Author Topic: Joke, not a joke  (Read 275 times)

TheDrake

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Joke, not a joke
« on: September 23, 2022, 12:24:36 PM »
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On Saturday, Sept. 17, the University of Utah Police Department was notified someone had posted a message on YikYak: “If we don’t win today, I’m detonating the nuclear reactor on campus.”

Police investigated and determined the statement was posted by Meredith Lile Uluave Miller, a 21-year-old engineering student. When the student was interviewed on Wednesday, Sept. 21, she acknowledged posting the statement and was arrested and taken to the Salt Lake County Jail and booked for making terroristic threats.

Although the student said her statement was meant as a joke, University Police Chief Jason Hinojosa notes that Utah law doesn’t distinguish between jokes or terroristic threats that are not attempted or not possible.

“Just don’t do it: Don’t post a threat on social media. We have a zero-tolerance policy for these kinds of threats,” said Chief Jason Hinojosa. “In the age that we’re living in, we have to take every threat seriously.”

So, I like this example because it isn't in any way politically charged. One could say that it is quite obvious that someone isn't going to detonate a nuclear reactor over a football game. It's just harmless hyperbole. Arresting someone over it demonstrates threats to our right of free speech.

Or, you could say, that's a pretty stupid thing to say and we've seen bizarre threats turn into action, even if it isn't the action that someone posts. Maybe she's not going to blow up the reactor, but maybe she's going to harm a coach. Maybe in this day and age, we should just all understand that joking about violence is just not funny and that threats have to be taken seriously.

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Fenring

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Re: Joke, not a joke
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2022, 02:53:41 PM »
It seems to me there didn't have to be a binary here. What's to stop them from taking such a person in for questioning, verifying what the situation is, and if it was a stupid joke requiring the person to recant online, as well as maybe doing a little community service to make up for perhaps spooking some folks? Charging someone for a clear dumb joke doesn't teach terrorists that they have zero tolerance. But perhaps the student's problem was being too realistic. For instance if the message had been "If we don't win today, I'll have to go ahead and detonate the sun" would a person be arrested for that? How about "I'll change the gravitational constant of the universe?" How out there does a 'threat' have to be before we can say, ok, this is just silliness? Maybe "nuclear reactor" is a little too close to some TV shows to feel like goofy hyperbole.

Wayward Son

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Re: Joke, not a joke
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2022, 04:29:13 PM »
It just illustrates one of the major problems with our society today:  people just don't understand atomic physics!  >:(

I mean trying to detonate low enriched uranium--come on!  ;D

TheDrake

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Re: Joke, not a joke
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2022, 05:30:29 PM »
It seems to me there didn't have to be a binary here. What's to stop them from taking such a person in for questioning, verifying what the situation is, and if it was a stupid joke requiring the person to recant online, as well as maybe doing a little community service to make up for perhaps spooking some folks? Charging someone for a clear dumb joke doesn't teach terrorists that they have zero tolerance. But perhaps the student's problem was being too realistic. For instance if the message had been "If we don't win today, I'll have to go ahead and detonate the sun" would a person be arrested for that? How about "I'll change the gravitational constant of the universe?" How out there does a 'threat' have to be before we can say, ok, this is just silliness? Maybe "nuclear reactor" is a little too close to some TV shows to feel like goofy hyperbole.

If a threat is impossible, then I'm sure its going to be different. I don't see that the student has been charged with anything as of yet. Just arrested. I mean this is far out there as opposed to "I'm going to stab the quarterback."

"I'm going to blow up the cold fusion lab, I swear!"

Fenring

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Re: Joke, not a joke
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2022, 05:55:12 PM »
If a threat is impossible, then I'm sure its going to be different. I don't see that the student has been charged with anything as of yet. Just arrested. I mean this is far out there as opposed to "I'm going to stab the quarterback."

"I'm going to blow up the cold fusion lab, I swear!"

Well the journalist - right or wrong - says that the law doesn't care whether the threat is possible or not.

