19-Year-Old Arrested For Posting FB Photo Threatening Gays
A 19-year-old has been arrested after making a disturbing online threat against the gay community, according to the FBI. The man has since been taken into custody. The threat was made on the popular social media site, Discord, which is popular with gamers.
In December, the FBI received a report of a man issuing a threat against the gay community. The post consisted of a picture of an AR-15-style weapon, a gay slur, and a direct threat. In cases like this, the FBI must take the threat seriously, since the individual is posing with a gun that is capable of carrying out the threat. The threat appeared to be made against Florida State University.
University police responded to the threat and the suspect was arrested in conjunction with federal authorities. He is being held without bond until his trial date is set. FSU police said they stepped up patrols after the threat was issued. This appears to be one of the first times that a mass shooting was stopped before it could happen. This makes the situation quite unique from a legal standpoint.
How should the law deal with this man?
It’s important to remember that he’s only 19 years old. His brain won’t fully develop until he’s 25. That being said, there would be no mercy for him if he was able to carry out the attack. So, why should there be mercy for him when he was stopped?
It remains unclear whether the young man would have carried out the threat even though he had the opportunity. In the grand scheme of things, there is a very large difference between threatening a mass shooting and carrying one out.
Conspiracy to commit a mass shooting
The law affords the government the ability to prosecute someone for what they plan to do, not just what they did. However, the law has specific requirements for these conspiracy prosecutions, and merely brainstorming, spitballing, or discussing a plan is not enough. To prove conspiracy, the government must establish that the individual did something to further the plan. In other words, they took steps toward the completion of the plan. In this case, they may not have that.
Mental health versus criminal charges
The defendant did not appear to have any intention of carrying out the threat, but instead, posted it as a “satire”. The problem is that in the dark corners of the internet, this type of behavior is reinforced. Via operant conditioning, a young man will be encouraged to do something really misguided, like threatening gays with a mass shooting. Still, the folks who put him up to it are patting him on the back. Eventually, those pats on the back land him in prison, if they haven’t already. For the purposes of law, however, the defendant is considered fit for trial. Nonetheless, teenagers are more susceptible to that sort of peer pressure than adults.
Talk to a Tallahassee Criminal Defense Attorney Today
Luke Newman, P.A. represents the interests of those charged with serious crimes, both state and federal, in Tallahassee. Call a Tallahassee criminal lawyer at our office today to schedule an appointment and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.