Do you guys worry about what you post here?


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myrockfight
January 26, 2008, 02:06 AM
A while ago, I saw a program (possibly Dateline) that mentioned how a key part of the prosecution's case was built on the information discovered online.

With that in mind, coupled with our society's penchant for civil suits, would you/do you change the content of your posts?

I was just curious how many people think about what they post on here in relation to possible future legal issues (no matter how small of a probability).


I can see a lawyer in a courtroom reading aloud a poster's comments - to the tune of, "Kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out." Even if it was a legal and justified self-defense.

Anyone else have this thought?

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Wheeler44
January 26, 2008, 02:07 AM
Some do, some apparently don't.

Hoppy590
January 26, 2008, 02:07 AM
iv accepted that if the .Gov has the resources to find out what i say online, they have the resources to know what i say in real life and what guns i own. to think anything else is naive

that said. ive never full subscribed to the "sheepdog" or "shootem all" theory's

Dope
January 26, 2008, 02:08 AM
No, but I don't say stupid things that like either. I say stupid things sure, but that's just because I'm a Dope, not stupid things that incriminate me.

Dope

loki.fish
January 26, 2008, 02:16 AM
No, I'm not living my life in fear that what I say will harm me in the future, but I also don't say things I don't mean, which means I never say things that can be attributed to being a violent individual.

Javelin
January 26, 2008, 02:30 AM
Yeah I think about it. The first amendment is something that only gets you into trouble right? Past that ... I dont really care.

:)

ezypikns
January 26, 2008, 02:39 AM
until they started talking.

Grizfire
January 26, 2008, 02:56 AM
If they can restrict the second amendment then they can restrict the first.

Disclaimer: I shall not be held accountable for any comment made on this public forum.

Kind of Blued
January 26, 2008, 02:58 AM
I like to think that I do a pretty good job of thinking before I speak (or type), and I make it an effort to be the exact same person with the exact same views regardless of my audience. The product of this idea is that any anti could find my words and not be able to use them against me/us unless they misconstrued them.

I'm sure that I don't adhere to this 100%, but I do try, and it is how I think about the issue that you brought forth.

chris in va
January 26, 2008, 02:59 AM
I've certainly edited out some stuff from my posts due to concerns it would come back on me at a later date.

Just like those pictures of you holding your long gun in a 'manly' sort of way. Tends to end up on Tru.TV or something.

Prince Yamato
January 26, 2008, 03:01 AM
That's why you never mention full details about your personal life. My whole thing is, who cares? I'm mored worried about an unstable acquaintance or two from my past finding me than I am about Sarah Brady finding out that I own AKs.

32winspl
January 26, 2008, 04:38 AM
Yeah, I worry about it. a couple of years ago, I wrote a strong pro 2nd ammend letter to my Mom and she replied that I may need to be careful about what I write because various gov't organisations might start keeping a file on me. Naturally, I thought that that thought process validated much of what I was writing about.
Some months ago, in a thread about cutting short the barrels of firearms, I asked if anyone else considered that a thread such as that might be the trolling grounds for BATF agents. Nobody else seemed to think so, but I still wonder. But ***, those of us here whom own guns are already on a watch list somewhere, or will be. So some day, maybe it will be required of us to fulfil the the framers intent. Might happen.

mad hungarian
January 26, 2008, 05:00 AM
I don't worry about it and believe that my past posts don't make me out to be a crazed gun carrying maniac.
There are somethings you shouldn't talk about online or by other means. One should have enough sense not to reply to posts in a way that can adversely effect them.
For the anti gun trollers, and Sarah Brady supporters out there I do own AKs and other battle rifles and I ENJOY SHOOTING THEM :neener:.

MH

dennisH87
January 26, 2008, 05:59 AM
lol nice disclamer grizfire

mekender
January 26, 2008, 06:48 AM
you run amok and kill 4 people at the movie theater, you bet your ass they will read everything they can find on you...

on the other hand, you shoot someone that kicks in your door in the middle of the night, they probably wont bother

Intrepid Dad
January 26, 2008, 09:29 AM
I try to stay within the guidelines of The High Road and don't worry about it. I doubt anything I write here will come back to haunt me...but I've been wrong before. :rolleyes:

Zach S
January 26, 2008, 09:34 AM
I try to stay within the guidelines of The High Road and don't worry about it. I doubt anything I write here will come back to haunt me...but I've been wrong before.
Same here. I cant recall ever saying anything along the lines of "Kill 'em and let God sort them out" but I'm sure I've said something that will bite me from behind if worst comes to worst.

Besides, I've got almost 3000 posts. Anyone who wants to read them all has got more time than I do.

redneck2
January 26, 2008, 09:36 AM
I try to stay within the guidelines of The High Road and don't worry about it. I doubt anything I write here will come back to haunt me...but I've been wrong before.

If you've been around very long, you'll notice that the threads tend to be moderated in such a way to as minimize inflamatory language. This helps protect everyone involved. While some (particularly newer) members cry and whine when their posts get cleaned up, locked, or deleted, I strongly suspect it's for their own good.

As for 1st Amemdment, it applies to political speech. It has absolutely nothing to do with every day life.

Zeke/PA
January 26, 2008, 09:50 AM
I must be carefull about my occasional rants especially about criminal misuse of firearms.
Zeke

Blackfork
January 26, 2008, 09:59 AM
I've noticed over the past few years that any search warrant for any place is going to include the computers. They always find something on the computers, even if you just use it to play solitaire.

As far as pure comments in cyberspace, why WOULDN'T they? It's easy to make a list, and every list they announce immediatly increases beyond reason. Aren't there more than a million folks on the no-fly list now, most of whom don't know they are on the list until they try to buy a ticket?

As far as myself, let me just say that I love my politicians and bureaucrats, I fully and enthusiastically seek to comply with all their plans for me and eagerly look forward to enthusiastically complying with new plans. I think they do a wonderful job and all deserve promotions and raises. I think god guides them in all they do and say.

