New Jersey passed an excellent law earlier this year in partial response to the bullying-caused death of Tyler Clementi. (The process of developing the law began prior to Clementi’s tragic death.) Primarily directed at the junior high and high school levels, the law provides administrators easier ways of dealing with bullies. This follows from the basic premise that harassment is not okay, even between minors.
I mention New Jersey’s law for two reasons. First, it bears relevance to a recent law passed in Tennessee:
A new Tennessee law makes it a crime to “transmit or display an image” online that is likely to “frighten, intimidate or cause emotional distress” to someone who sees it. Violations can get you almost a year in jail time or up to $2500 in fines…
The new legislation adds images to the list of communications that can trigger criminal liability. But for image postings, the “emotionally distressed” individual need not be the intended recipient. Anyone who sees the image is a potential victim. If a court decides you “should have known” that an image you posted would be upsetting to someone who sees it, you could face months in prison and thousands of dollars in fines.
I say this bears relevance to the law in New Jersey because of the second reason I’m posting this. Some random scrotebag on a friend’s Facebook wall thinks the two laws are equally or nearly as bad as each other. It’s obvious this person is an idiot. The law in New Jersey protects individuals from systematic harassment. The law in Tennessee prevents people from posting offensive images. There really is no comparison. Opposition to one is a macho-bullshit exercise in chest-thumping for the small dicked whereas opposition to the other is premised in the U.S. constitution:
If you’re posting…say, pictures of Mohammed, or blasphemous jokes about Jesus Christ, or harsh cartoon insults of some political group [then you’ve violated this law]…Pretty clearly unconstitutional, it seems to me.
It’s inane to me that people who can’t make such simple distinctions manage to dress themselves in the morning.