Free Speech

Florida Cops Arrest a 15-Year-Old Boy for Joking About Perpetrating a Mass Shooting

"Joke or not, these types of comments are felonies under the law," says the Volusia County Sheriff's Office

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Police in Volusia County, Florida, recently arrested a 15-year-old boy who joked about carrying out a mass shooting on a video game chat platform. "Joke or not, these types of comments are felonies under the law," the Volusia County Sheriff's Office said on Facebook. "After the mass violence we've seen in Florida and across the country, law enforcement officers have a responsibility to investigate and charge those who choose to make these types of threatening statements."

According to the sheriff's office, the boy, who attends Seabreeze High School in Daytona Beach, posted this message, using a pseudonym: "I Dalton Barnhart vow to bring my fathers m15 to school and kill 7 people at a minimum." The teenager was charged under a statute that says "any person who makes, posts, or transmits a threat in a writing or other record, including an electronic record, to conduct a mass shooting or an act of terrorism, in any manner that would allow another person to view the threat, commits a felony of the second degree." A second-degree felony is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

In a video that the sheriff's office posted on Facebook, one deputy handcuffs the teenager outside his home while another explains to the boy's mother that "he's under arrest currently for making a threat to cause a mass shooting [or] act of terrorism." The mother is incredulous and becomes increasingly upset when it becomes clear that her son is being taken to a juvenile detention facility, where he will remain for at least a few days.

"He's just a little kid playing a video game," she says.

"All these kids keep getting arrested," the deputy says. "That's why the FBI and the local law enforcement are spending so much time, because how do we know he's not going to be the kid from Parkland, he's not going to be the next kid, the kid that shot up Sandy Hook? We don't know that. So when you draw the attention to you by making statements…They may be jokes. I mean, I wouldn't expect a kid to say, 'I'm dead serious. I'm going to fucking go shoot everybody up.' No, when they're caught, it's a joke. 'I didn't mean it. It's a joke.' That's when you're caught."

The boy's mother tries to put his comment in context. In "these games, these kids say stuff like that all the time," she says. "It is a joke to them. It's a game. And it's so wrong. I hate that game."

The deputy concedes that teenagers commonly joke about mass shootings. But at the same time, he says, you never know. "Guess what my time in law enforcement is spent doing," he says. "It's arresting kids for making these statements all the time and for stopping acts too….That's what our job is, is to make contact, because these kids think it's a game or a joke, so they go ahead and make these comments."

The mother still can't believe that a joke can be a felony. "He's a little boy," she says. "He didn't do anything wrong. Yes, he's a teenager, but he's still a little boy. He's not one of the crazy people out there doing stuff….He shouldn't be treated as though he's a terrorist or something because he made a silly statement on a stupid video game….You have to look at these things case by case….I mean, he's not that person."

The deputy asks her if she owns a gun, and she says she does. "He has hands and feet," he says. "He can grab your gun and go do something."

When the mother says "he would never do anything like that," the deputy insists that "we don't know." He complains that "this is the world we live in, where people think it's funny to say, 'I'm going to go kill people at school.'"

Notice that the deputy offers three rationales for hauling this kid away in handcuffs. First, he might actually be planning a mass shooting. Second, even if he was kidding, such jokes force police to waste resources by investigating teenagers who do not have any actual plans to kill people. Third, people should not joke about mass shootings, and Florida's legislators have decided to make that a crime.

It makes sense for police to investigate when someone reports that a student has threatened to shoot up his school. But if it turns out that the kid was joking, does his statement still qualify as a "threat"? In this case, it seems that the police are not trying to prevent a mass shooting so much as punish a teenager for saying the sort of stupid, tasteless things that teenagers tend to say. The fact that the sheriff's office posted the video as a warning to others suggests that the authorities want everyone to know that jokes about mass shootings are not only offensive but felonious.

It seems doubtful that the boy's joke, in context, would qualify as a "true threat," a category of speech that the Supreme Court has said is not protected by the First Amendment. UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, a First Amendment specialist, says it's problematic to assert, as the sheriff's office did, that it does not matter legally whether the boy was joking.

"The sheriff's office quote seems not quite right, because the statute requires 'a threat,' and obvious jokes aren't treated as threats," Volokh writes in an email. "To be a 'threat,' something at least has to come across as a serious threat—and not just a joke—to a reasonable observer. Some courts also say that the speaker must have specifically intended that people feel threatened, or at least know that this would be the likely reaction. Other courts, however, think it's enough that a reasonable observer would find it threatening, which makes it a sort of negligence-based crime….It may well be that this statement would have indeed been reasonably viewed as a genuine threat, whatever the 15-year-old's intention might have been."