XD Fan
January 26, 2008, 10:01 AM
I think it is worthwhile to speak with careful consideration in any public forum. Words do have the power to reach out beyond our intentions, so giving appropriate consideration before we speak matters. A nice side benifit to that is you are less likely to run into the kind of legal quagmire of past comments coming back to haunt you.

Treo
January 26, 2008, 10:22 AM
I've never seen this as a stand alone thread, but it generally pops up as a sidebar whenever there's a "Ok do I get to blow 'im away now?" thread. Generally I give myself the Miranda warning before I post. Anything I say can and (possibly) will be used against me.

hotpig
January 26, 2008, 10:27 AM
Just keep in mind what ever you say/post on a public forum is fair game. One sentence out of 3000 posts could bite you in the butt some day.

I work with one BATF&E Agent that reads this forum almost every day. He gets a kick out of the bashing threads.

Hokkmike
January 26, 2008, 10:32 AM
I always think before I post. (well, usually anyway) The stuff NEVER goes away. Google your name and see how you are doing!

Creature
January 26, 2008, 10:39 AM
Fear is the vehicle of tyranny and the purveyor of certain captivity. However, stupidity and recklessness will kill you faster than anything else.

Guntalk
January 26, 2008, 10:47 AM
Everything posted or sent online is forever. This includes emails. It's not a bad idea to think, before hitting the send button, how that would sound when read to a grand jury filled with little old ladies. If you think it would frighten them (the "let God sort 'em out" kind of statement), it might be a good idea to go back and edit it.

Clearly, some folks think the ready, fire, aim process works for them.

In a self-defense situation, you have to survive the battle (the immediate fight) as well as the war (the subsequent legal actions). Planning for that now might be prudent.

Old Guy
January 26, 2008, 11:02 AM
As far as myself, let me just say that I love my politicians and bureaucrats, I fully and enthusiastically seek to comply with all their plans for me and eagerly look forward to enthusiastically complying with new plans. I think they do a wonderful job and all deserve promotions and raises. I think god guides them in all they do and say.

Blackfork, this is not sarcasm is it?

Blackbeard
January 26, 2008, 11:08 AM
A while ago, I saw a program (possibly Dateline) that mentioned how a key part of the prosecution's case was built on the information discovered online.

I'm a little confused. What criminal case could be built where the only evidence is online posts? I presume you're thinking about a situation where a THR member is involved in a self-defense shooting and charged with murder/manslaughter, and they pull out select posts where the defendant stated he would shoot in hypothetical situations. I would think that no defense lawyer worth his salt would ever allow that into evidence, as it is not relevant to the case. The only relavant postings I could think of would be if you said you planned to shoot this particular person, and I've never seen anything like that from THR.


With that in mind, coupled with our society's penchant for civil suits, would you/do you change the content of your posts

Most of the time no civil plaintiff will have the resources to find out what you post online, unless they are also a member of the same board and know your user name. Even then, the posts would have to be specific to the case.

Maybe one of the lawyers in the house can comment on the rules of evidence for civil & criminal cases.

gym
January 26, 2008, 11:11 AM
If you do a search of the site, you will find that this question in various forms has been asked and answered many times. And that would be a No, it's a leading question

hotpig
January 26, 2008, 11:20 AM
I have checked myspace pages and other public forums looking for threats or anything that can be used to show the mind set of a suspect.

So far in my cases I have not found anything that was useful, but I will always look because it will pay off for me one day.

Biker
January 26, 2008, 11:27 AM
Blackbeard...

Some years ago, I took a bat to some guys - one nearly died. The cops determined I was within my rights and no charges were filed. A couple of years later, I was sued for the incident by the guy who got a glimpse of the Reaper.

To shorten up the story, the defense attourney was allowed to introduce a witness who claimed he overheard me bragging about the incident to a friend of mine while he was hiding behind a fence. It wasn't true, of course, but it was allowed in court. They *will* try to dig up stuff on you, true or not, and it will be allowed.

After a three day trial, I won.

Biker

frankie_the_yankee
January 26, 2008, 11:30 AM
I don't worry about what I post here or anywhere.

But from what I have read from time to time, some people should.

Blackbeard
January 26, 2008, 11:34 AM
Biker, that "evidence" was specific to the case, even though it was made up. There's nothing we can do about made-up evidence. If you really had bragged about it online, in my non-legal opinion, that would be admissible.

P.S. Glad you won!

hotpig
January 26, 2008, 11:34 AM
I don't worry about what I post here or anywhere.

But from what I have read from time to time, some people should.

+1

Biker
January 26, 2008, 11:41 AM
Blackbeard...

Luckily, the incident happened on my property and my HO's insurance paid for some fine lawyers. The jury was only out for 45 minutes and 30 minutes of that time was for lunch. Idaho jurors are naturally blessed with a great deal of common sense.

Biker

Grizzly Adams
January 26, 2008, 12:49 PM
If they are going to use something that you have said online they can just as easily find someone that will say you have personally said the same thing to them face to face.

And by the way, I don't believe that would be hearsay evidence, but some of the lawyers will have to speak to that.

Grandpa Shooter
January 26, 2008, 01:25 PM
Being very innocent when it comes to the internet, having only recently gotten into anything other than news, I was shocked one day when, in researching gun stuff, I came across a link to myself on THR. I stated at the time that it made my hair stand on end and I felt like someone was coming in my back door.

I still get that feeling sometimes. In my case I have only had one exchange on here where I felt a member was deliberately misquoting my words to suit his own purposes. I have noticed that person does so frequently, so now I just ignore anything with that name on it. (I still have the tendency to use "he" but was recently taken to task for assuming all posters here are male.)

I do wonder though, if we have people coming on who do little other than inflame passions solely for the purpose of attempting to entrap members?

gbran
January 26, 2008, 01:31 PM
I sometimes wonder if there aren't ATF types that monitor gun boards to flesh out what they might feel is illegal or would lead them to illegal activity.

We all know the length DEA types will go to in seeking out narc crimes.

