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Calif. Man Arrested For ESPN Post On Killing Kids 416

Posted by timothy
from the just-a-suggestion-really dept.
SternisheFan writes with an AP story as carried by Yahoo that illustrates one of the boundaries of free speech online: "A California man accused of posting comments on ESPN's website saying he was watching kids and wouldn't mind killing them was in jail Tuesday on $1 million bail after he was arrested for investigation of making terrorist threats, authorities said. Several guns were found Monday at the home of former Yale University student Eric Yee, said Los Angeles County sheriff's Lt. Steve Low. Yee was arrested after the sports network ESPN reported threatening posts were made in a reader response section to an online ESPN story on Thursday about new Nike sneakers named after LeBron James that cost $270 a pair. Some of the nearly 3,000 reader comments on the story talked about children possibly getting killed over the sneakers because of how expensive they are, said ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys. 'What he was posting had nothing to do with sports," Soltys said Tuesday. "We closely monitor the message boards and anytime we get a threat, we're alerting law enforcement officials.' An employee at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn., notified local police the same day and they linked the posting to Yee's home in Santa Clarita in northern Los Angeles County."
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Calif. Man Arrested For ESPN Post On Killing Kids

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  • by alphax45 (675119) <kyle.alfred@NoSpaM.gmail.com> on Thursday September 20, 2012 @09:04AM (#41397883)
    I am one of the "IT people" and I am not an idiot, just lazy this morning.
  • Re:ugh (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 20, 2012 @09:05AM (#41397897)

    Terroristic threats have been the name for that sort of talk for decades.

    It's not a "terrorism" charge.

  • Re:Free Speech (Score:2, Informative)

    by bhagwad (1426855) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @09:10AM (#41397947) Homepage
    Unless he threatened specific kids and was on an imminent killing spree, his comments are protected by free speech.
  • Re:Ermahgerd 1984! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Wansu (846) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @09:23AM (#41398067)

      You're not a perp until you've done something, or at least set in motion clear actions towards doing something.

    But he has done something. Communicating threats is a crime in most states.

  • Re:Ermahgerd 1984! (Score:5, Informative)

    by arth1 (260657) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @09:27AM (#41398125) Homepage Journal

    No this is not thought crime, this is punishing a real crime. Making "terrorist threats" has been a crime for a very long time.

    The term credible threat means a threat that is âoe real and immediate, not conjectural or hypothetical.â Kegler v. United States DOJ, 436 F. Supp. 2d 1204, 1212 (D. Wyo. 2006)

    The standard that has been used up until now is if a perceived threat is distanced in time or target, it's not a credible threat, and subject to free speech protection.

  • Re:Ermahgerd 1984! (Score:2, Informative)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @09:30AM (#41398183)

    Terrorist threats have nothing to do with terrorism. The term has been used for many decades before the Patriot act was even imagined.

  • Re:Ermahgerd 1984! (Score:5, Informative)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Thursday September 20, 2012 @09:53AM (#41398505) Homepage Journal

    If people are worried about someone's cry for help, call someone who can help, not the law. They have no ways - nor intentions - of helping the person.

    There's an article [sj-r.com] in today's local paper about just that.

    When the Jacksonville Developmental Center finally closes its doors, police there are worried that the 130 or so remaining residents will simply be released into the community because there is nowhere else for them to go.

    "And they're going to end up in jail," said Jacksonville Police Chief Tony Grootens. "That's the shame about it."

    Law enforcement officials and mental health professionals met Wednesday at the University of Illinois Springfield to hear about what they called Illinois' mental health crisis and how police and the community need to respond.

    "The word 'crisis' couldn't be a greater understatement," said Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, the keynote speaker at the symposium. "There is less attention and fewer resources being given to it, and the mentally ill are being thrown in jail.

    "By that neglect, law enforcement is the primary provider of mental health treatment," he said. "Nobody on the planet thinks that is good."

    The article continues...

  • by TheSwift (2714953) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:34AM (#41399077)
    I find this is a pretty key line in the article: "The online post on ESPN said that a shooting would be like the one in Aurora, Colo., where 12 people were killed and 58 were injured in July, authorities said."

    That's referring to the post he made that they responded to. He didn't just say, "Ah man, I'd like to shoot kids who get expensive sneakers." It was more like, "Here's how it's going down..."

    If you don't think this is grounds to go after someone (fine), then when should we pursue a terrorist(ish) comment online? How descriptive do you have to get?

  • Re:Ermahgerd 1984! (Score:4, Informative)

    by poofmeisterp (650750) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @02:14PM (#41402459) Journal

    Now I know what the "old folks" meant when they talk about times a'changing.

    Back when I was a boy, when I was pissed at someone, I could talk with friends and say, "I wanna kill that bastard."

    It got the steam out and anger went bye-bye.

    Nowadays I'm afraid to say anything about killing anything to anyone.

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