teen Charged With Making a Terrorist Threat After Playing A Bad Game of League of Legends

Texas teen faces serious jail time for jokes made after a bad game of League of Legends

For us old-school gamers, the implications of the things we say online are re-enforced by years of parents warning us about the permanency of online data. Even private posts made to Facebook, for example, can be used as court evidence in the event of a legal battle. Information posted online is never truly deleted or private.

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As is the case with Justin Carter, a League of Legends player from Texas who could be facing 8 years of jail time for a joke he made back in February while venting on Facebook after a particularly bad game. His response after another player called him insane?

‘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.’

This remark was followed up by both an ‘lol’ and a ‘jk’, but the damage had already been done as a Canadian parent, concerned, looked up Carter’s address to make sure that he didn’t live close to any schools. She notified the police, who arrested Carter a month later, charging him with making a terrorist threat.

His parents are asking for support in an change.org petition to free their son. Carter’s father stated that:

“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.”

Not watching television or keeping up with current events in the U.S. is hardly an excuse. At age 19, Justin Carter is legally considered an adult and making comments about shooting up schools online is pretty heinous, even if they are sarcastic in nature. A terrorist charge, in my eyes, isn’t outrageous given the school shootings that have occurred in 2013 alone (over ten).

While it’s unreasonable to make direct connections between video games and violence in our culture, it’s important to understand that trivializing situations like school shootings, sexual assault (rape jokes for you less tactful folks) and homophobic or racist remarks (hate speech, legally) can have pretty serious consequences–and people are becoming less and less tolerant of remarks made online.


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