I see a lot of posts where some guy asks if he broke the law buy loaning or giving a gun away, or admitting to bring an AW into CA, etc.

frankie_the_yankee
January 26, 2008, 01:33 PM
Being very innocent when it comes to the internet, having only recently gotten into anything other than news, I was shocked one day when, in researching gun stuff, I came across a link to myself on THR. I stated at the time that it made my hair stand on end and I felt like someone was coming in my back door.

LOL! I Googled myself once and the first hit out of the few that came up was a link to a letter to the editor I wrote that was published in a major newspaper. The letter was a passionate defense of the 2A RKBA, combined with some intense criticism of certain state officials (in RI, where I was living at the time) for their contempt for the Constitution.

Citroen
January 26, 2008, 03:19 PM
No.

John
Charlotte, NC

Sage of Seattle
January 26, 2008, 03:23 PM
After a three day trial, I won.

And by "three day trial" what you really meant was "severe beating of the prosecuting attorney by a baseball bat", right? :neener:

Personally, I'm not worried about what the .gov might do, nor am I concerned with what a prospective employer might do. I've posted under this 'nym on different boards, one of which is really no-holds-barred; "when in Rome...." and all that.

I figure that if an employer doesn't want me because I've posted pretty raunchy poems online and would rather ignore the fact that I'm genuine, honest, compassionate, tested IQ of 130, hard working, witty, and (naturally) funny person, then that's their loss, not mine.

And if one post of mine in some forum somewhere gets quoted by a potential prosecutor someday in some fantasy future, I can come up with dozens of more posts and stories and anecdotes to say just the opposite.

CryingWolf
January 26, 2008, 03:44 PM
I worry about the vigilantist statements, from armchair cops, I read from time to time on the firearm forums. I am sure if anything ever happened that my online statements will be reviewed. I am not worried about it. I strive to take a more sensible approach when it comes to what if's.

Neo-Luddite
January 26, 2008, 03:45 PM
I'm careful in that I don't want to suggest any unsafe activity that might get someone hurt or promote an illegal one that could cause someone to be incarcerated.

I am honest about describing my circumstances, background and general geography. When my knowledge is lacking or partial on a subject, I try to say so.

I still fly the U.S. Colors in my front yard daily except for April Fool's Day when the U.N. flag comes out of the closet.

Joe Gunns
January 26, 2008, 04:00 PM
Absolutely do I consider what I post (or write on paper and say in private) in light of possible ramifications.

James

Richmond
January 26, 2008, 04:13 PM
I'm a little confused. What criminal case could be built where the only evidence is online posts?

Blackbeard - the most likely candidate here would be conspiracy cases, although accomplice liability cases would be pretty common as well. I currently have a felony case, for example, charged solely based on a conversation, father allegedly telling son to do something (shoot a "nuisance" animal who turns out to be neighbor's pet, another THR favorite topic).

If they are going to use something that you have said online they can just as easily find someone that will say you have personally said the same thing to them face to face.

Grizzley - you bet, and they do. Nearly every homicide I have handled, where the person remained incarcerated pretrial, involved the appearance of a snitch who claimed my client told him the details of the crime.

A little more info on the snitch system in the form of a pdf from the Center for Wrongful Convictions:

http://www.law.northwestern.edu/wron...temBooklet.pdf

Fact is, Free speech may be free, but it can cost you. The government can discover your forum names and research your posts (in one recent case, that was as simple as asking the defendant's room mate). The government can and does subpoena posts from Internet hosts.

I am seeing an increase of this type of research by investigators and prosecutors in criminal cases. Are on-line statements admissible under the rules of evidence? Are they or are they not hearsay?

Case by case, but on issues of intent, prior statements may well be admissible. Remember - admissions and declarations against interest are an exception to the rule on hearsay, where a person's statement may be used, when the content of the statement is so prejudicial to the person making it, such as confessing to a crime, that they would not have made the statement unless they believed the statement was true.

I am teaching Federal Rules of Evidence next academic year, and I may include an assignment on on-line speech.

I think this is a lot like t-shirt slogans or bumper stickers - don't put something on there you would not want quoted in court in a shooting. Some agencies have policies regarding this.

For example, if you just stopped your car in the middle of the highway, stomped back and stuck a stainless S&W revolver under the nose of the driver you felt was tailgating you, it does not help your attorney much if you have a "Keep Honking, I'm reloading" bumper sticker on your pickup.

Ask me how I know the answer to that one! :rolleyes:

Zedicus
January 26, 2008, 04:17 PM
Short answer, No.

I don't post things I would need to Worry about.

tnieto2004
January 26, 2008, 04:24 PM
I think they have bigger fish to fry .. IMHO

myrockfight
January 26, 2008, 04:34 PM
"As far as myself, let me just say that I love my politicians and bureaucrats, I fully and enthusiastically seek to comply with all their plans for me and eagerly look forward to enthusiastically complying with new plans. I think they do a wonderful job and all deserve promotions and raises. I think god guides them in all they do and say."

-Blackfork
Good sheep. Gooood sheep. Now run along. LOL.

You guys bring up some good points. It is hard to reply to everyone's good points.

I like to think that I do a pretty good job of thinking before I speak (or type), and I make it an effort to be the exact same person with the exact same views regardless of my audience. The product of this idea is that any anti could find my words and not be able to use them against me/us unless they misconstrued them.

I'm sure that I don't adhere to this 100%, but I do try, and it is how I think about the issue that you brought forth.

MDeViney

That is probably the best way to operate. Most of you guys seem to have the same basic perspective. I certainly try to act as though the comments I make online are concurrent with those I would make in person. I cannot say that I am worried one way or the other.



To clear up what the original case was about that I mentioned. It was a murder case where a husband killed his wife. He had gone online to look up information about how to make authorities think it wasn't him. For the life of me I can't think exactly what the whole case was about. I am pretty sure it was on Dateline though.

The main point of the story was to show how information from search engine(s), Google, Yahoo, etc., were used against the man to build up the case and lock him up. The information that was released by the seach engine company was what supposedly clinched the case.

