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WoW Gamer Earns Federal Investigation Achievement

Soulskill posted about 5 years ago | from the jack-thompson-jumps-for-joy dept.

Government 167

barnyjr writes "A teenager could face federal charges after investigators say he made online threats to kill Americans on a plane from Indianapolis to Chicago. According to investigators, a monitor of the online interactive game World of Warcraft saw the alleged threats in an on-line chat and called Johnson County authorities. She told investigators the chatter didn't seem like a game." I'm not sure who's crazier, this guy or the guy who just became the first World of Warcraft player to rack up 10,000 achievement points.

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167 comments

Watch Your Trash Talk! (-1, Troll)

MarkvW (1037596) | about 5 years ago | (#28766029)

Loose lips will earn you a stay in FEDERAL PRISON. Informers are everywhere . . . and they're looking at you.
Who's got the samizdat??????

Re:Watch Your Trash Talk! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28766085)

What? Loose lips? Some jackass made stupidly specific threats against a major flight in the US.

How the fuck should they have responded? Ignore it on the likely chance its some jackass kid, or you know, actually follow up and do their fucking jobs.

I can just imagine the stink you would have posted in the alternate universe of slashdot where the kid is credible and the authorities do ignore it. "Oh how they've failed us. Look, all show, no substance. We need competent security people!"

You're the kind of jackass that will just play devil's advocate with any fucking thing. You first get indignant that there is no measure of increased security only the illusion of such. But then get start throwing around gestapo allusions when they actually do their fucking job and demonstrate that they're actively promoting security.

Re:Watch Your Trash Talk! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28766117)

listen, numbnuts, what kind of person blows up an airplane after posting about it on WoW?

fuck you and your censorship. if i ever see you in person ill kick you in the nuts so hard you'll fly up into a jetliner engine

Re:Watch Your Trash Talk! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28766125)

Great, you just threatened to crash a plane. Be worried -- very worried.

Re:Watch Your Trash Talk! (4, Insightful)

jipn4 (1367823) | about 5 years ago | (#28766345)

How the fuck should they have responded? Ignore it on the likely chance its some jackass kid

Yes.

Oh how they've failed us. Look, all show, no substance. We need competent security people!

Why does everybody think they have a right to be safe everywhere?

And why is it the government's responsibility to make a private trip in a privately owned airplane safe for you, pay for all that security with my tax dollars, and use intrusive government means as part of security?

Make airline security exclusively an airline responsibility: no tax dollars and no governmental intrusions anymore. And I bet if companies had to pay the full consequences of terrorism, they'd find ways to make sure it didn't happen.

Re:Watch Your Trash Talk! (4, Insightful)

Trahloc (842734) | about 5 years ago | (#28766667)

I like your idea, problem is corps don't have the right to secure their planes the way they'd like to, only the government can make you a meat puppet. So I'm against the idea of making someone responsible for something that they don't have the rights to secure themselves against. And if we give them the rights to do that ... well ... perhaps cyberpunk isn't too far off and Shadowrun [wikipedia.org] will become reality... that'd rock.

Re:Watch Your Trash Talk! (1)

Jurily (900488) | about 5 years ago | (#28768025)

corps don't have the right to secure their planes the way they'd like to

Whose idea was that passengers must be conscious during the trip, anyway?

Re:Watch Your Trash Talk! (3, Interesting)

Vlado (817879) | about 5 years ago | (#28766843)

While more often than not I would tend to agree with your point of view, it should be considered just how far this attitude can be carried.

Would this idea of government non-interference extend to a scenario where someone heard a scream from a neighboring apartment and called a police on an off-chance that there might be a murder in progress and not a TV show? Would it go so far as to extend to a situation in a bar where someone is screaming in your face that they're gonna kick your ass all the way down to Antarctica and you would say: "well nothing to do here since the bar doesn't have a security guard"?

Don't tell me that if you go to a bar you don't have a right to expect to be safe. With some exceptions, I believe that most of the bar owners would say that they count on you to feel safe in their establishment.

I do agree that there are places and situations where the government doesn't have it's place, but security isn't one of them.
If anything I would prefer to have most of the private security firms replaced by real police with real training, responsibility and accountability. I know that this statement sounds naive but a lot of security companies are simply a collaboration of thugs, looking for an excuse to beat someone up if they're having a bad day/night at work.

Re:Watch Your Trash Talk! (2, Insightful)

selven (1556643) | about 5 years ago | (#28767877)

a lot of security companies are simply a collaboration of thugs, looking for an excuse to beat someone up if they're having a bad day/night at work.

And that differs from the FBI/NSA/DEA how?

Re:Watch Your Trash Talk! (1)

TheLink (130905) | about 5 years ago | (#28768385)

The FBI/NSA/DEA report to the government the US voters apparently elected.

Whereas the other bunch of thugs don't.

They might all be thugs but there's still a slight difference.

That and the former probably get more taxpayer money :).

Re:Watch Your Trash Talk! (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | about 5 years ago | (#28767865)

The corporations would just do a cost benefit analysis and figure out how much it really costs if a plane is taken over by fanatical terrorists and then provide the minimum amount of security necessary to financially mitigate that risk.

There still is a public concern over this actually - for instance what if a guy wanted to fly a plane into a populated area or building?

