Even Words Are Dangerous When “We Must Do Something”

Opinion

Justin Olsen
Justin Olsen

USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- Today’s political and social climate is treacherous territory to navigate.

It is so easy, through social media and the bubble that forms around particular groups, to throw out snide, incendiary, and downright mean comments, with little thought about how they might be perceived by people outside our bubbles, including people in law enforcement.

To you, it might just be banter among “friends,” a group of like-minded folks snarking and crabbing about the events of the day, but to others, your witty comments might be interpreted as threats and calls for violence.

A recent example highlights this danger. A young man in Ohio, named Justin Olsen was commenting on things like gun control and the Waco tragedy, on a site called iFunny and a private chat site called Discord – both very popular sites, especially among teenage boys. Among his comments and memes, was a picture of some actor in a Hollywood movie blazing away with two guns simultaneously, with the text “Me walking into the nearest Planned Parenthood.” Other memes included a picture showing a mask and an AR-type rifle, with a caption encouraging people to republish the meme if they “would take liberty into your own hands.”

But the comment that seems to have gotten the 18-year old, recent high school graduate into serious trouble, came in the context of a conversation about the Waco Texas massacre. Olsen related a broadly inaccurate and simplistic description of the tragedy, to which the other person in the conversation commented that he had seen some documentaries about it, and that “it’s really unfortunate.”

To which Olsen replied; “In conclusion, shoot every federal agent on sight.”

Justin Olsen Comments on Waco
Justin Olsen Comments on Waco

It’s not clear if it was that comment or something else which originally captured the attention of FBI agents in Alaska early this year, while Olsen was still only 17, but after the account saw a spike in people following his posts – up to about 4500 total – the FBI requested more information from iFunny, on the user who called himself “ArmyofChrist,” and an investigation was launched. Olsen was identified through his Google account, and his location was determined. The case was then transferred to the FBI’s office in Cleveland, Ohio, where it was assigned to a brand new agent with not quite a year in the agency. Then on August 12, 2019, a little over a week after the atrocities in El Paso and Dayton, the FBI arrested the college-bound teen on charges of “threatening to assault a federal law enforcement officer.”

While whole parades of people calling for “dead cops” go unchallenged and un-arrested?

I don’t know Justin Olsen, and I’ve only been able to find limited information, as his messages on iFunny and Discord appear to have been deleted. His Facebook page [now deleted] features a picture of him smiling, wearing a jacket and tie, with friends at some function, possibly church-related, and some other photos of him golfing, snorkeling, and hugging his dog. Not to judge a book by its cover, but this looks like a happy, well-liked, well-adjusted, middle-class kid. He was apparently about to start college in Texas through an ROTC program.

Olsen reportedly lived with his mom most of the time but had been spending the last few weeks living with his dad in the same town, before heading to Texas for college.

Based on what I have found and read in the criminal complaint filed against him, it appears that he’s being prosecuted for making the same sort of comments that might be seen pretty regularly under articles and in Twitter and Facebook posts. The only significant distinction I can see in this guy’s case is that his comments got flagged to authorities, while most similar comments just get deleted or ignored.

Unfortunately for Olsen, he happened to have been on the FBI’s radar at a moment when everyone from the President on down, is calling for someone to “do something” to prevent mass shootings, and particularly, detect potential mass shooters early and interdict before they can carry out their plans.

The media has tended to be very selective about the comments from Olsen that they are quoting and reporting on, and very sketchy about the context of the comments, editorializing with statements like; Olsen “voiced his support online of mass shootings.” They’re also breathlessly reporting that he “lived in a house with 25 guns and 10,000 rounds of ammunition.”

Some reports eventually go on to explain that the guns and most of the ammo, were found in Olsen’s father’s bedroom, where the “assault-style rifles and shotguns” were locked in a safe, which the father obligingly opened upon request for the FBI. Those reports also like to mention that there was camouflage clothing in the room.

Many of my regular readers are, no doubt, looking at those numbers with one raised eyebrow. Not raised in surprise at that many guns and that much ammo, but rather surprise that such modest numbers would be considered significant.

As I say, I don’t know this kid, and there very well could be more to this story, but based solely on the criminal complaint and media reports, I’d say that the FBI, and probably every other federal, state, and local law enforcement agency, is operating on high alert, terrified of having another case of a mass murderer committing his heinous crime, later to have it come out that he’d been flagged to authorities, and they’d done nothing. This has unfortunately happened several times in recent years, with the Pulse nightclub murderer, and the Parkland high school murderer, both in Florida, being the most egregious examples. But it should be recognized that both of those cases displayed extreme negligence on the part of law enforcement, with the murderers making some pretty direct and overt threats prior to their crimes. This case, on the other hand, appears to be stretching out pretty far to try and make this kid look dangerous.