Although, it wasn't the same as posting on a forum, it made me think of how it would be possible for a lawyer to try to influence a jury with the information.

GEM
January 26, 2008, 05:01 PM
On CourtTV now, there is a husband killing wife murder case and they have spent days reading every sex related e-mail he sent to his GF at the time. Now they are married and she has to watch his descriptions of oral sex with her read to the court to prove what a sleaze bag he was for having an affair. They could have just said he had an affair without the details but the DA is reading every one.

So one's forum name of Iron Killer Warrior and suggestions that you don't leave a witness alive might be interesting reading to a jury. Look at the dude in TX with his kill'em comments on the 911 calls. That's sounds great. If he gets off - if billed, it is because the jury will buy into his thoughts.

kd7nqb
January 26, 2008, 07:04 PM
I am generally mindful but only after I posted something kinda stupid and it got blown out of proportion. I learned quick.

SoCalShooter
January 26, 2008, 08:40 PM
Nope, I just avoid saying stupid things.

Ryder
January 26, 2008, 09:56 PM
I like that whole freedom of speech thing (a lot) and I do use it. I censor myself out of respect for others but not in fear. This has caused me no problems.

These rights are personal, private, and permanant. They do not go away simply because others do not defend them for me.

Kim
January 26, 2008, 11:59 PM
Have you read Daily Kos, Du or Huffington post? I have nothing to fear.

jackmead
January 27, 2008, 12:39 AM
I know one of those huffington posters, she's one of those folks with the anti-everything attiude and it's fun to led her around.

SamTuckerMTNMAN
January 27, 2008, 01:26 AM
anyone who doesnt think each thread is monitored, every article checked, and all posts are recorded is ignorant and in denial. this is old news, nothing new. just dont say what you dont mean, and be willing to stand by it and accept responsibility for it. be aware, as a gun owner, you are the future enemy. the clock is ticking. intel is being gathered on you...all of us.

st

Sunray
January 27, 2008, 01:38 AM
"...a key part of the prosecution's case was built on the information discovered online...." Any good lawyer would rip that to shreds.

Samuel Adams
January 27, 2008, 02:07 AM
What? Me worry? :D

Geronimo45
January 27, 2008, 02:58 AM
Well, anything I put here is for the world to see. I try to avoid putting too much information out there on myself, but folks as knows me wouldn't take long to figure things out. Stick to the high road, and you usually don't have much of a problem with what people read.

SamTuckerMTNMAN
January 27, 2008, 03:45 AM
what if you dont have lawyers, you dont have a trial....after all , you are an "enemy combatant". keep up with the laws guys, the term 'terrorist' is evolving and doesnt just apply to bearded jihadists anymore. any enemy of the state can apply, and who decides what an 'enemy' is, or what state is threatened. things are changing without political involvement and peer education. we have a lot of work to do. the poor anti's, for the most part, are simple pawns.

TAB
January 27, 2008, 03:56 AM
no, but then again, I don't say things like... "check out my full auto AR, I built it out of M16 parts I brought home from Iraq."

Old Dog
January 27, 2008, 04:35 AM
Recent thread here asked, "Shoot to kill, or shoot to stop?" Many stated they believed in shoot to kill, couple posters even mentioned not leaving anyone alive to testify against them ...

As I noted at the time, good luck with that, guys.

rugerman07
January 27, 2008, 06:02 AM
Not me. I watch my P's & Q's.:D

redneck2
January 27, 2008, 08:20 AM
Some of you guys need to go back and read post #45 of this thread.

Several times.

Actually, it should be pulled out and "stickied"

Then again, there are warning sticker on lawn mowers..."Don't put you hand into the blade when it's running". Wonder why that's there? People still don't listen.

alsaqr
January 27, 2008, 10:05 AM
"A little more info on the snitch system in the form of a pdf from the Center for Wrongful Convictions:"

http://www.law.northwestern.edu/wron...temBooklet.pdf

Richmond, thanks for the great post. Some prosecutors here in OK put a lot of credibility in snitches, especialy jail house snitches. Everyone should read "Innocent Man" by John Grisham. It is about an Ada, OK man who was railroaded to death row by a professional jail house snitch. DNA later proved that the guy was innocent. The Innocence Project got the guy freed from prison.

Linda
January 27, 2008, 10:28 AM
My rule to myself is: don't ever post anything in a public forum that could come back to bite you in the butt, if one day, you wanted to run for public office.;)

Ben Shepherd
January 27, 2008, 11:29 AM
I don't anymore. I used to worry about all the "yellow forms" too. Now? Screw it, they know who I am, where I am, what I drive, etc.

No longer matters. Just depends on what .gov decides to do law wise and just where my personal line is.

As far as going "off the radar"? Takes more resources than I've got. And I don't care to anyway. I've got nothing to hide.

Creature
January 27, 2008, 12:21 PM
Well, anything I put here is for the world to see.

Exactly.

deanf
January 27, 2008, 12:44 PM
I challenge anyone to prove that I am the one typing these words . . . .

george29
January 27, 2008, 02:39 PM
My fear is all the Mike Nifong's that haven't been outted. As a witness for the prosecution, I learned that one tactic of the bottom-feeder lawyers is to badger the witness into saying "I don't know" or "I don't remember" enough times to make the case irrelevant, so obviously these dime-a-dozen lawyer types will use the sleaziest method available to paint someone bad. Case dismissed not because of facts, but by painting the witness into something they are not or something as irrelevant as an online meaningless rant. In some countries, just expressing an unpopular thought can get one hauled away in the name of public safety, we too will get there eventually. This is what happens when Bo Peep lets the Sheep decide.

