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Teen faces possible prison time for video game comment

When playing and joking around with friends, many Wisconsin teens may make sarcastic comments or jokes that they feel have no bearing on their true feelings. Once a joke or comment is documented on the Internet, a teen may not understand the seriousness of the implications and the possible consequence they may face for a seemingly innocent comment. Juvenile crimes may often be a matter of a teenager not understanding what may happen in the future, and sentencing guidelines often reflect the belief of the legal system that certain teens may be rehabilitated.

A teenager in Texas just celebrated his 19th birthday in jail for making what he claims was a sarcastic comment while playing a video game with friends. His parents are petitioning the governor for his release as he faces a possible eight-year prison sentence for what law enforcement officials say is a terrorist threat.

The teenager made a comment about killing children in elementary school after another player jokingly called him insane, and made comments following to let the other user know he was joking. Another player of the game saw the comment and felt she needed to inform authorities because the teenager’s address was near an elementary school.

The increasing level of violence in many schools and the fear of many parents may have compounded the situation, and the woman may have overreacted to what was an innocent comment. Although the young man may need to be reprimanded for making the comment, a serious prison sentence may be harsh for doing something he may not have known was illegal.  

Source: The Daily Caller, “Texas teen makes violent joke during video game, is jailed for months,” Robby Soave, June 27, 2013

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