13 Year Old Girl Charged as Terrorist After Posting on Facebook She Wanted to “Take Out Her Town.”

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July 15, 2014 by gregrabidoux2013

Splendora pic

Splendora no more-a?

And I don’t mean “take out her town” to say a nice Texas style roadhouse steak dinner.

No, “take out” as in “kill every single person” in her hometown of Splendora, Texas.

Now the population of Splendora is 1,615 including the suspected teen terrorist who may or may not have been including herself in her online threat. Named after the splendor or beauty of its trees, this tiny town in Montgomery County is still reeling from the unwanted national attention coming its way like a Texas-Twister after her alleged Facebook threats were anonymously reported to the local authorities and the FBI.

Splendora terror

The “F” is for good and evil.

In the wake of the 2013 Boston marathon teen bombing suspect Dzhokar Tsarnaev, the FBI and Homeland Security are not taking such threats lightly even if in this case, the suspect may not have had any apparent or obvious capacity to make good on her threats.

Splendora boston marathon

The handiwork of a teen terrorist.

Or, as Montgomery County Constable Kenneth Hayden out it, “Well, kids are gonna be kids.”

Look, I don’t know about your kids or those that call Constable Hayden “Pops,” but I am not convinced that threatening to obliterate and murder every person in your town is some sort of “rite of teen passage.”

On the other hand, what in years past may have simply been a teen aside or roar of much sound and fury but signifying in the end, nothing, to paraphrase Billy Shakespeare, now makes its way to the very public Facebook and arrests follow.

Are we too vigilant these days? Too ready to arrest our angry, venting teens when maybe a time-out and loss of online privilege for a week or two may be the answer?

Or, does Sarah Palin have the solution when she said recently that she’d welcome any would-be teen terrorist to these United States with a good ol’ session of waterboarding?

splendora palin

A little waterboarding will cure what ails you, eh?

One thing seems to be for sure-According to the international terrorist watch, our own Department of Homeland Security and a recent BBC report on Mideast Terrorism, terrorists are increasingly getting younger than ever. Groups such as Islamist extremists are recruiting, indoctrinating and grooming kids as young as 8 years old for several years to take up terrorism and be the “next generation of Jihadists.”

A ore in-depth BBC investigative report also traced how many depressed, lonely, socially outcast young male teens in the London area were being recruited and befriended via social media by sophisticated terrorist groups. Once befriended, they  then used the safe haven of temples to solidify the relationship and “turn” these teens to a life of terrorism.

splendora young terrorist

Who has time for books when there is more violent work to be done?

We see today that many of the terrorists operating in Iraq and now the Gaza strip are barely of US high school age, yet, sadly, well beyond their biological age in terms of experience with violence and terrorism. Not long ago many mainstream media outlets picked up on the profile of Diya Muhammad Hussein, a 16 year-old terrorist in charge of even younger groups of terrorists-in-training in Iraq and Syria. Seems young Diya had been being groomed and mentored in the ways of global terrorism for nearly a decade at the time of the profile.

But what happens when the terrorist threats are homegrown?

In the wake of the Newtown shootings and the seemingly never-ending line of lone teens with a gun and malice in their (almost always a he) hearts, can our law enforcement officers, can we, as a community, ever not take any threat seriously again?

In addition to her alleged broad-scope threat, she apparently singled out a Leukemia cancer patient. Seems Christian Beasley, a 12 year-old terminally ill patient who uses a robot named “Watt” to keep up with schooling was visited by Houston Texan football great JJ Watt.

splendora jj watt

That’s cool there’s a robot named after me. I think I’ll eat it!

Teen jealousy of the attention being given to young Christian? Even despite the fact he is literally fighting for his life?

Maybe we’ll get a better sense of what was going on in the suspected teen terrorist’s head when she posted her Facebook threats. Maybe we’ll never fully understand.

But if we want to share one lesson to all our children let’s remind them that there are two wonderful and terrible facts about the internet. The whole world can see what you post (or it can be hacked) and it is forever.