Re:Watch Your Trash Talk! (1)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | about 5 years ago | (#28766581)

I find this amusing in a way. Investigation for making threats against the plane, but the people I've seen on there seeing about killing Obama... Not a damn thing.

Re:Watch Your Trash Talk! (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 years ago | (#28766731)

Ignore it? They can't. Not because something might happen. The chance is insignificant that any banter on any MMO is actually terrorists plotting the end of the world. But the media will chew them apart if they don't react. How could they ignore it! They knew it! That GM told the authorities and they just didn't do anything about it! The horrorz, incompetent gubernant!

Yes, it's insane, but this was actually the sane thing to do. Or, let's say, the most sensible. What are the possible outcomes? That it's some kid making a dumb remark on a game, chance close to 100 percent, fallout negligible. Maybe it's in the news for a day, most likely though it's going to be reported once (if that), or it flips by in the ticker. That it's a real terrorist plot, chance close to zero, but if you ignore it you'll be chewed out for weeks and months.

What would you do?

Yes, the world's absolutely gone nuts. Blame the media, if anyone. You think ouf government is fond of spending money it doesn't have on things that are so bloody unlikely that no sane person would consider it? They are not. But they're even less fond of being called ignorant.

The same applies to schools that suspend you for silly remarks or CPS reacting to overblown allegation of too curious neighbors. They know what they do is nuts and exaggerated. But they all dread the "they knew but didn't act" coverage in the minuscle chance that this might be real.

Re:Watch Your Trash Talk! (0, Flamebait)

Xest (935314) | about 5 years ago | (#28766799)

I know in your world they should've probably taken him from his home, maybe tortured him with some waterboarding a bit, coerced a confession and then sent him to Guantanamo.

But in the civilised world that's not how things are done, at best the security services should've sent someone to observe him. If he really and truly was a threat they'd have wanted to catch him with equipment that can make a bomb, or worst case on the way to the airport with a bomb or whatever so that they could secure a conviction without trouble.

Instead they've wasted more resources and time going after the kid, who made some throw away comments, they're going to go through legal process anyway because they have to now or risk being sued for harassment, they now have to pretend they had good reason to investigate, but will eventually have to drop the investigation.

The issues here are:
- Even if he was a terrorist, the response was an idiotic one
- The fact he isn't a terrorist could've been confirmed in a much more tactful manner
- More tax payers cash was wasted than need be
- Further respect was lost for US security services, it's a boy who cried wolf scenario that they keep repeating. When they really need help and really need to be listened to no one will care.

Re:Watch Your Trash Talk! (1)

fatalwall (873645) | about 5 years ago | (#28767213)

don forget about the settlement cost for harassment, etc, etc

Re:Watch Your Trash Talk! (4, Informative)

Kreigaffe (765218) | about 5 years ago | (#28767341)

Your post doesn't make sense. Did you even *browse* TFA? Kid's 18 years old, first of all, that's not a kid. That's an adult, it's reported as a kid because it's more SHOCKING! if the police are wasting time over a kid than a legal adult. SPIN!
Don't forget there's been several cases recently where postings were made on the internet shortly before somebody like this kid DID go on a killing spree. I'm sure you remember that right? There is precedent for people boasting about serious crimes that will result in loss of life in their chosen favorite online hang-out before the fact. The kid also stated that he had heard making a threat like that would get the cops at your door and wanted to test it, so I'm going to guess he said a bit more than "I'M GONNA BLOW UP A PLANE LOLZ".

I completely fail to see how you could think that if he was a terrorist that the response was idiotic. What would YOU have done? Sent somebody to observe him, when the threat was he would be blowing up a plane the NEXT MORNING? I'm sorry? Fact of the matter is, he singled out a specific plane and a specific time, and that crosses the threshold from throw-away threat in to actual threat. This is no different than making a posting somewhere that in the morning you're going to shoot up your school (hai2u 4chan), or walking through a mall and being overheard telling somebody that you're going to blow up the library at XYZ address first thing Monday morning.

Stop acting like this kid's been mistreated. He deserves what he gets for acting a fool. He's not a kid, he's a god damned adult, he should know better than to do something like this.

Re:Watch Your Trash Talk! (0, Flamebait)

RedK (112790) | about 5 years ago | (#28768303)

He's not old enough to drink alcool yet. Also eighTEEN means he's a teenager, not an adult.

Re:Watch Your Trash Talk! (1)

Xest (935314) | about 5 years ago | (#28768433)

"Don't forget there's been several cases recently where postings were made on the internet shortly before somebody like this kid DID go on a killing spree. I'm sure you remember that right? There is precedent for people boasting about serious crimes that will result in loss of life in their chosen favorite online hang-out before the fact."

There isn't a precedent for terrorist attacks on aircraft being announced on World of Warcraft, or in fact anywhere, before they happen. Large well funded terrorist groups can't even pull it off nowadays even with extremely small sleeper cells as their actors, so what makes you think a lone kid announcing it beforehand on a computer game could? At best we have a precendent of bomb attacks on buildings being announced to the police beforehand, not on World of Warcraft.

"I completely fail to see how you could think that if he was a terrorist that the response was idiotic."

That's because you appear to only be capable of irrational thought.

"What would YOU have done? Sent somebody to observe him, when the threat was he would be blowing up a plane the NEXT MORNING? I'm sorry? Fact of the matter is, he singled out a specific plane and a specific time, and that crosses the threshold from throw-away threat in to actual threat."

