Making Terrorist Threats: Coronavirus Edition
For some people, the lure of doing funny (or stupid) things for social media is very strong. However, it’s important to understand that we’re in a very difficult position here as news of the coronavirus spreads. Everyone is on edge and no one has a comfortable feeling. For that reason, local governments are cracking down on anything they consider to be promoting the spread of the virus and charging those who do things like licking deodorant with statutes that are generally relegated to terrorist threats and acts.
One Missouri man found this out the hard way after he took a video of himself apparently licking tubes of deodorant in a Walmart and then posted the video online. He has since been charged with “making terrorist threats” and may be facing a felony charge.
New Jersey Man Coughs on Wegmans Employee
In other coronavirus terrorist news, a New Jersey man who claimed he had the coronavirus deliberately coughed on a Wegmans employee. He has been charged with harassment and making terrorist threats.
Fifty-year-old George Falcone was asked to move back from a worker at the grocery store. The worker reported that Falcone was standing too close to them. Falcone replied by telling the grocery store worker that he had COVID-19 and then proceeded to cough on them. He then advised two other employees of how lucky they were to still have jobs.
The NJ State Attorney General advised the public that doing anything of the sort will be prosecuted and that spreading fear during the outbreak will be charged under terrorism laws. No doubt, Falcone is scratching his head as to how he got himself into this situation, but frankly, no one is amused by these sorts of antics. Does that mean that he’s guilty of making terrorist threats? It depends on the laws of the state and how the statute is worded.
For instance, the guy who licked the deodorant in Missouri will either be found guilty of a felony or a misdemeanor both under the terrorist threats statute. This is because the words of the statute make room for “criminally negligent” or “reckless” behavior. In other words, the threat doesn’t necessarily need to be actionable or credible. The litmus as to whether or not the law has been broken revolves around whether or not his video could potentially cause a panic.
Falcone, on the other hand, did something that was much more likely to cause others to become afraid. He is facing 3 to 5 years in state prison simply for coughing on the employee. He is also charged with misdemeanor harassment which could add another 6 months to his sentence and obstructing the administration of law, which could add 18 more months.
What is the moral of the story? Well, you should respect that everyone is on edge right now and grocery store workers are on the front lines of this battle. You should not do anything to cause fear in public because you will likely be charged with a felony and no one is in a good enough mood to offer anyone a free pass.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’ve been caught licking deodorant in public, you will probably be charged with a serious crime. Call the West Palm Beach criminal attorneys at the Skier Law Firm, P.A. to learn more about how we can help.