Bob Dylan had it just about right. Except now, the times, our times, they have changed forever.

splendora Bob Dylan

The times may have changed but I’m still a good looking devil! Dig the hat, eh?

Do you know what your kid does when he/she is online? Maybe it’s time we all paid more attention before it gets out of our hands and into those of the law.

Today, 1,614 residents of Splendora all breathed a sigh of relief and went about their business in this sleepy, sun-baked Texas town. For number 1,615, though, life will never be quite the same again for this teen.

bengal-tiger-why-matter_7341043

 

 

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27 thoughts on “13 Year Old Girl Charged as Terrorist After Posting on Facebook She Wanted to “Take Out Her Town.”

  1. Scarlett T says:

    I am a bit disturbed that the terrorist threats are getting younger and younger. What happened to the good ole days when terrorists were creepy older people who DIDN’T live in the United States? It makes you wonder why parents are not taking an active role in their children’s lives. It is not even about monitoring their social networking; its about making sure your pre-teens have healthy, active social lives. Put them in sports to release aggression, make them join clubs to make new friends. I mean this sounds like parenting 101 to me. Be involved in your child’s development or watch as your kid becomes the poster child for teen terrorist destruction.

    • Sherry B says:

      Scarlett, I agree that there is a problem but you have to look at it in the sense that in most homes today there isn’t two parents. A lot of homes now are functioning with only one parent normally the mother. Often times the mother is away from the home trying too provide for the family and the child is left with the babysitter or left at the home to watch themselves.
      As a result, kids often entertain themselves with social networking sites and post things that they really don’t know the severity of what their posting or the consequences.

  2. Jill V says:

    “Do you know what your kid does when he/she is online? Maybe it’s time we all paid more attention before it gets out of our hands and into those of the law.”

    Those two lines to me say it all when dealing with teens and their online outburst. Where are these parents? I don’t care how angry I was as a kid; I knew that lashing out or even saying cuss words in my house had its consequences. Now I know not every parent is as strict as the next but come on. The things that are happening in the world today regarding kids and their behavior have spun out of control. Where are the manners? Where is the punishment? And by punishment I don’t mean the law…I mean fear of being grounded or taking away their electronics. Are they even afraid anymore?

  3. Lisa S says:

    If it were a few years ago, I would certainly feel different about this situation. I think children that act out on social media are aware of their actions, because the same media outlet they are using to post is where they would have learned of the same fate of others that have done taken to social media with similar threats. For example, a 14 year old was arrested for making a threat to an airline in April 2014. http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/14/travel/dutch-teen-arrest-american-airlines-terror-threat-tweet/. The teens post to the airline and her consequences were all over social media. There have been other similar situations, related to teens being arrested for inappropriate social media actions. The realization is that technology and law enforcement have finally caught up with each other. No longer, can someone sit behind a computer and remain anonymous. I am sure the young person that threaten her town knew that if she were caught she would be in trouble, but neglected to think she could actually be caught. The answer to the question in the blog post, regarding the notion that we could ever take a threat from a kid lightly, is no, we simply cannot. When googling student threats, there are countless threads of students threatening to kill other students. No longer will parents sit and wait for their child to be hurt.

    I assume that schools taking action also protects the school from liability. Parents can and have sued the school system, if their child was harmed by others or harmed themselves and the school was aware of the situation. I do not see this situation changing anytime soon. Most school shooting result in the gunman being killed or killing themselves so with the loss of that person, we also lose the explanation to work towards a solution.

    As a parent, we cannot be in all places at all times, but putting processes in place to monitor online experiences must become a common practice for parents as a way to protect their child. I am sure my children will say, “That’s not cool Mom or other parents don’t do that”, I would rather hear those words a million times than have my child arrested for inappropriate un-monitored online behavior.