How do you think he was going to get past airport security? Particularly if they were aware there was a threat against the plane?

The kid was no threat regardless, a lone kid just does not have the resources to pull off the kind of terrorist plot being implied here.

But what if it wasn't a lone kid? what if he was part of a network? Sure, go and arrest him - good luck finding the other people in the network after that though.

Real terrorists are now well aware (although they probably were anyway) that communication via WoW isn't safe, real terrorists will now not be caught out this way.

Many more kids will try this stunt as a joke on WoW and various other places on the internet. Security services will be tied up with countless wastes of time that they need to investigate to be sure (although presumably they've learnt their lesson so wont waste quite as many resources on it and will be a bit more tactful now) and in general, all they have achieved in arresting this kid is a massive home goal.

Re:Watch Your Trash Talk! (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about 5 years ago | (#28766817)

What's next on the line? Jail time for political jokes?

Re:Watch Your Trash Talk! (1)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | about 5 years ago | (#28768273)

Obama calls it the Fairness Doctrine.

Re:Watch Your Trash Talk! (0)

RuBLed (995686) | about 5 years ago | (#28766109)

I say, WoW players should vamp up that kind of talk in the game and flood it to make the monitor's life harder. In the end it would just become a common thing. Take that! (I guess they gave up monitoring 4chan by now)

Re:Watch Your Trash Talk! (5, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 years ago | (#28766679)

They had to. After the fifth person was sent to the mental ward, not even money could convince any sane, normal person that monitoring 4chan is worth the price. :)

Re:Watch Your Trash Talk! (0)

WiiVault (1039946) | about 5 years ago | (#28766691)

You must be more intelligent than this post would suggest. A specific threat like this should always be investigated. I'm sure you would feel differently if you had friends or family aboard that flight.

Re:Watch Your Trash Talk! (0, Troll)

damburger (981828) | about 5 years ago | (#28766927)

Yes, because the best approach to rational government is to make all decisions from the perspective of people who are personally, emotionally compromised in their judgment. Fucking retard.

Achmed the Dead Terrorist (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28766069)

I kill you!

With what? (2, Funny)

Tykho (1133421) | about 5 years ago | (#28766081)

I heard he was Herbalism/Alchemy, he lacked the profession with the means to blow up anything!

Re:With what? (3, Funny)

jbacon (1327727) | about 5 years ago | (#28766427)

orly? [wowhead.com] Or he could just pop a Flask of Pure Death and chuck some mad fireballs. I'm pretty sure a plane is worth flasking for.

Re:With what? (3, Informative)

rarel (697734) | about 5 years ago | (#28767195)

orly?

"Orly" also happens to be an airport in France. THIS IS NO ACCIDENT SIR.

Re:With what? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 years ago | (#28766629)

IIRC it's engineering or something like that, you know, where you can make explosives out of rags and some magic powder. It's been a while, though.

Had to read the whole damn thing! (4, Informative)

icebike (68054) | about 5 years ago | (#28766083)

Took careful reading to figure out the teenager did not make the threat while he was on the plane.

"a monitor of the online interactive game" saw words go buy in the chat log.

Re:Had to read the whole damn thing! (1)

Hangin10 (704729) | about 5 years ago | (#28766145)

Words made a purchase of goods or services?

I did not know they could do that these days. 'round these parts that would not be tolerated.

Re:Had to read the whole damn thing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28766541)

"a monitor of the online interactive game" saw words go buy in the chat log.

What's "a monitor"? Are there live people paid to monitor the game, or do the in-game communication channels get "monitored" automatically somehow? Or maybe it was a fluke, and he happened to have a GM watching that channel just at the right time. Having played the game I find the idea of such "monitors" pretty scary.

Re:Had to read the whole damn thing! (1)

Yaur (1069446) | about 5 years ago | (#28766587)

Probably some tard in trade and "monitor" means GM.

Re:Had to read the whole damn thing! (1)

damburger (981828) | about 5 years ago | (#28766937)

Its somebody who gets paid to play WoW all day, on the taxpayers money, and all they have to do is toss some dumb kid to a SWAT team every now and then to justify their existence.

If the UK intelligence agencies require someone in a similar role over here, I am going to apply. Level 80 counterterrorist LFG!

Re:Had to read the whole damn thing! (1)

Kreigaffe (765218) | about 5 years ago | (#28767365)

Wat. Stop making baseless conjecture and passing it off as fact, your post is in no way correct.

Re:Had to read the whole damn thing! (4, Interesting)

Xest (935314) | about 5 years ago | (#28766769)

There was some talk in the news a year or so back about how security services were afraid of terrorists using online chat in games and such to organise.

Who wants a bet the "monitor" was actually another NSA (or similar) program data mining chat logs rather than just someone seeing it on the off chance?

I'm not usually one for conspiracy theories, but if the actions of security services in various countries across the world have taught us anything this last 5 or so years, it's that the measures they'll go to are suprising - from the Russian FSB murdering Litvinenko in London, to the NSA warantless wiretaps program, to the shooting of Menezes on the tube in London and the subsequent "dissapearance" of the CCTV tapes, to the use of torture by the CIA, and now it appears almost certainly MI5 too.

It is in game monitoring (1)

Shivetya (243324) | about 5 years ago | (#28767649)

All transactions, including communication between players, is logged. What happened here is that other players reported this person making the threats. All reports made to WOW game managers have to be reviewed. As such they found the offending text and they are obligated by their own TOS to report it.

