If you wipe away the blustering, overblown, over-hyped, over-indignant carrying-on by newshounds hunting a story with no expense spared, there’s a case unfolding in North Carolina which carries plenty of legitimate reason for concern. The bare bones of the situation surrounding 16-year-old homeschooler Ashton Lundeby, from Wired magazine’s Threat Level blog post, Bloggers, TV, Go Nuts Over Misleading ‘Patriot Act’ Arrest Claim:
FBI agents investigating a February 15 bomb hoax that evacuated the mechanical engineering building at Purdue University traced the phone call to the juvenile’s Oxford, North Carolina home, served his mother with a search warrant and arrested the teen. They issued a press release about it, omitting the suspect’s name. That was on March 5, and he’s been held without bail in Indiana ever since.
The blogger, Kevin Poulson, explains:
It’s the false TV news report heard ’round the world. Raleigh, North Carolina’s WRAL-5 reported last week that a 16-year-old bomb hoax suspect was hauled out of his mother’s home by federal agents, and is now being held without any legal rights on the authority of the 2001 USA PATRIOT Act, which “supersedes the Constitution.”
This tale of injustice has since shown up on Drudge, Digg, Reddit, and a thousand blogs and shoot-from-the-hip mailing lists. The boy’s name is rising on the Google Trends index. Radio show host Alex Jones interviewed the boy’s mother on Tuesday, and pundits on the left and right are seizing on the story to rail against the government’s unfettered power to make an innocent citizen disappear at will. Some outraged reports are claiming the teenager hasn’t even been charged with a crime.
I recommend reading the entire piece from Wired’s blog, as it seems to be the most reliable and level-headed source on this situation. And I like their wrap-up.
I’m not going to excerpt the other blogs and stories, but it’s easy to find them with a good search engine, and several are linked from the Wired blog.