Should a 15-year-old kid be woken in the middle of the night to the sounds of police banging on his door and then questioned in his underwear?
What if that kid had made a video mimicking the Columbine shooters basement tapes, talking about how he and two friends were going to shoot up their high school?
What if one of them had sent a text message threatening to do just that?
Should he spend some time in federal prison?
The Potential School Shooters
This is part of the story defense attorneys are arguing violated their clients’ constitutional rights in the cases against Gunnar Rice, Asa Candela and Dylan DeAngelis from Lapeer, Michigan.
In addition, the boy’s lawyers argued that all three boys were overcharged since it was only talk and no action was ever taken.
The terrorist threat these boys made in 2016 has finally resulted in sentencing. All three boys will not be spending time in jail.
However, they will be under house arrest and probation for the next five years, wear a GPS tether, submit to random drug and alcohol testing, and searches of their homes and computers at any time.
They will not be allowed to possess alcohol or firearms. They are permanently expelled from the Lapeer School District and may not set foot in a classroom again.
Additionally, they will be required to:
- Complete 100 hours of community service
- Pay more than $22,000 in restitution to the Lapeer Sheriff and prosecutors’ office for the money spent in investigating and prosecuting this case.
If the conditions of the sentences are being satisfied these teens will avoid having a permanent criminal record. This will be determined in semi-annual court hearings – since they are being sentenced under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act.
Whether the defense attorneys were right, and none of these young men meant to do anything about their threats, or whether the play at terrorism would have become full-blown terrorism in the end, at least the situation has been diffused.
None of them will spend time in prison. Even Judge Nick O. Holowka felt was too harsh a punishment. But, they are paying a pretty steep price for their threats. And they have expressed remorse.
Can Potential School Shooters be Stopped?
Could investigators really have stopped a school shooting this time? We could all love some hope that it’s possible to stop potential school shooters before they strike and get him them the help they need.
However, should it come at the price of constitutional rights for boys who make stupid videos? And how can you really tell which videos are copycat threat videos? Which ones are the real ones?
From an investigative perspective, you can’t. You have to treat them all seriously because you know there are potentially kids’ lives at stake.
Can police catch potential school shooters? Can they even hope to keep up with all the threats that are made on a daily basis, now that school shootings are a normal part of life for school-aged kids? What do you think? Is it bending the definition of constitutional rights to keep kids safe from each other?