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  1. According to the sheriff’s office, the boy, who attends Seabreeze High School in Daytona Beach, posted this message, using a pseudonym: “I Dalton Barnhart vow to bring my fathers m15 to school and kill 7 people at a minimum.”

    Yeah, I can see why they arrested him.

    1. I mean it’s worth a check in at least.

      1. There is nothing unconstitutional with police taking a statement like that and asking you questions.

        You never have to talk to police. In fact, you never should. You should also not say you’re going to murder other people.

        The Secret Service does this all the time. They receive word of “threats” against certain officials and go talk to the person(s). It takes more than jokey bad taste comments for them to arrest you.

        1. In fact, you never should. You should also not say you’re going to murder other people.

          Unless we were playing COD, because then I would totally murder you. What about bots? Can you threaten bots with murder?

          1. “What about bots? Can you threaten bots with murder?”

            I think we should find out!

          2. >>threaten bots with murder

            going with no.

        2. You should also not say you’re going to murder other people.

          If only certain Reason commenters followed this advice.

      2. If one of the hijackers had just showed up in the ER with cutaneous anthrax, which would not be “skin irritation “ or a single lesion and not been diagnosed and aggressively treated he would probably have died………………… Read More

        1. I’m gonna kill you bot.

          1. I’ll mace you good!

          2. Didn’t list a time, place or method, so not a true threat. You’re gonna have to do better than that!

            1. Tonight, at yer moms, with my cock.

              1. Oh wait, you meant when where and how for the bot…

          3. This was seriously a joke

    2. That’s not a threat.

      Investigate sure but there is no imminent nature to that statement. When? Does he even have access to a weapon? Does he intend to hurt people or was it hyperbole?

      Its like mothers who say that they will kill their kids. 99.999999% it’s hyperbole.

      1. Seems like a borderline threat to me… like you said, worth checking out. Probably worth teaching the punk a lesson, too, but not worth ruining his life over (or giving him 15 years, which would be a miscarriage of justice in the extreme). I think you’re right that it might not hold up as a legally-defined “true threat”, in which case this will probably get dropped and the kid won’t have anything on his permanent record (or juvenile record).

        Its like mothers who say that they will kill their kids. 99.999999% it’s hyperbole.

        I do remember my mom saying “if you do that, I will murder you.”

        I don’t remember my mom saying “if you do that, I will grab my model m15 semi-automatic rifle and shoot you in the upper torso 7 times at minimum.”

        If my neighbor overheard the 2nd comment, they’d probably call the police.

        1. Worth checking out – mostly for having a quiet word about being an asshat online as people who shoot places up tend not to post about it beforehand – but certainly not arrestable.

        2. If my neighbor overheard the 2nd comment, they’d probably call the police.

          No they wouldn’t have. More likely they would have offered to foot the ammo bill;)

          1. Na, I was a pretty good kid.

      2. If he said, “I’m going to drop a nuke on my school,” that’s clearly hyperbole. What he said is not. Granted, he may eventually be found innocent since he’s young and dumb and maybe said it because his father really doesn’t have a M16 and he thought no reasonable person would think he’s for real. However, the statement he made is not outside the realm of believably.

        1. Agreed. I don’t see how any reasonable person that has no knowledge of the kid could look at this statement and think “yeah, thats definitely a joke/hyperbole.”

          I read the statement and think, “shit man, he sounds pretty serious.” I don’t even think any part of that statement hints at it being a joke at all. Granted, I’m assuming that was the entire statement, if it was preceded or followed by other statements that would put it in a joking context… that’s a different story.

          1. We need a bright line test for “threats” otherwise anything that someone says without using violence is protected by the 1st Amendment.

            1. We have it. It’s the Imminent Lawless Action test. Search for the wikipedia articles on Brandenburg v. Ohio and Hess v. Indiana if you want to learn more.

              Given that he used a fake name and just said “School” as opposed to “SeaBreeze high school in Dayton,” it lacks the specificity required to pass the “Imminent Lawless Action” test.

              1. My point is that it is not being used to keep police from arresting people where the speech is protected by the 1st Amendment.

                1. Under the current political environment, police are probably more under scrutiny if they investigate something like this and then don’t arrest the kid than if they do, at least in Florida. They mishandled the Nicholas Cruz situation so badly that now they have to overcorrect.

