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Man vs. Image – The Curious Case of Kurt Eichenwald

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posted on Jun, 18 2017 @ 04:13 PM
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Man vs. Image

The Curious Case of Kurt Eichenwald



Assuming the complaints of the case are accurate, in mid December of 2016, Newsweek journalist Kurt Eichenwald met with a sinister image on his Twitter feed. The image, an animated GIF that looked something like a strobe-light, induced Eichenwald into an epileptic seizure. Eichenwald’s epilepsy was no secret, and many online trolls had already sought to exploit it with similar flashing materials to no avail. This time it worked.

The GIF was allegedly sent by Twitter-user John Rivello, aka @jew_goldstein, appended with the message "you deserve a seizure for your posts". According to an FBI affidavit, a search warrant discovered a series of troubling screenshots in Rivello's iCloud account. There were screenshots of epilepsy.com, and another of Eichenwald's Wikipedia page, which had been doctored to include his date of death. It also included a screenshot of the Dallas Observer’s victim report, revealing that at least some of the screenshots were taken after the alleged attack. Though it isn't quite clear whether the screenshots are evidence for Rivello’s intent to commit harm, or if they were the mere trophies of his trolling, he no less faces up to 10 years in prison for the crime of sending a tweet. He was charged with cyber-stalking with the intent to kill or cause bodily harm.

If the increasingly prevalent superstition that one can assault another with an image troubles you, we might be best to keep our eyes on this precedent. Eichenwald’s lawyer has already made the case that sending the image was “no different” than sending anthrax or a bomb in the mail. Note the comparing of an image to a noxious poison or an explosive device, blurring the sacred line between word and deed more than our common fantasies have until now.

Assuming the events in the affidavit are true, Rivello is indeed guilty of sending the image, and is morally wrong for doing so. But is he guilty of assaulting Eichenwald with it? Can any serious-minded person say, without irony, that one can assault another with a tweet?

Perhaps there is another more plausible perpetrator: Eichenwald himself. The case could be made that it was his own actions that led to his epileptic seizure.

Dealing with the conditions of epilepsy is the responsibility of the one afflicted by it. With most, if not all screen devices, there are ample health and safety warnings to the effect that one should discontinue use and consult a doctor if medical issues arise.

We know that Eichenwald did not abide by the warnings, and even after his most serious episode, never took the necessary steps to avoid the risks associated with these devices, because he goes on to claim he was tweeted 40 more flashing images from various twitter-users since that time, not to mention the few times before. In a frightening admission, he claims their details are now with the FBI.

Seizure management is vital to living with the condition. One must take the necessary steps to avoid seizures and prevent further injury. It involves taking medication, managing the living environment, wearing glasses or even a helmet. Most of all it is imperative to avoid and manage seizure triggers.

According to epilepsy.com:



“Some people find that seizures may occur in a pattern or are more likely to occur in certain situations or under certain conditions. In an earlier section, we stressed the importance of keeping track of any factors that may bring on a seizure (also called seizure triggers). This is important, because avoiding or managing seizure triggers is something you and only you can do to lessen the chance that a seizure may occur under those circumstances.”


Even though sending flashing images to Eichenwald makes his trigger management more difficult, his twitter use has only continued, with no signs of discontinued use. It is no doubt that delegating one’s own trigger management to the FBI may decrease the likelihood of someone sending flashing images, but neither are the FBI, nor those who send flashing images, responsible for managing Eichenwald’s epilepsy.

Yet a man faces 10 years for the crime of sending a flashing image in a tweet. Or it may be that a man faces 10 years in prison because Eichenwald failed to manage his own condition. Either way, both are an injustice, both threaten free speech, both blur the line between word and deed to an extent not seen since when we believed in curses, spells and sorcery.

LesMis



+8 more 
posted on Jun, 18 2017 @ 04:23 PM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope

So, by your own logic, if someone gets shot in the grocery store it's their own fault for not being aware enough of their surroundings or not wearing a bullet proof vest while shopping for groceries.

