The good news: it looks like gamers are finally going to curb their over-the-top language.
The bad news: their motivation is going to be sheer terror, since apparently American law enforcement is now overriding First Amendment rights even in cases that clearly involve nothing more than tasteless jokes.
The family of Justin Carter, the 19-year-old Texas gamer who made offensive Facebook comments is working with new urgency to get his $500,000 bail reduced because they say he’s getting beat up behind bars.
“Without getting into the really nasty details, he’s had concussions, black eyes, moved four times from base for his own protection,” says Carter’s father, Jack. “He’s been put in solitary confinement, nude, for days on end because he’s depressed. All of this is extremely traumatic to this kid. This is a horrible experience.”
Carter has been in jail since his arrest in February. After he finished playing the online game League of Legends, where the community trash-talking can get quite toxic, court documents show he posted the following messages on a Facebook page:
“I think Ima shoot up a kindergarten / And watch the blood of the innocent rain down/ And eat the beating heart of one of them.”
Carter’s father says his son was responding to an insult by being sarcastic and followed the message with “JK” for just kidding, but that’s disputed by police.
In April, a grand jury in Comal County, Texas, indicted Carter on a charge of making a terroristic threat, and a judge set bail at $500,000. The high bail has kept Carter imprisoned while his case moves through the court process.
Some might argue that the idea is enough to take the then 18 year-old seriously, in this day-and-age; whereas some are arguing freedom of speech stating that with no history of violence and no plan, he was only expressing his right. For the most part, “gamer rage” is generally handled per game server or online service [i.e. Xbox Live, PSN, Steam, etc.].
In the meantime, how do we, as gamers, deal with the plague of blatant and abhorrent racism, sexism, and homophobic slurs and violent threats thrown around daily? Should these be treated as actual hate-crimes and threats, or should we write them off as “smack talk”? Perhaps we’ll learn how we should handle these occurrences post-trial.
via Another Castle
This detachment from reality is what makes gaming so appealing; you can explore a world where realities (such as death) are neither serious nor permanent.
Words alone – however repugnant – are not supposed to be grounds for jailing someone as a terrorist.
And this is apparently not the only case.
Oh, that’s right. We’re on the eve of our great celebration of freedom living in
via Prairie Weather
Today is Kafka’s birthday, not Orwell’s. But close enough.