You have probably heard about Justin Carter in passing, maybe on one of the sites you read, or video channels you watch, but it comes down to the fact that a dumb kid said something dumb and because of the world we live in now this entitles the state to steal eight years of your life.
Context is, as they say, important; part of that context must almost certainly be derived from who happens to be participating in the conversation, what it concerns, and where it is taking place. And even if - taking all of this into account - even if you still feel a compulsion to determine whether a young man in Texas is the next Osama Bin Laden, get a warrant to watch him or turn his house upside down. Don’t throw him in jail for months. Don’t throw him in jail for month, singular. Don’t set bail at a half-mil. Is there something we don’t know? Something on his computer? The mind reels. I want there to be a reason. Some reason.
I’m not exaggerating very much in the second panel of the strip, or the third for that matter. I’ve talked about it before. It took me a very long time to figure my shit out, most of it at any rate, and you’ve had a front row seat to the rest. If you want to know why people are making big to-do about this that they are, it’s because they know full well that they’d be in there with him. We used to understand that young people said things they didn’t mean, that people leveraged abstraction to expel demons. Euphemism. We aren’t safer since we’ve adopted this “be terrified of young men” stance. Demonstrably.
Shouting fire in a theater is frowned upon because it has lead directly to loss of human lives; it’s not a “terroristic threat” in any case and it’s got nothing to do with this conversation. That’s not why he’s in jail.
We can talk about what “could have happened” all fucking day, and that’s generally where people cap out, but just for novelty’s sake we can look at what did happen and what is still happening. He said something dumb about murder, and now he’s in jail learning violence from professionals. God only knows what kind of man will come back out, but we know for certain who made him.