Social media, a reckless left-wing acquaintance and jumpy school administrators were a bad combination for a male student at Lake Superior State University in Michigan. The young man now faces terrorism charges for posting a picture of his new firearm to social media last year.
In August of Lucas Gerhard posted a photo of his new semiautomatic rifle to a private group on Snapchat with the caption: “Takin this bad boy up, this outta make the snowflakes melt, aye? And I mean snowflakes as in snow.”
The photo went to a private group, but one of the recipients showed it to a young woman who was not in the group. The woman had had political arguments with Lucas in the past, according to Mark Gerhard, Lucas’ retired Marine father, and had been blocked from his Snapchat account. Mark Gerhard described his son’s situation to The College Fix.
The woman took a screen capture of the image and showed it to school authorities, telling them she was concerned that Lucas was planning a school shooting.
No one other than the young woman who reported the picture saw it as a threat, Mark Gerhard said. He would identify the young woman, saying it would be “inappropriate to disclose” her name. He also told The Fix that Lucas is not making “any statements prior to the trial at the advice of his attorney.”
A day after posting the picture, Lucas returned to the school’s campus for the fall semester. He brought the rifle to school, which is allowed at Lake Superior State, and stored it in the armory before going to his dorm room.
Campus authorities had notified local law enforcement, however, and officers showed up at Lucas’s dorm with a search warrant for Lucas’ Snapchat account.
Mark Gerhard noted: “[T]here was no contact by law enforcement until approximately 4-5 hours after his arrival on campus. This is well after he checked in his rifle and ammunition, received his room key and a building pass that opened virtually every door on campus.”
His point was that the college did not seem to regard his son as a threat. He shared with The College Fix a copy of the search warrant; for probable cause the warrant cites the photograph in question as well as one student’s testimony of Lucas’s “extreme political views.”
Things escalated from there, Mark Gerhard said. Off-campus police showed up again the next morning and took Lucas into custody under terroristic felony charges, claiming that he had threatened other students.