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Post a joke, go directly to jail
December 4, 2007 4:03 PM   Subscribe

Post a controversial comment, get arrested. "Some were disturbed by the post police say James Buss left on a conservative blog, but other observers said it was a sarcastic attempt to discredit critics of education spending."
posted by mathowie (121 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
This comment is not a bomb.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 4:05 PM on December 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


It reads pretty clearly like a joke to me, kinda shocked police actually arrested someone in the real world over it.
posted by mathowie at 4:06 PM on December 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


Quonsar was right.
posted by cillit bang at 4:07 PM on December 4, 2007 [4 favorites]


Post a joke, go directly to jail

Q: How many teamsters does is take to change a lightbulb?

A: Seventeen. You got a problem with that?

In all seriousness, though, that teacher displayed some pretty shitty judgment, but arresting him was also a bad call; that is to say-- he was stupid, but not criminally stupid.
posted by dersins at 4:09 PM on December 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


This a warning to us, Matt?
posted by klangklangston at 4:09 PM on December 4, 2007 [7 favorites]


"Police Capt. Toby Netko defended the arrest. ... 'What happens when you say bomb in an airport? That's free speech, isn't it?' he said. 'And people are taken into custody for that all the time.'"

Sigh. The ACLU has a long, hard road ahead.
posted by sdodd at 4:10 PM on December 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


Pretty clearly a case of sarcasm in action. There's a shocking number of people who don't get sarcasm, though. But sarcasm or not, getting arrested for this is, as folks used to say, downright un-American. I reckon it's getting more American all the time, though.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:11 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Because we all know how to deal with sarcastic metaphors—One shot at a time!
posted by klangklangston at 4:11 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


He tried to use sarcasm on the internet. That can be dealt with, one shot at a time.
posted by never used baby shoes at 4:13 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Or, you know, I could learn to use the preview button.
posted by never used baby shoes at 4:14 PM on December 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


Now, if he had made a comment about tazing students and teachers, it would have been A-OK. Probably would have been given a "Honorary Detective" badge and a regular column at WorldNetDaily.

Yeah, this is total Bullshit. Anybody ever been to FreeRepublic or LGF? The posters there make regular, not-so-thinly-veiled death threats against Muslims, Arabs, Mexicans (in FR's case, anyway) on a daily basis. Go to FreeRepublic and see how many posts of "...grumble grumble f*ckin arabs comin across the border with wetbacks grumble comin to rape our wimmins and steal our moneys grumble one day were gonna rise up and cleanse this land of vermin grumble grumble maybe a bullet or two will solve the problem grumble...." you can find. You'll find alot.

If we're going to arrest people for talking about killing and violence, there are about 10 million right-wing blogs that fetishize death and destruction that could use some attention.
posted by Avenger at 4:15 PM on December 4, 2007 [9 favorites]


It reads pretty clearly like a joke to me,

what if it wasn't a joke, would that make the arrest less insane?

he didn't write, "I'm going to school tomorrow and I'll take out 15 people". he praised -- ironically or not, who gives a shit -- some killers.

god knows you don't get arrested for praising William Calley's actions, and he did murder more people than the Columbine kids.
posted by matteo at 4:18 PM on December 4, 2007 [4 favorites]


Even if it wasn't a joke, even if he meant it entirely in earnest, I don't think it can remotely be characterized as a threat. This is a situation where there wasn't even probable cause to arrest him.

One of the problems of living in society is that we are vulnerable to so many fools who occupy positions of authority. (Although, I suppose that, too, can be dealt with one shot at a time!)
posted by jayder at 4:19 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


I will kill all of you!

WITH MY WIT
posted by brain_drain at 4:20 PM on December 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


In Malaysia: Have someone else post a comment on your blog, get arrested.
posted by divabat at 4:21 PM on December 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


If he wrote "I'm going to school tomorrow and I'll take out 15 people." then it still wouldn't be right to arrest him.

Maybe it would be okay, even semi-intelligent, to find out who he was, and watch the school the next day.
posted by odinsdream at 4:21 PM on December 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


If he wrote "I'm going to school tomorrow and I'll take out 15 people." then it still wouldn't be right to arrest him.

I disagree with this. That is clearly a threat, and police would be justified in arresting him for making a terroristic threat.
posted by jayder at 4:24 PM on December 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


He got arrested for saying something that people didn't like. We don't have the original text, but it doesn't sound like he was threatening anyone, just 'cheering on' people who did something terrible.

