A Chicago suburban snooty-school (sorry, I meant Advanced Placement program) is suffering a conflict this week because a handful of adolescents posted their violent fantasies, targeting their teachers, on their blogs. According to the Sun-Times article, in this post-Columbine world the schools see daily, the school administrations and the teachers must take threats seriously.
Duh. They couldn't afford to not take them seriously before Columbine. But, somehow, they did, and somehow, they still, occasionally, do. A threat is a threat. Even if somebody else says the threat was just a joke, I'd expect somebody to investigate further, just to be on the safe side.
Of course, several fourteen- to sixteen- year-olds came out in defense of their classmates, finding it horrifying that teachers might actually read private blogs. Um, kiddies. I hate to break it to you, but if it's posted online, it's not private, anymore. You might as well tear out pages of your diary and hang them on the bulletin board at the supermarket, for all the security you have on a blog. And, if you're stupid enough to post pages which say, "I'm gonna slit that biatch's throat," you might as well call the cops to come and look it over, too. It's called making a threatening statement, and that's generally viewed as an illegal act. I don't care how young and stupid you are, you can't make public statements, pretend they're private, and still expect to evade consequences.
This ties in, after a fairly strong fashion, with the guy down in Florida who the marshalls had to shoot, because he said he had a bomb in his pack, and he refused to surrender peacefully. If you're reckless enough to make a statement which puts another -- or others -- at risk, you must be prepared to pay the ultimate price for your words. I feel for the widow -- it is never easy to deal with a bipolar, especially one who refuses to take his meds. Nevertheless, in a choice between possibly blowing up a crowded airport and blowing the brains out of a single nut (yeah, I'm one of them, too), shoot the single nut.
This is about taking reasonable precautions to protect innocent people. Even if the threat comes from an adolescent mind just writing out his adolescent fantasies. The fact is, sometimes, fantasies become realities, if they're not stopped. And civilized society is supposed to protect itself and its members from such occurrences.