Student Facing Terroristic Threat Charges After Decorating High School Bathroom With Laughable 'Satanic' Graffiti

from the HOW-DO-YOU-PENTAGRAM dept

Today’s “terroristic threat” is brought to you by a very disappointed Satan.

Apparently, this graffiti first appeared in a Brownsboro High School boys restroom before making its way across Facebook (as one’s graffiti does), where it was spotted by an increasing number of concerned parents and students. That groundswell of social media handwringing culminated in this:

School and law enforcement officials received information about graffiti on a bathroom stall at Brownsboro High School on Tuesday afternoon and investigated the matter. On Wednesday, the high school student was detained at the beginning of the school day and was questioned. The student was later charged with terrorist threat on a public entity, a third degree felony.

The Athens (TX) Daily Review’s coverage provides more color commentary from a concerned parent.

Stephanie Teel shared her concerns, and a photo on the Chandlerslist Facebook page.

“Today someone wrote on the walls starting 10 students would be sacrificed on 11/6/14. It also had writings about Satan as well as hell. I was informed it’s been going on for the past couple days,” she wrote. “With all the school shootings in the past, I don’t believe this is something to be taken lightly or joked about especially by a school official whom we trust with our children’s safety daily.”

At which point, the school district leapt into action, painting over the graffiti and asking students not to talk about it. Oh, and they sent the cops after the unnamed student, who will undoubtedly soon be graced with a name because of this decision:

At the beginning of the school day Wednesday, the student, who is being considered an adult instead of a minor, was immediately detained.

That escalated quickly. KLTV’s coverage includes this not-quite-accurate description of the graffiti/threat:

Pictures of the graffiti show images of a pentagram and words printed in and around it mentioning Satan and sacrifices. The graffiti depicted a pentagram and had phrases including “I will sacrifice 10 students” and “Satan is God”.

A pentagram it ain’t, at least not in the classic Satanic sense. For comparison:

And if there’s something referencing the death of “10 students,” it can’t be found in this “heavily circulated” photo, which only shows the phrase “sacrifice the children.”

If the unnamed student was hoping to impress the Dark Lord with his restroom wall tribute, he couldn’t have done much worse than this Lone Star State approximation littered with quasi-Satanic afterthoughts — something about as “threatening” as anything shown by Count Floyd and as “Satanic” as Simon Milligan and man-servant Hecubus. Someone bored and stupid made this, and now they’re facing felony charges… as an adult.

Hopefully, an investigation is also underway, rather than some sort of railroading. Third-degree felonies are punishable by fines up to $10,000 and sentences of 2-10 years. Texas is a bad place to be caught uttering terroristic threats. Just ask Justin Carter, whose online trash talk netted him $500,000 bail, time in solitary confinement (for his protection) and acts of violence from other inmates. As Tamara Tabo points out at Above the Law, terroristic threat laws steamroll the Constitution in their zeal to bring “terrorists” to justice.

Politicians and prosecutors trumpet terroristic threat laws as tools for the swift intervention of authorities, allowing law enforcement to prevent horrendous crimes. Sure, they make things easier. Ordinarily, if someone tips off the cops that someone else was talking about committing a crime, the police investigate. They could make an arrest later, if their investigation revealed that necessity.

With terroristic threat laws, the suspicious talk itself is the crime, not just evidence of plans for one. The cops can arrest for the threat charge and investigate the possible underlying violent scheme later. Meanwhile, the accused is not simply enduring the inconvenience of a police inquiry. He is locked up. Even if he is ultimately acquitted or charges are dropped, months of lost liberty is too high a price for using gauche language or failing to understand his audience’s sensitivities. It’s too high a price when police could have investigated the old-fashioned way.

Maybe this will all shake out in a few days. Maybe the cops did capture someone who needed capturing. Or maybe the swift overreaction of students, parents, administration and local law enforcement — all primed to believe another school shooting is constantly just around the corner — will see someone harshly punished for the crime of being stupid in public.

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Comments on “Student Facing Terroristic Threat Charges After Decorating High School Bathroom With Laughable 'Satanic' Graffiti”

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Rikuo (profile) says:

Fucking hell, anything and everything is being treated as a terrorist charge over there.
I wonder what would happen if I was still in school. I remember being in Business Studies class, and being given the assignment of writing up documentation for a fictional company. My company was a fictional black market arms dealer willing to sell weapons to anybody. My teacher loved it. These guys wouldn’t.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re:

LMAO, epic win! I did something similar but my company aimed at giving support to ascending villains that did not possess the revenue to maintain fully equipped evil lairs. The fun!