Whether or not he was being sarcastic, how the fuck do you get arrested for that? Even if he was 100% serious, since when did having an unpopular opinion become a jailable offense?
posted by Malor at 4:24 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


The owner of the blog in question thinks this was an overreaction, and thinks the teacher should be released without any charges being filed.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 4:24 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


The Virginia Model for Student Threat Assessment — from the Public Entity Risk Institute (PERI)
posted by The Light Fantastic at 4:24 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


I can picture the mustachioed state trooper at his front door in mirror shades, beating the butt end of a nightstick against his palm and saying, "Son, prepare to get pwned."
posted by The Straightener at 4:26 PM on December 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


You fools! Metafilter is da bomb!

So is chocolate, Super Mario Galaxy and Jessica Alba.
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:26 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


People don't need to get convicted for this stuff for a country to stop being free; there only need to be enough cops who think it's okay to arrest people for this and who know they don't stand a chance of losing their jobs for it.
posted by Dasein at 4:27 PM on December 4, 2007 [8 favorites]


I think some responsibility for the arrest should go to the blogger who turned over the IP address of commenter. He wasn't legally required to turn it over, and he must have had a better sense than the authorities that the comment was sarcasm.
posted by pb at 4:28 PM on December 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


Post a controversial comment, get arrested.

Well I certainly hope not; I mean what with my love of posting descriptions of my dalliances into necrophiliac-cannibalism and all.

(What? You never heard the term "Dinner-Date"?)
posted by quin at 4:28 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Buss, a former president of the teacher's union, allegedly wrote that teacher salaries made him sick because they are lazy and work only five hours a day.

So he was negotiating for lower pay and longer hours while president of a teacher's union?
posted by Brian B. at 4:28 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


I don't even know where to start ...
posted by chunking express at 4:29 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


I read about this earlier today and thought it was the dumbest thing I'd heard in at least 10 minutes.

People.
posted by rtha at 4:30 PM on December 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


The owner of the blog in question thinks this was an overreaction, and thinks the teacher should be released without any charges being filed.

And then goes on to say that the commenter was just some idiot liberal. I knew it! Had to be them dirty libruls, right SCDB?
posted by eyeballkid at 4:31 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


single link newsfilter?

GYOBFW!!!

oh, hang on...
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:32 PM on December 4, 2007 [6 favorites]


I'm so fucking doomed.
posted by loquacious at 4:32 PM on December 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


Law enforcement and authoritarian types are deeply troubled by the ability to transmit your thoughts instantly and globally with some degree of anonymity. The handful of big, shocking, terroristic events over the last fifteen years (including Columbine, 9/11, etc.) has given every two-bit power/authority fetishist in law enforcement the feeling that nonconforming communication is a threat that must be met with force. Witness what happened with that taser dude at the University of Florida. Witness what happened with this "one shot at a time" dude in Wisconsin.

The attitude of these law enforcement types is, "Nobody who would say such a thing is worthy of the protection of our law." Their attitude is an abomination to the Bill of Rights, but oddly, I think these authority fetishists probably regard themselves as unquestionably patriotic.
posted by jayder at 4:33 PM on December 4, 2007 [11 favorites]


This comment kills fascists.
posted by Ufez Jones at 4:36 PM on December 4, 2007 [7 favorites]


The original comment was:
"Kids like Eric Harris and Dylen Klebold members of the Young Republicans club at Columbine. They knew how to deal with the overpaid teacher union thugs. One shot at a time! Too bad the liberls rip them; they were heros and shoud be remembred that way.”

The commentor followed up 14 hours later with the comment:
"I am NOT advcting shootng teachrs. I agree with Mark belling when he said that theese kids were pushed into doing this by the stupid union teachrs at Colmbine. belling said that to bad only one teachr got it and lots of kids. shuld have been the other way. belling hates teachrs I like belling"

Seems to be a sarcastic comment aimed at teacher salaries and Mark Belling's comments.
posted by yeti at 4:41 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


This seems to be a stunning example of the world gone awry.
posted by ND¢ at 4:42 PM on December 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


I can picture the mustachioed state trooper at his front door in mirror shades, beating the butt end of a nightstick against his palm and saying, "Son, prepare to get pwned."

Funny, I pictured Officer Jay McPherson from The Sarah Silverman Program.
posted by Afroblanco at 4:42 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


The owner of the blog in question thinks this was an overreaction

he did give up the IP info: he's probably lying to spin this thing to look less like the asshole he is. he willingly gave up the IP address of the commenter (he had no legal obligation to do so) because he obviously knew it was a sarcastic comment, hence it had to have been posted by a liberal, and judging by his Malkin-fanboy blog, he obviously enjoyed the thought of sending the cops to bust the guy's balls.

pretty childish, like trying to delete one's old blog posts hoping that people won't dig them out of web.archive, to make an example. fuck him, and the cops who instead of protecting actual people from actual danger, between donut runs chose to arrest some guy for writing something that no reasonable person could ever consider as a threat
posted by matteo at 4:44 PM on December 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


You know how to deal with the current US administration?