                  That said, a good attorney could probably make a case for false arrest in this case. Given that the charges shouldn’t go anywhere, the settlement wouldn’t be worth the attorney’s fees.

                2. Elonis v. United States, 575 U.S. ___ , 135 S.Ct. 2001 (2015).

                  This case will allow for this kid to have the charges dismissed.

                  The state must prove mens rea to show intent.

                  1. I’d like it if the story could include what kind of gun was in the house as well, to establish whether the kid had access to what he claimed was his weapon of choice.

                    1. The chances of there being an M15 are significantly less than infinitesimal.

                    2. Holy shit, googled it armalite does have a model of rifle called the m15. Fuck me, I thought it was another dumbass who didn’t know the difference between and AR 15 and an M16

                    3. It a SAW type, so it probably exists in online FPS games. Likely the only reason the kid knew about it.

              2. There is an implied “my” before “school” when read in context. When a kid says “I’ve got to get going or I’ll be late to school”, their parent is rarely going to ask “Which school?” unless their kid is one of the few that attends multiple schools in a single day.

                He didn’t even say “a school” or “some school” which would actually be less specific because that would eliminate the implied “my school” and would suggest his plans were not yet completely baked (at least the target may still remain to be selected).

                Suppose he had specified “SeaBreeze high school” and there are multiple high schools with that name in the US but one was close by and the next nearest one was 500 miles away, would you also argue that the threat was not specific?

                1. If his plans weren’t complete there is no evidence he meant to undertake them. So you are okay with charging a juvenile who might commit a crime?

            2. We have one already. That’s why I was saying that this probably won’t meet that test and the case will be dropped (if this kid is rich enough to afford a just outcome).

              But damn, its really close to a threat. I can see why they took it seriously.

              1. It’s worth investigating. But not every investigation needs to lead to an arrest.

                I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some policy that requires them to make arrests on stuff like this, though, to justify use of department resources.

                1. Yeah I suppose. I guess I’m saying that I get why they arrested the kid even though it may be unjust. Maybe its best to let the courts sort it out, as fucked as that is.

                  Although I think its probably just best to cuff him as a way so scare him, take him on a ride in the cruiser, explain to him why what he did was bad, and then take him home. Let school officials know and keep a close eye on him for awhile, make sure he’s got friends and a support network, that he isn’t isolated and angry.

                2. Thats ehat the Broward Co sherrif said about the Parkland shooter, 20 times

            3. There already is a bright line, and he crossed it. “I feel like shooting up a school” is different than “ I am going to kill 7 people at my school tomorrow with my dads rifle”

              Head on over to Volohk and find out about the 1A exceptions

          2. Anyone who has spent more than 5 minutes online with school-age children would recognize exactly what that was – G.I.F.T.

            Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory.

            Anonymity + freedom from consequences = fuckwads.

            1. Plus puberty and lack of maturity. My only question is if the mom hates that game so much, why is he still allowed to play it unsupervised? Be his parent not his friend. My 15 to has a few games I’m not fond of, but I don’t allow on line play and there’s been a few I’ve absolutely said no on (my wife did overrule me once and that was a bit of a fight).

    3. I just realized that other versions of this story have obfuscated the actual quote. I thought, in his own words, he actually named the school in his quote. To me that qualifies it as a specific threat which might meet the criteria for a threat.

      I thought his quote was that he was going to take his gun to SeaBreeze high school and kill 7 people. If he just vaguely said, “To school,” and used a fake name…that’s a completely different context.

      Fuck the media for shitty reporting.

      1. I don’t really get why saying “school” and “SeaBreeze high school” is really any different in this context. I get that actionable threats were defined in Brandenburg v. Ohio and Hess v. Indiana, but the definition itself seems a little arbitrary to me.

        If a kid attends one high school, which is assigned to him, doesn’t saying “to school” actually mean “to SeaBreeze high school”? Wtf else is it supposed to mean?

        If I say “I’m going to kill ______ with ______ weapon at school tomorrow”… is that not a threat because I didn’t say “Seabreeze high school”. What teenager spells out the full name of their own school? They say “at school” “to school” “from school”. If that’s a valid defense, I think we need to change the definition of actionable threat.

        “School” means “my school”… of which kids usually only have one.
        Its pretty obvious.