The important take-away though, is that online comments are permanent, and can be dangerous. We don’t need any more martyrs, and we don’t need to be using rhetoric that can be construed as threatening. I don’t know if this particular case is an example. But anti-rights extremists have long been employing a strategy of silencing their opponents by “flagging” and “reporting” comments, sites, channels, and pages, that they don’t agree with, to the administrators of popular social media sites, and they might have stepped that up to now include reporting such things to law enforcement as “threats.”

Justin Olsen’s whole life has probably been negatively impacted by what might be nothing more than bad jokes and some poor word choices. Even if he beats this rap, serious harm has already been done. Don’t take chances. Be smart and be safe.


Jeff Knox

Jeff Knox

About Jeff Knox:

Jeff Knox is a second-generation political activist and director of The Firearms Coalition. His father Neal Knox led many of the early gun rights battles for your right to keep and bear arms. Read Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War.

The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and with a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition has offices in Buckeye, Arizona and Manassas, VA. Visit: www.FirearmsCoalition.org.

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tetejaunCaptainKeroseneRattlerjakeJPMRT Recent comment authors
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tetejaun
Member
tetejaun

The United States was BORN of revolution and violence.
If this scares you, move to Cuba.
While you blithely obey the unconstitutional ‘gun control laws’, you tell the tyrant you are a yellow coward and will kneel and lick the tyrant’s hand rather than disobey. Also, you reinforce the idea that government is master. Governments are created by the People. They are our servants.

Cowardice has its consequences.

CaptainKerosene
Member
CaptainKerosene

55 years agi I worked for a gun store in Springfield, Illinois. At that time both federal and state law required ALL sales, gift or transfers to anybody be only to honest people of age. The owner/boss worried because he did not personally know every person within 500 miles. When Illinois adopted the FOID law he supported it because the state did the background check so he could “do business.” He was worried that if he denied a sale he could be sued for “discrimination.” When a customer came in and asked to see/handle a firearm he could ask to… Read more »

Rattlerjake
Member
Rattlerjake

How many of the asswipe celebrities or politicians that have communicated threats to Trump or his supporters have been arrested or even questioned?

JPM
Member
JPM

Let me see if I have this right. We shouldn’t speak about certain items or actions or express an honest opinion as it might not be politically correct and the FBI, BATFE, or other agency might be monitoring what we say and might arrest us and/or ruin our lives. So much for the first Amendment. Expanding upon that theme, we shouldn’t do or say anything in defense of the 2nd Amendment without first considering that our comments or actions might offend someone or result in the focus of the Feds and their ire. Compromise is failure, any level of compromise.… Read more »

tomcat
Member
tomcat

It appears that when the FBI and other police agencies disregarded several mass shooters until the acted, but in Parkland they let the crazy get done shooting, so they are tightening the screws on anyone that looks like a conservative. If you look, smell and act like a progressive they leave you alone.

loveaduck
Member
loveaduck

I’m not sure how I feel about this but some wisdom would have prevented it.

Stripeseven
Member
Stripeseven

Freedom of Speech and Expression
Free speech is the ability to think and speak freely without fear of restriction, repression, or retribution from anyone.

MICHAEL J
Member
MICHAEL J

Isn’t it like the system to pick and choose who they’re going to make examples of? All kids say
stupid stuff at one time or another. But when politicians say anti-constitutional stuff nobody cares. This is a great example of “Somebody is always watching” Once thought to be what conspiracy theories were made of. Now it’s reality.

JIAZ
Member
JIAZ

FBI ‘Red Flag’ Social Media Tool
“The FBI is looking for companies to comb through social media posts and pinpoint possible threats. The FBI was soliciting bids for technologies to hoover up and analyze your social media posts—just in case you are a threat.”
https://reason.com/2019/08/20/the-government-wants-a-red-flag-social-media-tool-thats-a-terrible-idea/

Tionico
Member
Tionico

obviously fictional, yet scary close to reality. Puts me in mind of the middle aged couple blasted into Eternity in very much the same way. Except that that “tip” came from a paid police informant wanting to juice up his bio for the coppers to get some slack in an upcoming sentencing trial. So he made up a fairly tale, and the dirty coppers never took the time to investigate the target couple. Seems, as well, the dirty copper was far dirtier than that, as he has a history of sketchy warrants, busts, etc. Bottom line, no one will be… Read more »

Rattlerjake
Member
Rattlerjake

What’s even worse is that the rest of the cops seem to be satisfied with the outcome because NONE of them stood up and saw to it that the truth be told. All law enforcement live under a protective hood that protects them from prosecution, or gets them off. When I was younger and naive I actually supported law enforcement, but being older and more knowledgeable, I’ve come to the conclusion that ALL law enforcement are nothing but thugs paid by the city, county, state, and federal government corporations to enforce their plethora of illegal restrictions and unconstitutional laws! There… Read more »

tetejaun
Member
tetejaun

Police owe their loyalty to whomever signs the paycheck.
There is NO constitutional authority for local law enforcement. THAT was to be the militia of the local armed populace.

mlhtd51
Member
mlhtd51

Alarming Trend I’ve Seen, If You’re Associated With The Demonrat Party, You Are Immune To Prosecution.