We’ll need to start appending the phrase “THIS IS A JOKE, NOT MEANT TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY” to our joking so the thin-skinned and the ones that are incapable of humor due to fear won’t freak out…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Yeah, one thing that watching real life crime shows has shown me, the greatest miscarriages of justice always occur when religion gets involved.

ESPECIALLY when religion is involved because someone decides “a Satanist must have done this”.

A few big examples of this are the Memphis 3 (police decided Satanists must have killed young children simply because satanists were in the news a lot lately there), and the Texas guy who was executed for setting his house on fire to kill his children in a satanist ritual (despite all the forensic fire experts who looked at the case debunking the prosecution’s entirely theory).

PRMan (profile) says:

Re: Re:

And maybe for threatening to “sacrifice children”. I get it. Not everything is a threat.

But this IS A THREAT.

Maybe just drawing a pentagram is not a threat (threatening because it’s a gateway for demons, perhaps, but that’s another story). Saying “Satan is God”, as much as I disagree as a Christian, is not a threat. Saying, “I’m going to sacrifice children” is a threat and should be dealt with as such.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Saying, “I’m going to sacrifice children” is a threat “

But that statement was NOT made. Look at the photograph. It says “Sacrifice the children” (sounds like a quote out of some schlock horror book or movie to me), nor is there ANY mention of 10 children.

Topping it all off, in the second link, one of the parents is quoted as saying:

“BISD officials were notified, and the solution was to paint over the image,”

Was to PAINT OVER the image, this implies it has already been painted over? Sounds like destruction of evidence. How about the felony trial if the image no longer exists?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

That isn’t a threat is a political statement of advocacy. See also “eat the rich”.

I will say that sacrifice the children works great as a satirical response to whatever screws over kids and their future, to point out that they are indeed already sacrificing the children in acts of utmost selfishness.

School to prison pipeline? “Sacrifice the children!”.
Cash For Kids Scandal? “Sacrifice the children!”.

Bergman (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

A pentagram is a symbol of protection against demons/evil. For it to be a threat it would need to be inverted (pointing down instead of up). But even then, it’s still a religious symbol and probably protected speech.

But I agree, stating he will sacrifice children is at least vaguely threatening. It’s not necessarily explicitly threatening however, since sacrifices take many forms — you could sacrifice someone’s self-esteem by heckling them, for example.

not again! says:

21st century 'witch' hysteria

These public panic crazes seem to come and go in cycles. Today everyone constantly fears dying in an international terrorist attack or mass-shooting at school, even though they’re exponentially more likely to get hurt or killed in the kind of “routine” road accident that never makes the evening news. A few hundred years ago it was all about witches, the evil hidden hand behind everything that ever went wrong, and it became priority number one to root them out and when identified … burn them at the stake.

Almost a quarter-century ago the mass hysteria was about Satanism-infested Day Care. And we knew it was indeed real because 3 & 4-year-old children nationwide always cracked (under high pressure interrogation techniques) and admitted they were forced to participate in these satanic orgy rituals. Scores of these satanic pedophile childcare providers went to prison, busted by the testimony of well-rehearsed 3 year olds.

And just like the 16th century witch hunts, these crackdowns aparently worked, because, just as fast as that epidemic sprang up, these nationwide satanic childcare rings disappeared off the face of the earth, and not a single one has emerged since in the last 20 years.

But now, who knows, maybe Satanism is finally back, and if so, it must be fought with a zero-tolerance approach, and anything with the most subliminal, barely-there hint of Satanism must be fought with nothing less than full scorched-earth tactics.

And we must remember that these fire-and-brimstone tactics always work, because after all, how often do you hear about witches today, 400 years after they were successfully eradicated? Or even Satanic daycare providers? Case closed. Mission accomplished … now on to find the next dragon to slay.

Rapnel (profile) says:

Re: Any Excuse is a Good Excuse to Expel Morons

“value the opportunity to learn”? are you kidding me with that? Well don’t look now but there appears to be no shortage of folks remaining that do not value learning.

and since when, on any sane plane, does mischief, class disruption, bad attitudes and pharmies equate to bullshit terroristic threat charges, several grand and two to 10 years?

Yesh, there are definitely morons that need expelling, expunging, exorcising and some extreme displacement-ing far away from any schools for children.

It’s a pity we sacrifice life so readily, isn’t it? That can’t end well.

