This question came up on another forum, but the quality of the arguments were in question.
So, I wanted to ask my new friends here the same question. As some of you may have been recently aware, Alec Baldwin made some disparaging remarks towards another
, and insulted a (relatively new) community perfectly fine individuals on Twitter because deactivating his account. In a related case, an 18 year old made some comments about shooting up his school on Facebook, and is now being charged with Making Terrorist Threats
. I'll concede that Alec Baldwin did not break the law per say, and his comments are in very poor taste. On the other hand, his comments were very similar to Paula Deen's poor taste in words.
Now, the question is, should Alec Baldwin be charged with the same crime? Here in the great Keystone state, I believe the law reads to the following extent: (I italicized part of the law where relevant.)
§ 2706. Terroristic threats.
(a) Offense defined.--A person commits the crime of terroristic threats if the person communicates, either directly or indirectly, a threat to:
(1) commit any crime of violence with intent to terrorize another;
(2) cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly or facility of public transportation; or
(3) otherwise cause serious public inconvenience, or cause terror or serious public inconvenience with reckless disregard of the risk of causing such terror or inconvenience.
Now, I grant the point this is Pennsylvania State Law, and not, say, California Law. Which brings up another point: If the threat is being made online, who retains jurisdiction to charge the crime? If someone makes a threat on Twitter, from California, aimed at a man who lives in Nevada, is the man charged in Nevada? And are the statues defining the crime pretty much standard across all States? The 18 year old kid example above references the same kid living in the same state as to the threats being made to, but reported by a Canadian.
What does anyone else say?
Should Alec Baldwin be charged with making terrorist threats?
This is so interesting to me.
Social Media? I know Nothing about Social Media. Nothing.
Not knowing anything does not Stop Internet people from Writing.
I am Internet People, too.
Social Media? The Kid first. Let us consider The Kid.
He was in a Social Space inside Cyber Space.
That is Hard to Understand for some of us.
There are Rules of Engagement inside Games.
The Games are Located inside The Internet.
phew. That is Hard.
The people inside the Game are able to communicate the same way we on xkcd do. Correct?
Social Media? What he said to his Friends was overheard by a casual observer.
The casual observer Knows Americans are dangerous.
The casual observer Knows Dangerous Americans often Tell Social Media before Doing Something irreversible.
Out of a sense of Social Responsibility the Authorities were contacted. ok. It makes sense. So, far.
Social Media? The Man was 18 years old.
Who taught him to type like that?
The guys in his Social Group that play an online game? Of course.
xkcd has a Game where Bastardly is the preferred Style.
I don't play. They still let me type, for some reason.
What was he doing? In The Spirit of The Game?
Was He being a Bastard in The Spirit of the Game?
Social Media for Social Media.
An Eye for An Eye?
That is Stupid. People are Stupid.
People could do that.
It would work for both cases.
You said something mean to them on Social Media.
Now we are going to say something Mean to You!
We can threaten his family and threaten to take 8 years of his life.
The older richer one of The Two was more out of control and more Offensive. (to me.)
They were both Bad. Bad boys! Bad!
Now; Play nice!
Play Nice? Social Media is like speaking in Public.
This is a Very Hard one for me to Think Through.
I walked into a Room one time and Spoke.
I said, "Parking Errors Should Be A Capital Crime."
It got a Laugh. I was late. I walked in Winded and Late and Winded and my hair was all in my face and Well?!
I had not been able to get to my parking spot. Some first year Sociology Major had taken my Spot.
I had to Park out in What Was That? The Wasteland of Open Parking! It was a Lesson to Me.
Parking was a problem? It had Never been a problem for Me, before. My Department had Parking.
After I caught my breath and we settled down and got some stuff done, I wandered back to my car.
I looked at The First Year Socialogy Major's car as I walked by it. I talked to her.
She broke a nail. She did not understand Skinner. She was late, too.
She had more important things to do than worry about some Privileged Parking Sticker.
I did not tell her she was in My Spot. I liked her. I thought about that on the way to my car out there in The Wastelands.
I started going in a little early and parking Off Campus. Or; Parking out in The Wasteland.
I, also, had to Learn some stuff about Capital Punishment. I did not mean it! They laughed!
Still; It is a serious subject and Damn... I knew what Capital Punishment was.
I knew More within several weeks of That Day.
Do we Need to be careful of what we say? Yes and No. "Protect Freedom of Speech! That's how we Know who The Assholes are."
When we say things we tell the World who we are. Who do you tell The World you are?
That Rich, Spoiled Adult; He is an Actor? Does he play Noble Men on The Screen?
Why would an Adult type such things? Because he is a Childish Adult?
Because he and his do not get enough of The Good Things in Life?
Because other people not only put up with it, Other People encourage him!
Have you called his Mother? Who Raised Him?
You did? You, the internet, Raised them both.
You may not be one of Those Good Families.
What are Good Families like? Do they have Childish Adults?
Yes, Sir. There are Childish Adults in Every Family.
It runs in The Human Family.
What kind of a Family has Childish Adults that are The Bosses of EveryOne?
Americans? A large dysfunctional Family?
They are, just, words on a Computer Screen. Any Harm Done?
Yes, Sir. That man, The Adult, He is to be spoken to by Really Nice people.
Then he Must copy That Style until is seems almost natural for that Childish not Childlike Foul Typing Ding-Dong.
Now; What is so wonderful about that man that he is in The Center of so many lives?
I don't know him. Did an Adult type those words? It may not be True. He may have been Hacked.
The Man, Alex Baldwin, may be innocent.
The Young Man can learn to communicate with his Friends in New and Better ways.
People are listening to him. The poor young man. Did he not know other people could hear him?
His online friend called him Crazy.
He, like many young men, responded with Sarcasm.
Sarcasm is Dangerous. It is like a Stupid kind of Fire.
Did he get burnt? He is in Jail and they are telling him 8 years of his life may Go Away.
Yes. That looks like burnt to me.
I wonder; Is being a sarcastic jerk as much fun as sitting in a jail cell is?
Is it Worth It? Sarcasm! It is Our Right! We of The Internet Have Rights!
Sarcasm! Our Rights as Stupid Adolescents. Then We Grow Up.
He is 18. It is Time for him to Grow Up.
It is too late for the Other One. He is as Mature as he will ever get.
He is well Paid and You Love a Bad Boy! We Love a Bad Boy?
We are the internet people and We Love Him? I don't.
I don't want to know a man that will respond with That Level of Stupid.
He is a Rich and Powerful Man. Thin Skinned Too?
The Rich and the Powerful can afford to be Thin Skinned.
That 18 year old man is not a Throw Away, yet.
What do you think? Me?
There is a book in most Libraries.
If he were mine he would be Reading That Book.
It is horrible! He would Hate it. It is Long.
Nine hundred and thirty five pages on Etiquette.
There will be Tests. There will be a Final.
Yes. I know this book Hurts You.
It is Like Plastic Surgery for The Mind.
You will be more beautiful, After.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.
We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.
Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.