        1. But said, “I, Daltan Barnhart,” which is a fake name. The kid’s name is not Dalton Barnhart.

          He made up a fake name on an anonymous forum to make a fictional threat against an anonymous school. What’s more, what is an M15 rifle? Just based on a brief google search, the military briefly developed an M15 as a replacement for the M14, but they may never have been put into service. There is, however, an Airsoft replica rifle called M15…essentially a toy. The mother did say there was an old gun in the house that the boy had access to, but I highly suspect it’s a handgun and not a rifle.

          So a fake name, threatening to shoot up an unnamed school with a fictitious weapon that might be a toy. I think some sober reasoning can see that this is dumb prank.

          1. I should add that the threat was made to anonymous strangers online as well, not to people he knows from school. Saying it to people who know who he is and what school he attends, that can constitute a threat because it implies a specific target. To random strangers who do not know him or do not know Dalton Barnhart? It’s too vague to be a threat.

            1. That does seem fairly important actually, any link to corroborate what you’re saying here?

              1. https://tinyurl.com/y5psmx9c

                That’s the best I can offer, but follow how they found the kid. It wasn’t his schoolmates suggesting he threatened to shoot up a school, it was a user who didn’t know him and they had to find him by tracking down the IP address linked to his username. It seems that nobody he was talking to knew who he was, so he was just using a fake name to make an anonymous threat against some vague school somewhere.

                1. It seems that nobody he was talking to knew who he was, so he was just using a fake name to make an anonymous threat against some vague school somewhere.

                  And the police arrested him and the media sensationalized it and everyone went home patting themselves on the back that they’d prevented another mass shooting.

                  1. When I first saw this story, I had tracked all that, but somehow I thought he had still named his school explicitly in his threat. Given that he didn’t, I can’t qualify his words as a threat.

                    It’s a stupid online prank. Just because you shouldn’t say shit like this doesn’t make it a crime.

                    1. I was more asserting that, *were I* an angsty HS student who would joke about shooting up a school. The police showing up, arresting me, and the media sensationalizing the story wouldn’t make me less likely to shoot up a school.

                      *If I were* an angsty HS student with secret plans to shoot up a HS in hopes of gaining notoriety and/or vengeance on the system. The police showing up, arresting some random kid and the media sensationalizing the story wouldn’t make me less likely to shoot up a school.

                2. Hmm, I don’t think this fully backs up what you said or the assertion that “nobody he was talking to knew who he was, so he was just using a fake name to make an anonymous threat against some vague school somewhere.” Discord servers can have hundreds or even thousands of people subscribed to them. I belong to a discord server that is about half made up of old classmates I like to game with and half people I’ve never met in person but participate in voice chats with.

                  Also, the FBI doesn’t just go off of what other people tell them address are – they corroborate things with IP traces, DMV records, etc. So even if the user did know him and where he lives, they still would have done some research to try to figure out if they have the right person.

                  1. I suppose it’s possible some people there knew who he was, but there’s no story explicitly saying that his friends from school saw the threat.

                    My immediate assumption, given that he made the threat under an assumed name, was that he was speaking completely anonymously. The vast majority of people I game with online are people who I only know by their usernames, with no idea where they live. But you operated from the assumption that he made this in a chat with friends from his school. Whichever is the case should inform how serious the threat was.

                    1. My immediate assumption, given that he made the threat under an assumed name, was that he was speaking completely anonymously … you operated from the assumption that he made this in a chat with friends from his school. Whichever is the case should inform how serious the threat was.

                      Yeah, I agree with that, specifically when considering whether this should be treated as a criminal matter.

          2. what is an M15 rifle

            I thought the same thing, but I found one made by Armalite – the M14A4 . It accepts 5.56mm NATO and .223 Remington. Goes for about $900 apparently.

            So a fake name, threatening to shoot up an unnamed school with a fictitious weapon that might be a toy. I think some sober reasoning can see that this is dumb prank.

            I think this is probably the most likely outcome once the courts are finished, assuming his family can afford to purchase justice. It’ll get dropped. But I still wonder about my question and everything I laid out above. If all the other elements are there – does me saying “at school” instead of “at Seabreeze high school” mean I can get off scott free with scaring the shit out of everyone whenever I want?

            1. I’m not a lawyer so I can’t tell you that.

              I do have to ask you, who is this a threat against? If this comment went unreported, it’s unlikely that people at his school would ever have known about it. So does it qualify as threatening if the targets of the threat never know about it?

              The only other question I would have is whether he knows someone named Dalton Barnhart. If he does, then perhaps this would be like an elaborate form of swatting, getting police to start investigating Dalton. If it’s a true fake name, though, then it’s hard for me to say there’s been a legitimate threat made.

