Petition to Free Justin Carter Reaches 25,000 Signatures
Justin Carter is the Texas teen who faces charges of making a terroristic threat for a flippant joke he made online while playing League of Legends.
Justin Carter was 18 back in February when a dispute over the online video game “League of Legends took an ugly turn on Facebook, KHOU.com reported.
“Someone had said something to the effect of ‘Oh you’re insane, you’re crazy, you’re messed up in the head,’ to which 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.
A woman from Canada saw the posting, did a Google search and found Mr. Carter’s old address was near an elementary school and she called police, he told KHOU.com.
League of Legends is a free-to-play online multiplayer role-playing and combat game. It's free to play, not necessarily free to be competitive and win. The way that League of Legends works, spectators cannot just see the messages that players send to each other. If Carter made the comment while playing, then his comment could only have been seen by other players playing in the same game. So it's likely that the woman in Canada was playing in the same game and may have been offended for a host of reasons including whether she was winning or not. Players report each other for myriad offenses in LoL, in order to get them banned. In the wake of Sandy Hook, joking about shooting up a school is in poor taste and not smart, but should not raise the possibility of eight years in prison.
However the Canadian woman saw the comment, Carter should not have been arrested and should not have been held in jail for months without charges. But that's what has happened and the police have much to answer for. He faces the possibility of eight years in prison if convicted, for making a comment that is probably made hundreds of times in online forums and games by teenagers every day.
Carter's family launched a petition on change.org to have him released and to get the law regarding terrorists threats changed. It reached 25,000 signatures over the weekend.