Look at it this way, teenager makes threats to kill his parents because they won't let him play. Blizzard has it logged but does not report it. Teenager tries to or does kill parents, who do you think is going to be sued let alone vilified here?

I have no problem with Blizzard reporting threats to local authorities. Frankly we don't need these type of people in society, let alone virtual ones. Anonymity and protection of free speech is one thing, making threats is a whole other issue.

Noob (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28766093)

See what participating in Barrens chat will get you?

Re:Noob (1)

killthepoor187 (1600283) | about 5 years ago | (#28766191)

you beat me to the barrens chat comment :O I wonder if maybe he was just sick of all the anal [item] jokes.

This is why... (1)

RuBLed (995686) | about 5 years ago | (#28766097)

I only talk to cutegirl8 and littlesarah whenever I'm playing WoW.

Level 80 Dwarf Paladin (over 10,000 Achievenets) (4, Funny)

moon3 (1530265) | about 5 years ago | (#28766105)

Food eaten most: Conjured Mana Strudel (5447)

So is this the WoW's secret doping formula?

Re:Level 80 Dwarf Paladin (over 10,000 Achievenets (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28766179)

No, it's just the thing you get from Mages the most. It's free. It heals a lot. I wouldn't be surprised if a majority of 80s had the same statistic.

Re:Level 80 Dwarf Paladin (over 10,000 Achievenets (1)

Tukz (664339) | about 5 years ago | (#28766613)

Although as a paladin, I'm sure he is eating it for the mana regen.

Re:Level 80 Dwarf Paladin (over 10,000 Achievenets (1)

Artifex (18308) | about 5 years ago | (#28766235)


Food eaten most: Conjured Mana Strudel (5447)

So is this the WoW's secret doping formula?

He's a pally. Surely it's... bubble tea.

Re:Level 80 Dwarf Paladin (over 10,000 Achievenets (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28768081)

Paladin -> Holy Warrior -> Terrorist

No second chances... (5, Insightful)

TiberSeptm (889423) | about 5 years ago | (#28766127)

..for poorly thought-out sentences hastily said/typed/written.

I really wish law enforcement, school officials, and the courts handled the fine gradiations between "stupid stuff kids say," "stupid stuff people, who should know better but apparently don't, say" and "real threats" better than they do. I remember a friend of mine getting suspended in elementary school for saying "I wish you would die" to someone who had been bullying them. Obviously the teary eyed little girl posed a real and imminent threat to the other kid who had at least 30 lbs on her. Then there was the guy in my freshman (high school) english class who was expelled and arrested for some poorly thought out sarcasm. The teacher had sent him to the in-school-suspension trailer for arguing with her about her grading policies. He was still pissed and was insulting her loudly as he left when she said something to the effect of "I feel like I've got the next unibomber right here. I hate watching little psychos like you go through here just knowing what you'll probably become." In response to this ridiculous thing for a teacher to say to a 14 year old student, he said "Oh right, like I'm going to put bomb in your mailbox or something. Are you f-ing nuts?"

Despite the fact that she had provoked him, that everyone in the class had attested to this and stated it was clear he was being sarcastic, he was still arrested for making threats and expelled from the county school district. I really wish our institutions were better at reacting appropriately to stuff like that. Maybe if they could tell real threats from stupid remarks we would be a lot safer from both the mentally unbalanced seeking to do us harm and our government's hamfisted attempts to look like it's doing something.

Re:No second chances... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28766261)

that teacher sounds like a fucking bitch. I hope that somebody does blow up her mailbox.

Re:No second chances... (5, Insightful)

eiMichael (1526385) | about 5 years ago | (#28766297)

Zero-Tolerance.

That's the word of the times. Even though with these policies we still had V-Tech, and other school shootings. It's all security theater to make the ignorant, distracted parents feel like their kids are safe. They'd rather hear terms like "zero-tolerance" than "after investigation that sarcastic remark made to your child was just that, sarcastic and hollow with no intention of following through with the threat."

Re:No second chances... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 years ago | (#28766643)

How about some "zero tolerance" on politicians? A politician caught taking bribes or (hey, when we crack down, let's crack down for real) lying, he gets suspended from office, infinitly.

That should teach them old punks!

Re:No second chances... (3, Insightful)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about 5 years ago | (#28766761)

you call that zero tolerance? according to current laws taking bribes should end in jail time, not just suspending from office.

Re:No second chances... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 years ago | (#28767373)

Really? Must be one of those dead laws...

Re:No second chances... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28768153)

All money should be taken away from them, forever.

Re:No second chances... (1)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | about 5 years ago | (#28767867)

"It's all security theater to make the ignorant, distracted parents feel like their kids are safe."

Amen to that. Unfortunately, I think that this most likely has the opposite effect more often. It seems to me that a lot of these crimes are a result of a certain breed of sociopathy that is fostered by the increasing dehumanization in today's society. Things like "zero tolerance" policies only further remove the human element from the equation, which could potentially increase the likelihood of such events.*

*This is not, however, to exempt anyone from any crime. If you willfully harm another human being without just cause, you are personally responsible for it, regardless of any extenuating circumstances.

