Teen’s Plane Bomb ‘Joke’ Backfires

On Saturday, Aug. 3rd, while a 17-year-old Houston man waited with his family and a church group at George Bush Intercontinental Airport for a vacation flight to Guatemala, he posted two selfies on a social media account accompanied by two sinister messages: “blow this **** up,” and “time to blow up the plane.” The flight boarded and took off without incident and arrived at its foreign destination safely. However, the social media website promptly notified the FBI, which located the teen’s account and verified that he sent the messages. A week later, the teen and his group returned to Houston where he was met at the airport by FBI agents and arrested. He is presently jailed in lieu of a $10,000 bond and faces a federal felony charge of making a terroristic threat. If convicted, he faces up to a 10-year prison term. The hearing officer before whom he was arraigned seemed to take a remarkably expansive view of the incident, rejecting the Government’s request that the teen be held without bond and suggesting that before prosecutors gear up in the case they search his home to determine if he actually possesses any bomb making materials.

Teens have been known over the years to do some really dumb stuff in a misguided effort to be “funny,” and maybe the judge’s attitude is a commendable one if this turns out to be nothing more than a joke in appallingly bad taste. But, given the searingly violent events in our recent past across this entire country it is very difficult not to take such threats seriously.

If you are a teen or you have one or more in the family, I strongly recommend that you think about or share this story with them. Part of being an adult is having compassion. And, if we don’t teach our teens that message strongly, they may pull a bonehead stunt like this… and earn a lifetime of consequences.