Joe Demko
January 27, 2008, 02:59 PM
This wouldn't be an issue if more folks would get over the idea that the internet was invented as a place to "anonymously" chest-thump and Tarzan-yell your manliness to the world.
The internet has a patron saint and his name is Walter Mitty.

george29
January 27, 2008, 03:08 PM
The internet was actualy invented for the scientific community and was never intended to become the mass media it has become. However, there are real criminals and predators on the net and like bottom feeders everywhere else, they spoil it for the rest of us. As usual though, the government goes far beyond it's legal boundaries and is the biggest sinner in breaking it's own laws or corrupting existing laws.

myrockfight
January 27, 2008, 05:07 PM
Fact is, Free speech may be free, but it can cost you. The government can discover your forum names and research your posts (in one recent case, that was as simple as asking the defendant's room mate). The government can and does subpoena posts from Internet hosts.

I am seeing an increase of this type of research by investigators and prosecutors in criminal cases. Are on-line statements admissible under the rules of evidence? Are they or are they not hearsay?

Case by case, but on issues of intent, prior statements may well be admissible. Remember - admissions and declarations against interest are an exception to the rule on hearsay, where a person's statement may be used, when the content of the statement is so prejudicial to the person making it, such as confessing to a crime, that they would not have made the statement unless they believed the statement was true.

I am teaching Federal Rules of Evidence next academic year, and I may include an assignment on on-line speech.

I think this is a lot like t-shirt slogans or bumper stickers - don't put something on there you would not want quoted in court in a shooting. Some agencies have policies regarding this.

For example, if you just stopped your car in the middle of the highway, stomped back and stuck a stainless S&W revolver under the nose of the driver you felt was tailgating you, it does not help your attorney much if you have a "Keep Honking, I'm reloading" bumper sticker on your pickup.

Ask me how I know the answer to that one!
__________________
Richmond

Thanks for shedding some light on the subject from your angle. I was hoping someone would chime in with your knowledge.

LOL. Every time I see the "Keep honking - I'm reloading," bumper sticker, I think about how dumb it is (assuming that they carry a firearm in the vehicle for protection).

How did that case turn out for the person with the bumper sticker?

That bumper sticker along with, "Bad cop. No doughnut," and some kind of marijuana sticker have got to be some of the most terribly conceived public comments/announcements I see. I always wonder what those people get out of putting those stickers on their vehicles. What incentive is there to do that?

DENALI
January 27, 2008, 05:43 PM
I've puposely not read another post on this thread so forgive if I am redundent. These site's are trolled constantly by BATFE, FBI ect..ect..and theres no reason not to expect them to harvest info to put your tail in prison if thats what they want to do...So you're warned....don't do anything illegal.

revjen45
January 27, 2008, 08:15 PM
I googled a particular brand of firearm and found a posting made months before in another forum. Nothing insane or viscious, but possibly of use to the Gestapo if they were ever banned.

Richmond
January 27, 2008, 09:43 PM
This isn’t really a free speech issue – it is a legal/evidentiary question. Or, there are really two questions here – free speech and legal/evidentiary questions. Regarding free speech, the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects the right of all Americans to express their opinions, even when they make unpopular or offensive statements. The government may intrude upon this right only in very limited situations. In the “marketplace of ideas” model adopted long ago by the U.S. Supreme Court, good and bad ideas compete, with truth prevailing. Americans are willing to tolerate harmful speech because they believe that it ultimately will be tested and rejected. To date, courts have shown little inclination to treat speech on the Internet differently from the print media or the broadcast media.

The Supreme Court has made clear that traditional First Amendment considerations govern speech on the Internet. It is likely that courts will continue to scrutinize speech on the Internet under the traditional constitutional framework used to analyze the permissibility of government regulation of speech in other media. Reno v. ACLU, 521 U.S. 844 (1997).

The First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause rigorously protects most expression. Constitutionally protected speech may only be restricted if the government can demonstrate a compelling state interest in doing so. The government must show a nexus between its goals and its actions. Under this “strict scrutiny” standard, courts examine the law closely to see if its objective is compelling and its approach narrowly tailored to meet that objective.

While the government’s right to promulgate content-based restrictions is limited, it can legally apply content-neutral speech regulations. These regulations, which generally pertain to the time, place, or manner of speech, apply equally to all speech, regardless of the message conveyed.

For example, the government can limit the amount of noise allowed at a public event, so long as the regulations are applied consistently and are not overly restrictive.

For decades before Al Gore invented the Internet, the U.S. Supreme Court had been interpreting the First Amendment and crafting a free-speech doctrine. In a series of cases, the Court firmly established many important principles. For instance while hate speech is odious, the Court has made clear that First Amendment protections usually extend to such speech. Unless the speech contains a direct, credible “true” threat against an identifiable individual, organization or institution; meets the legal test for harassment; or constitutes incitement to imminent lawless action likely to occur, little recourse will be available under American law. The constitutional theory of unprotected speech has withstood Al’s development of new technology.

Threats

Generally defined as declarations of “intention to inflict punishment, loss, or pain on another, or to injure another by the commission of some unlawful act,” threats receive no First Amendment protection. US v. Watts, 394 U.S. 707 (1969), R.A.V. v. St. Paul, 505 U.S. 377 (1992). A threatening private message sent over the Internet, or even a public message displayed on a Web site, of an intention to commit acts of violence, could be lawfully punished.

In order to be legally actionable, a reasonable person must foresee that the statement would be interpreted by the recipient as a serious expression of intent to harm. Decisions such as Planned Parenthood of the Columbia/Willamette v. American Coalition of Life Activists, United States v. Machado, and United States v. Kingman Quon, have held online threatening speech punishable.

Harassing Speech

While courts have yet to fully consider the constitutionality of harassing speech, they still have managed to set forth a few guidelines that are generally accepted. Targeting an individual with harassing speech is not a constitutionally protected activity under U.S. law because the speech in question usually amounts to impermissible conduct, not just speech. In order for speech to be considered harassing, it must be persistent and pernicious and must inflict significant emotional or physical harm. Harassment, like threats, must be directed at specific individuals. Blanket statements expressing hatred of an ethnic, racial or religious group in general cannot be considered harassment, even if those statements distress individual members of that ethnic group. However, if a person continually directs racist statements at a single victim, such speech may rise to the level of harassment even if the racist remarks do not specifically mention the victim.
It may be possible to prosecute racially motivated harassing speech transmitted over the Internet as a violation of state or Federal laws prohibiting harassment. In Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. ALPHA HQ, the Pennsylvania Attorney General, for example, charged defendant with terroristic threats, harassment, harassment by communication, and ethnic intimidation arising from material on a racist Web site. See the resources referenced below.