Re:No second chances... (1)

Beve Jates (1393457) | about 5 years ago | (#28768205)

The scary thing about zero-tolerance and the like is how easy it would be for someone to frame someone else. It would be relatively easy for someone to hack into a computer (or router; anything with the same IP), post a bunch of idle threats, and then leave no trace. I mean there are probably bugs in WoW (or insert <software> here) itself that will either let someone into your computer or let them post as you.

Then the owner is screwed for life. I mean it might be impossible to prove that you were framed.

It's just crazy.

Re:No second chances... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28766647)

Well yes, there's overreaction, but reading TFA this wasn't hastily said or written. Obviously not a terrorist, but:

According to the report, the teen told investigators he'd heard if you make threats online against a plane, the police would show up at your doorstep. The teen told investigators he was only testing that theory.

Yeah right, I was only testing a theory about yelling "fire!" in a crowded theater. And at 18, he should know better.

Re:No second chances... (2, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | about 5 years ago | (#28766911)

Sorry, got to pick you up on this. The 'fire in a crowded theatre' thing is bullshit for three reasons:

1. It was from a ruling against people distributing anti-draft literature in the first world war. A blatant violation of free speech

2. It was overturned just a few years later

3. It doesn't make sense anyway. Honestly, try yelling fire in a crowded theatre, I garuntee the worst that will happen is people chuck bits of their refreshments at you. It isn't the responsibility of a person not to yell 'fire', its the responsibility of all citizens not to panic and trample people to death at the first anonymous, unsubstantiated, cry of danger.

Even aside from you citing one of the biggest chucks of popular bullshit since 'theres no smoke without fire', why can't the kid test the bounds of liberty? He is more of a citizen than you are.

Re:No second chances... (4, Interesting)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | about 5 years ago | (#28766711)

The teachers and school administration are actually bullies themselves, and are run by bullies. That's why they never seriously stop bullying (their own progeny!) and always crack down HARD on the bullied.

Re:No second chances... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28766889)

Did you read the whole article? He wasn't just joking around or taken out of context. He WANTED the FBI to come to test some theory of "if you make threats online against a plane, the police would show up at your doorstep.". Before he even admitted to doing it, he lied and said his computer was hacked. This kid isn't right in the head if he thinks making threats against innocent people, regardless if it's legitimate or not, is acceptable.

Re:No second chances... (1)

damburger (981828) | about 5 years ago | (#28766947)

What they say it is about is always, always irrelevant. With certain people in minor positions of power, anything that amounts to the word 'no' is a high crime and they will use every means at their disposal to crush you. Fortunately, such people often have less power than they believe they do. The world is, sadly, full of such small people.

Re:No second chances... (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | about 5 years ago | (#28767297)

I agreed with you (but thought it was all very obvious) up to this point:

I remember a friend of mine getting suspended in elementary school for saying "I wish you would die" to someone who had been bullying them.

Actually, I think it IS a horrible and dangerous attitude when a kid says something like that. It may not be much of a threat then, but it shows that the child is being allowed to mature without the necessary coping skills for teenage and adult relationships, which she'll one day have to deal with. I think the parent who taught the kid this kind of attitude should be focused on more than the kid, but definitely, I think kids with this sort of behaviour should be detected, taken aside, and taught a wiser approach to life.

You (and many slashdotters) might think this sounds like some 1984 style central control thing. However, really, if we don't do this, we're quite simply failing in fundamental aspects education that a child needs to know.

Re:No second chances... (1)

ZosX (517789) | about 5 years ago | (#28767751)

What's really sad is that he'll be facing federal felony charges if he is tried and convicted. Felony charges. For words. This country is out of hand. This is approaching thought crime, and I don't think I'm the only one that finds this disturbing. Just scare the kid and make him do a few hundred hours of community service. This isn't something that anybody needs to go to federal pound me in the ass prison at the sweet age of 18 over. When did all of our laws suddenly become felonies? Felonies really destroy your life. No passport, etc. You are a second class citizen, who has done their time, but gets to pay for their crime the rest of their life in oh so many ways. Sad really.

Re:No second chances... (2, Informative)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | about 5 years ago | (#28767895)

"Despite the fact that she had provoked him, that everyone in the class had attested to this and stated it was clear he was being sarcastic, he was still arrested for making threats and expelled from the county school district."

If this is true, I am absolutely appalled. I would like to think that there would be some sort of legal recourse for your friend -- did he try contacting the ACLU or any similar organizations? His civil liberties were unquestionably violated and he absolutely deserves restitution for the harm done to him. From the details provided I am not sure if his case would stand up in court, but if the teacher slandered him like that in front of the class, I think he could potentially have a case (if the issue were framed properly).

Re:No second chances... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28768103)

Well yeah, she's the teacher and is part of the union, she wasnt pissed or scared that he "made a threat" She was pissed because he made her look like a tool, and after witnessing a union rally, these teachers see themselves as infallible gods and the children are there to make them feel like god, anyone who isnt, is to be eliminated.

Zero Tolerance is also an excuse to put their heads in the sand rather than deal with problems, ship them away or off to someone else rather than tackle the issue. Someone hits you? Both of you get kicked out of school because it was a "fight" and OBVIOUSLY no one would just hit or hurt someone unprovoked, you evil little bastard!
I almost got kicked out of school, what saved me was a comment to the effect of "Fine, kick me out, I don't care anymore, this school plain out sucks anyway, first I have a racist counselor who favors a certain race and tells anyone not the same race as him that they're hopeless if they come to him, along with a IT technician who is constantly bothering me that you claim to have no authority over and that he's free to harass me. Then I'm also getting straight A's and not doing drugs. Yeah, gladly kick me out, because you just want failures here anyway. I'll just let the news media decide how this school is more of a prison than an educational institution."