Or, if someone steals from you it's your own fault for not having sufficient security.

Or better yet, if I punch you in the face for being a jackass it's your own fault for not taking the necessary precautions to avoid getting punched in the face; like, for example, not being a jackass.

You do realize that you have a criminal mentality don't you?



posted on Jun, 18 2017 @ 04:30 PM
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originally posted by: redhorse
a reply to: LesMisanthrope

So, by your own logic, if someone gets shot in the grocery store it's their own fault for not being aware enough of their surroundings or not wearing a bullet proof vest while shopping for groceries.

Or, if someone steals from you it's your own fault for not having sufficient security.

Or better yet, if I punch you in the face for being a jackass it's your own fault for not taking the necessary precautions to avoid getting punched in the face; like, for example, not being a jackass.

You do realize that you have a criminal mentality don't you?



I'm sorry but those are very false analogies. It appears your own mentality leads you to strange comparisons.



posted on Jun, 18 2017 @ 04:32 PM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope
The image of Mohammed has caused death, so we can't send that.

Plus no flashy pics.

Wonder what else might get censored.


+2 more 
posted on Jun, 18 2017 @ 04:32 PM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope

It comes down to intent. If you send someone something (a tweet, a letter, whatever) that you know will cause a physical reaction because of a condition that person has, then yes, you are responsible.

If I intentionally mail a person who is allergic to bees a box of bees and they get stung opening the mailbox and have to go to the hospital, who's fault is it?



posted on Jun, 18 2017 @ 04:34 PM
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originally posted by: underwerks
a reply to: LesMisanthrope

It comes down to intent. If you send someone something (a tweet, a letter, whatever) that you know will cause a physical reaction because of a condition that person has, then yes, you are responsible.

If I intentionally mail a person who is allergic to bees a box of bees and they get stung opening the mailbox and have to go to the hospital, who's fault is it?


It's an image. Images are not noxious, explosive, and they cannot sting you.



posted on Jun, 18 2017 @ 04:34 PM
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originally posted by: DBCowboy
a reply to: LesMisanthrope
The image of Mohammed has caused death, so we can't send that.

Plus no flashy pics.

Wonder what else might get censored.


At this rate, everything.


+1 more 
posted on Jun, 18 2017 @ 04:45 PM
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originally posted by: LesMisanthrope

originally posted by: underwerks
a reply to: LesMisanthrope

It comes down to intent. If you send someone something (a tweet, a letter, whatever) that you know will cause a physical reaction because of a condition that person has, then yes, you are responsible.

If I intentionally mail a person who is allergic to bees a box of bees and they get stung opening the mailbox and have to go to the hospital, who's fault is it?


It's an image. Images are not noxious, explosive, and they cannot sting you.

Obviously they can if you have a certain condition. Its not about the medium used, whether twitter, a letter, or a box of bees.

Its about the intent to physically harm someone.



posted on Jun, 18 2017 @ 04:46 PM
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originally posted by: underwerks
a reply to: LesMisanthrope

It comes down to intent. If you send someone something (a tweet, a letter, whatever) that you know will cause a physical reaction because of a condition that person has, then yes, you are responsible.

If I intentionally mail a person who is allergic to bees a box of bees and they get stung opening the mailbox and have to go to the hospital, who's fault is it?


thats lame as #
sending someone an image should not result in prison time
just pure insanity



posted on Jun, 18 2017 @ 04:52 PM
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originally posted by: underwerks

originally posted by: LesMisanthrope

originally posted by: underwerks
a reply to: LesMisanthrope

It comes down to intent. If you send someone something (a tweet, a letter, whatever) that you know will cause a physical reaction because of a condition that person has, then yes, you are responsible.

If I intentionally mail a person who is allergic to bees a box of bees and they get stung opening the mailbox and have to go to the hospital, who's fault is it?


It's an image. Images are not noxious, explosive, and they cannot sting you.

Obviously they can if you have a certain condition. Its not about the medium used, whether twitter, a letter, or a box of bees.

Its about the intent to physically harm someone.