NobleHunter

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Re: Joke, not a joke
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2022, 10:20:42 PM »
It just illustrates one of the major problems with our society today:  people just don't understand atomic physics!  >:(

I mean trying to detonate low enriched uranium--come on!  ;D

That it was an engineering student makes me inclined to put extra-weight on that it was impossible. She knew what she was saying was impossible which suggests something about intent. But IANAL.

Also, I wouldn't be inclined to a take a police chief's word for the inflexibility of the law.

TheDeamon

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Re: Joke, not a joke
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2022, 03:16:27 PM »
For instance if the message had been "If we don't win today, I'll have to go ahead and detonate the sun" would a person be arrested for that?

 8)

Technically, the sun is an ongoing fusion detonation that is both constrained and sustained by the force of gravity due to its huge mass.  ;D

TheDeamon

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Re: Joke, not a joke
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2022, 03:20:23 PM »
If a threat is impossible, then I'm sure its going to be different. I don't see that the student has been charged with anything as of yet. Just arrested. I mean this is far out there as opposed to "I'm going to stab the quarterback."

"I'm going to blow up the cold fusion lab, I swear!"

Well, while varying definitions of "detonate" apply, there is record of an incident involving a nuclear reactor failure in Idaho that investigators believe may have been the result of a love triangle involving two of the men operating the reactor at the time it went critical and generated a steam explosion with sufficient force that all of the men inside the reactor containment area were dead within either moments, or hours depending on where they were in the room.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SL-1

Fenring

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Re: Joke, not a joke
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2022, 04:43:07 PM »
Technically, the sun is an ongoing fusion detonation that is both constrained and sustained by the force of gravity due to its huge mass.  ;D

That's why the threat of altering the gravitational constant of the universe is far more menacing.

DJQuag

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Re: Joke, not a joke
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2022, 04:45:49 PM »
Didn't that one guy make a workable nuclear reactor of whatever is in fire alarms back in the 80's or 90's? Not quite the same but you can never trust these scientists, they're always coming up with clever ideas. Also, after Uvalde I'm assuming all police departments are being extra careful not to embarrass themselves in public. They're being careful.

DJQuag

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Re: Joke, not a joke
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2022, 04:55:20 PM »
And by being extra careful, I mean finding ways to remove the body or car camera coverage they have. Supreme Court said twenty years ago that it was allowed to reject police officers for too high an IQ. Why would that ever be the case?

wmLambert

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Re: Joke, not a joke
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2022, 05:05:27 PM »
The issue isn't the jokester - but the logic behind the law. A University official said: "...Utah law doesn’t distinguish between jokes or terroristic threats that are not attempted or not possible. Just don’t do it: Don’t post a threat on social media. We have a zero-tolerance policy for these kinds of threats,” said Chief Jason Hinojosa. “In the age that we’re living in, we have to take every threat seriously.”

What law says a joke must be found criminal, regardless of whether it was or not? Shouldn't the law be about the intent, and whether harm was done? Growing up, there were kids who pulled fire alarms in school to get out of tests. That was criminal. Threatening to do something is wrong if it causes fear or problems for anyone. Judging non-threatening threats as criminal seem to cause more problems than the joke. There is nothing wrong with shaming someone who causes problems on purpose - but promoting cancel-culture is worse than most problems they claim to be concerned about.

By the way, policy is not part of the criminal justice code. Policy is only something designed for the benefit of the policy-maker.

wmLambert

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Re: Joke, not a joke
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2022, 05:11:11 PM »
And by being extra careful, I mean finding ways to remove the body or car camera coverage they have. Supreme Court said twenty years ago that it was allowed to reject police officers for too high an IQ. Why would that ever be the case?

It wouldn't be. Can anyone believe there would be any legal basis for only wanting dullard police? Can you imagine the lawsuits to be generated by overly smart victims?

DJQuag

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Re: Joke, not a joke
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2022, 05:26:48 PM »
I am who I am. You're arguing it? So bestily in your attention.

Fenring

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Re: Joke, not a joke
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2022, 06:30:57 PM »
Can anyone believe there would be any legal basis for only wanting dullard police?

Yes.