Well, something to that effect, albeit in a much more pissed off manner. Brought the news media into play and they dismissed BOTH of us.

Though prior to that I had real thoughts about dropping out, especially how I set up my class schedule for the next semester like they said, just for them to ignore it and assign me a bunch of random classes that would have counted towards nothing.

Anyway, yeah, Zero Tolerance, and other "policies" the school system makes up to serve themselves. It feels like a prison.

From TFA (4, Interesting)

Skippy_kangaroo (850507) | about 5 years ago | (#28766171)

I think the most amazing part of the story is this:
"According to the report, the teen told investigators he'd heard if you make threats online against a plane, the police would show up at your doorstep. The teen told investigators he was only testing that theory."

Test successful! Big Brother is watching.

Re:From TFA (3, Insightful)

freedom_india (780002) | about 5 years ago | (#28766415)

He should be thankful to the Feds that they did not send in a SWAT team to smash open the door a.k.a Transformers, and drown the kid in a swimming pool.
When will people realize that online equals real world ?

Re:From TFA (1)

damburger (981828) | about 5 years ago | (#28766885)

Kids talk shit. It isn't something that should be punished with armed police raids and summary execution, outside the senile mind of some old codger who just can't get them off his damn lawn.

Re:From TFA (1)

freedom_india (780002) | about 5 years ago | (#28767521)

True.
But then adults are not entirely sure when kids talk shit or when they talk sense.
Take for instance Columbine and subsequent school shootings.
All of them perpetrated by kids who had talked about it before and been ignored.
Why take a chance?
Some fool of a Took might take it upon himself to talk superior shit in Warcraft because his raid was resoundly defeated by another bunch of fools playing from another country/town/state/region. Very soon the original fool takes this quarrel into real world parallels and threatens the other country.
Accusations and threats fly. Some hot-headed morons take it upon themselves to "rid" themselves of the opposing filth in a real sense.
And before you know, another columbine...sigh...
However, this first group of nerds are raised at 2 AM by a gun-toting SWAT team whose leader threatens to rain destruction on this nerd if he as much as swears online or professes enemity against fellow human beings/kinsmen...
If i know it well, that is enough to scare the living daylights out of any 13-yr old.

Re:From TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28767835)

The term "Nanny state" was supposed to refer to state protectionism, but it seems you want to implement it literally.
Yes, by all means, let us really use the FBI, NSA and raiding SWAT teams, to scare the living daylights out of any 13-yr old that talks some shit.

That will teach them to talk nice!

Re:From TFA (1)

pizzap (1253052) | about 5 years ago | (#28766621)

And Big Brothers cares about your every word.

IQ = Retard (2, Interesting)

Aeternitas827 (1256210) | about 5 years ago | (#28766185)

FTFA:

"According to the report, the teen told investigators he'd heard if you make threats online against a plane, the police would show up at your doorstep. The teen told investigators he was only testing that theory."

It makes you wonder...did he perhaps expect Ed McMahon and the Publisher's Clearing House folks to come to the door? (That'd be a trick, and be the first sign of the so-called 'Zombie Apocalypse', but that's another issue).

There were two outcomes, either the cops come (which happened), or nothing happens (which had a fairly equal chance of happening, when you think about it). Flip a coin, you either get a new bunkmate named Louie, Bubba, or Bruno; or you continue to waste your life on WoW.

Re:IQ = Retard (2, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 years ago | (#28766665)

Actually, I'd guess he expected the same I'd expect: That it's a bunch of baloney and no sane person would believe a 14 year old is plotting the end of the civilized world.

Want to be a terrorist and bring the police forces to the threshold of their ability to uphold order?

1. Sign up a few hundred online accounts under false name.
2. Start chatting about how you'll blow up shit.
3. Watch SWAT teams all over the continent bust doors of your false addresses, 24/7
4. Commit the crime you want to commit once they've been doing this for 4-5 days and are so exhausted that they can't even think coherently anymore.

Re:IQ = Retard (4, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | about 5 years ago | (#28766881)

Not at all a ridiculous strategy. Think of it as a Denial-Of-Counterterrorism attack; throw up some much 'chatter' and false leads at the time you want to attack. I don't know if anyone has tried it yet, but it wouldn't surprise me.

We need sober, thoughtful investigators unraveling terror networks. Not trigger happy knuckleheads jumping on any and every chance to pretend they are Jack fucking Bauer.

Re:IQ = Retard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28767057)

Did you perchance read Little Brother by Cory Doctorow? When DHS started bothering everyone guys started throwing chaff ot make them waste time. So DHS sent more forces to this city because obviously its a hotbed of terrorists.

Re:IQ = Retard (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 years ago | (#28767433)

Well, maybe we'd need more, or at least some, terrorism in the first place. So those hunting terrorists don't have to resort to such things to prove they're worth their money.

Re:IQ = Retard (1)

Shinobi (19308) | about 5 years ago | (#28767657)

"Actually, I'd guess he expected the same I'd expect: That it's a bunch of baloney and no sane person would believe a 14 year old is plotting the end of the civilized world."

