In Michigan, an exemplary young man was arrested for an obvious joke
Twenty-one-year-old Lucas Gerhard was arrested almost two years ago in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, for sending an obvious joke to friends via a private Snapchat. Since then, he spent 83 days in jail, before being transferred to house arrest, where he is unable to go to school, leave the house, or use the internet. And this is all because he made a private joke about his legal AR-15. This is a heinous assault on his First and Second Amendment rights. Moreover, it takes place against a backdrop of leftist prosecutors and governors across America bending over backward to release violent criminals.
Lucas Gerhard, a former Eagle Scout, attended Lake Superior State University (LSSU) in Sault Ste. Marie, where he was working toward a degree in criminal justice with the goal of a career in law enforcement. LSSU is a fairly small school, just south of the Canadian border, with only 2,000–2,500 students, many of whom are Canadian.
LSSU is something of an "aggie" college, with a large and respected criminal justice program. Still, as is the case for 99% of American colleges, it manages to have a "social justice and community activism" page as part of its campus life — although the link to that page is dead. One of LSSU's leftist students, a young woman, frequently argued with Lucas, so much so that he blocked her on social media.
In the summer of 2019, Lucas bought himself an AR-15, which he brought to campus with him. At the time, he promptly followed school rules, checking his gun and ammunition in with the LSSU safety office. At around the same time, Lucas sent a private Snapchat joke to friends, showing a picture of his kitted-out rifle, with the message, "Takin' this bad boy up, this outta [sic] make the snowflakes melt, aye?" As if it wasn't already clear that this was a joke, he added, "And I mean snowflakes as in snow."
Two leftist students saw that image on a friend's phone and took a picture of it. The young woman who fought with Lucas then used the Snapchat image to file a report with the police, claiming that Lucas was making threats.
When the police showed up, Lucas explained that he was just making a joke about people whose brains melted when they were faced with an opposing political ideology. Nevertheless, the police arrested him the next day and charged him with violating Michigan Penal Code §750.543, which governs making terrorist threats. Under the law, a person makes a terrorist threat if he "[t]hreatens to commit an act of terrorism and communicates the threat to any other person." The penalty calls for up to twenty years in prison plus as much as $20,000 in fines.
During the pre-trial hearing, the prosecutor claimed that Lucas had multiple "contacts" with the law, which was a lie by omission. While campus leftists frequently tried to sic the police on Lucas, he was invariably found innocent of the charge against him. One example was when he wore his OCSO cadet uniform while carrying an authorized bag of police training gear to a lecture he was giving — another "threat." There were no charges, nor were there charges when someone vandalized his car.
Even worse, during the pre-trial hearing, the prosecutor played a graphic video of the mosque shooting earlier that year in Christchurch, New Zealand. Faced with the prosecutor's "evidence," the court denied Lucas bond. Instead, he was sent to jail, where he spent 83 days, a problem for a Type I diabetic, before his father could bail him out. He's been under complete house arrest ever since, with a $500/month tether and no access to education or the internet.
Lucas's situation is so heinous that Jonathan Turley, the Democrat law professor who doesn't realize he's a conservative, was moved to write about the injustice. I read about the story at the Gateway Pundit, from which I've drawn the facts in this post. A Michigan Republican legislator unsuccessfully tried to change the law to add a reasonableness standard, one that distinguishes between legitimate threats and anything a snowflake whines about.
The Michigan Appellate Court has accepted an interlocutory appeal (that is, it's not waiting for a final judgment), which is a good sign. These are rarely granted in criminal cases.
So why am I writing about this case? Because every conservative needs to understand that, while we're still slack-jawed with disbelief and dismay about events in America in the last year, leftists at every level — the White House, Congress, statehouses, courts, prosecutors' offices, colleges, and dormitories — are engaged in all-out war.
If we are to avoid cultural, political, and constitutional defeat, we need to adopt their legal tactics: letter-writing campaigns, phone calls, non-violent protests...anything to raise the volume. While leftists currently hold the whip hand, we keep learning that they are, in fact, a minority because Americans don't like their values. It's time to make the powers that be across America hear that those who value the Constitution, the rule of law, and common sense are the real majority.
Image: Lucas Gerhard. GoFundMe page.
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