My point is one cannot physically harm someone with an image.

Eichenwald and other epileptics are, or should be, fully aware of the risks using certain devices, and viewing flashing lights.



posted on Jun, 18 2017 @ 04:58 PM
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originally posted by: LesMisanthrope

originally posted by: underwerks
a reply to: LesMisanthrope

It comes down to intent. If you send someone something (a tweet, a letter, whatever) that you know will cause a physical reaction because of a condition that person has, then yes, you are responsible.

If I intentionally mail a person who is allergic to bees a box of bees and they get stung opening the mailbox and have to go to the hospital, who's fault is it?


It's an image. Images are not noxious, explosive, and they cannot sting you.


You should read up on epilepsy.

An image can physically harm someone who suffers from epileptic seizures.

There was a kid in my high school that was having an epileptic seizure in the restroom after the power went out during a storm - causing the lights to flicker on and off.

I guess that was his own fault, though?



posted on Jun, 18 2017 @ 04:59 PM
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originally posted by: LesMisanthrope

originally posted by: underwerks

originally posted by: LesMisanthrope

originally posted by: underwerks
a reply to: LesMisanthrope

It comes down to intent. If you send someone something (a tweet, a letter, whatever) that you know will cause a physical reaction because of a condition that person has, then yes, you are responsible.

If I intentionally mail a person who is allergic to bees a box of bees and they get stung opening the mailbox and have to go to the hospital, who's fault is it?


It's an image. Images are not noxious, explosive, and they cannot sting you.

Obviously they can if you have a certain condition. Its not about the medium used, whether twitter, a letter, or a box of bees.

Its about the intent to physically harm someone.


My point is one cannot physically harm someone with an image.

Eichenwald and other epileptics are, or should be, fully aware of the risks using certain devices, and viewing flashing lights.

Was this guy physically harmed by viewing the image?



posted on Jun, 18 2017 @ 05:02 PM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope

Words and images can be weaponized.


A Massachusetts woman broke down in tears Friday as she was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter for goading her teenage boyfriend into killing himself. Michelle Carter now faces up to 20 years in prison when she's sentenced on Aug. 3.

Li nk

If you can't see the connection between the criminal use of a epilepsy trigger on a known epileptic, which is akin to sneaking a peanut to someone with a potentially deadly peanut allergy, I don't know what to tell you. When the gif was sent it was intended to do harm and it did! It was weaponized like a bullet to his brain. It sent him to the hospital (expensive) and he could not drive for months, possibly still can't.

My son just had his first grand mal seizure a couple of months ago. They are horrible and there is great danger in being surprised by one as you can easily injure yourself.

The man who sent that image with the intent to cause a seizure knowingly committed a criminal act to harm another human being.

It's not censorship to say that's illegal, it's the same as holding someone criminally accountable for putting a peanut in something that might kill or at least hospitalize a severely allergic person

As to Kurt's personal responsibility, the fact that he could have been more careful (and now is) does not eliminate the criminal intent that turned a tweet into a weaponized message. That is a weak argument and the courts agree.

(Kurt no longer opens his own messages or checks his own twitter feed. He's taken that step because there are horrible people in the world that attempt to harm him for their own pleasure by sending him weaponized messages.)



posted on Jun, 18 2017 @ 05:04 PM
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originally posted by: underwerks

originally posted by: LesMisanthrope

originally posted by: underwerks

originally posted by: LesMisanthrope

originally posted by: underwerks
a reply to: LesMisanthrope

It comes down to intent. If you send someone something (a tweet, a letter, whatever) that you know will cause a physical reaction because of a condition that person has, then yes, you are responsible.

If I intentionally mail a person who is allergic to bees a box of bees and they get stung opening the mailbox and have to go to the hospital, who's fault is it?


It's an image. Images are not noxious, explosive, and they cannot sting you.

Obviously they can if you have a certain condition. Its not about the medium used, whether twitter, a letter, or a box of bees.

Its about the intent to physically harm someone.


My point is one cannot physically harm someone with an image.