              1. I can’t tell you that.

                Hmm, yeah I hear you.

                I do have to ask you, who is this a threat against? If this comment went unreported, it’s unlikely that people at his school would ever have known about it. So does it qualify as threatening if the targets of the threat never know about it?

                Actually, I was unaware that this was supposedly not said to anyone at the school. I got that info from you just a moment ago, so I’m hoping you can give me a link to back up the claim.

                I think that if what you’re saying is true, it becomes a lot harder to see his statement as a real threat.

                1. https://tinyurl.com/y5psmx9c

                  I did offer the link up above, but in the interest of visibility, there it is again. In order to find the kid, they had to figure out who Falconwarrior920 was. It’s not that a schoolmate saw this and then called the police saying, “Some kid said he was going to shoot up the school!” It’s that some stranger saw this, reported it to the FBI, and then police had to track him down by his IP address.

              2. Would the fact that no one at the school saw it make it less of a threat?

                What if I sent an email to the local police department saying “I BadLib vow to bring my roommate’s m15 to a nearby school and kill 7 people at a minimum.” No one at any nearby school would see this, just the local PD. Should they just ignore the threat?

                Anyway, as quoted in the post, the statute in question says:

                […] any person who makes, posts, or transmits a threat in a writing or other record, including an electronic record, to conduct a mass shooting or an act of terrorism, in any manner that would allow another person to view the threat, commits a felony of the second degree.”

                Perhaps the law is bad policy, or possibly even unconstitutional, however enforcement of it in this case is consistent with the statute. The targeted victim(s) need not be aware of the threat in order for this felony to be charged.

                1. Your example still has more specificity than the example of a kid saying this to random strangers online anonymous. “A nearby school” is vague and yet still suggests targeting. Moreover, since you’re guaranteeing the police department themselves see it, it’s basically filing a false police report on top of everything else.

                  I’m not saying that this kid SHOULD say stuff like this. He clearly wanted to provoke people with a shocking statement, which is a nasty prank. I’m just saying that it shouldn’t be considered criminal regardless what their specific law says.

          3. I thought the same thing about the m15. But turns out armalite does make an AR style rifle called the M15. Who knew?

  2. “It’s arresting kids for making these statements all the time and for stopping acts too”

    That is literally not his job. His job is to arrest people after they commit crimes not before, as they haven’t committed a crime yet.

    1. The allegation is he committed the crime of making a threat.

      Since it’s an allegation at this point, not proven, I won’t pretend they’ve proven it.

    2. Yup. Some people feel that they have a right to be free from statements and actions that scare them. They don’t.

      Unless a person is directly hurting you or trying to hurt you, there is no self-defense claim. Even if a person actually threatens to come to your house to kill you, you cannot go to their house and shoot them first. You have to wait for them to come after you.

      Self-Defense 101

      1. No preemptive strikes allowed. As much as you may want to and as much as the ass hat may deserve it.

        1. Damn you mean me and my other orphan hoodlum friends can’t ride into Lincoln and kill the sheriff because he was complicit in the murder of our benefactor? Damn, regulators dismount!

  3. Bush invaded Iraq with less evidence.

    1. +100

    2. I thought the Joooooooossssss were behind that.

      1. They all vote republican. It is known.

  4. 15 year boys are most often knuckleheads. They say, and do, stupid shit. Perhaps after several thousand are arrested, prosecuted, and convicted of doing this particular type of stupid shit, the rest will get the message: don’t make specific threats to use your fathers AR to shoot up your school and kill “X” number of fellow students or teachers.

    That or the jails will truly be overcrowded with teen age dumb asses for saying stupid shit, and we’ll have a problem with that.

    1. I’m going with number two

    2. Or maybe someone will read the fucking 1A and realize that saying stupid shit isn’t a crime? Aw who am I kidding?

    3. The number of those jailed over joke threats since the two shootings continues to rise everyday. I think I saw we are at 31 as of last night.
      https://www.kcbd.com/2019/08/22/nearly-arrested-mass-shooting-threats-weeks-after-el-paso-dayton/

  5. Does it trouble anyone else that the deputy seems to think that “making contact” and “making an arrest” are synonymous?

    1. You should see this cop when there is no video.

      “making contact”, “making an arrest”, and “shooting suspects” are his bread and butter.

      What ever happened to cops being authority figures and talking/scaring kids into admitting their stupid mistake so they never do it again? I guess it doesn’t pay those government bills.