TheDeamon

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Re: Joke, not a joke
« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2022, 08:28:18 PM »
The issue isn't the jokester - but the logic behind the law. A University official said: "...Utah law doesn’t distinguish between jokes or terroristic threats that are not attempted or not possible. Just don’t do it: Don’t post a threat on social media. We have a zero-tolerance policy for these kinds of threats,” said Chief Jason Hinojosa. “In the age that we’re living in, we have to take every threat seriously.”

What law says a joke must be found criminal, regardless of whether it was or not? Shouldn't the law be about the intent, and whether harm was done? Growing up, there were kids who pulled fire alarms in school to get out of tests. That was criminal. Threatening to do something is wrong if it causes fear or problems for anyone. Judging non-threatening threats as criminal seem to cause more problems than the joke. There is nothing wrong with shaming someone who causes problems on purpose - but promoting cancel-culture is worse than most problems they claim to be concerned about.

By the way, policy is not part of the criminal justice code. Policy is only something designed for the benefit of the policy-maker.

The police chief doesn't prosecute the crime. That's on the county prosecutor's office if the charge is criminal. All they can do is refer it to the county for further action. And this would be an instance where "prosecutorial discretion" is applicable. Also possible they could downgrade the charge before sending it to court, or make a plea deal, again for a lesser offense, where some community service might be involved.

rightleft22

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Re: Joke, not a joke
« Reply #16 on: September 26, 2022, 10:28:14 AM »
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“If we don’t win today, I’m detonating the nuclear reactor on campus.”

I read that as blowing up the lab or causing a melt down, not necessary nuclear detonation.  Which as Fenring noted was perhaps the student's problem - being too realistic espisaly if they had access.
It as a stupid thing to post.  People are stupid and sometimes need a good smack.
My bet is that this person will be made a example of for being stupid but not do any jail time or such. I could see them looses access to the lab if they had it.

Lesson think before you click send. Maybe ask yourself - 'Am I as funny as I think I am'?  I can help here, your not. few people are oh and no one needs to see a picture of your lunch. 

TheDrake

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Re: Joke, not a joke
« Reply #17 on: September 26, 2022, 12:17:55 PM »
I belong to a facebook group called "That's it, I'm architecture shaming". The point is to post pictures of bizarre, unappealing examples of architecture. It nearly got shut down because people kept posting about "burning them to the ground" or "blowing them up". This causes the older and more conservative generation to become apoplectic with rants about thought police and stupidity and censorship and failure to understand a joke.

I confess, I started out thinking like that also. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that every joke, conjecture, and other expression of the idea that it is okay to burn a building down normalizes that idea. Now, the vast majority of people will be exposed to that idea and not feel any temptation toward arson. But there is also a certain limited group of people who were already contemplating burning a building to the ground. For them, might it be possible that hearing this over and over again actually does encourage them to act on that desire? And wouldn't it be better if we just always expressed disapproval when this is suggested?

Just to be very clear, I am talking about voluntary discretion and I am in no way suggesting that the government should be able to dictate this. But for facebook to be able to threaten my architecture group with a ban? I don't see why not.

Ouija Nightmare

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Re: Joke, not a joke
« Reply #18 on: September 26, 2022, 12:40:03 PM »
I belong to a facebook group called "That's it, I'm architecture shaming". The point is to post pictures of bizarre, unappealing examples of architecture. It nearly got shut down because people kept posting about "burning them to the ground" or "blowing them up". This causes the older and more conservative generation to become apoplectic with rants about thought police and stupidity and censorship and failure to understand a joke.

I confess, I started out thinking like that also. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that every joke, conjecture, and other expression of the idea that it is okay to burn a building down normalizes that idea. Now, the vast majority of people will be exposed to that idea and not feel any temptation toward arson. But there is also a certain limited group of people who were already contemplating burning a building to the ground. For them, might it be possible that hearing this over and over again actually does encourage them to act on that desire? And wouldn't it be better if we just always expressed disapproval when this is suggested?

Just to be very clear, I am talking about voluntary discretion and I am in no way suggesting that the government should be able to dictate this. But for facebook to be able to threaten my architecture group with a ban? I don't see why not.