That's right - one shot at a time.

(heh - I'm out of jurisdiction, suckers!)

* looks around nervously for US kidnap squads *
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:54 PM on December 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


Brian B. writes "So he was negotiating for lower pay and longer hours while president of a teacher's union?"

from the article:

Larry Dupuis, legal director of The American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin. "At worst, it was somebody expressing admiration for somebody who did something reprehensible. But the more reasonable explanation is this is somebody who is trying to mock the conservative view of teacher salaries."
posted by krinklyfig at 4:56 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oooh, I made the mistake of looking at Boots and Sabers. Their interpretation of the recent information regarding Iran's discontinued nuclear program: 2009 9 is all of 13 months away, and 2010 is only a year after that. According to this NIE, Iran is close… uncomfortable close to becoming a nuclear power.

This makes me dizzy.
posted by craniac at 5:07 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Brian B. writes "So he was negotiating for lower pay and longer hours while president of a teacher's union?"

from the article:

Larry Dupuis, legal director of The American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin. "At worst, it was somebody expressing admiration for somebody who did something reprehensible. But the more reasonable explanation is this is somebody who is trying to mock the conservative view of teacher salaries."


Thanks krinklyfig. It makes more sense now, because they aren't in Idaho.
posted by Brian B. at 5:08 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Disorderly Conduct - what they charge when they hate what you did but no other laws fit. If it pisses someone off, it is disorderly conduct. Many prosecutors are just Bill O'Reilly with charging authority. They play to the same segment of the population as Fox News.
posted by caddis at 5:08 PM on December 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


Anybody ever been to FreeRepublic or LGF?

Of course, context is a huge part of whether something is considered a terroristic threat or not. Someone turning up on an Arab American mailing list and making veiled threats to kill the members would be a very different thing.

In this case someone appeared to advocate killing teachers on a teacher blog. And then either

a) some sarcasm impaired individual felt honestly and truly threatened and called the police,

or, more likely

b) a partisan in the conversation decided to be an asshole, pretended to feel truly threatened, and got the police to deliver the last word in an internet argument by arresting the poster.

Personally I have to give props to the partisan in question. He may be the first person in internet history to ever definitively win an on-line argument.
posted by tkolar at 5:09 PM on December 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


well, then it's settled craniac - we must report all suspicious blog posts because we wouldn't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud
posted by pyramid termite at 5:09 PM on December 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


You know how to deal with the current US administration?

That's right - one shot at a time.

(heh - I'm out of jurisdiction, suckers!)


Thats a good thing too -- you'd likely be arrested by the secret service if you had said that in public here.
posted by Avenger at 5:10 PM on December 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


Oh, I just looked at the blog, and it figures that this guy Owen Robinson, who turned the IP addresses over to the police, went to Texas A&M. Texas A&M is kind of a finishing school for wingnuts.
posted by jayder at 5:10 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Washington County District Attorney Todd Martens is considering whether to charge Buss with disorderly conduct and unlawful use of computerized communication systems.

Police Capt. Toby Netko defended the arrest. He said the teacher who complained was disturbed by the reference to "one shot at a time" and other educators agreed it was a threat.

This is ridiculous. I think Todd and Toby need a timeout from the justice system.
posted by effwerd at 5:16 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think this guy may lose his job. But that's okay: he can probably make a killing on the civil suits.
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:17 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Or, you know, I could learn to use the preview button."

We all know how to use the preview button—one shot at a time.
posted by klangklangston at 5:17 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Obviously the real crime is that someone with such poor spelling and grammar is allowed to teach.
posted by desjardins at 5:19 PM on December 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


Sarcasm makes the trains run late.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:21 PM on December 4, 2007 [8 favorites]


Troll kills.
posted by rokusan at 5:21 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


single link newsfilter?

GYOBFW!!!

oh, hang on...


"...there's someone at the door."

[silence]
posted by spiderwire at 5:22 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Disorderly Conduct - what they charge when they hate what you did but no other laws fit.

Yep. In my misspent youth, I was on the wrong end of this law more than once.

I've always hated this stupid law. What is disorderly? Am I harming someone? Am I costing people money? Is anything I'm doing putting anything around me at risk? Where are my pants?

Damnit.
posted by quin at 5:25 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sarcasm makes the trains run late.