    NP MGT

  4. Tricia P says:

    Sadly, I am not surprised by this news. I believe that the police were correct in responding to the threat in the way that they did. It is much better to respond and the threat turn out to be unfounded then to not respond and have the teen carry through on their threat. Even though the poster was a teenager, I am sure she understood the significance of her threat, even if it was made in the heat of the moment. Teenagers these days know the seriousness of making such threats, even if they are just venting. Having grown up during a time when school shooting and bombings are becoming more common, the teen should have been able to comprehend the seriousness of her actions..Teenagers need to know that these types of threats are never ok, even if they are just made in anger or passion. Hopefully, teenagers can start to learn that everything posted on the Internet is there forever, and will learn other techniques on venting their frustration and anger.

  5. matthew.p says:

    We live in a different era. What was once just teenage angst is now viewed much different. and rightfully so. We no longer live in a world where these types of comments can be taken lightly. Our children need to understand at a much earlier age that there comments and actions have consequences. Whether or not the teen had the ability to carry out the threat is a moot point. The point is that each one of these threats need to be taken very serious by law enforcement and dealt with accordingly.

  6. Tracy A says:

    Kids today spend way too much time on FB or twitter or playing videogames or texting, everything other than simply being kids. And too little supervision leads to this kind of stuff. IDK what the answer is but showing kids there are other ways to vent than making public threats sure seems a start!

  7. Lisa R says:

    I see no problem with charging a 13 year old after reading this post. Teenager or not, taking out an entire town of people should not be a thought that crosses your mind. If it does, there is a reason that it does. As sad as it is to say, we cannot be cautious enough. Last year alone we saw a school full of children be terrorized, a movie theater, and a marathon of runners. If this tells us anything, it is that we have to pay attention to these types of signs and let everyone (those in the United States and those out) that we take these threats seriously. Maybe the girl was angry and her post was just a post, but in my opinion, that it a huge gamble to take.

  8. Fransiska says:

    I wished there was more information about the 13 year old girl. If there was more information about her, this would help me determine if the home land security is over reacting. Yes, I do think that every threat that is mentioned should be taken seriously. Thinking more clearly, the article only states that she is being charged as a terrorist. The articles does not say she was convicted. My mind is also wondering if she was being bullied or molested. Was there something that happened to this 13 year old that could have caused a psychological problem? There are a lot of questions that I have.

    • Fransiska, since the accused is a minor more information may be difficult to obtain. Since she was just arrested she has not yet been convicted. We don’t know much about her family/school situation, other than to say the residents in Splendora are shocked this happened.

  9. La'Keiya B says:

    I think its sad when a teenager feels he/she has no where to vent other then social media. Parents should be aware of what’s going on there children’s lives. Yes, I believe we’ve become too sensitive, but it’s better to err on the side of caution than to have another tragedy. I’m also appalled that grown men are taking advantage of children to carry out terrorist activities. I feel that these men who manipulate young males are cowards and desperate.

  10. Gerald J says:

    This is a tough one, by the simple fact that we should not use biased perspectives and make the assumption that a 13 year old girl making terrorist threats is only “talking.” Unfortunately, social media gives young kids (who are not the best decision makers) a platform to make bad decisions.

    I would like to think that homeland security could use selective judgement and assess the situation, but these days spotting a terrorist is not simple.

  11. Tyler W says:

    Personally, I don’t care how young these teen terrorists are…if they make threats then they should be locked up and if they are real terrorists why not tortured? I know that sounds harsh but we live in tough, cruel times and you can’t afford to be too careful!

  12. Michael R. says:

    The fact that terrorist are becoming younger and younger is quite a disturbing trend. Are law enforcement officers overeating towards this 13 year old? In my estimation, I believe it is key to remember previous acts of violence and the Boston Marathon bombing cited in the article is a good example. We live in a vast different era. What if the officers did not take any course of action? The narrative would be completely different and citizens would not be complaining of law enforcement overreaction.

  13. Jennifer M says:

    I think that the authorities were right in taking the threat seriously and taking action, especially since part of the threat was toward a specific person. It is sad that this is becoming such a common occurrence and at such a young age. Hopefully she will get additional assistance (counseling, therapy, etc) after she answers her charges. Individuals, no matter what age, need to understand that posting things in a public forum should be taken seriously.

