America reached a new milestone this past Friday, and it’s a dark moment to recognize. For the first time in our nations history authorities arrested a man for sending a tweet.
John Rivello was arrested on Friday after he sent a tweet to liberal journalist Kurt Eichenwald that Eichenwald says caused him to suffer a seizure. Eichenwald is epileptic and has publicly discussed his condition for many years. Rivello recently decided to take advantage of Eichenwald’s condition and tweeted the reporter a gif, or animated image, of an image with flashing colors along with the message “you deserve a seizure.” Shortly thereafter, Eichenwald’s wife responded to the tweet that he had indeed caused a seizure and the police had been notified of the tweet.
Rivello has been arrested and “is being charged under a federal stalking statute which says that someone can’t use an electronic communication service with the intent to kill or injure another person.”
An FBI affidavit said that Rivello had sent direct messages to other Twitter users expressing a desire for the image to cause Eichenwald to have seizure. Rivello allegedly wrote “let’s see if he dies.” The affidavit also said that his iCloud account contained information about commonly reported seizure triggers.
The account Rivello allegedly managed, “@jew_goldstein,” was just one of many that sent Eichenwald similar images. The former New York Times reporter tweeted after the arrest that “identifying information about every person who sent me strobes after finding out about the assault is currently in the hands of the FBI.”
“More than 40 ppl sent strobes once they found out they could trigger seizures. Details of their cases are with the FBI. Stop sending them,” Eichenwald added. One Twitter user decided to respond to this tweet with an image that could conceivably cause a seizure.
However, the arrest of Rivello certainly has internet trolls gripped in fear.
While some, mainly liberal, legal experts are cheering the turn of events, others are worried about what this could mean for the state of free speech on the Internet.
Breitbart technology editor Charlie Nash was incredulous when he heard the news.
Kurt Eichenwald managed to get a guy arrested for sending him a GIF on Twitter… Fuck this world
— Charlie Nash (@MrNashington) March 17, 2017
Other Twitterers noticed the huge can of worms that the government could be opening by prosecuting this ridiculous case.
I flipped an idiot off in traffic today…he hit a pole…I expect to be taken into custody at any moment? #Eichenwald
— Willem Lafluer (@WillemLafluer) March 18, 2017
Some Twitterers thought Eichenwald might be lying to gin up publicity or to get revenge.
— 🌹Grace (@graciepols) March 19, 2017
Other Twitterers reminded the world that Kurt Eichenwald had once been caught having spent thousands of dollars on child pornography.
— Chändra ☝️ (@chandrandavis) March 18, 2017
Many other Twitter users were similarly upset by the shocking story.
— Dr. Mrs. Girlfriend (@dum_phuk) March 19, 2017
— jamespolicastro (@jamespolicastr0) March 14, 2017
— 🌟TRUMP🌟CHICK🌟 (@JustMy_NameHere) March 5, 2017