Station announcer (over loudspeaker): "Hey, why don't y'all just take your time getting on the train, it's not like anybody's in a hurry to get home, or anything. Here's a clever tip: why don't you try to board the train before the other passengers have disembarked? That'll make it so much easier and better for everyone. And don't forget, once you get on, just stay put in the door area. The people behind you will love you for it..."
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:31 PM on December 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


Disorderly Conduct - Any conduct that annoys or offends the arresting officer.
posted by jason's_planet at 5:31 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Can we all say this in unison?

THERE IS NO SARCASM TAG IN HTML.
posted by wendell at 5:34 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Police Capt. Toby Netko defended the arrest. ... 'What happens when you say bomb in an airport? That's free speech, isn't it?' he said. 'And people are taken into custody for that all the time.'"

Capt. Netko is cleverly making an ironic statement that he doesn't mean to demonstrate how unsettling this can be for the unaware.

Please let this be true.
posted by grouse at 5:40 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


</sarcasm>
posted by spiderwire at 5:40 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


<irony align="neutral evil" style="mefi">
posted by spiderwire at 5:41 PM on December 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


ND¢: "This seems to be a stunning example of the world gone awry."

Shit, I would have arrested his ass too.



/sarcasm
posted by lazaruslong at 5:44 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


You know how to deal with the current US administration?

I always liked Tom Clancy's solution -- wait for a Presidential address of both houses of Congress, with the Supreme Court in attendance, and fly a plane into the whole shebang. Now that's what I call "one shot at a time."

It's a novel. Sue me, law enforcement community.
posted by pax digita at 5:48 PM on December 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


Buss. Eponysteri..--[MeFi police then throw n_o_d onto pavement, and tell him to STFU and put hands behind back or be tazed. Bro.]
posted by not_on_display at 5:49 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


I disagree with this. That is clearly a threat, and police would be justified in arresting him for making a terroristic threat.

Terroristic? What kind of fucking world of fear do you live in? How can you even wake up in the morning and walk to the bathroom?
posted by odinsdream at 5:52 PM on December 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


"Police Capt. Toby Netko defended the arrest. ... 'What happens when you say bomb in an airport? That's free speech, isn't it?' he said. 'And people are taken into custody for that all the time.'"

Captain Netko has just said "bomb an airport!" And since context and intent clearly are not relevant in the world of the good captain, he has committed a far worse crime than that teacher. I look forward to reading of former captain Netko's arrest in tomorrow's papers.
posted by jamjam at 5:52 PM on December 4, 2007 [6 favorites]


How can you even wake up in the morning and walk to the bathroom?

Armed.
posted by spiderwire at 5:53 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


From Owen's explanation, on Boots & Sabers:

It was explained to me that it was not believed that the commenter had any intent to harm anyone, but that the mere presence of a comment appearing to condone such violence had to be punished because it might encourage someone else to engage in violence against schools.

I'm glad Owen got this on record, because if this is true that the police thought merely "appearing to condone" violence "ha[s] to be punished," the guy who would seem to have a decent basis for a lawsuit for violation of his civil rights.
posted by jayder at 5:55 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Texas A&M is kind of a finishing school for wingnuts.

I think you may have just insulted some fine finishing schools, whose products can at the least hold polite conversations that do not include the phrase ``Hey, y'all, watch this!'' followed by a disaster.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:55 PM on December 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


Odinsdream ---

Wait --- you don't think sending out a message saying, "I'm going to the school tomorrow and killing a bunch of people" is not a threat?

Please explain. What am I missing?
posted by jayder at 5:57 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


We know how to deal with people who can't recognize internet sarcasm. One /:P at a time. Or maybe a ;) , or a dancing banana.
posted by maryh at 5:59 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sigh. The ACLU has a long, hard road ahead.

OTOH, the first hearing might look something like this:

JUDGE: Be seated, etc.
ACLU lawyer: You honor, you've read Brandenburg too, right?
JUDGE: Duh. I'm a judge.
ACLU lawyer: So... we done here?
JUDGE: Off you go, ya scamps.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:59 PM on December 4, 2007 [6 favorites]


In situations like this, I wonder if the police employ any type of verification of the IP address "evidence" provided to them. If they do not, what is there to stop a website operator from simply framing someone they don't like?

It sounds like in this case the guy didn't deny posting the comment, but I wonder if he had if that would have prevented his arrest.

And, before you say that there are legal repercussions which should dissuade website operators from doing this, can you tell me what happens when the site operator honestly gives the cops the wrong users' IP by accident?
posted by finite at 6:05 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Anybody ever been to FreeRepublic or LGF?

