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Facepalm: Just because you present something as a hypothetical scenario in a video game, it doesn't mean you won't be held accountable. A 38-year-old 4Chan user found this out the hard way after posting a death threat that targeted a Florida sheriff but used the words "in Minecraft" at the end. He was later arrested and is being extradited to face felony charges.
Richard Golden posted his message to kill Mike Chitwood on 4Chan's /pol board. The sheriff has been targeted by far-right groups since he called out neo-Nazis after a group distributed anti-Semitic flyers to residents in Daytona Beach, Florida, and hung up banners on pedestrian bridges during the Daytona 500 sporting statements such as "Hitler was right."
"These scumbags came to the wrong county [...] We are not going to tolerate this," Chitwood said in a press conference. "This is not about free speech. This is about violence."
Following the conference, Golden posted a message on 4Chan in a thread titled 'Florida Sheriff declares war on Whites.' It read, "Just shoot Chitwood in the head and he stops being a problem. They have to find a new guy to be the problem."
"But shooting Chitwood in the head solves an immediate problem permanently. Just shoot Chitwood in the head and murder him." Golden then added "in Minecraft" after the comment.
As Know Your Meme explains, people add "in Minecraft" to the end of comments with the intention of removing the realm of real-world possibility from the example. One could compare it to the Simpsons' Milhouse threatening to kick someone's butt… at Nintendo. Or, going back to the nineties, saying "not" after a statement.
But adding the equivalent of "jokes, lol" to the end of a death threat won't placate law enforcement. Central Florida Intelligence Exchange alerted Chitwood to the message, and detectives tracked Golden down to a New Jersey address on March 1. "Once he's extradited, he'll be housed at the happiest place on earth: the Volusia County Branch Jail," Chitwood said.
You can see the video of officers arresting Golden at his mother's house in the video below. Since the arrest, Chitwood has described Golden as a marginalized member of society who spent much of his time in extremist chat rooms.
Chitwood said Golden's bail would be set at $100,000. He is being charged with making written threats to kill or injure, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.