Anonymous Coward says:

Who are the real terrorists?

It seem that more terrorist acts are committed by officials then students these days. The many incidents like the pop tart gun, finger point gun with sound effects and finally the superintendent diorama depiction. All with gross over reactions are certainly terrorist actions that get explained away by idiotic platitudes that boil down to “think of the children”, by all means think of the children that they harm with slander, defamation, arrest, illegal interrogations and finally token petty punishments. All done by stupid thin skinned bureaucrats afraid of their own shadows if they don’t put a stop to these rebellious acts. Your all just self important wimps, grow a pair and get on with your life. Nobody has been killed by a pop tart or a “pew” sound and dumb adolescent scribblings are just more graffiti. I don’t think even Texas has a law against Satan any more then Christ, that would be religious discrimination. Will these same officials be eager to charge a christen evangelist student as an adult, with terrorist acts, fat chance. Maybe we could clean up roaming bands of evangelist that lay siege to our neighborhoods, they are all in God’s army after all, what more do you need to know.

Anonymous Coward says:

But to play devil's advocate (or is this the opposite? Now I'm confused.)

What do you think the kid’s intentions were when he wrote that? Do you perhaps he intended that some people be afraid? Maybe even to the point of inducing… terror? Why else would he write “sacrifice the children”?

With terroristic threat laws, the suspicious talk itself is the crime, not just evidence of plans for one.

Yes, it is, and that’s how it should be because, as you say, that IS the crime. If you call in a bomb threat, it doesn’t matter whether you actually have a bomb. (OK, it DOES matter quite a bit, but you get my point – the threat itself is the crime.)

I’m sympathetic to the idea that this particular incident should not rise to the level of a third degree felony, however. The “threat” wasn’t very threatening. We have degrees when it comes to things like theft – shoplifting a candy bar does not get a kid the same charge as stealing a car.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: But to play devil's advocate (or is this the opposite? Now I'm confused.)

“Why else would he write “sacrifice the children”?”

Maybe because it was Halloween a few days ago and he OD’ed on horror flicks just like kids (and some adults, ahem) do? Couldn’t be that simple. Must be terroristic.

Wait a minute, are zombies terrorists? Vampires? Ghosts? Arrest Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and all TV broadcasters promoting terrorism and stuffing it down the throats of Innocent Children. Think of the children!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: But to play devil's advocate (or is this the opposite? Now I'm confused.)

Maybe because it was Halloween a few days ago and he OD’ed on horror flicks just like kids (and some adults, ahem) do?

So you’re going to blame television?

Wait a minute, are zombies terrorists? Vampires? Ghosts?

I think zombies, being brainless, lack the requisite intent, even though they do terrorize people. Vampires tend to not try to scare people (they’re more of the charm-their-victims type), so although they might commit murder, they probably would not be terrorists. Ghosts sometimes to try to scare people, but the literature is inconsistent on whether they can have intent or are just following instincts. I’m not sure how you could arrest one, anyway.

Arrest Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and all TV broadcasters promoting terrorism and stuffing it down the throats of Innocent Children.

Hey, YOU’RE the one who just claimed that television was responsible. Don’t blame me when you follow your own logic to its conclusion and don’t like it.

And also, they aren’t “stuffing it down the throats of innocent children”. Simply offering those movies doesn’t rise to that level. Anyone is free to watch or not watch – including the vandal who you think was influenced by the watching. If the broadcasters were to tie children down and force them to repeatedly watch, then they would absolutely be responsible – but that doesn’t tend to happen too often.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: But to play devil's advocate (or is this the opposite? Now I'm confused.)

“What do you think the kid’s intentions were when he wrote that?”

To be rebellious and shocking.

“Do you perhaps he intended that some people be afraid?”


This general sort of graffiti has been happening for as long as there have been walls and markers. To call this “terroristic” is ludicrous. It’s clearly not even a serious threat.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: But to play devil's advocate (or is this the opposite? Now I'm confused.)

I don’t think the graffiti shown rises to the level of a true threat, but either there’s more graffiti not shown or someone horribly misquoted what the graffiti said (there was something about a specific number of children being sacrificed on a certain date, but that’s not in the picture shown here.)

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: But to play devil's advocate (or is this the opposite? Now I'm confused.)

I gather with your warped and convoluted logic that you are now going to go to every church, mosque, temple, synagogue, prayer meet and have them all arrested as well.. Since they too spread words and philosophies that are INTENDED to make people fear.