I used to go to Little Green Footballs pretty regularly before the September 11 attacks changed it from a nice web design blog into what it is now.

wait for a Presidential address of both houses of Congress, with the Supreme Court in attendance, and fly a plane into the whole shebang

Whoa--that can't be right. In 2001, then-National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice told us no one could have predicted slamming a plane into a building, but that book's from 1994.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:07 PM on December 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


Also, please nobody panic but it is my duty to inform you all that there is a FIRE IN THIS THEATER EVERYBODY OUT EVERYBODY OUT GO GO RUN FOR YOUR LIVES ! ! !
posted by finite at 6:08 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Post a joke, go directly to jail | MetaFilter
posted by mathowie
posted by hellbient at 6:16 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Pretty clearly a case of sarcasm in action.

Are we not distinguishing between sarcasm and trolling? The owner of the website seems to conclude from the two comments that either the guy was on the kooky end of the right wing spectrum or was pretending to be to make the right wingers look bad. I can't find the original conversation, but the two comments out of context don't strike me as sarcasm so much as rile-you-up trolling.

Not that anyone should be arrested for trolling. That's ridiculous. In that case the guy's a jerkoff, but it's his god given right to be a jerkoff on internet boards if he so pleases (just as those places have a right to ban him, yadda yadda - but civil rights coming into play here is really weird).
posted by mdn at 6:23 PM on December 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


This could all have been avoided if only the img. tag were allowed.
posted by Sailormom at 6:30 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


I am going to kick everyone in this thread in the tushy. Fer realz!!! Nevar Forget!!!
posted by Mister_A at 6:33 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


So they can arrest this guy for bleeding-edge sarcasm but they can't find a single thing to put Lori Drew behind bars?

Yeah. I have great faith in our legal system. Great faith.
posted by perilous at 6:43 PM on December 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


I AM GOING TO JAYWALK IN PROTEST OF THIS One street at a time.</small<
posted by everichon at 6:52 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Dammit, admins, pls to be hoping.
posted by everichon at 6:53 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


It was explained to me that it was not believed that the commenter had any intent to harm anyone, but that the mere presence of a comment appearing to condone such violence had to be punished because it might encourage someone else to engage in violence against schools.

The following MeFites are expected to endorse this principle, or else be regarded as probable hypocrites:

matildaben, sharpener, crinklebat, amethysts, olya, zennie, Baby_Balrog, bitter-girl.com, heatherann, Xelf, sondrialiac, macguffin, croutonsupafreak, kev23f, graventy, aclevername, hilatron, Melinika, formless, raztaj, agropyron, cmyk, subbes, the_bone, cytherea, edlundart, mothershock, Stacey, Quietgal, John Smallberries, SassHat, notashroom, headspace, non sum qualis eram, mostlymartha, flatluigi, rider, FelliniBlank, ukdanae, purephase, elpapacito, dog food sugar, divabat, supercrayon, sugarfish, donnagirl, andoatnp, lilac girl, logic vs love, ArmyOfKittens, onoclea, bonehead, bent back, tulips, koeselitz, turaho, iamkimiam, desjardins, alltomorrowsparties, CwgrlUp, Don Pepino, pointystick, zebra3, freshwater_pr0n, FunkyHelix, agregoli, gaspode, Wilder, mkultra, beandip, chara, homunculus, barnone, reflecked, Salamandrous, emmastory, miss lynnster, feathermeat, nickyskye, almostmanda, numinous, sephira, sageleaf, Space Kitty, flibbertigibbet, Pater Aletheias, Kat Allison, Hobgoblin, Free word order!, hydropsyche, Brandon Blatcher, h00py, billyfleetwood, metasav, brujita, bluishorange, exlotuseater, Rumple, kosher_jenny, granted, casarkos, heeeraldo, dyoneo, jacobian, GrammarMoses, cybercoitus interruptus, Danila, vrakatar, nooneyouknow, Elsa, ambrosia, wendell, goo, Ethereal Bligh, madamjujujive, weebil, Arturus, jessamyn, melissa may, decathecting, onlyconnect, rtha, LobsterMitten, thehmsbeagle, and me.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:53 PM on December 4, 2007 [4 favorites]


Bullied by thugs, put into shackles, had his house searched, globally shamed in his community...for snark. Ultimately for having a difference of opinion than the fascist jerks running that board.

The list owner was out hunting deer, saw the email (from the deer stand?), called the detective at 7:30 in the morning, waking him up and treating the email in high dudgeon. EEEEK a difference of opinion!!! Oh nooo! and then determined his own innocence with the detective, oh yeah, he's sleazy and over the top vindictive but he's 'innocent'.

