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A former Marine involuntarily detained for psychiatric evaluation for posting strident anti-government messages on Facebook has received an outpouring of support from people who say authorities are trampling on his First Amendment rights.
Brandon J. Raub, 26, has been in custody since FBI, Secret Service agents and police in Virginia's Chesterfield County questioned him Thursday evening about what they said were ominous posts talking about a coming revolution. In one message earlier this month according to authorities, Raub wrote: "Sharpen my axe; I'm here to sever heads."
Police -- acting under a state law that allows emergency, temporary psychiatric commitments upon the recommendation of a mental health professional -- took Raub to the John Randolph Medical Center in Hopewell. He was not charged with any crime.
A Virginia-based civil liberties group, The Rutherford Institute, dispatched one of its attorneys to the hospital to represent Raub at a hearing Monday. A judge ordered Raub detained for another month, Rutherford executive director John Whitehead said.
"For government officials to not only arrest Brandon Raub for doing nothing more than exercising his First Amendment rights but to actually force him to undergo psychological evaluations and detain him against his will goes against every constitutional principle this country was founded upon," Whitehead said.
Raub's mother, Cathleen Thomas, said by telephone that the government had overstepped its bounds.
"The bottom line is his freedom of speech has been violated," she said.
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Lou Buren of TWAU BLOG: I find it very disturbing that with all the international terrorists plotting to blow us all up, the FBI and the government have time to monitor FaceBook and pick on American citizens. I find that very disturbing.
The military veteran might want to learn more about his privacy settings on FaceBook as well. I mean, how did they see his posts unless he was posting them to where the public could see them?
Never the less, his free speech rights have been trampled on.