Eichenwald and other epileptics are, or should be, fully aware of the risks using certain devices, and viewing flashing lights.

Was this guy physically harmed by viewing the image?


I'm going to quote from the first link in the OP. And to think.... the man who suffers from seizures should be the one to blame/at fault.

I quote:


Among those direct messages included statements by Rivello, including “I hope this sends him into a seizure,” “Spammed this at [victim] let’s see if he dies,” and “I know he has epilepsy.” Additional evidence received pursuant to a search warrant showed Rivello’s iCloud account contained a screenshot of a Wikipedia page for the victim, which had been altered to show a fake obituary with the date of death listed as Dec. 16, 2016. Rivello’s iCloud account also contained screen shots from epilepsy.com with a list of commonly reported epilepsy seizure triggers and from dallasobserver.com discussing the victim’s report to the Dallas Police Department and his attempt to identify the Twitter user.


"Lets see if he dies."
"I hope this sends him into a seizure."
"I know he has epilepsy."

Based on these quotes, three things are clear:

1) The man was aware the man he was sending the image to was in fact an epileptic.

2) The man who sent the image was trying to incite harm - in this case, death.

3) The image was sent to send a stranger into an epileptic seizure, and result in their death.

And somehow - someway - we're going to excuse the behaviors of the man who attempted to kill another man (his words, not mine) and blame the victim.

Absolutely unreal.



posted on Jun, 18 2017 @ 05:06 PM
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a reply to: AboveBoard

If your son continues to suffer from seizures, just know that it's his fault for not being aware of his surroundings and being aware.

According to some on ATS, anyway.



posted on Jun, 18 2017 @ 05:06 PM
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originally posted by: DBCowboy
a reply to: LesMisanthrope
The image of Mohammed has caused death, so we can't send that.

Plus no flashy pics.

Wonder what else might get censored.


It's not censorship.

It is saying you can't attack someone KNOWINGLY with the intent to harm (which is what an attack is).

There is a difference between saying "it's illegal to post flashy picture gifs because we don't like them they are immoral" and saying "it is criminal to purposefully send a seizure-inducing gif directly to an epileptic in the hopes he will die."

See the difference?

And no one has said you can't post a flashy gif, just don't weaponize it to do direct harm.



posted on Jun, 18 2017 @ 05:07 PM
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a reply to: RomeByFire

I know
Right?

He's on good meds but it can still happen. ☹️😡🙄



posted on Jun, 18 2017 @ 05:08 PM
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a reply to: AboveBoard

From what I understand, there are filters available to people who suffer from flashy pics.

If I knew I was susceptible to seizures due to flashy pics, I might want to consider investing in those filters.



posted on Jun, 18 2017 @ 05:10 PM
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originally posted by: TinySickTears

originally posted by: underwerks
a reply to: LesMisanthrope

It comes down to intent. If you send someone something (a tweet, a letter, whatever) that you know will cause a physical reaction because of a condition that person has, then yes, you are responsible.

If I intentionally mail a person who is allergic to bees a box of bees and they get stung opening the mailbox and have to go to the hospital, who's fault is it?


thats lame as #
sending someone an image should not result in prison time
just pure insanity


Would sending ground up peanut dust with the intent to cause harm or death through the mail to an allergic individual be a crime?

Electronic communications sent with the intent to harm someone physically isn't just a d***k move, its assault.



posted on Jun, 18 2017 @ 05:10 PM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope

An interesting case, LM.

I hate when people send their kids to school with the flu, cough, runny nose, and/or fever knowing my kid is susceptible to catching their viral/bacterial infection.

Sure, I know the risks...but I send my kids to school anyway.

Can I call the FBI to investigate should my kid catch something another child exposed them to?

Same goes with people who go to work contagious.

***

Is anyone responsible for taking any known risks?

In a civil case, that responsibility would be weighed. In a criminal case, however, it's not treated, like that.

I wonder if John Rivello will waive his right to a jury trial and let one judge decide the verdict.

edit on 18-6-2017 by MotherMayEye because: (no reason given)




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