Threats on Facebook Not a Crime

Threats on Facebook Not a Crime

It sounds like a well-written screenplay…the next big hit drama to be released on this summer’s must-see movie list. The main character is an amusement park worker who is apparently a bit angry that his wife left him. What’s a man to do? Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Going straight to social media, he begins posting messages on Facebook to his estranged wife like, “There’s one way to love you but a thousand ways to kill you. I’m not going to rest until your body is a mess, soaked in blood, and dying from all the little cuts.” Hmmm, our “Romeo” really needs a lesson in romance, don’t you think?

His estranged wife did what any logical person would do; she got a restraining order.

Her husband’s response: “Put it (the restraining order) in your pocket. Is it thick enough to stop a bullet?”

Sounds like an intriguing date-night kind of movie doesn’t it? Well, unfortunately, this is a true story.

I’m talking about Anthony Elonis. His name may seem familiar to you. Elonis is the one who posted on Facebook two years before the Sandy Hook tragedy, “Enough elementary schools in a ten mile radius to initiate the most heinous school shooting ever imagined.” Of course, he was arrested and charged with violating a federal law that states it is a crime to transmit threats to injure someone. Elonis rebutted that he was only kidding and just imitating the rapper Eminem. Whatever.

Personally, I think Elonis should be behind bars. No human being in their right mind would say those kinds of things; however, he is going to have his day in court one more time. Yep, the US Supreme Court said that the government can’t base a conviction solely on how an Internet message is perceived.

What do you think about this?

Was Elonis just exercising his rights to free expression by posting these types of Facebook posts?

Should Elonis be given another trial?

Do you agree with the US Supreme Court that how messages are perceived aren’t enough to convict someone of threatening others?

As always, I look forward to your reactions, thoughts and opinions. Let’s talk!

Twin Design / Shutterstock.com

Posted by Ginger Hill on Jun 01, 2015


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