So as much as I love my state of Arizona, it is becoming very apparent that the current state legislature is out of its mind. Not only passing two socially “conservative” laws that require a combined IQ in the low single digits (doubly stupid that they did it in an election year, triply stupid that they played right into Obama’s plan to make social issues an issue of this election…thanks morons) they decided to follow that up with a 1st Amendment violating censorship law. Ostensibly it is supposedly to help stop bullying, but in addition to making a mountain of the latest molehill of an overly protective society, this has to be one of the worst laws I’ve ever seen.
It’s updating an old law and replacing the word telephone with “any electronic or digital device.” This would be bad enough as it doesn’t update any language to only mean communication from one person to another. However ignoring that new technology requires new definitions, the law originally was kind of stupid.
“It is unlawful for any person, with intent to terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, annoy or offend, to use a telephone […]”
I understand the intent of the law, to make harassment a criminal offense. But “annoy”? Good lord, I should stop paying my bills as any bill collector calling me would clearly be annoying and I could have them arrested. “Offend”? Oh I can’t wait for the next dipshit Democrat to call me asking polling questions. Their beliefs clearly offend me and as Obama is clearly in a criminal conspiracy with them (as defined by Arizona law) this will be fun. Yes my examples are preposterous, but so is the wording of the laws.
Or that it forbids one to “use any obscene, lewd or profane language.” Profane? Really? Profane is a religious concept and the government has no right to legislate my words in a religious sense, be they sacred or profane.
So, by the letter of the law the state of Arizona is about to outlaw the use of the internet. As I do not consider it a full day without annoying someone via blog, twitter, or Facebook, I am a repeat offender against this statute…and I dare any wanna-be Gestapo (previously known as Arizona police) to come and arrest me. I will have so much fun suing you personally and the state as a whole for multiple civil and Constitutional rights violations. Not only will it be great free publicity for the blog and my book, but I figure I will be able to retire off the settlement alone. So I dare you fucking stupid excuses for public figures (obscene, check, intent to annoy and harass, check) to come arrest me. Idiots.
Now in practice we know that this isn’t going to go anywhere as both the ACLU and every right wing legal group will eviscerate anyone who tries to enforce this on a legitimate use of free speech (like I said I understand the original intent of the law, but the wording is just shit for brains), but let’s deal with the reason why they didn’t update the part of it being individual to individual communication. To help stop bullying.
Are you kidding me? Once again because people don’t want to act like adults we are choosing to delegate all authority to government, who will inevitably, as always, makes things worse. At least I’m not the only one who thinks that the media hype over bullying might be more media than reality.
Now, yes there are some terrible cases where we get to see how vicious children can be…but you know what? This is not because there is a lack of laws, it’s because there is a lack of adults. Children should be encouraged to deal with things on their own when they can (something drilled out of them by being told to tattle to an adult the minute a single insult is hurled) and go seek help from friends and adults when it’s more than they can handle…and maybe educated to know the difference. One thing I notice in almost every case of extreme bullying from the media is a lack of adults. Now parents may bear some responsibility here for not being open with their children and making it known to them that they can come to them with problems, but that isn’t always the case; we all know our parents are sometimes the last people we want to take our problems to. However what I do notice in a lot of these cases is that teachers seem to be utterly absent. I’m a teacher, and I know it’s not hard to know what’s going on in student’s lives. Teacher’s thrive on the student rumor mill (because it’s the only life we have time to have) and while one teacher may not know everything I guarantee you a competent staff knows more about student’s personal lives than even the most well informed student (probably because we don’t limit ourselves to knowing only about a few select cliques) and so teachers have no excuse for not knowing if a student is being harassed. (Especially when you set up a work only account of Facebook and twitter and get your students to add you—you would be shocked at how quickly they forget you can see everything they post). And I am not the warmest of teachers, I play more into “tough but fair” rather than “everybody’s friend” but I would like to think that I always made it known that my students could come to me if they needed an ear or shoulder. And it is more the purview of a good principal to find good teachers who are competent and qualified to offer students support when they need it—not the purview of the legislature. Although since we don’t always have good teachers, I would wager that if you were to chart which states offer the teacher’s unions the most unimpeded power against which have the most instances of truly vicious and inhuman levels of bullying you would see a heavy correlation between union presence and poor support from teachers. After all if there is one set of organizations out there responsible for poor teacher’s it’s the teacher’s union.
And since we’re on the topic, I would be remiss in mentioning there is also the two other ways to deal with bullies. The first being the wise adage, “Never start a fight, but always finish them.” This being probably the best advice that the best way to deal with bullies is go on to be successful and makes massive amounts of money while the bullies never amount to anything. Perhaps with your success and piles of cash you could even make a music video to rub in your success in a wonderfully cold dish, as the Queen of Comicon, Felicia Day seems to have done.
It’s called taking the high road.