A man is in jail after posting a nasty message to 4chan suggesting someone kill a Florida sheriff. Richard Golden, 38, was arrested at his mother's house Thursday. Upon answering the door, she shouted "they're here" into his lair.
Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood took a public stand against Nazism last week, earning a torrent of hate from right-wing keyboard warriors.
Golden was charged with a felony count of writing a threat to kill, according to Fox 35 News.
According to the investigation, the threat was posted in a 4chan chat on Feb. 22. Users had been discussing Chitwood's response in the community and one user, later identified as Golden, suggested someone, "Just shoot Chitwood in the head and he stops being a problem. They have to find a new guy to be the problem."
"But shooting Chitwood in the head solves an immediate problem permanently. Just shoot Chitwood in the head and murder him," the post continued.
A funny line from Chitwood, publicizing the arrest:
"What a shame. A 4chan troll has to come out of his room."
At Dexterto, Michael Guilliam writes that Golden in fact wrote "Just shoot Chitwood in the head and murder him. In Minecraft," implying that it was a joke (see the "In Minecraft" entry on Know Your Meme). But their own linked source, the Fox News item, doesn't include any mention of that. Screengrabs (and a few went around) are easily faked.
One site that archives 4chan threads, though, includes the line:
It's a transparent fig leaf, an example of extremists exploiting what Jean Paul Sartre once described as the Nazis' self-awarded "right to play" in encouraging violence. But it may also show that this was not a true threat, just a manchild posing online for other edgelords. Compare the traditional legal distinction between the ride and the rap.
The implication is that the Sheriff and mainstream media quoted the posting in full but for the last two words. It might not make a difference legally, and it is of course dumb as dirt, but a decision to remove it from the quotes would be interesting all the same.