On an unrelated note, tomorrow I’m going to use every Frank Gehry work to test out my new Fusion Recycler 6000 to see if it really delivers on its ability to convert “any trash into useful raw materials”.


rightleft22

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Re: Joke, not a joke
« Reply #19 on: September 26, 2022, 01:26:29 PM »
I belong to a facebook group called "That's it, I'm architecture shaming". The point is to post pictures of bizarre, unappealing examples of architecture. It nearly got shut down because people kept posting about "burning them to the ground" or "blowing them up". This causes the older and more conservative generation to become apoplectic with rants about thought police and stupidity and censorship and failure to understand a joke.

I confess, I started out thinking like that also. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that every joke, conjecture, and other expression of the idea that it is okay to burn a building down normalizes that idea. Now, the vast majority of people will be exposed to that idea and not feel any temptation toward arson. But there is also a certain limited group of people who were already contemplating burning a building to the ground. For them, might it be possible that hearing this over and over again actually does encourage them to act on that desire? And wouldn't it be better if we just always expressed disapproval when this is suggested?

Just to be very clear, I am talking about voluntary discretion and I am in no way suggesting that the government should be able to dictate this. But for facebook to be able to threaten my architecture group with a ban? I don't see why not.

This building is ugly, all ugly buildings should be burned ha, ha ha.... but if then one says I'm going to burn X building down because its ugly...

it is said discretion is the better part of valor, sadly when it comes to wit most lack discretion and imagination for wit and or the ability to pause before saying the first generic stupid thing they can think of.

DJQuag

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Re: Joke, not a joke
« Reply #20 on: September 26, 2022, 04:44:41 PM »
And by being extra careful, I mean finding ways to remove the body or car camera coverage they have. Supreme Court said twenty years ago that it was allowed to reject police officers for too high an IQ. Why would that ever be the case?

It wouldn't be. Can anyone believe there would be any legal basis for only wanting dullard police? Can you imagine the lawsuits to be generated by overly smart victims?

Hey William. Sorry to be late to reply, but this is a very real thing put in place by police stations and allowed by the Supreme Court.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/abcnews.go.com/amp/US/court-oks-barring-high-iqs-cops/story%3fid=95836

Now, I know it's an old story and it's from ABC, so you'll be skeptical. But I've not heard of an overruling of this. And you can easily confirm it on other sources.

The police, or at least some of them, actively do not want high intelligence officers. It's in the record, my friend.

ETA - Don't mean to offend by calling you William, others were doing it but in the setting I can see it might be a little disrespectful. Apologies. Feel free to call me David.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2022, 04:48:37 PM by DJQuag »

noel c.

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Re: Joke, not a joke
« Reply #21 on: September 26, 2022, 08:38:00 PM »
Y-22,

“I've said before and I'll say again. Banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines will not stop mass shootings but they would lower the body count. Assault rifles and high capacity magazines serve no purpose for self defense or hunting.”

Repeating a statement will not add to its substance. First, no citizen can purchase an “assault rifle” without a class 3 stamp, and anyone who passes a background check can purchase, yes, even an M-2 with a class 3.

“Is the counter argument the second amendment is absolute and we should quit regulating 50 caliber machine guns? Is it I like my gun and I don't care how many people get killed by AR-15's with high capacity magazines I want to keep mine.”

I am not certain what “absolute” means, but generally modern government draws its gun control lines where they could potentially be outgunned, which is nonsense because the second amendment was specifically formulated as defense protection afforded the citizenry against its government (See Federalist #46).

“I don't understand people supporting the weapon of choice for mass shooters.”

I do not understand attempting restriction of weapons that can rapidly take out mass shooters. As an aside; you do understand that an AR is not an “assault rifle” correct?

“I know this only addresses a very small subset of gun violence, but it seems to be the lowest hanging fruit. The bigger step would be to find a way to track guns to find out how gangs and criminals are being armed. Shut down the bad gun dealers and straw purchases and get guns out of the hands of criminals.”

This seems pretty obvious; shoot criminals.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2022, 08:40:04 PM by noel c. »

msquared

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Re: Joke, not a joke
« Reply #22 on: September 26, 2022, 08:43:44 PM »
Noel

Is this post in the thread you meant it to be in. Y-22 has not even posted in this thread. And this is not about guns or the 2A.