Target: Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot
Goal: Release teenager imprisoned for sarcastic joke on Facebook
In March 2013, Texas teenager Justin Carter was arrested after making a joke on Facebook. He made a sarcastic comment about a school shooting, and was charged with making a terrorist threat. The comment does not show any real malice on his part, yet he may be spending nearly a decade in jail for it. He should not have to face a harsh punishment for a comment that was clearly not a threat.
While discussing the online video game League of Legends with friends on Facebook, another user called Carter insane. His response was, ‘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.’ He immediately followed up the comment with ‘lol’ and ‘jk’, acronyms standing for ‘laugh out loud and ‘just kidding,’ respectively. An unrelated woman in Canada came across this post, looked up where Carter lived, and alerted the authorities in the area. Carter was arrested on a charge of making a terrorist threat, and if convicted, will face eight years in prison for his joke.
Those close to Carter have realized that this is an extremely harsh punishment for what is no more than a Facebook post. According to a statement made by his father, ‘Justin was the kind of kid who didn’t read the newspaper…He didn’t watch television. He wasn’t aware of current events. These kids, they don’t realize what they’re doing. They don’t understand the implications. They don’t understand.’ Carter has already been in jail for months for his joke. He should not have to face an additional eight years for an act with no true malice behind it. Tell Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot that the Facebook post was no more than a joke, and Carter must be released immediately.
Dear Attorney General Abbot:
Recently, Texas teenager Justin Carter was arrested and jailed after making a sarcastic comment on Facebook. He made a joking reference to school shootings, which was taken seriously by a Canadian woman who saw the post. He was arrested on a charge of making a terrorist threat. Carter has been in jail for months already, and if convicted, he faces eight years more.
I ask you to release Carter immediately. The context of his comment clearly shows that it was meant as no more than a joke. It may have been a joke in poor taste, but there was no malice behind it. Carter has clearly already faced punishment by being imprisoned for months. Eight years is too harsh a punishment for a simple joke.
[Your Name Here]