What passes for justice can sometimes seem extremely unjust.
Take the case of 19-year-old Texan Justin Carter. He's been in jail for months for writing the following on Facebook to a fellow "League of Legends" gamer who questioned his sanity: "I think Ima shoot up a kindergarten. And watch the blood of the innocent rain down. And eat the beating heart of one of them."
His family says that he was joking. His father.
However, a Canadian woman saw his post, discovered where Carter lived, and called his local police. The rest is misery.
He was arrested and thrown in jail. He has sat there for months because a judge decided that Carter, of all people, deserved bail of $500,000.
Still waiting for the legal process to meander its way toward truth, Carter is now reportedly suffering heinous attacks.
His father, Jack, told NPR: "Without getting into the really nasty details, he's had concussions, black eyes, moved four times from base for his own protection."
Why would Justin Carter be the object of such abuse? Has word somehow got around that he is really some sort of child-threatener?
Jack Carter is extremely concerned for his son's welfare. He told NPR: "He's been put in solitary confinement, nude, for days on end because he's depressed. All of this is extremely traumatic to this kid. This is a horrible experience."
As far as his arrest was concerned, no weapons were found. Nor was evidence of massacre-planning or mental derangement.
The police have offered mere platitudes, as New Braunfels Police Lt. John Wells did to NPR: "We definitely understand the situation that Mr. Carter is in, however he made the comments, and it is an offense. We have to protect the general public and specifically, in this case, with it involving schoolchildren, we have to act. We take those very seriously."
Does taking something seriously include examining whether the comment might just have been a joke -- one of thousands that are exchanged weekly between gamers, ballplayers, and many others?
I have contacted the Comal County Sheriff's Office, the jurisdiction in which Carter is being held, to see if it will confirm any of Jack Carter's allegations. I will update, should I hear.
Carter must now wait until July 16 before his lawyer -- who says he has never heard of such a bond being set, even for alleged murderers and rapists -- can attempt to get his bail lowered and secure his release.
You might imagine that, by now, someone in authority might have determined whether Justin Carter is a genuine threat to the community.
Update, 11:33 a.m. PT: A spokesman for the Comal County Sheriff's office told me that Justin Carter is not being kept in solitary confinement, as the jail doesn't have those kind of cells. However, it does have separation cells. He also told me that the allegations are being investigated, with all those allegedly involved being interviewed. The investigators will also be reviewing video footage for evidence.