Incitement to Imminent Violence

Incitement to imminent violence or other unlawful action is also not protected by the First
Amendment. The Supreme Court established the imminent incitement principle in Brandenburg v. Ohio, distinguishing between speech that is “directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce that action” and speech that is not likely immediately to incite such action.

Individuals can propose violent reactions to contemporary problems or threaten menacing actions, but unless such a call is actually likely to result in violence and the violence is likely to occur imminently, the speech will be protected.

The Brandenburg standard is a high bar to meet and online hate speech will rarely be punishable under this test. Even an E-mail or Web site that specifically calls for lawless activity would probably not be actionable under Brandenburg because it would be difficult to prove the imminence required. Since the speaker and listener are separated and often do not even know each other, it is doubtful that a call to arms on the Internet would result in immediate violence.

Libelous Speech

Online “group libel” (libelous hateful comments directed toward a religious or racial group in general) is not actionable. The courts have repeatedly held that libel directed against religious or racial groups does not create an actionable offense. So, “Demoncrats” and “BATF agents are all corrupt” are not a problem – at least not in terms of libel.

Libel directed toward a particular person, persons, or entity may be legally actionable if certain criteria are met. The Supreme Court has distinguished between two categories of persons — public officials and private persons. According to New York Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964), public officials may not bring suit against critics of their official conduct, unless the official can prove “actual malice.” This refers to someone who utters a false statement “with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.” A much lower standard exists for proving libel against a private person. Pursuing a libel case would be no different if the offending message were spread online than if it had been made orally or in print. So, if you allege that you know for a fact that BATF Agent Joseph Smith has taken illegal bribes from certain named individuals, in amounts ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 – that would, if false, likely give rise to legal action against you.



Speech as Evidence in Hate Crime Prosecutions

A bit about investigation:

http://www.partnersagainsthate.org/publications/investigating_hc.pdf


Court Decisions Concerning Hate Speech on the Internet

Take a look at:

United States v. Machado, 195 F.3d 454 (9th Cir. 1999).

Planned Parenthood of the Columbia/Willamette, Inc. v. American Coalition of Life Activists, 23 F. Supp.2d 1182 (D. Or 1999)

United States v. Kingman Quon – referenced and summarized, along with other internet free speech cases, here: http://www.unc.edu/~wicannon/cases.html#internet

The ADL has a paper on Internet Speech in the context of hate crimes and hate speech that cites several resources, as well: http://www.adl.org/osce/osce_legal_analysis.pdf

So, there has been some court action, a lot of it concerning Hate Speech - how about routine criminal cases?

iiibdsiil
January 27, 2008, 11:15 PM
I'm not going to worry about what I post here. I don't say anything completely stupid, but I have made a few comments about needing to start voting from the roof tops and what not. Let 'em read that though. I hope everyone says stuff like that, maybe they'll realize we are serious about the 2nd amendment even if they aren't.

Brenainn
January 28, 2008, 02:17 AM
IMO, sometimes you just have to take the bad with the good! Don't forget that what the FBI and the BATF, etc. do isn't all always bad. If they did not exist at all, the world might be kind of hectic. Just like if cops, and lawyers did not exists. (On the other hand, I know some people might think the world would be just fine if they didn't exist, but I'm not getting into all that now). These "officials" such as cops & ATF people are usually hated until they are needed for something. Their job is to keep things safe and legal. I agree, there are some that seem like they are just out to get anyone they can, are overly vicious and do take things a little too far sometimes. However, I honestly think that for the most part, the actual agents working are just normal people trying to do their jobs. Someone has to do it. They are just normal people who go home to kids and a family everyday. Their jobs are not exactly easy or safe either. I personally don't think of them as a threat of any kind, especially if you are not doing anything wrong and have nothing to hide. Give 'em a break!

At the same time, I do happen to think America is heading somewhere that isn't exactly pretty. I can't disagree with that. However, I don't know a whole lot that I, or anyone else can do about it except hope and pray. In the meantime, I can't worry myself to the point of paranoid ism about it all! :) :)

zxcvbob
January 28, 2008, 02:56 AM
For example, if you just stopped your car in the middle of the highway, stomped back and stuck a stainless S&W revolver under the nose of the driver you felt was tailgating you, it does not help your attorney much if you have a "Keep Honking, I'm reloading" bumper sticker on your pickup.

Ask me how I know the answer to that one!

You're kidding! That was you??? ;)

ronwill
January 28, 2008, 09:19 AM
Any time you post on the internet it becomes public record. Anyone with a little time, and knowhow, can gather the bits and pieces putting together a report if necessary. Talking of participating in illegal activities could be used against you, by the police or anti's.

Linda
January 28, 2008, 09:55 AM
What you post "can and will be used against you in a court of law".:uhoh:

ZeSpectre
January 28, 2008, 10:02 AM
I work with one BATF&E Agent that reads this forum almost every day. He gets a kick out of the bashing threads.

Hello BATF&E, FBI, and all the rest of the Federal alphabet soup that reads forums like this. Hope y'all have a nice day, keep warm, it's nasty cold outside.

RKBABob
January 28, 2008, 10:20 AM
Do you guys worry about what you post here?
No.

I haven't written anything that doesn't reflect my position that firearms should be in the hands of the law-abiding citizens, that safety is a top priority, and that violence is to be avoided at all costs. I've repeatedly posted my opinion that firearm use in self defense is a last resort, only to be used when all other attempts at escape and de-escalation have failed.

I think everything I've posted reflects the fact that I am a level-headed and non-violent person... so I'm not worried one bit.

takhtakaal
January 28, 2008, 10:55 AM
By the time most of us would regret having posted something here, they'd be at all of our front doors, anyway.

