Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Words do matter

Its not a joking matter these days. Not when unfortunately, young adults follow through on these threats and people are left after the outrage and wonder why they ignored the signs and portents.

Boerne threats ‘just a joke'
Zeke MacCormack - Express-News

BOERNE — Words matter.

Allen W. Doelitsch Jr. is grappling with that reality behind bars after text messages he exchanged with a 14-year-old friend led to his arrest Friday on a first-degree felony charge: criminal solicitation of a minor to commit capital murder.
Doelitsch, 18, confirmed authoring messages that police see as evidence he was plotting an attack on Champion High School here, but he said authorities overreacted.
“I think it's really stupid, seriously,” he said Tuesday at Kendall County Jail, where he was being held in lieu of posting $500,000 bond.
“I never said I was going to do it, I just said I feel like doing it,” he said. “That's a different story.”

It's not the first time Doelitsch's remarks about the 1999 Columbine High School attack have drawn police scrutiny. Doelitsch said depression has fueled his fixation on the deadly shootings by Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris.
“That's what I feel like doing. I'm not going to do it,” he said.
Doelitsch served time in juvenile detention in 2006 for writing graffiti in a Boerne High School bathroom, including, “remember Klebold,” “Hitler was awesome,” and “don't piss me off this school will have a shootout,” authorities said.
“It was just a joke,” he said.

Doelitsch is unemployed, lives with his mother and is seeing a therapist. He said he hadn't taken medications for his bipolar disorder for two weeks prior to the Aug. 16 messages that landed him in jail.
“Ya I know I hate life now I just wanna kill people at champion high school and then blo my own head off,” he wrote, according to court records.
His alleged accomplice isn't charged in the case, but was booked into Kerr County Juvenile Detention Center last week for allegedly violating probation on a prior offense. The younger teen's parents couldn't be reached for comment.

Police Chief Gary Miller said several past calls about alarming remarks by Doelitsch were investigated, and his home searched, but a solid case wasn't built until the text messages were in hand.
“If we wanted to file a charge of criminal attempt at capital murder, we would have to have shown more than mere preparation for the crime,” he said Tuesday. “This offense requires only that he solicit a minor to commit a particular crime.”
While conceding that talk of killing sprees is dark and disturbing, Doelitsch dismissed it as harmless, idle venting.

“I've been a good kid all my life,” he said.
But he ran afoul of the law at least three times this summer.
Charges of trespassing and enticing a minor were filed against him in June for allegedly going to Boerne High School, despite being banned there, and for contacting an underage girl he'd been warned to avoid.

Also in June, he led police to a handgun — at the 14-year-old's house — that Doelitsch admits taking from a car while trying to steal gas money. He isn't charged in that case.
Doelitsch said his mother, who couldn't be reached, didn't punish him for those problems.
The discovery of the gun amplified officials' concerns about a potential attack by the pair.
“Everyone believed that they were each capable and that if given the opportunity, they would carry out the crime,” Miller said. “We've seen reports from counselors who interviewed Doelitsch who felt he was dangerous.”

Prosecutors agreed it was time to hold Doelitsch accountable for his words.
“In these instances, you err on the side of caution, of safety,” the chief said.
Doelitsch, who said he didn't know the charge against him Tuesday — or that it carried a maximum penalty of 99 years in prison — seemed to have gained a new respect for the ramifications of loose talk about deadly acts.
“If I get out of this I'm never going to think about it again,” he said, wiping away tears. “I just don't want to ruin my life. ... I just want to get back to the real world.”