And, oh yeah, he's soooo concerned about "eliminating the likelihood that the comment would encourage anyone else to commit violence" and he's running around with a gun shooting at critters.

On his "about us" page he says "I love the blood sport of politics." Isn't that a violent statement? Doesn't that mean he might shoot some politicians? Be out for BLOOD? Shouldn't he be arrested under the same incitement to violence that he's accusing the commenter?

And the co-sleaze who colluded with Owen on jailing the commenter says of himself "Politically, I tend to be libertarian on domestic issues, and somewhere to the right of "bomb them back to the Stone Age" on foreign policy issues."

Isn't that a grotesquely violent statement? Bomb whom exactly back to the Stone Age? Isn't that a terrorist comment? Maybe this guy should be reported to the NSA?

Owen, the skeeve says, The commenter was also once the president of his local teachers’ union. This leads me to believe that Option 2 is the truth. This commenter is just a liberal union teacher who was trying to make conservatives look bad by pretending to be one and acting like an imbecile.

Conservatives look bad without any help from others.

After watching The Dufus on tv today, I've had my fill of Conservative bs. And now this further desecration of the Constitution. ugh.
posted by nickyskye at 7:01 PM on December 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


Odinsdream ---

Wait --- you don't think sending out a message saying, "I'm going to the school tomorrow and killing a bunch of people" is not a threat?

Please explain. What am I missing?


I do think it's a threat. I think lots of things on the internet are threatening. There are entire sites whose main reason for existing is because a group of people hate some other group of people, passionately. There are many thousands of threats made each day.

As I said, the reasonable, intelligent thing to do would be, at most, to monitor the school for suspicious activity. Even that's most likely going to be a waste of time.

That someone says something threatening does not mean they should be arrested.
posted by odinsdream at 7:04 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


<sarcasm>

This renders perfectly.

</sarcasm>
Works for me.
posted by abulafa at 7:21 PM on December 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


Welcome to the new America Oceania. Crimethink doubleplus ungood.
posted by smoothvirus at 7:21 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


UbuRovias: the main difference being that posting a racist/sexist comment and/or condoning such comments is already engaging in racist/sexist behaviour.
posted by divabat at 7:22 PM on December 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


UbuRoivas ---

Your attempted analogy between the "victimy girl shit" comment, and the principle that condoning violence should be punished because it might encourage someone else to engage in violence against schools, fails for a number of reasons.

Sexist attitudes are so pervasive that they are almost invisible to some people; tolerating sexist comments helps to perpetuate the pervasive discrimination and bias against women.

There is not a widespread, socially acceptable tendency to commit violence against schools. The analogy you're attempting to draw would only work if it were true that condoning a facetious comment about dealing with union teachers, one shot at a time, were contributing to a widespread, largely unacknowledged pro-school-violence attitude in our society. Which isn't the case.

Rather, the urge to punish people who make clearly facetious comments about school violence, is part of the overall witch hunt and sensationalistic mentality that has accompanied a lot of big terroristic media events.
posted by jayder at 7:24 PM on December 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


Prayin' for that 180kt airburst over the Pentagon, too. Allahu akbar!
posted by pax digita at 7:25 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yay! I get to be on a list!

I never get to be on lists! this makes me so happy!

What?
posted by rtha at 7:37 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


I AM IRONICALLY INDIFFERENT REGARDING SENSELESS MURDER AND THE TRAFFIC OF HARD DRUGS!

and I live in Canada!

So you American cops... you can suck my balls.
posted by tehloki at 7:43 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


divabat & jayder: the two are comparable because the same principle applies: person A, making a joke, or a sarcastic or ironic remark is held accountable if person B takes it seriously & acts upon it.

pax digita: eponironic!
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:47 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'd like one of MeFi's many festering boils on the ass of humanity until I need one lawyers to quote me some case law. Where does nuance and context and interpretation enter into First Amendment arguments?

I mean, if my friends and I were playing laser tag with the President, and he was sneaking around to flank our team, would it be punishable speech to yell, "Someone go kill the President!"?

I realize that's simplistic and probably irrelevant.

("But it's because I've been consuming illegal drugs!", he said sarcastically.)<---NOT ENDORSING DRUG USE

So you end up in this meaningless echo chamber where no one is saying anything, yet anything means everything. This is beyond Orwellian. It's Wittgensteinian. Or maybe I'm just high. ON JESUS.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:32 PM on December 4, 2007 [7 favorites]


This is so insane. I heard about this on the car radio tonight and I almost had to pull over I was so outraged and freaked out. Probably, no one could make any sort of charge stick about this, but jesus, this is so fucked.
posted by serazin at 8:34 PM on December 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


Where does nuance and context and interpretation enter into First Amendment arguments?

