I don't know if the world is becoming a scarier place or we just have access to scarier things. It seems like on a weekly basis we hear about another shooting, then the "thoughts and prayers" and gun control debate. But even though all this seems to be happening quite regularly, I feel somewhat removed from it. After all, Boise is safe, right? That could never happen here. That "somewhat removed" feeling dissipated today when I read a Facebook comment thread from Boise resident Jordan Smith. It contained some of the foulest, disgusting, racist language one could imagine using.

Warning: The following is NSFW and contains foul language and racially motivated hate speech.

Credit: Facebook Screenshot

The rant was pretty stupid for Jordan to post, but not illegal, and it got attention, lot's of attention. Before long people started sharing and commenting on Jordan's racist rant. And Jordan being put on the defensive started responding. I feel like when you ask "who wants to get shot" in a threatening way, it crosses a line that we need to take seriously.

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So the way I read that is he's threating to shoot the people who are responding to his post. Am I wrong? After consulting some advisors in our building, I decided I had to call the Boise police. There have just been too many tragedies involving shootings. I couldn't take the chance that this guy who apparently has temper issues would follow through on his threat. The Boise PD called me back almost immediately. The officer asked if I could text him screenshots of the racist post and threat. I got the feeling the officer was taking the threat seriously, and that made me feel good. I don't know whats going to happen with this. It looks like Jordan deleted his page but I don't feel sorry for involving the police.

So what should you do if you see a threat of violence on Facebook? My advice is no matter how small or insignificant the it may seem, when you see a post threating a person or peoples, call the Police. The folks at findlaw.com seem to agree:

To be a credible threat, there needs to be some context that makes the victim, or a reasonable person in the victim's shoes, believe the aggressor is serious and able to carry the threat out. However, in some cases, if credibility cannot be determined, a threaten-er can still be arrested, even for a Facebook threat.

I would argue that the anger shown Jordan's first post (the racist rant) makes me believe that he is absolutely serious and able to make good on his threat. Weather he would actually carry it out is yet to be seen but I feel a lot safer for everybody now that the Boise Police Department has been notified.



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