As Twitchy reported on Sunday, a Twitter user who goes by the handle @kyle__kyle threatened to assassinate Mitt Romney. The user later removed his tweets, claiming that the threats were only a joke.

It turns out that the person who made the threats is, in fact, a 15-year-old boy named Kyle Stusse. After Twitchy broke the story, Stusse faced a backlash over his vile tweets and was apparently contacted by the Secret Service. A death threat is a death threat, and regardless of Stusse’s age, it deserves to be taken seriously. One of Stusse’s friends disagreed:

https://twitter.com/JacobWilcoxen1/status/255305076845993984

https://twitter.com/JacobWilcoxen1/status/255349455639961600

And he mounted a #FreeKyle hashtag campaign to defend Stusse:

https://twitter.com/JacobWilcoxen1/status/255308626988761088

https://twitter.com/JacobWilcoxen1/status/255308701836132352

https://twitter.com/JacobWilcoxen1/status/255309134386323457

The hashtag quickly gathered steam, and others followed suit:

https://twitter.com/noMOEHRals/status/255454894507577344

Lovely.

https://twitter.com/TheDouch/status/255454743529406464

https://twitter.com/JacobWilcoxen1/status/255455463989211136

https://twitter.com/TheDouch/status/255455493919760384

https://twitter.com/AlyssaGoober/status/255456773392171008

https://twitter.com/TheDouch/status/255456402196283392

https://twitter.com/JacobWilcoxen1/status/255469978302693376

https://twitter.com/noMOEHRals/status/255457507466674176

Stusse, for his part, insists that he has learned his lesson — the hard way:

The road to maturity is clearly a very long one for Stusse. And while his contrition is likely genuine (it’s amazing what a reality check can do), he needs to understand that actions have consequences — at any age.

***

Related:

#FUCKROMNEY: Hate and death threats greet Romney’s RNC speech

Conservatives chronicle Romney death threats, face false reports