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Police Briefs: Leominster man threatened 'massacre'

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posted on Jun, 28 2016 @ 09:44 AM
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To clarify, this is in Massachusetts, USA.

I thought I would post this story as an example of someone making a "terroristic threat" vs an idle threat. In this case, the man made a verbal threat, that was coupled with a means to implement that threat (he also asked where to buy a gun).


A Leominster man is being held pending a dangerousness hearing after allegedly telling a co-worker he was planning to kill his supervisor and "multiple employees at the factory to make it look like the recent Orlando, Florida, nightclub massacre," according to court documents.

... in addition ...

[He] was arrested without incident Friday at the company where he works on Pioneer Drive on a single charge of making terroristic threats with serious public alarm, according to the court documents.

Police Briefs: Leominster man threatened 'massacre'

I would like to highlight the charge of a "terroristic threat". Legally defined it is....

A terroristic threat is when a person threatens to commit any crime of violence against another person with the intent to terrorize.



What is a Terroristic Threat?
Terroristic threat offenses not only punish the speech but the intended result of the speech. If a state’s terroristic threat penal code only punished for the speech, then it could be subject to constitutional challenge. It is because of these challenges that states have expanded their terroristic threat statutes to include an additional component with the offending speech. Usually the second component is an intent to terrorize, harm, intimidate, or disrupt a government function. Some states will call this offense terroristic threat, which others will call the same conduct terroristic threatening or criminal threat. Regardless of the specific name used, the general proof requirements are the same. The first component is proof that something was said that can be considered threatening. Words are often subject to interpretation. This interpretation will usually be evaluated from the victim’s point of view. For example, if a husband tells his wife, “I’m going to kill you,” then the threat is fairly direct and any person, including the wife, would consider the statement threatening. Some threats are more veiled but the context of the statement could be considered a threat. The second component is the intent of the threat. People make casual threats every day. To separate the playful threats from the serious or disturbing ones, states add a component requiring that the intent of the threat to be for some specific, illegal purpose. Some intent examples used in varying states include: intent to terrorize victim, intent to disrupt public operation or event, intent to intimidate a witness, and intent to scare a police officer. Intent to terrorize is the most common type of intent required. The other types of intent will be set out in the state’s penal codes. Intent is inferred from the statement and the circumstances surrounding the statement. Many defendants do not contest that the statement was made, but rather the intent behind the statement. Once the state proves a threat and the intent of the threat, then a defendant can be convicted of terroristic threat. Because the offense punishes the threat, there is no requirement that a victim actually experience an injury. Some states, however, will require that the intended victim actually experience some level of fear associated with the threat to support a conviction for terroristic threat.

Read more: Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Follow us: @FreeAdviceNews on Twitter | freeadvice on Facebook

Using this definition, it takes 2 specific aspects to be classified in this manner.
1. A direct threat of violence to one or more people using threatening words.
2. An intent of the threat to terrorize or induce terror as part of the threat.

In this case, the second aspect involves the request for where to purchase a firearm. Now, for those unaware, Massachusetts is one of the most strict gun ownership states in our country. It requires a person to submit an application to the local police, who review and approve/reject before sending it to the federal level. This local approval is supposed to be for the purpose of doing a local background check to see if they have had any altercations with the individual that would prevent them from ownership. And, an opportunity to speak with them in person for clarifications. Then, it is sent on to the federal review. Legally, this entire process is supposed to only take 40 days, max and costs $100. In reality, it takes an average of over 130 days now. Once approved, you are also required to attend a certified course on proper firearm management at an average cost of approx $200. Then to purchase, you must only buy from a licensed FFL holder, who does a required background check, then fill out the proper forms and pay the requisite fees totaling approx $40.

So, it costs on average $350 just to purchase your first firearm that does not include the cost of the firearm itself. Is it any wonder he asked where he can buy a gun? If he had a legal license already, he would have known where since that part of the state (middle of the state) is more rural in nature and has more hunting/fishing than the eastern part of the state bear Boston. So, logically it must have been a request for where to purchase an illegal firearm.

Freedom of speech in one thing, however, it does not include credible threats of violence with intent to carry out that threat. Simply stating a threat is not enough, legally. The intent component is where it moves from free speech to a criminal charge. I would wonder whether a threat made, and followed up by the action of purchasing a weapon would be enough? After all, a weapon could be anything, even a household item. This is why determining intent and the credibility of the threat is so difficult. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty. And being arrested on a false charge is also illegal and a victim could take the police to court over that and win a substantial settlement in the process.

Was this handled properly?
Was this man unjustly detained?
Was his arrest the correct thing to do, did it warrant a charge of "terroristic threat"?

Your thoughts ATS?




posted on Jun, 28 2016 @ 10:12 AM
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a reply to: Krakatoa

Any sane person wouldn't threatened to kill people. If you threatened to kill anyone you should be arrested.



posted on Jun, 28 2016 @ 10:39 AM
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a reply to: WeRpeons

I do not agree. Many people make idle threats in this society, with no intent on following through. If we decided to arrest EVERYONE that did that, we would have an even worse backlog of court cases than we do now. I don't believe in draconian edicts such as you suggest at all.



posted on Jun, 28 2016 @ 02:00 PM
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a reply to: Krakatoa

Well, I'll be trashed for this, but IMHO, this played out as it should have done. Workplace violence in the US is a big problem and I'd say kudos to the person who ratted this person out after they made that statement.

On the downside, well, its apparently uncorroborated. It seems he made these statements to only one person. If he'd made those statements to me, I'd have reported them. On the other hand, its a "dangerousness" hearing, its not like he's being charged with a felony offense.

So, yea, I think this played out correctly.



posted on Jun, 28 2016 @ 02:12 PM
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I have to side with WerPeons on this one. If a person threatens another it forces an undue burden on the person being threatened. They're forced to believe the threat is real (there's no way to know if the threat is just 'idle chatter') and take actions to protect themselves. They may be forced to change their manner of living to mitigate the threat. No, if a person threatens another, that person should be arrested and anyone having knowledge of the threat should shoulder liability. We need to do a better job of looking out for one another.



posted on Jun, 28 2016 @ 02:15 PM
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Blimey, that gave me a fright.
I have a lot of family in Leominster.
Thankfully the one in Herefordshire.



posted on Jun, 28 2016 @ 03:04 PM
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a reply to: SprocketUK

Ha, that is exactly why I prefaced it with the country of origin. No need to spread undue fear, well, any more than the media already does.



posted on Jun, 28 2016 @ 03:06 PM
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a reply to: jtma508

So, what is to stop someone from falsely accusing YOU of threatening them? Then, you get arrested based solely upon hearsay and uncorroborated accusations. No thanks. I think, in this case, both requirements were satisfied enough to bring him in for a hearing to ascertain his actual intentions and ability to carry though on his alleged threat.



posted on Jun, 29 2016 @ 07:13 PM
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originally posted by: Krakatoa
a reply to: SprocketUK

Ha, that is exactly why I prefaced it with the country of origin. No need to spread undue fear, well, any more than the media already does.


Good work




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