What kind of fantasy world do you live in? Are you one of those pot smokers? Just look around the world at all the kid "soldiers", terrorists, freedom fighters etc, who even at age 13-14 do some strategic level planning. I know, because I've had to deal with some of those kids IN THE REAL WORLD, in Kongo and Liberia for example. Plenty of them have ambition. If someone gave them the means, you can bet your ass that many of them would try something seriously nasty, just to make their mark.

Re:IQ = Retard (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 years ago | (#28767785)

We are talking about a 14 year old playing WoW. Ok? What's the chance of this being a 14 year old mastermind that cleverly decided WoW is the perfect guise to pose as someone with no life, no friends and too much time? And what's the chance that it IS a 14 year old teenager with no life, no friends and too much time?

If this was Afghanistan, Liberia or Kongo, I might consider your point. This isn't. It's the lazy, overfed, gimmegimmegimme Western World.

Re:IQ = Retard (1)

murdocj (543661) | about 5 years ago | (#28767841)

First of all, when you see chat in WoW, you have no idea how old the player is. 10? 15? 25? 55? And remember, this wasn't some "I be ubrz I'm going to kill all you elves" chatter, this was a specific threat against a specific airline flight. If this was mailed in to a newspaper as a threat, you can be damned sure the cops would investigate it, so why should online posts be held to a lower standard?

Re:IQ = Retard (1)

RedK (112790) | about 5 years ago | (#28768237)

Because it takes actual effort to write and then post a letter to a major newspaper. Typing stuff in WoW while idling in some zone somewhere takes about 0 effort and relieves some of the boredom of just idling around in a zone in WoW.

Re:IQ = Retard (1)

murdocj (543661) | about 5 years ago | (#28768293)

Emailing a letter to a newspaper is EXACTLY the same effort as typing in WoW. And who cares how much effort it is? If someone makes a specific threat against a specific airplane and the plane goes down, do YOU want to be the one who explains why you just were too lazy to check it out?

Re:IQ = Retard (1)

Shinobi (19308) | about 5 years ago | (#28768053)

You mean like the 14-16 year olds that ran cells in Northern Ireland? The 14-16 year olds that run some gangs in the US and manage to shake off gangs run by adults?

Re:IQ = Retard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28768407)

Are you telling us that you didn't threat anyone when you were a testosterone-powered fat teenager that wanted to be a shuriken-throwing ninja(see his nick)?

zoltan's 10,000+ point armory listing (1)

Artifex (18308) | about 5 years ago | (#28766229)

As a guy with 4090 achievement points after 9 months of game play, I'm impressed, but I think he's been doing it a long time, too.*(My point total already puts me in the top 400 on my server, which makes me feel good, but there are many thousands in the US and Europe that rate higher, when all the battlegroups are taken together.)

I'm somewhat more impressed with the fact that he has 32 Feats of Strength. I have... 3. But then again, FoS are special achievements that don't count towards the normal point totals, and are rewarded for things like logging in during WoW's anniversary day, doing a class-specific epic mount quest (which most people skip these days), etc. They're difficult if not impossible for most people to get later.

*can't tell, slashdot effect killed the server while I was trying to check him out :)

Re:zoltan's 10,000+ point armory listing (1)

ocularDeathRay (760450) | about 5 years ago | (#28766273)

I'm somewhat more impressed with the fact that he has 32 Feats of Strength.

Maybe the kids dad insisted on celebrating Festivus every year. That would explain it. The kid probably just wanted it to be over quickly, so he practiced a lot.

Re:zoltan's 10,000+ point armory listing (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28766287)

"My point total already puts me in the top 400 on my server"
Yes.... hmmm, lets see, top 400 on a server with 5000 players on average... that doesnt even begin to make the list of people who try in the least to rack up points. Multiply by hundreds of servers.... Right, that's insignificant.

I hope that being a sheep in the herd doesn't really make you _feel_ good, because that tells me you aren't looking for much of a challenge.

Sweet baby-#$#!ing Jeebus! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28766315)

I can't believe you're dick-duelling over accomplishments in a MMORPG. I've been there and done that, and I've learned exactly one thing:

Be a bum online. Be a bum in real life. Pick one. (You can't be neither.)

Re:zoltan's 10,000+ point armory listing (2, Insightful)

tnk1 (899206) | about 5 years ago | (#28766463)

You know, its not as hard or as time consuming as you would think. Granted, he has to be a good, and that does take a certain amount of time and dedication, but when you are a good WoW player, you actually have to play *less* to do more. Almost more importantly than that are the people who you play with. Almost all of those achievements are not his achievements alone, but also a testament to the people he played with who achieved the same things: his raid, his arena team, and his friends in general.

When I was playing, I was in both the best and the worst guilds on the server. The best guilds worked at learning the fights, but still ended their raids on-time with their objectives completed, because once they discovered a strat for the boss or BG, the members executed it flawlessly. The worst guilds had all the strategies already laid out for them, and they still couldn't execute. Most of your time, especially in raids, but also in BGs and even Arena is based on how often you have to play catch up for mistakes you or a teammate didn't have to make.

When you finish raids and BGs on time, you have time to get good at other things. You can learn how to PvP in Arenas and get really good at it. Usually, your awesome guild mates are also on your Arena teams. You can sit around Orgrimmar and be King Turd of Shit Mountain with your gear, and in the end, you still didn't play much more than the mediocre people who can't get it down.