  14. Andy Miner says:

    I was a senior in 1999, the year of Columbine. Like many across the country, it freaked my small-town school out (I had a graduating class of 76). Multiple students, including some of my friends, were called in for appointments with the counselor based on rumors of “hit lists” and the like, none of which were remotely true. And of course this was pre-Facebook and pre-Twitter, based entirely on word of mouth rumor-mongering, mainly about people you just didn’t like. It was pretty despicable. If anything, maybe that’s an advantage of the rise of Web 2.0 – it’s easier to ignore rumors spread by others and focus on real concerns if it’s something that was verifiably posted by the student on their own online presence.

    On the one hand, moody teenagers write moody, stupid stuff, and a lot of them don’t seem to be fully cognizant of the consequences of posting it online. Even if it doesn’t rise to the level of terrorist or shooting threat, it can still have real emotional consequences on others. On the other hand, one would think ubiquitous online comments would make it easier to address potential threats before they turn real, if handled very carefully and cautiously with full regard for the potential suspect’s rights. But we don’t seem to be very good at preventing such school-related tragedies nowadays so that kinda throws that argument out the window.

    The situation is further complicated with foreign terrorism, where you have the same technologies being used to recruit the same impressionable, gullible teenagers into a tragic life likely to meet a premature end. Unfortunately those teenagers are of an age where their main perception of the U.S. is of a big bad country that killed 100,000 mostly Arab Muslim citizens of a country that hadn’t attacked it. Combine that perception with the technological and psychological tools of terrorist recruiters and it’s no wonder so many of them are being drafted. That, of course, in no way justifies terrorist violence. But compare that to, say, the Marshall Plan, in which the U.S. helped European countries after WW2, including those it had defeated, get back on their feet, with the result being a generation of Europeans thankful to the U.S. who helped create one of the strongest alliances in human history. But there will never be a “Marshall Plan for the Middle East,” as for many U.S. politicians it is anathema to consider the root causes of terrorism.

  15. Erica Teague Friend says:

    I honestly feel no matter the age, the threats need to be taken seriously. Maybe her intentions were not to take out an entire town, but she could definitely have it in her mind to hurt someone. Parents need to more closely monitor their kids and what they are posting, who they are interacting with, and who they are hanging with. Unfortunately, it is so easy for kids to get a hold of weapons nowadays. They are taking these weapons (guns, knives, bombs, etc) to school to harm others or using them to harm their unsuspecting parents when they go to sleep at night. Parents have also got to take this more serious and if your child seems depressed or angry all the time, talk to them and find out what’s going on before they take their frustrations out on you or someone else.

  16. Anya C says:

    Some people are ready to blame the fact that a lot of homes do not have two-parent homes, but does that really matter if the child is taught from the beginning the difference between right and wrong and when they get of age to use a computer are taught the proper way to use the internet? No, plenty two-parent home children are very violent, simply look at the shows such as killer kids. As a person raised in a single parent home there was no excuse for just doing something outright wrong. How about parents whether they are single or not take more responsibility for their children? As a teacher, I see daily the lack of parental involvement once a child hits high school or even middle school. Also, I think others can help with this…maybe reading a book instead of being on the internet. We have to take any threat at school seriously because you never know what students/kids are hiding at home. The media plaster the suspects all over the news giving all the details of everything instead of reporting and sometimes focusing more on the victims. It seems this type of activity is like a drama being played out in the media.

  17. KAB says:

    When we have so much going on in our world today, you can never tell who is being serious or who is just saying things to get attention. I know that when I was that age I said just about anything to get the attention of my friends or family. I am sure the girl did not mean what she was saying; she was just having a really bad day. But, with so much crime and terrorist threats each day, we have to be careful with what we say and do. Because you never know who is watching. Parents need to also better monitor what their children are doing on social media these days.

