This is a cautionary tale for anyone posting on social media, to be aware that what you post in jest can have dire consequences, especially within a hyper-sensitive politically correct society, looking to advance a political agenda at all costs.
Lucas Gerhard, a 20-year old college student purchased a new rifle and decided to show-it-off to friends on social media, posting a photo of the AR-15 with a humorous caption on August 22nd reading; “Takin this bad boy up, this outta make the snowflakes melt, aye? And I mean snowflakes as in snow ;).”
A boastful self-aggrandizing remark that most 20-year olds would post to their friends on Snapchat, without any concern.
However when Gerhard returned for fall classes at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, the following day, little did he realize his post had become political fodder for an anti-gun zealot who harbored a personal dislike for Gerhard.
With rifle in hand, Gerhard arrived at the public safety department to register and secure his weapon, along with his 240 rounds of ammunition as required by school rules.
However, on Aug. 24th, Gerhard was arrested on a charge of making a terrorist threat, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.
According to court records, two students informed the Lake Superior State public safety department about Gerhard’s Snapchat post the same day he shared it with friends. The two described Gerhard has had “extreme political views” and worried he could pose a risk to the campus.
Security officials at the school indicated that Gerhard had come to their attention previously by an anonymous tipster, who said he was a “potential school shooter.”
After his arrest, Gerhard attempted to explain the Snapchat post to a police officer. He said he meant “snowflake” to refer to liberals or Democrats and “melt” to allude to their “minds melting” when they learned he had brought an AR-15 to school.
Michigan State Rep. Beau Matthew LaFave, upon hearing the news of Gerhard’s arrest on Tuesday, immediately called on Chippewa County Prosecuting Attorney Robert Stratton III to drop the charges.
The Republican legislator exclaimed that “Lucas was a 19-year-old LSSU Student studying to become a police officer when his school, the police, and prosecutors decided to turn his life upside-down over a joke.”
Adding, “You may not like what Lucas said, but he is NOT a terrorist. His post was protected political speech under the First Amendment. Elected Prosecutors should know the difference.”
A crowd-funding page for Gerhard described him as an “Eagle Scout studying criminal justice.