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But they were just joking around!

The three would-be terrorists who plotted to bomb a mosque and an apartment complex full of Somali-Americans in Garden City, Kansas, have been convicted by a jury in federal court. The defense had argued that the defendants had just been bragging and engaging in “locker room talk” when they planned out how to place explosives that would go off simultaneously and turn the occupants to “Jello,” because who hasn’t just casually joked around about mass slaughter and then met with someone claiming to be an arms dealer (actually an FBI operative) to make the joke feel a bit more realistic?

Patrick Stein, Gavin Wright and Curtis Allen were convicted of one count of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and one count of conspiracy against civil rights. Wright was convicted of a charge of lying to the FBI. Sentencing is set for 27 June.

The three men were indicted in October 2016 for plotting an attack for the day after the presidential election in the meatpacking town of Garden City, about 220 miles (350km) west of Wichita.

The men referred to Muslims as “cockroaches,” and just wanted to do their part to make America great again.

“The fucking cockroaches in this country have to go, period,” said Stein, who went by the code name “Orkin Man” in text messages with other militia members. “They are the fucking problem in this country right now. They are the threat in this country right now.”

As Yr Wonkette noted last week, the defense depended on the jury being convinced that the three were just sort of rowdy fantasists, which is probably not the sort of defense that would ever be used for anyone but a bunch of white guys, because you know how we are. Stein, however, certainly sounded like maybe he took the fun-n-games aspect of mass killing fairly seriously:

Stein wrote that they would set off bombs on both sides of the building, “set them off at the same time and throw a fucking party! LOL.” He wrote that the shock wave from the blast would make “jello out of their insides.” He spoke of his hope that “people from miles and miles away will take note of the beautiful job we did!!” and be inspired to launch similar attacks.

Stein bought wholeheartedly into the idea that the undercover officer was a weapons dealer. He delivered fertilizer he believed would be used to make the bomb. Prosecutors played a video of him in a vehicle with the undercover officers as they scouted out the location of the planned attack.

We have to confess, that’s a pretty weird locker room — one filled with 300 pounds of fertilizer that Stein delivered to the undercover agent to be used for making those hilarious bombs, which is the event that led to his arrest.

So there’s a little note out there to you would-be bomb-makers: The First Amendment doesn’t actually protect your speech about building bombs, especially when you actually bring the materials needed to build the bombs. We learn so much about free speech in this job!

It remains to be seen whether the trio will appeal on the basis of the jury needing to lighten up and learn how to take a joke, snowflakes.

That’s about the closest we’re going to get to a Nice Times post today, so this is your OPEN THREAD! And please remember that although this is a story about horrible people getting convicted and facing prison time for plotting a horrible crime, the commenting rules still apply. Thank you!

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[Guardian / HuffPo]

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