Teacher Arrested for Threatening to Go Home and Game Acquitted

A teacher arrested after making a threat to kill hundreds of people was acquitted by a jury after clarification emerged that his remark was meant to reference the taking of virtual lives in videogame play, so that he could relieve stress.

Jason Davis was a teacher at Knox Central High School in Barbourville, Kentucky, when a student, and fellow online gamer who Davis often played with, hid some of Davis’ markers. Davis, according to Kentucky.com, was apparently having a rough day and this bit of tom foolery caused him to issue utterances about killing people to relieve stress, which was apparently taken out of context by students and resulted in his arrest in May of 2009 for second-degree terroristic threatening.

A jury needed only 10 minutes to conclude that Davis was not guilty. Davis spent a month in jail before coming up with bond, and is now unemployed as the school, before the incident, informed him that he would not be rehired.

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  1. 0
    Speeder says:

    Note: The trenchcoat mafia thing is a confusion by the media.

    They were NOT part of the Trenchcoat Mafia (that was a group of friends, where ONE of them knew ONE of the killers, and I mean KNEW they were NOT friends)

    And they also don’t used trenchcoats while shooting.


    But you know, at the time of the murders we had matrix, where Neo and Trinity kill everyone in a building while running on walls and taking shotguns and submachineguns from their trenchcoats, it is the perfect target for the media.



  2. 0
    SimonBob says:

    Note to self: get the guys to deck out in three-piece suits and refer to ourselves as "Wall Street Yakuza" before our next big killing spree.

    Virtual spree, I mean!  Whew, dodged a pink-slip there.


  3. 0
    Thad says:

    HunterD, I think perhaps you’re forgetting the detail that the killers called themselves the Trenchcoat Mafia.  If they’d worn any distinctive type of clothing and referred to themselves by that clothing, I think it would have gotten the same kind of media attention.

  4. 0
    Father Time says:

    That story made my day, thank you Andrew.


    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  5. 0
    HunterD says:

    I remember I was into the goth scene at the time and dealing with the fallout of that.

    What really annoyed me was if they had been wearing pretty much anything OTHER than black trenchcoats, the wardrobe wouldn’t have been a big deal.

    Any of the other school shootings nobody acts like wardrobe = causation.

    But yeah, I feel bad for this teacher, he might as well just find a new career, this is one of those things where the allegation is so bad that even being found not guilty won’t clear the stain.

  6. 0
    Arell says:

    I had a similar experience.  I was in college, and I also typically wore a long black trenchcoat.  The day after the Columbine thing, I wore it, not really thinking anything of it.  I got so many angry stares, maybe even a few frightened ones, but I didn’t know what was going on until someone in class explained it to me.  Honestly, I was a bit annoyed that people were treating my coat as some symbol of suppressed outsider violence.  One day it’s cool, the next day everyone assumes I’m ready to camp out in a tower with a rifle.

  7. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    I was in college.  I went to school that afternoon, having not read the paper or watched the news, dressed as usual in all black and a black leather trench coat.  As I had some time before class, I went to the break room and played a bit of Lethal Enforcers (arcade cabinet light gun game where you shoot waves of people).  Dual wielding is how I like to play.

    One of the school administrators wanted to have a talk with me.  Not knowing who he was or what he was talking about I rather curtly told him that he was interrupting my game and to go away.

    Good times.


    Andrew Eisen

  8. 0
    Neeneko says:

    Ah, I see that now in the linked piece.  Good catch.

    The month in jail is one of those fixable annoyances.  The whole bond system is left over from frontier expansion, and few (if any) other nations have such a system.  It is expesnive (costs the taxpayers billions each year) and does little more then enrich 3rd party investors who leach off the system.

  9. 0
    Thad says:

    Zero tolerance is a stupid, stupid thing; you have to check your common sense at the door.

    One of my favorite lines from King of the Hill is "I’m sorry, Hank, but we have a zero-tolerance policy.  If we showed even a LITTLE BIT of tolerance, then we couldn’t call it zero tolerance."  (Paraphrasing from memory.)

  10. 0
    asmodai says:

    Seriously, someone couldn’t sit down for 5 seconds with this guy and work out what the fuck he was talking about?


    "Who were you going to kill?"

    "Erm… Video game characters…"

    "Uh… okay…  I think someone might have fucked up here…"

  11. 0
    Thad says:

    He didn’t actually lose his job over this; he’d already lost it.  (Which I can see contributing to a more bitter, less watch-what-you-say attitude.)  But yeah, a month in jail is pretty harsh.

  12. 0
    Neeneko says:

    Good example of, even with ‘innocent until proven guilty’ you still pay a high price for being accused of a crime. 

    A month in jail with no crime? (the whole bond system needs to be abolished)

    Lawyers fees? (prosecution gets paid by the state, defense does not.  public defenders get 10% of the resources and minimal promotion oppurtunties and you can not even access them unless you are broke)

    Lost his job with no chance of getting it back?

  13. 0
    Arell says:

    Second degree means he threatened to go kill other people, not the people in front of him.  If he had said, "I’m going to kill you all!" that’d be first degree.  Actually, in that case, they wouldn’t even bother with "degrees."  But he said something to the effect of, "I can’t wait to go kill some people to blow off steam."

    As for the article, there’s got to be better ways to proclaim you need a video game break.  Especially in a public school environment.

  14. 0
    Thad says:

    Threatening to kill people is not protected under the First Amendment.

    I don’t know what the difference between first- and second-degree threatening is, but I assume it’s the same as in murder: premeditated versus spontaneous.

    The teacher in question showed poor judgement, but was clearly not making an actual threat — that’s why he was acquitted in 10 minutes.

  15. 0
    DorkmasterFlek says:

    "Second-degree terroristic threatening"?  Are you fucking kidding me?  That’s an actual, honest-to-god crime?!  1984 was supposed to be a warning, not an instruction manual!

  16. 0
    Thad says:

    Straight up.  I was in high school when Columbine happened; we knew right away we were going to have to be very careful about what kind of jokes we made after that.

  17. 0
    Kaeru says:

     Really this is just an exercise in "watch what you say in the workplace." Regardless of how casual or cool you think people are.

    To clarify, I think the fact that he spent a month in jail for this is ridiculous. He’ll probably have a rough time getting another teaching job, too.

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