Sort of like that saying about it being "time to dig them up when it's time to bury them."

hso
January 28, 2008, 11:52 AM
If you post like some Rambozo poser spouting "Kill'm All" stupidity you could find yourself in hot water in court based on your posts in an open forum like this, I suppose. Since THR tries to provide a place for more mature reasonable folks in the online community we shouldn't see many members engaging in that sort of behavior (at least not for very long).

tinygnat219
January 28, 2008, 12:31 PM
Nothing more than what I write in Letters to the Editor at various papers.

deanf
January 28, 2008, 01:03 PM
Fact is, Free speech may be free, but it can cost you. The government can discover your forum names and research your posts (in one recent case, that was as simple as asking the defendant's room mate). The government can and does subpoena posts from Internet hosts.

Ok, but again, "I challenge anyone to prove that I am the one typing these words . . . ."

How does it work in court? It would seem that unless I'm stupid enough to admit to it, or the state has a witness, there's no way the state can prove that I'm the one who actually put fingers to keys. What standard does the state have to meet in order for internet posting to be considered mine without question?

REOIV
January 28, 2008, 01:06 PM
My philosophy is don't do anything you would be ashamed of having to explain to other people 20 years later.

If you go into everything with that mentality, it doesn't matter.

Plus Kipling said it best:

"If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,"

The Tourist
January 28, 2008, 01:13 PM
I would characterize my views as "concerns" but not worries.

First, I'm always alert to any device or paper-trail that a criminal can use for identity theft. I am not aware of any currect scams, but I keep my ears open.

But my biggest problem relates to my business. As any business owner can assure you, it takes a great deal of effort to build something, and almost nothing to knock it down. And in that regard, I speak from experience.

I had trouble on another board where a mod openly questioned if I even owned a business. This really ticked me off. An international board can have tens of thousands of members. I told the clown to come visit me if he had doubts, or just call the sporting goods store or my Harley shop--and I gave him the phone numbers!

He never did call anyone, he was only interested in a smear and harrassment. I finally solved the problem by fax'ing my business license to the owner of the forum.

Whether or not it did cause a ripple is unclear. However, a member of a forum for professional sharpeners did get on an airplane and come to my place of business. It solved the issue with my professional peers, however...

MrPeter
January 28, 2008, 01:29 PM
I'm a little confused. What criminal case could be built where the only evidence is online posts?

This has been brought up before:

Citation of case based wholly on online evidence. (http://thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=301150)

hotpig
January 28, 2008, 02:45 PM
Ok, but again, "I challenge anyone to prove that I am the one typing these words . . . ."


I will help you cover your tracks. Give us your log in information including password and your address. It will make it much harder to pin anything on you if others have access to this information.;)

anygunanywhere
January 28, 2008, 02:49 PM
Say exactly what you want on-line. It really doesn't matter. If the JBTs of the different federal agencies really want to initiate a no-knock warrant and send in the goons in their Sunday best tacticool SWAT clothing then they will either use stuff you actually said or did or else fabricate evidence in their labs or on napkins at the local f-troop bar hangout.

What difference does it really make?

Anygun

hotpig
January 28, 2008, 02:55 PM
I have a dozen or so open cases with the Task Force. I wish the JBT would fabricate some evidence so that we can clear the cases and move on.:banghead:

Ed Ames
January 28, 2008, 04:59 PM
This thread is interesting but it hasn't touched on the real issue.

The current strategy for online inteligence gathering involves a type of math (Graph Theory) which is basically preoccupied with creating associative maps (Alice and Bob know each other, Bob and Charley know each other, etc) and extracting useful information from those maps (Alice and Charley have something in common). Superficially, Graph Theory seems to be pretty trivial, but, when you map enough associations, you can do some pretty impressive sorting and ordering... including determining the "structure" of an organization (school, business, terrorist organization, band, etc) or who is issuing commands in an opposing military force....

The problem is, of course, that you are part of that structure. You, your kids, everyone you know online... everyone... is actively being sorted into a great Map of Enemies.

You are on THR...

Many people on THR are also on Survivalist forums... Some people on Survivalist forums are members of so-called "militias" (which .gov has publically said are proto-terrorist orgs).

Some people on THR are also on fundementalist religious forums. Some of those fundementalist religious forums are also frequented by terrorist educators and agitators who are trolling for new converts.

You see where this is going?

By posting here you are placing yourself within a web of associations. You have no idea what those associations are, have no control over them, but they are being used to make decisions about you.

The math is of course never wrong. When provided with valid input it will show the true web of relationships. The relationships may not be meaningful.... THR will (at a guess) show high degrees of connectedness to both LEO oriented and Survival/anti-government oriented forums... that doesn't mean that LEOs preferencially associate with anti-government survivalists.... the relationships revealed may not be meaningful but they will be used to make decisions about you.

Maybe one person on THR has been marked (by the application of Graph Theory) as a "leader" of a terrorist set. Maybe they are also interested in M1 garands or something else and have a tendency to respond to a lot of the same threads as you. The emergent pattern will show that you are associated with that individual.

Maybe they'll just watch you a little more closely. No problem with that. You have nothing to hide, right? Except of course that the "nothing to hide" idea is based on a faulty understanding of how our Justice System works... it doesn't matter whether you have anything to hide. All that matters is whether they can gather enough evidence to support a theory that you did something criminal. As long as they can include enough corroborative points and exclude enough contradictory points they can get a conviction on anyone.... but I'm digressing....

Maybe those associations will be used as evidence against you... perhaps evidence that you breathed the same (legal) air as a specific criminal and so share guilt with her, perhaps evidence that you materially aided Official Enemies. Perhaps it will show that you associatated with vigilantees and so you were itching for a chance to "defend yourself".

If you are going to be concerned you shouldn't limit your concern to what you say... you should also worry about what others here say and where else they talk.

On the flip side, as well hanged for a sheep as a lamb.

Richmond
January 28, 2008, 11:22 PM
Ok, but again, "I challenge anyone to prove that I am the one typing these words . . . ."

