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General News    H3'ed 7/16/13

Criminalizing Free Speech

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Justin Carter Met the American Police State In Texas, Then He Was Tortured 

  By William Boardman  

 Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

Justin Carter, facebook .terrorist. says Texas!
Justin Carter, facebook .terrorist. says Texas!
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You Think the Wall Street Journal has No Sense of Humor?  Think Again. 


On the Fourth of July -- Independence Day -- The Journal ran a freedom-oriented story with a headline that began: "Teen Jailed for Facebook Posting"." 


In Texas last winter, a working 18-year-old was jailed, and is still being held on $500,000 bail, because a Canadian woman reported a single, frivolous Facebook post that he had marked "LOL" (laughing out loud) and "jk" (just kidding).  Ignoring those cues, local police went ahead and charged him with "terroristic threatening" -- really?  That is darkly humorous even in post-terrified America. 


The Journal didn't frame the story as a First Amendment travesty, however, even though by any rational measure, a Facebook posting is speech and the Journal, like most of the rest of us, has a thing about free speech sometimes. 


In all too typical mass media fashion, the Journal framed the story with an irrelevant, sensationalist, semi-hysterical reference to the real shooting of real kids half a continent away, two months earlier, in a school in Newtown, Connecticut. The Journal omitted the possibility that Justin Carter was hardly aware of Newtown, but maybe that's more dark humor. 


Maybe He Was Unaware of the News, or Maybe He Was Referring to Syria

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Vermonter living in Woodstock: elected to five terms (served 20 years) as side judge (sitting in Superior, Family, and Small Claims Courts); public radio producer, "The Panther Program" -- nationally distributed, three albums (at CD Baby), some (more...)
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