  18. Bianca M says:

    It’s really sad that we do have to take every threat serious. Even if this teen was just going through a teenage phase where they may think everyone is against them and no one understands them. I think parents should do a better job with trying to communicate better with their children at a young age so that when they become teens they have that trust and communication already. More parents should ask their child about their day. It lets them know they care. No parenting style is the same so no one knows what this teen was going through. However, that does not excuse the Facebook post. Everyone should learn that the internet should not be used whenever your mad or even as a personal journal because like you stated it is there forever and cannot be deleted even when you think you deleted a post.

  19. Tinisha S. says:

    I am shocked that child so young could think of such a malicious and devious act at only thirteen years of age. What could possibly be going on in her head? Why is she so angry? Where are her parents? I am embarrassed and ashamed that this is what the world has come ….our own babies are now the terrorist. The police in this situation was correct and was definitely doing their jobs. I am sure that the pre-teen was well aware of her actions and should be handle accordingly. This teen is probably a product of a child that needed more attention and guidance, and I am sure this wasn’t the first time she has acted out. The parents should have taken notice to her behavior and actions well before it came to this point.

  20. Timothy C says:

    This is definitely a sad case. Whether the threat was the result of teen angst or credible hazard, all threats must be taken seriously. Since the World Trade Center bombing on 9-11-2001, we have remained on heightened alert. The government has been sharing intel that terrorists are recruiting their ranks using various methods and it is evident that terrorist are targeting their recruitment propaganda toward the US, UK, and other nations with known to antiterrorism policies. Considering the current terrorist climate, it is not beyond the realm of reason to suspect that a 13 year old girl is capable of committing terrorist acts. I pray that the intent behind her threat was benign and that she receive the care and treatment she needs to resolve her emotional challenges.

  21. Brandi S says:

    I think that this child is just venting. She may have some personal issues that no one knows about. She might was a victim of bullying no one knows. I would not label her as a terrorist, just a disturbed child that needs to be evaluated. Where were her parents in this. They should do a better job in monitoring their child because a 13 year old have no business with a facebook page. Her and her family needs to seek counseling and I truly believe that a 13 year old is not capable of taking out a whole town. But hey that’s just my opinion.

  22. Charles Heino says:

    It all goes back to parental accountability. Just like the caffeine issue that killed that student wrestler, parents need to be more engaged in their children’s lives. We live in a time that allows parents unprecedented access to kids whereabouts, purchasing habits, online history, cell/ text history and we dismiss it. Its like parents suddenly forgot that it’s OK to check on you kid…..in fact…..it’s your job. It seems this notion that teenagers are individuals and should be able to make their own decisions has permeated generation X, and maybe they forgot what the baby boomers knew….we’re not developed enough mentally as pre-teens and teens to make adult decisions, and it is up to the parents to make those decisions for their children.

  23. Massi M says:

    I understand the threats of terrorism both domestic and international, and the growing number of young recruits, and certainly all threats should be taken seriously. However, we as a society must be careful not to allow political actions (especially international terrorist) to change our way of life due to fear. Thirteen year old children often say things that are inappropriate and disturbing but most of the time harmless. The problem of course is “Facebook”, social media communications which broadcast emotional responses to the world. Venting anger at ones community because of perceived exclusion or some other trivial grievance could escalate into terrorist allegation due to homeland security considers. I am sure the teen did not factor that into her consequence equation. Yes more domestic incidents seem to involve children (and guns) more than ever before but much of the violence has to do with easy access to firearms and social policies stigmatize people in crisis. Terrorist of course recruit the weak minded or people in need of communal support (i.e. the some way gangs recruit by providing alleged family support), and befriend them through social media that parents rarely monitor. As a society, we must collectively look out for our children (emotionally, psychological, and physically), so that, terrorist/hater organizations cannot influence them to “act out” as jihadist, gang members, or vigilantes. Our homeland security policy is a collective policy incorporating several federal-government agencies to prevent harm to the public. They should not be influenced to charge a thirteen year old teen of terrorism just because other teens are involved in criminal or terror related actions.

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