While you are at it arrest every bureaucrat and politician.

Oh and YOURSELF since you make me afraid of the intelligent quotient of the human race if your one of it’s shining examples of whatever the fuck you think you are.

Anonymous Coward says:

In all this hysteria over the “terroristic implications” of this young person’s message, a simple fact was overlooked – “sacrifice”, “forever” and “children” were all spelled correctly, and while punctuation was lacking, overall, those who seek to punish the artist will at the least be able to stand before Lord Satan and say “the education system works!”.

Rapnel (profile) says:

OK, since clearly the identity of the child is known could someone please tell me what has happened to handling this on an appropriate level? What’s wrong with “Clean it, take three days to think about it and take a few sessions with counseling services (read: not the police)” before any sort of escalation? Why are we always so fucking willing to break people? Are people really that damn scared of dying, death and destruction that they’ll preempt the prospects of a normal adult life for a child and all those around them? For the likes of this? A marked up bathroom stall? I really think we need our collective heads examined, quickly, or we truly are fucked. Is our government responsible for this shit? Because if it is then it’s well past overdue for a reality check.

Living life under some phobia of perishing in a terror “attack” is not freedom, by any measure. Whoever thought or continues to think that our current state of affairs qualifies as the American Dream needs a padded cell. And that before shit gets real real.

Zonker says:

Actually, the graffiti appears to be a pentacle (circle around the star) rather than a pentagram, and as depicted with the point facing up is used as a symbol of protection from evil much like the cross does when facing up. To be “satanic” or “evil” it would have to be inverted, just like an inverted cross. So technically, the graffiti would be protecting the students rather than threatening them.

Second, the most the student would be guilty of is a Class C Misdemeanor Criminal Mischief under Texas law:

You may be in court to answer to criminal mischief charges if the prosecution has reason to believe you did any of the following:

Intentionally or knowingly damaged someone else’s property
Intentionally or knowingly tampering with someone else’s property causing loss or substantial inconvenience, or
Intentionally making marks, graffiti, inscriptions, or drawings on the property of another.

Class C Misdemeanor Criminal Mischief

Your criminal mischief charge may be a Class C misdemeanor if the damage done is valued at less than $50 or causes a substantial inconvenience to others. Class C misdemeanors are punishable by a $500 fine.

But since the student was not charged with criminal mischief, he should walk free. Based on the evidence here, no specific nor credible threat has been made to any specific person which could meet the requirements of a felony “terrorist threat” charge. First and Eighth Amendments would bar the prosecutions case here if the Constitution still had any legal relevance today.

daniel miles says:

far too many things for this to be taken seriously…

1, as said above, the “pentagram” is not in the satanic design, it is in the typical wicca arrangement (not the reversed version of a majical symbol denoting the opposite values)

2, pentagram is and never will be truly associated with satanic worship, the pentagram is an ancient occult symbol for the 5 forces of nature in one design. much like yin-yang shows duality in unity..

3, again press and “school officials” have added negative based perceptions based on no truth there is no writting saying “i will sacrifice 10 students” i bet none of the “officials” have actually looked at the picture…

4, school quickly painting it over and telling students not to talk about it… very much like how in the re-editing of the bible, magical practise and knowledge was outlawed for fear of the populace learning the truth about the universe (spirit and everything else we deem supernatural (if it is expressed on this planet, it is part of the universe…))

5, powers that be, illuminati, nwo etc ALL are aware of how they are loosing power and grip on the “percieved reality” they have pulled over our eyes. they are scared. they are frantically trying to maintain control and things like thie and ebola are how it is done.. dont let them win guys, we must reclaimn our knowledge, we must reclaim our power..

May the force be with you all..

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

The Pentagram as a Satanic symbol

Whether or not the pentagram is acknowledged by any given Satanic church, or Satan-centric religious practice (yes, there are some). It is used by several christian organizations as the sign of their adversary, many of whom are willing to interpret any pentacle or pentacle-like image (such as some expressions of euclidian geometry) as indication of the presence of the enemy, and in cases like this, that is its power.

Essentially it’s similar to if the lad drew (badly) a swastika on the wall.

This should still serve as no reason to accuse him of terrorism or anything more than tagging (mild vandalism that warrents an hour or two of cleaning duty), but in societies that are dominated by Satan-fearing Christian religious groups, I can see how this could lead to overreach by those in power who are insecure of the respect they get.

And yes, regarding it as anything more than a mere scribble chills free speech.

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