How does it work in court? It would seem that unless I'm stupid enough to admit to it, or the state has a witness, there's no way the state can prove that I'm the one who actually put fingers to keys. What standard does the state have to meet in order for internet posting to be considered mine without question?

Much the same way they prove that it is you doing anything on your computer - build a trail. On posting, and if it was key evidence, they can get a warrant and seize your computer, subpoena records from your ISP and Web Host, establish where your computer was kept and who had access to it at the relevant times, establish that you registered and posted under a certain username, etc. You can claim "it wasn't me", but it is not that hard to build a list of facts that will convince a juror that you uttered the words in question.

Rather than me mumble through it, here is a handy-dandy manual for law enforcement from the Department of Justice:

Searching and Seizing Computers and Obtaining Electronic Evidence in Criminal Investigations

http://www.usdoj.gov/criminal/cybercrime/s&smanual2002.htm

There are really all sorts of ways that electronic words can be evidence of, or a major element of, a crime. For example, a threat made via PM or e-mail is no less a threat than one made by telephone or in a written note.

If you conspire with another to commit an offense, electronic discussion of it will be relevant just as verbal or written discussion.

The real place I see risky behavior is not in "alphabet agencies" monitoring discussion here; rather, I see it routine cases. For example, you are involved in a self defense incident. A prosecutor charges you, then digs up a number of statements you have posted in the past, and seeks to introduce them on the issues of intent and whether it was justified self defense.

tepin
January 28, 2008, 11:43 PM
No. Because these points are the theme of nearly all my posts:

1. Know your states laws and follow them
2. Always retreat when possible
3. Be ultra conservative when using force
4. Keep your mouth shut and request an attorney

My message is the same on all the boards I frequent and it is what I believe.

Jaenak
January 29, 2008, 12:54 AM
I don't worry about it. I'd speak the same in the court room as I do on the internet. I honestly don't care what other people think of me. I believe what I believe and I'm not about to change my mind just because someone disagrees with me. If the other lawyer wants to use that against me, then fine. He can ask me to my face what I think on other issues while he's at it and I'll give him my honest and straight answers.

Brenainn
January 29, 2008, 01:26 AM
The real place I see risky behavior is not in "alphabet agencies" monitoring discussion here; rather, I see it routine cases. For example, you are involved in a self defense incident. A prosecutor charges you, then digs up a number of statements you have posted in the past, and seeks to introduce them on the issues of intent and whether it was justified self defense.

Yeah, I have thought about that before... one reason why I think the use of a firearm should totally 100% be the last resort. It's also one reason why I worry/debate so much about having and putting to use a concealed carry permit - all that legal stuff scares me, as much as I'd like to have it for self defense purposes - being a single female and all. Anyway...

Also, since tone and facial expressions can not accompany typed words, things can be said/typed and then come across as something totally different to someone else later down the road. Anything you say publicly and in type, can be collected up, edited and put back together into something quite different than your original intentions. Kind of like those reality TV shows ;)

I have the same problem in emails and letters. Sometimes people take things I write totally not the way I meant for them to have been taken!

Just remember... you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be misquoted and used against you.

Guy B. Meredith
January 29, 2008, 01:39 AM
No. I have a clean conscience.

Feanaro
January 29, 2008, 09:00 AM
I haven't done anything, so I'm not worried. And if Leviathan is after me anyways, I don't think what I post on here is really going to matter that much. Planting drugs is much easier.

Cannonball888
January 29, 2008, 11:04 AM
I worry more about the mods then the feds :p

gym
January 29, 2008, 11:45 AM
I always post "leading question" when I see these questions, I don't know why the same ones keep getting asked, or who keeps asking them. I can't help but notice that they all seem to rotate over a 2 or 3 week period. I am not a lawyer, but some stuff just looks odd to me.First of all why even answer a question like that, it's not going to make a difference to anyone, other than exposing some personel thoughts to perhaps be used against you at a latter time. I have lots of posts in here when I first joined I felt that they were legitamite questions, but after seeing them over and over again, I am no longer sure. I am not new to forums, been on many, electronics, computer etc., But this is different, as what you say can be used to establish, "state of mind", if they "whoever", were to pull up 50 posts, where you say things like "shoot to kill", it may really come back to bite you in the ass, where if your posts are on more on a balanced theme, thay may not use them at all. But as we enter a new frontier in the criminal justice system, lets just agree that none of us actually know if or where this stuff goes. Maybe we all should stay away from "leading statements", they sometimes depending on what mood you are in that day, can come back to haunt you. But on the other hand we have "free speech", I think, and I believe that applies even here, as long as your answer is "what a reasonable person" would deem normal, you shouldn't have to worry about it, after all it's just an opinion and you know what they say about opinions.

beemerphile
January 29, 2008, 02:28 PM
I didn't say any of the things that I said on the internet. There is a little squirrel who comes into the house at night and freeloads on my computer.

I think he may be one of those patriot squirrels.

littlegator
January 29, 2008, 02:39 PM
As I am engaged in civil defense practice and have to defend suit against people who always want something for nothing and to take advantage of people (poking a little fun a Plaintiffs lawyers... :p ), I actually check the internet quite a bit to search for people's real character to use against them. MySpace is fantastic. E.g. - had a case against a gal who allegedly injured her back in a paint-damage only fender bender. She missed a lot of work because of the incident. Funny thing was, however, she had videos of herself snow skiing within a couple of weeks after the accident. Additionally, she stated under oath that she could not be around crowds since the accident because people now make her nervous. She was also shown on her MySpace page dancing at a party with hundreds of people. Priceless.

To answer the op, however, I know some prosecutors who look at things as well. It's not conspiracy theory stuff - like big brother watching over you, or anything, just common sense practice. They are too busy to be proactively trolling for people for no good reason. Big Brother himself? Who knows but him.

jackstinson
January 29, 2008, 02:43 PM
Constantly.
I also worry that I will never marry Jessica Alba.

Jack

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