Pacifist makes terrorist threat

The title could also be “Why are anti-gun people so violent?” From here:

After a gun-control advocate posted “Which one do I need to shoot up a kindergarten?” on a pro-gun Facebook page, Missouri police arrested him illegally, he claims in court.
     James Robert Ross posted the remark in the comments section of a pro-gun article on a Facebook page on Jan. 25.
     Jackson police arrested him the next day, for disturbing the peace and making a terrorist threat, Ross says in his federal lawsuit.
     Ross, 20, sued the City of Jackson, and its police Officers Ryan Medlin, Anthony Henson and Toby Freeman, on June 5.
     Ross says in the lawsuit that his comment “was worded in the form of a rhetorical question and did not make any specific, direct threat against any specific, identifiable person or persons.”

He was held in jail for 72 hours and was released on a $1000 bond. The charges were dropped a little over three months later on April 7. I agree with the prosecutor’s decision but still it was a stupid thing to say. It was pushing the envelope a little bit, but had it been someone who owned guns I could see it going the other way. Especially if it had been in New Jersey, New York City, Maryland, or California.

I’m inclined to say he should lose his lawsuit. I think it was appropriate that the police investigate but I’m torn on the arrest. I think it would depend a lot on his attitude when they went to talk to him.

8 thoughts on “Pacifist makes terrorist threat

  1. It’s difficult to prosecute someone for stupidity. If we arrested everyone who said something stupid, how many women would bring charges against their boyfriends?

  2. I think it was appropriate that the police investigate but I’m torn on the arrest. I think it would depend a lot on his attitude when they went to talk to him.

    I’m not a lawyer but based on the article it doesn’t seem like it meets the muddy definition of a True Threat.
    http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/true-threats

    I think cops and prosecutors should know the law and not arrest people based on attitude.

    The last paragraph of the article was a little weird : ” Jackson, pop. 14,386, 110 miles south of St. Louis, is 95 percent white. Its median income is slightly above the state average, and 71 percent of its voters chose Romney over Obama in the 2012 presidential election, according to city-data.com.”

    • You’re right, that last paragraph was totally bewildering to me too. Why include the demographics? I just don’t get it.

      In regards to the “attitude” I could see someone getting aggressive and “going crazy” when the police just wanted to hear his side of the story. They then decide he might truly be “a nut” and a threat so they think it is better for someone else to evaluate and “keep him off the streets” until the evaluation is complete.

      We would really need to see the police report before making a judgment as to whether the police were out of line to arrest him. But I do think it was acceptable for them to have a talk with him.

      • Why include the demographics? One possible answer is because leftists view everything in terms of class. The other possible answer is to point out that the leftist in question here, like so many of his ilk, comes from an upper middle class and overwhelmingly white background.

  3. Well, if you rephrase the statement to be, “how much exploderite do I need to blow up a school?” it still sounds like a valid reason to arrest the guy, if it were in a comment about reactive targets. It is one thing to joke about penis size, it is another thing to joke about killing children. One is harmless because there is no action involved, just an “ad hominem” but the other has an action associated with harm in the statement. I’m not a lawyer, but it makes sense he was arrested to me.

    Of course, as a gun control advocate, anyone else appreciate the irony that this guy probably stated more than once that “Only the police should have guns!”

  4. Considering that he’s a leftist, and leftists want to be judged by their intentions rather than their words and deeds, I’m sure he was mystified and somewhat hostile to have his intentions questioned by the people whose side he considers himself to be on.

  5. Pingback: SayUncle » Why are anti-gun activists so violent?

  6. Let’s just remember that, had a known gun owner said something like that, the book would have been thrown at him. (Or her, although my gut tells me that would change things.)

    I’m not happy with freedom of speech being treated as lightly as it so often is these days. But if such statements are to be considered an indicator of future violence, then it should apply equally to Stupid People Saying Stupid Things of all political persuasions. (Nor do I have a serious problem with a Stupid Person learning that there are consequences for Acting Stupidly.)

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