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Apr 26 2013

Dressed in a grey top

Maureen mentioned that England actually prosecutes internet harassment, and linked to a current example.

A self-confessed British internet “troll” has admitted threatening to kill 200 people at a US school by posting menacing comments on a memorial Facebook page.

Thousands of pupils stayed away from the school in Warren county, Tennessee, after Reece Elliott, 24, of Fossway, South Shields, South Tyneside, left terrifying messages under an assumed name.

Oh yes? Whiners. Divas*. Professional Victims. Sisterhood of the Oppressed. Don’t they know trolling is just trolling and all you have to do about trolling is Not Feed It?

Elliott appeared at court dressed in a grey top and admitted one count of making a threat to kill and eight of sending grossly offensive messages. He has been held in custody since his arrest in February.

Using a false name, he wrote on a tribute page to Caitlin Talley, a 17-year-old girl at the Tennessee school who had died in a car accident in October: “My father has three guns. I’m planning on killing him first and putting him in a dumpster. Then I’m taking the motor and I’m going in fast. I’m gonna kill hopefully at least 200 before I kill myself. So you want to tell the deputy, I’m on my way.”

Oh so what. It’s just kids having a little fun. Lighten up. It’s the Internet. If you don’t want people threatening you on Facebook, then don’t post things on Facebook.

Gary Buckley, prosecuting, said: “The residents of Warren County and all the people who have access to the Facebook page were clearly concerned. I am told that the local authority immediately put all the local schools in the area on what was called lockdown.

“Because of the hysteria caused, around 3,000 children were kept off school on that specific day. Inquiries made by the FBI and Homeland Security managed to trace the user name to an address in this area.

“The American authorities contacted police and various inquiries were made in order to identify who made these postings. It would appear that Reece Elliott was well aware that he was wanted. He handed himself into South Shields police station.

“He [Elliott]  said he was a part-time troll [the term for those who make unpleasant remarks online]. He said he decided to post offensive comments to see what kind of reaction he could provoke.”

Well of course he did, the poor little mite. Kids just like to have fun.

“He confirmed he did post the postings on Facebook and therefore did make these threats but he didn’t expect the threats to be taken seriously and didn’t expect them to cause the reaction they did.”

Because it’s the Internet. It’s magic. Stuff you say there has a completely different meaning from stuff you say in meatspace. Magic.

*Thank Karla Porter for that one.

9 comments

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  1. 1
    Great American Satan

    I definitely have mixed feelings about the UK’s approach to free expression. But yes, I have no problem with that jerk getting some manner of punishment and criminal record for making death threats. Good gravy.

  2. 2
    Professional Victim

    Am I the only one that found the whole ordeal quite comical?

  3. 3
    Argle Bargle

    This troll is being fed more than he expected.

  4. 4
    stever

    He used “motor” for “car”, and people believed he was in the United States?

  5. 5
    Ophelia Benson

    @ 2 – I don’t know, but I hope you’re the only one.

    Cute nym, too.

  6. 6
    Professional Victim

    @5 : lol thank you :P

  7. 7
    leni

    That’s probably Elliot posting from jail.

  8. 8
    TerranRich, Yet Another Atheist

    @2: I hope so. You’re part of the problem.

  9. 9
    178-A9V-394K

    Gee, I wonder if any of this kind of language gets prosecuted in the glorious UK:

    http://www.paxcorpus.com/2013/04/hate-speech-based-on-gender-identity.html

    People have to stop thinking like this first though, before that kind of speech would ever be banned:
    http://www.transadvocate.com/revisiting-the-fallacy-of-cis-privilege-again.htm

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