Free The Chattanooga Six

Ken AshfordCrimeLeave a Comment

Look, I know it’s disturbing when teenagers talk about "killing" other people.  We all remember Columbine.

But sometimes, it’s just a joke.

If some girls talk about "killing" their teachers and classmates, that’s one thing.  But when they add Oprah, Tom Cruise, and the Energizer Bunny (which, last time I checked, was an inanimate/fictional non-human corporate mascot) to their list, then it’s obvious that they’re just talking crap:

CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee (AP) — Six girls at a rural high school were charged with homicide conspiracy after their principal found a list of 300 names and officials discovered online postings suggesting they kill people, authorities said Thursday.

School officials said the list, discovered in a classroom trash can, mostly named students and faculty members but also included Tom Cruise, Oprah Winfrey and the Energizer Bunny.

Sequatchie County High School Principal Tommy Layne said that he initially considered it a joke, but that authorities then found the ninth-graders’ online MySpace pages and postings that included the word "kill."

"In general terms, it was like, ‘Let’s kill these people,’ " Dunlap Police Chief Clint Huth said. He declined to provide the specific wording on the posting, which has been removed.

"I am not saying we thwarted a shooting incident or an act of violence," Huth said. "On the other hand, had this gone unchecked, down the road it could have grown into something a whole lot more serious than a list of names."

Nice going, Officer Huth.  You just lost the case against these kids.  As any first-year law student knows, "conspiracy" means more than some imaginary event "down the road" which "could have grown into something a whole lot more serious".  There has to be active planning of an actual crime, not mere pie-in-the-sky "wouldn’t it be cool if…" talk.

Let these girls go.  They may have "issues" and may — I stress may — need some counselling, but they’re not homicide conspirators.