On Saturday afternoon, the Michigan State Police became aware of a chilling message posted to a Russian “confessions” website.
“On October 4th, I’m going to the University of Michigan and blow every single woman I see with an AR-15,” the message began. “There is a violent pro-male revolution coming and you people better get ready for it.”
The would-be shooter said that he (I’m assuming it was a he) was inspired in part by incel idol Elliot Rodger — though he misspelled his name — and by the incel who carried out the recent shooting in Plymouth, England which left 5 innocent people dead, including a three year-old girl. “I watch (sic) Plymouth happen and I had a smile on my face,” he wrote. “It was the first time I smiled in years.”
Here’s a screenshot of the message, which has been removed from the site. (I upped the contrast to make it more readable.)
Luckily — for us if not for him — the would-be shooter was so derelict in his internet security that authorities were able to locate him in the real world almost immediately.
Not so luckily for us, the FBI dismissed the threat as an empty one, and there’s no indication he was arrested.
According to the University of Michigan police in a press release,
The University of Michigan Police Department, with the assistance of the FBI, has identified an out-of-state residence from which the threat was posted. FBI agents interviewed a resident of the home, who they assessed to be responsible for the message.
Based on the investigation, there is nothing to indicate imminent harm to our community.
In another press release, they insisted that
[T]here is no current nor pending threat to the community from the individual responsible for the post. During the interview, agents assessed the individual had neither the means nor the opportunity to carry out the threat.
And the threat itself wasn’t enough for an arrest? Apparently not.
According to FindLaw,
Federal law prohibits transmitting “any threat to injure the person of another” and penalizes such threats with five years in prison. But not all threats are created equally, and the Supreme Court has determined that only “true threats” can be punished. This generally means that the threat must be credible and specific enough that a reasonable person would be threatened.
I guess they decided it wasn’t a “true threat” because, I don’t know, he didn’t come to the door carrying an AR-15 and a map of the University of Michigan campus.
Let’s just hope he never has the means and the opportunity to carry out a similar threat in the future.
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