IANAL, but..... At the very beginning. The law surrounding First Amendment issues doesn't boil down to a big list of "you can say this/you can't say that" statements.

If making delineations was that easy, we wouldn't need real live judges and juries.
posted by tkolar at 9:34 PM on December 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


</irony>

ALL SUBSEQUENT COMMENTS ARE MADE AT YOUR OWN RISK.


this are serious thread
posted by spiderwire at 9:34 PM on December 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


jayder: It's not fascism when we do it.

But the most heartwarming part is being completely oblivious to the sexism in keeping a separate standard for comments about women.
posted by quintessencesluglord at 11:17 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Whoa--that can't be right. In 2001, then-National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice told us no one could have predicted slamming a plane into a building, but that book's from 1994.

Actually, on Sept. 11, 2001, Retired General Norman Schwarzkopf, interviewed over telephone on NBC (I believe by Katie Curic) commented that the Pentagon had, in fact, considered the possibility of commercial jets used to destroy buildings.
posted by Goofyy at 11:26 PM on December 4, 2007


divabat & jayder: to clarify, occhiblu's comment (which I found quite excellent & favourited, btw) can be paraphrased as this, if I read it correctly:

"you might not be a hateful misogynist, but if you make a sexist joke or fail to swat down another male who does so, it might just be a throwaway thing for you, but if there is a *real* misogynist around, it's just more fuel for his fire"

I see this as exactly the same. Guy makes throwaway sarcasm, troll, or whatever it was; is busted because even though he isn't a wife-beater school-shooter-upperer, he might be read by one, whose tendencies to school-shooting-upping will be embiggened by what for him was merely some kind of throwaway line.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:30 PM on December 4, 2007



I see this as exactly the same.


Man, are you stretching.
posted by tkolar at 11:34 PM on December 4, 2007


I see this as similar in logical structure. It's not unlike Marilyn Manson being responsible for whatever people hear in his music before going on their murderous rampages.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:35 PM on December 4, 2007


("people are not responsible for their actions; you are responsible for their actions, if your words embiggen their emboldenness & they go ahead & do things you only joked about")
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:47 PM on December 4, 2007


That teacher could have learned something about the proper use of firearms from Brasco. And they're both in Wisconsin, too!

Prediction: it will be tossed out of court if the man has a lawyer, but he'll lose his job.
posted by cogneuro at 12:04 AM on December 5, 2007


I doubt it will go to court because I can't see how they could reasonably get an indictment.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 12:11 AM on December 5, 2007


this reminds me of an incident just after columbine. i was in front of my math class, writing up my answer to a homework problem (though controversial, i always was a studious lad), and when the teacher stepped out into the hallway to yell at some other children, i decided to have some fun. i started reworking the word problem in the spirit of the time - "if there are 30 students in a class, and seven are shot..."

a fellow named john, who was absolutely dedicated to becoming a cop as soon as he had his high-school diploma, became very irate, and began bitching me out. given that he had six inches and 30 lbs on me, i tactfully apologizied.

this was the moment i learned that cops have no sense of humor.
posted by RTQP at 1:53 AM on December 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


I doubt it will go to court because I can't see how they could reasonably get an indictment.

Unfortunately, we're supposed to be able to say "I doubt he'll go to jail because I can't see how they could reasonably arrest him."

Anyway, what has happened is not cool. Even the usual he-had-it-coming brigade who can be counted on to turn nearly any horrifying story into a good thing seem fairly quiet on this one. Maybe this will finally prove to some of thsoe people who somehow still need proving that It Really Is That Bad.
posted by JHarris at 2:32 AM on December 5, 2007


"What happens when you say bomb in an airport? That's free speech, isn't it?" he said. "And people are taken into custody for that all the time."

Yes, because the internet is exactly like an airport.
posted by slimepuppy at 3:54 AM on December 5, 2007


Too... angry.. to comment...
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:26 AM on December 5, 2007


UbuRovias: I think I know where you're coming from, but here's how I see it. While everyone has an inherent freedom to speak (and make seemingly crass jokes), anything you say will naturally have consequences, we are all accountable for whatever we say, whether it is in jest, good taste or sarcasm.

The only question is whether those consequences are social (like, for example, women feeling more inhibited from joining an open thread and misogynists feeling less inhibited from expressing their views) or criminal (would you get arrested)

In short, I think the distinction is between whether the state involve itself in policing seemingly abhorent humour, or whether people should self-correct themselves. This is a very very stark distinction, because with the latter, you're still free to choose your own response; you're merely told what _could_ happen [1]. Here, you're being told that a certain end-result WILL happen, and that therefore, you should be arrested.