      1. That went away with the democrats deciding after the fact that you talked to/scared too many black kids and not enough white kids, so you are a racist.
        A patrolman is not a detective; a crime was reported, the suspect named.
        The patrolman makes the arrest, and turns the suspect over to the courts.
        As it is more crudely put:
        “take no guff, cut no slack; hook ’em and book ’em and don’t look back”

    2. Police and law enforcement types do this all the time. Its a psychological mechanism to shield themselves from their own actions. Border patrol agents call illegal immigrants “bodies” for the same reason. We call it “making contact”, otherwise you have to come to terms with the fact that you just participated in ruining a kid’s chances of going to college, therefore impacting the rest of their lives. “Making contact” allows you to think “yea, I’m a good guy. I’m helping. I’m morally okay. Maybe I can sleep soundly tonight.”

  6. Compare and contrast with the actual Parkland shooter, who had several acts of violence at home and at school dismissed because he would have messed up the demographics of the school’s anti-discrimination policies.

    1. Exactly. This type of arrest is easy, which is why they do it.

      Parenting and schooling a child to educate them about violence, self-defense, and how Free Speech has consequences is hard, which is why they don’t do it.

      Kids used to take actual guns to school and it was perfectly acceptable.

      America has changed for the worse in this instance.

  7. Do we know how the cops got the online comments? Did someone he was chatting with take it as a legitimate threat and turned him in, or did some robot spyware or bored Net censor send up the alert over smack-talk considered a joke by everyone involved?

    1. I think he typed it into a Discord channel. Someone probably saw it in the channel and shared it, which is searchable. Though given Discord’s record on privacy, I wouldn’t be surprised if they have a bot that flags stuff like that.

  8. The kid definitely has no future as a stand-up comedian if that’s his idea of a joke.

    1. Because you’re not supposed to say “I was joking” after the joke?

      1. I think mostly because it was devoid of humor and wasn’t funny.

        1. Depends on the situation. Richard Pryor catching himself on fire while stoned, not funny
          Richard Pryor including it in his stand up routine, fucking hilarious.

    2. using a pseudonym

      The punchline is in act 3 when we learn that his real name is Anton Checkov.

      1. Not Pavlov Checkov? Looking for those Nuke-lear Weasels?

        1. Nuke-lear Wessels fucking autocorrect, ruin a perfectly good Trek joke.

          1. I am so pissed I am going to take my ak987 Ar627 fully automatic, pump assault shotgun/rifle with attachable chainsaw bayonet and shoot up some IT department.

  9. “It’s a game. And it’s so wrong. I hate that game.”
    Well, mom, why was he playing a game you hate in your house?
    Be the mom. It might keep your precious snowflake out of jail.
    Am I the only one who know what the cops are like in Florida?

    1. A story I saw said he was banned from going on Discord, but apparently was on it anyway.

      Seems to be a case of: Single mother raising a son by herself and she can’t monitor literally everything he does.

      1. Gee I though feminist keep saying males aren’t needed. How many times does shit like this turn out to be from single mother households?

  10. Boomers overreact to zoomers dabbing on them with the spiciest memes, more news at 11.

    Bonus points: there is no such thing as an M-15 and the quote is completely devoid of context. Dark humor != threat.

    1. There is such a thing as an M-15, but yeah, the whole thing is devoid of context.

      I note that the kid said he’d bring his father’s M-15 but the father is notably absent and there’s no indication that the gun his mom owns holds 7 bullets.

      1. M15 could also be a simple typo.

        1. Fine. He meant m-16. That makes it not a joke? What if he went into more detail, perhaps ranting how this button-down, Oxford-cloth psycho might just snap, and then stalk from office to office with an Armalite AR-10 carbine gas-powered semi-automatic weapon, pumping round after round into colleagues and co-workers?

          Lynch away?

          1. I’m certainly not arguing that the kid should be arrested (I do have plenty of other posts, even one just above the one you read indicating such) but, you do realize that, in your fictitious example, the guy ends up leveling several skyscrapers and, supposedly, significantly collapses the local/regional economy, right?

    2. I Dalton Barnhart vow to bring my fathers m15 to school and kill 7 people at a minimum.

      The m15 thing bothers me too. It is clearly indicative of someone who knows nothing about guns and whose father doesn’t have one. How can anyone take such a ridiculous statement as an actual threat. The missing comma and apostrophe are clear indicators that this hasn’t been given a second thought.

      1. Armalite does make an M15 “tactical” rifle. I thought the same thing until I looked it up.

    3. My understanding is that an M15 is just a variant of the M14 rifle, I’m looking at one that’s for sale online right now. Armalite.