JDT
Member
JDT

Sarcasm can get you arrested these days, he should of added a JK emoji or claimed he was with ANTIFA… ️‍♂️️‍♂️️‍♂️

toomanyhobbies
Member
toomanyhobbies

issue is when does simple posturing become a viable threat? People are like dogs on the loose. One is a puppy that wags it’s tail and wants to be petted, more than one can and has killed; However one overly boisterous human is a big mouth that has no bite but put a mob of them together and you have a riot in progress…

willyd
Member
willyd

DEMO-RATS COMMUNITY-ORGANIZERS FREE PASSES FOR ALL!!!!!!!!

SgtJUSMC
Member
SgtJUSMC

Fiction? “… You have been denied due process and you are considered guilty until proven innocent. Aren’t these laws wonderful? Now you, your lovely wife, and two deputies have been killed needlessly. Your orphan daughter will certainly live in misery for the rest of her life. She will never be that successful person you dreamed she would be because of the mental tragedy caused witnessing both of her parents being violently murdered by the people she trusted most. The local newspaper will report that you were killed after firing on and killing two deputies and that “over a thousand rounds… Read more »

Heed the Call-up
Member
Heed the Call-up

Yes, the story does appear to be fiction. The only source I could find for that story was Liberty Block. I did not research Liberty Block, either, so I can’t comment about the rest their content, but I am not interested in using that site as a source of information, so I don’t really care if all the “stories” on their site are fiction.

Tionico
Member
Tionico

Yes its fiction, but frightenly close to quite a few REAL accounts we’ve all read this past few years. Jose Guereña, formerly of New Mexico. The middle aged couple in Texas, recently murdered by cops on false pretenses supplied as “facts” by a “paid informant” who needed a break, and assisted by a dirty copper looking to make a name for himself, and that at the expense of anyone he could find.

SGT_Wombat
Member
SGT_Wombat

Still haven’t found out what happened to the dog 🙁

TheRevelator
Member
TheRevelator

This is why I have always been very clear and deliberate about the language I use, and expressly point out the defensive nature of my beliefs, the fact that I just want to be left alone to live my life in peace, and the historical context and importance of what our founding fathers had to say on the subject of liberty. This is also why I have felt Ammoland adding an “Edit button” to allow the deletion of comments to be bad news. We will be seeing more agitators now if they can delete any comment. More idiots raging and… Read more »

KenW
Member
KenW

We keep getting those annoying robo calls and my brother has a tendency to scream into the phone. I keep telling him that sooner or late someone might flag him for making a threat although he doesn’t actually threaten anyone.

willyd
Member
willyd

KenW; I cure most of the Robo calls by informing the caller that their number is being turned over to the FBI for further investigation, most times those numbers don’t show up again!!!!!

toomanyhobbies
Member
toomanyhobbies

I answer those robo calls with “who are you and what do you want” as of late there are calls that I wanted that are coming though as “unavailable” or “private caller”

willyd
Member
willyd

TheRevlator; How true that we have to chose our words and how we post them, most times we must really know the people we talk to and voice our opinions out to, I myself don’t put anything on line that would draw any extra interest to me, I have some very odd thoughts but it is safer for me to just think them to myself, for my own safety, you cannot use your 1st Amendment right anymore without offending someone, it is not like years gone by when you could just tell someone to KISS OFF! The only ones that… Read more »

RT
Member
RT

Excuse me, but go F yourself. Calling me out, and why? Noise from a damned fool.

David LaPell
Member

Doing something doesn’t mean just doing anything.

JIAZ
Member
JIAZ

And yet, so far anyway, Mock Assassination Threatening The Life Of The POTUS Yields No Arrests

“House Minority Whip Steve Scalise asked what it would take for liberals to denounce violence against conservatives after a Democratic state senator from Illinois came under fire last weekend over pictures showing his supporters at a fundraising event taking part in a mock assassination of President Trump.”
https://www.foxnews.com/politics/after-mock-trump-assassination-photos-at-liberal-fundraiser-scalise-asks-when-the-left-will-denounce-its-violence

Rattlerjake
Member
Rattlerjake

You have to understand that there is a HUGE portion of people who claim to be Christians who are NOT. These people have being lead astray by the likes of televangelists (like graham and hagee), catholicism, greedy motivational speakers (like olsteen), and many of the denominational church organizations. They’ve indoctrinated these fake Christians to accept jews as followers of Christ, accept homos/perverts, accept women in authority over man, accept mixing of white and negros, worship celebrity, money, vanity, murder of the unborn, and adultery, and they do it through intimidation and labeling (antisemite, bigot, homophobe, racist, feminist, white supremacist, etc).… Read more »