--
(Also, I feel compelled to mention here that this was the first time I read through that thread. I'd like to be able to say that I wuz there, albeit 15 days too late.)
posted by the cydonian at 7:58 AM on December 5, 2007


So what if: 1. the teacher is acquitted, and 2. it could be shown (say, via previous exchanges between the two) that the "sysop" turned him in for retaliatory measures, to teach the librul a lesson? I mean, the teacher will have been materially and maliciously damaged -- assaulted, kidnapped, defense lawyer fees, probably lost his job, who knows about damage to his personal life... Shouldn't there be some repercussions to the orchestrator of this mess? A civil lawsuit?

I mean, what's to stop anybody with a grudge from presenting some misleading, out-of-context "evidence" to law enforcement for the expressed purpose of raining a world of hurt on the accused?

Conversely, I suppose, would such a lawsuit have a chilling effect on legitimate whistle-blowers?
posted by LordSludge at 8:30 AM on December 5, 2007


Wow, I'm on a list. Hang on, let me call my mom...

I see this as exactly the same. Guy makes throwaway sarcasm, troll, or whatever it was; is busted because even though he isn't a wife-beater school-shooter-upperer, he might be read by one, whose tendencies to school-shooting-upping will be embiggened by what for him was merely some kind of throwaway line.

How cromulent of you.
posted by sephira at 8:50 AM on December 5, 2007



I mean, what's to stop anybody with a grudge from presenting some misleading, out-of-context "evidence" to law enforcement for the expressed purpose of raining a world of hurt on the accused?


Nothing. The ability to convince the police to go arrest someone by providing them with "evidence" has always existed and always will.

What's notable in this case is the incredibly scant nature of the "evidence" produced. Even the Secret Service won't arrest someone for making a sarcastic threat against the president -- at worst they'll send someone by to have a chat with you.

This business of actually arresting the poster is quite frankly bizarre. You are correct that this is the sort of thing that civil lawsuits are made of...
posted by tkolar at 10:11 AM on December 5, 2007


DA won't charge Oak Creek teacher
posted by Floydd at 12:58 PM on December 5, 2007


People still not getting the whole connection between speech you don’t like and free speech deal I see.

The DA won’t charge. Figures. So violation of constitutional rights lawsuit sorta thing?

Seriously does anyone ever say “Hey, I order you guys to immediately commit lawless action” where other people not only agree, but are willing to knowingly and premeditatedly commit a crime in what is ostensibly the coldest blood there is (sitting at your computer ankle deep in pants)?

Where there’s not, y’know, a guy with a screw loose on the other end in the first place. Like the internet is filled with mindless drones and ideological henchmen just preparing to do someone’s bidding?
Apparently the cops over there think the Bond films are documentaries. Who the hell would work for a mad supervillian? (Hank Scorpio excepted, that guy has charisma and a great health care plan) Much less some crank on the web sounding off.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:24 PM on December 5, 2007


The police that arrested the poor guy show a pure ignorance that is terrifying;

"What happens when you say bomb in an airport? That's free speech, isn't it?" he said. "And people are taken into custody for that all the time."

How that police chief can equate the shouting of "Bomb!" with making sarcasm on the internet is beyond me. Crap, I just said "Bomb!" on the internet.
posted by JJ86 at 2:44 PM on December 5, 2007


US gunman goes berserk - Nine dead, including a male gunman, after a shooting at a mall in Omaha.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:35 PM on December 5, 2007


That's sad. So?
posted by grouse at 3:50 PM on December 5, 2007


Maybe the gunman read this guy's inflammatory comment.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:33 PM on December 5, 2007


UbuRovias - That's REALLY stretching it. By that token, no one should say anything, because OMGZ WHAT IF SOMEONE KILLZ.
posted by divabat at 5:08 PM on December 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


And besides, even if he *did* read the comment, and even if the comment *was* the trigger - no comment in and of itself can ever be strong enough to trigger someone to murder. One or more of the following has to happen first:

* Mental illness
* Past abuse
* Past skirmishes
* Being pushed to the edge

No one - NO ONE - who has never had a murderous intent in their heart looks at an Internet comment and goes "ooh, maybe I'll kill someone today, how fun".
posted by divabat at 5:10 PM on December 5, 2007


* polishes shotgun *

i am the angel of death...i am the angel of death...

* refreshes metafilter, reads divabat's comment *

ooh, maybe I'll kill someone today, how fun! why don't us men think of that? (lol)
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:37 PM on December 5, 2007


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