      So, I’m assuming you either don’t know what you’re talking about or you are being deliberately misleading.

      1. From Wikipedia:

        “M15
        The M15 Squad Automatic Weapon was a modified M14 developed as a replacement for the .30-06 M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle for use as a squad automatic weapon. It added a heavier barrel and stock, two pistol grips (one fixed, one folding) a hinged buttplate, a selector switch for fully automatic fire, and a bipod. The sling was from the BAR. Like the M14, it was chambered for 7.62×51mm NATO.

        Firing tests showed that the M14, when equipped with the selector switch, hinged buttplate and bipod, performed as well as the M15. As a result, the M15 was dropped and the modified M14 became the squad automatic weapon. Accuracy and control problems with this variant led to the addition of a pistol grip, a folding rubber covered metal foregrip and a muzzle stabilizer. However, it was a poor suppressive fire weapon owing to 20-round magazines and it overheated rapidly.”

        There are also various rifles designated M15 manufactured by several companies. In this case, it is not an official US military designation.

        The new reason wont let me show links so just go to wikipedia or google yourselves for sources.

        1. Given the foregoing, I very much doubt that this kid has access to an “M15” and the father seems to be absent; though that may be assuming to much.

            1. Yes that is what I was referring to in the first paragraph after the Wikipedia quote. I tried to supply links but it came back, “Your comment is awaiting moderation.” If your interested enough you can find several others.

              When I posted the same comment without links it went through.

      2. Why bother googling “M-15 rifle” when you are sure that you are right and everyone else is an idiot?

  11. Jokes are not tolerated in the Union of Soviet Socialist Slave States of America.
    There is nothing funny about running a police state, our beloved ruling elites who do everything they can to further oppress us, monitoring our electronic devices for counter-revolutionaries or running a gulag.
    Hopefully this man will be hanged in a public square to warn all the other comedians The State means business.

    1. The State means business.

      At least God can bestow mercy. The State has no mechanism for such.

  12. A ‘direct and immediate threat’ online is not a face-to-face direct and immediate threat.

    2 things that make this pretty shitty;

    1. What is/was the time horizon for the police on this? If he’d said “I Dalton Barnhart vow to bring my fathers m15 to school and kill 7 people at a minimum in less than 10 min.” If the police arrive at his house in 15 min. and find him at home was it a real/direct threat? How about if it was a Saturday?

    2. Did the police directly observe the threat or hear from someone who believed they were in danger, or did they get it second or third hand and completely out of context?

    Assuming the police forces we have, you can’t simultaneously combat mass shootings and SWATting in this manner.

    1. I mean;

      Assuming the police forces we have, you can’t simultaneously effectively combat or eliminate mass shootings and SWATting in this manner. Specificity v. sensitivity, the system has to be redesigned.

      1. What if the SWAT teams are the ones committing the mass shootings? 😮

        1. Qualified immunity if it goes before the 9 circuit Court?

  13. In another time, the teen would have been severely chastised, by his parents (and maybe the police,) and 99% of the time, that would have been the end of it. I am thinking this would make more sense than an arrest? But then, no headlines, eh?

    1. or moar gun control …

    2. In another time the kid would have been at school or at work or even hunting

      1. Between chores on the ranch before school, school, football practice, homework and chores before bedtime, my son has about 5 minutes a night to play video games.

  14. The real problem with laws like that is where do you stop. To day their are people on the left who think using pronouns such as he,she,him her … ect, as threats. Back in the day ” I’m going on a tri-state killing spree” and ” I’m going to go postal” have been used as metaphors and similes for I am angry right now. To protect this kind of thing is why we have the first amendment.

    1. When was the last time anyone went postal, just out of curiosity? It just doesn’t seem to be a thing anymore. Interesting or did the media just stop covering it and sensationalizing it? (Okay, I admit those two are too close to make a distinction).

  15. >>comments are felonies

    comments. are. felonies.

    1. What about witty ripostes?

      1. Rapier wit? Assault with a deadly weapon, duh.

      2. ripostes. are. felonies.