If I ever play another MMO, it will only be with the best people I can find who are willing to get shit done and go home. WoW was my first MMO, and I had to learn that lesson the hard way. If you aspire to be anything in that game, you're only going to get it done with the best people around you from the very start. This guy's record shows that very clearly.

Re:zoltan's 10,000+ point armory listing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28766523)

I'm not impressed. He doesn't have "The Insane" title yet.

Re:zoltan's 10,000+ point armory listing (1)

atari2600 (545988) | about 5 years ago | (#28766677)

What exactly is your point? You are impressed that someone is more of a gamer than you are?

This is probably poor taste... (1)

Aeternitas827 (1256210) | about 5 years ago | (#28766395)

"Play World of Warcraft? Show off your main character!"

Artist's Rendering! [encycloped...matica.com]

The question now is (1)

Kligat (1244968) | about 5 years ago | (#28766521)

How large a gathering of terrorist gnomes does it take to make continuous raids on Tinkertown more cost effective in disrupting their plotting than actually raiding their homes?

Not to say the FBI would be doing the raiding; they would only need to put one or two personnel in charge of organizing and Horde subsidization, such that the usual employment costs would be reduced by players that would take the enjoyment of smashing a gnome in the face with an orc battle axe. After all, if the terrorists advanced to level 25 and hid in a cave with the Naga, the FBI simply couldn't create and level characters fast enough.

Actually, I just want to see real life conflicts fought in World of Warcraft by proxy wherever possible. Russia and Georgia, you disappointed me.

Re:The question now is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28766793)

US, you disappoint me.

Whooops! (5, Insightful)

WiiVault (1039946) | about 5 years ago | (#28766675)

Should have tried this last year, before he was 18.

I hope Americans sleep well in their beds... (1, Troll)

damburger (981828) | about 5 years ago | (#28766861)

Knowing that their government is monitoring motherfucking world of warcraft chat for terrorist activity. I mean, I personally play on Defias Brotherhood (EU) and I'm fairly sure the July 7th bombers didn't plan their attacks in any major alliance cities. Can't speak for the horde of course, its an RPPVP server.

Why do anti-terrorist agencies keep throwing up lonely teenagers with fantasies about blowing things up that they will never carry out? The most obvious explanation is that they are unable to really do anything about terrorism, they know it, and are essentially justifying their budgets.

Re:I hope Americans sleep well in their beds... (1)

Kreigaffe (765218) | about 5 years ago | (#28767469)

The government is NOT monitoring WoW. This was something that was picked up by a GM. He probably was reported by somebody for saying this in the trade channel, in fact -- GMs don't often actually actively monitor chat, but when someone reports something, they do have the ability to check out a log of recent chatter in the channel.

Several things going on here. (4, Insightful)

HetMes (1074585) | about 5 years ago | (#28766873)

First, from a European point of view, the "I'll sue your ass for not telling me the sky is blue" way of handling responsibility has caused any identity (government, business, neighbor, colleague, celebrity) that cannot hide in anonymity to be overly cautious. Any acceptable risk of danger is offset by the enormous danger of due compensation if something does go wrong. Secondly, the government is, due to their required independence, by definition an onlooker with regard to the communities they have to watch/control. Could we easily tell from carefully watching a box of thousands of bouncing rubber balls which ones are behaving differently from the others when it all looks like a blur? Surely, each individual ball would notice discrepancies upon encountering such an outlier, but this cannot be expected from an outsider. Thirdly, and this combines the first two, the best the onlooker can do to exclude any false negatives in its selection procedure, is to make sure any voluntary irregular behavior is absent, so that the irregular ones are more easily distinguished. For that same reason any, maybe in itself harmless, strange behavior at airports is dealt with as if it were the real thing to discourage such behavior in the future. The assumption is, of course, that the odd balls are unable to act as normal as the regular ones.

Apples and Oranges (1)

Dunkirk (238653) | about 5 years ago | (#28767549)

Seriously? You're going to compare the level of crazy of someone (allegedly) making a (credible) threat on someone else's life -- perhaps many people's -- and that of someone who spends "too much" time playing a video game? Seriously?

Re:Apples and Oranges (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | about 5 years ago | (#28768399)

Seriously? You're going to compare the level of crazy of someone (allegedly) making a (credible) threat on someone else's life -- perhaps many people's -- and that of someone who spends "too much" time playing a video game? Seriously?

Well it is probably fair to compare someone who is stupid enough to make threats in a game where ALL the chat is logged to someone who just plays too much. I guess someone forgot to point out that what happens in Dalaran stays in Dalaran.

Premature (1)

smchris (464899) | about 5 years ago | (#28768047)

We'll see what the Feds decide to do with the wanker. If he mentioned a particular spell he had in mind for the plane, it could make for an interesting trial. During the Vietnam war I must have had pizza for dinner half a dozen times because the dorm food service was closed for bomb threats. Nobody was ever prosecuted back then.

Hating America (0, Troll)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | about 5 years ago | (#28768055)

Becomes easier and easier the more you believe it projects it's power. The CIA, yup that's America, the Rand Corporation yup that's America, Microsoft that's America, Israel pretty much America.

China starts to look really reasonable when you consider how many of their "atrocities" they take responsibility for. America looks really scary when you consider how many of their "atrocities" "aren't really their responsibility".
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