posted by Ken
Really, Arizona? I mean, really?
So, apparently, a bill has passed both houses of the state legislature and is speeding its way to Governor Jan Brewer's desk with every likelihood of being signed into law that--
Hold onto your hats, folks
--makes it a class 1 misdemeanor to annoy someone online. That's right, annoy.
And just in case you're wondering what a class 1 misdemeanor means in terms of punishment, we're talking about a six month jail term and up to a quarter million dollars in fines.
Now, I'm all for civility. I don't think it's a good thing that people are racing to post gratuitous insults and slurs just because they can. The proposed law does suggest we take a serious look at reining in some internet behaviors that need to be called onto the mat. Such as harrassment. And intimidation. But, really, do we actually need another law that callously rolls practically everything currently considered free speech into one uber-restrictive mandate? Are we left to only complimentary language?
Whoa, I just thought of something. What if someone thinks I'm really trying to annoy them when I complement someone else? Like, if I post that my daughter had a great softball game. Will the coach of the other team take offense? I could go to jail for six months.
Thankfully, the outcry has already begun and the bill is being amended. In my mind, it shouldn't even have been proposed and it shouldn't be allowed to waste your time. There are other laws already that exist to protect recipients of malicious attacks yielding more than a wounded ego. That's what civil courts are for. Note the emphasis on civil.
So, Arizona, I ask that you drop the bill.
But knowing you won't, everyone else: consider this your last chance to annoy and offend Arizona, because after this, it'll be against the law.
I'll go first: Arizona, get your heads out of your collective asses.
Now I'm going to go pack my bags. What do you think? A toothbrush and six months worth of reading material? I hope those orange jumpsuits don't make me look fat.