        1. Hyperbole and logical fallacies?

          1. It’s felonies all the way down.

    2. Hihn and his socks hardest hit. [Left{(π√56)-678.990}]/{∆right×(libertarian+goobers)}=|-7|

  16. Since there’s no such thing as an m15 I don’t see how it could be a threat.

    1. saac Bartram
      August.22.2019 at 5:10 pm
      From Wikipedia:

      “M15
      The M15 Squad Automatic Weapon was a modified M14 developed as a replacement for the .30-06 M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle for use as a squad automatic weapon. It added a heavier barrel and stock, two pistol grips (one fixed, one folding) a hinged buttplate, a selector switch for fully automatic fire, and a bipod. The sling was from the BAR. Like the M14, it was chambered for 7.62×51mm NATO.

      Firing tests showed that the M14, when equipped with the selector switch, hinged buttplate and bipod, performed as well as the M15. As a result, the M15 was dropped and the modified M14 became the squad automatic weapon. Accuracy and control problems with this variant led to the addition of a pistol grip, a folding rubber covered metal foregrip and a muzzle stabilizer. However, it was a poor suppressive fire weapon owing to 20-round magazines and it overheated rapidly.”

      There are also various rifles designated M15 manufactured by several companies. In this case, it is not an official US military designation.

      The new reason wont let me show links so just go to wikipedia or google yourselves for sources.

      1. Other than that, I tend to agree with you.

  17. What if he’d threatened to beat people to death with the rifle? Would that be OK because it’s not a mass shooting or would he still get the nickel ride because guns and/or schools? Or just disregarded as not credible?

    1. What if he threatened to gather together a bunch of his friends and form a swinehorn shield wall and go after them with a Danes-axe?

      1. I’m going to get the fluffiest, most sound-absorbing pillow I can find and put a bunch of people to sleep as quietly as I can.

  18. “Dozens of others in the Discord chat were also arrested for soliciting minors for unlawful sexual conduct using a computer after it was revealed that they wrote ‘suck my dick’ and similar comments in the chat.”

    1. Speaking of, anyone seen Tony?

  19. My only complaint, he’s 15 he is not a kid. In my day most boys older than 12 had a gun and a job and that may be the problem right there. forced work for all kids 12 and older

    1. They’re smaller and can clean behind the machines without having to turn them off.

  20. “That’s why the FBI and the local law enforcement are spending so much time, because how do we know he’s not going to be the kid from Parkland, he’s not going to be the next kid, the kid that shot up Sandy Hook?”

    Based on Data from the FBIs Uniform Crime Reports and Mother Jones Mass Shooting Database, mass shootings accounted for 0.19% of all homicides, 0.28% of all firearm homicides and 0.0011% of all deaths from 1995-2017.

    We’ve become way too obsessed about something that accounts such a tiny fraction of homicides. The police and FBI are spending an inordinate amount of resources investigating “internet comments” that could be put to better use elsewhere.

    We can thank the media for turning every shooting into a circus and the left for exploiting them to push gun control.

    As Neil deGrasse Tyson tweeted, “Often our emotions respond more to spectacle than to data.”

    1997-2017
    All Deaths: 57,006,892
    All Homicides: 329,874
    Firearm Homicides: 223,501
    Mass Shooting Deaths: 634

    1. Correction: It’s 1995-2017 not 1997-2017

      1. Speaking of which thehill ran an article today lamenting that once again support for gun control is decreasing after a surge following the last shooting and nothing got done again. Gee, when people take a minute to reflect they don’t resort to knee jerk feel good ineffective laws?

  21. Sorry, mom, doesn’t sound like a joke. And 15 isn’t a little kid. “But he was such a good boy.” Until he’s not.

    1. He is 15. fifteen year olds make a lot of stupid jokes because they are testing their boundaries. He is a kid, and he is a young man. His brain is still immature and his understanding of long term consequences is poorly formed.

  22. But if it turns out that the kid was joking, does his statement still qualify as a “threat”?

    Well, yes.

    Threats, and threatening behavior, are one of those “eye of the beholder” things, where even if you, the perpetrator, were “just joking”, if a reasonable person says it’s a threat (as decided by a jury) then it doesn’t matter that your intent wasn’t there.

    Ultimately, if the prosecutor chooses to follow this through, it will be up to a jury to decide if his words were sufficiently threatening. And whether they think it was a joke or a threat will not hinge on his intent, but on whether a reasonable person would see it as a threat or a joke.

  23. All I said was, “the, Bart, the.”

    Now that was a joke. A good one, as it happens (I can say that since the joke isn’t mine).

  24. Since this was in a game, and he was playing a role under a fictitious name, why is this any more a threat than any actor in a play saying such things on stage?

  25. “It’s a game. And it’s so wrong. I hate that game.”

    Not saying that he should have, but, he certainly won a stupid fucking prize

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