Second teen spends months in jail for sarcastic video game threat

Carter’s father said his son didn’t follow the news, and was barely aware of Newtown.

Pillault, on the other hand, was already in jail at the time of the Newtown shooting. His mother said he was extremely upset by the news — and that people might associate him with such violence.

By all accounts, authorities are taking the cases seriously. A judge was so concerned about the risk Carter posed to the public that he set bail at $500,000.

The Carter parents launched a petition to convince the state of Texas to drop charges. A spokesperson for the state attorney general’s office said they hadn’t heard of the case.

Carter is not without his defenders. National Review’s Charles C.W. Cooke wrote: “Even if one considers that Carter’s joke met the ‘imminent lawless action’ threshold — which I absolutely do not — the subsequent search and questioning of the suspect rendered it demonstrably clear that Carter did not present anything close. That the case has been carried beyond that point is astonishing — and unconstitutional.”

And of course, both sets of parents believe the loss of ten years of their sons’ lives is too steep a penalty for careless and ultimately harmless video game chatter.

“These kids, they don’t realize what they’re doing,” said Carter’s father, in an interview with a local news channel. “They don’t understand the implications. They don’t understand.”

“Did he say something incredibly stupid? Sure he did,” wrote Pillault’s mother. “Should alarm bells have been rung? Maybe so, given the climate. But this was a false alarm.”

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