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But Your Honor, he IS an idiot!

By maxwell edison ·
I suppose this might be somewhat of an addendum discussion to that "freedom of anonymous speech" thread, but what do you think will and/or should come of this:

http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2006/Bills/A1500/1327_I1.HTM

What if I call somebody an idiot in one of the occasional "flame sessions", and they want me to be arrested and/or be held libel for defamation. How can I prove that person really is an idiot? Or would that person have to prove he's not an idiot? Is there an idiot test that could be applied? Will I have to refrain from using my favorite idiot link? Will I be subjected to a cyber restraining order, and be forced to stay at least 100 Web pages away from the alleged idiot? Would this only apply to the idiots in New Jersey? Would I be the idiot extradited to New Jersey? Only an idiot would be in favor of a law like this. Or would only an idiot be opposed?

(Yes, I am being sarcastic, but with an obviously serious issue.)

And how about a libel suit for this:

http://www.thisislondon.com/showbiz/articles/21**3422?source=PA

If Google can be held libel for that, where might it stop? I mean, really. What Yahoo would hold Google libel for that?

What about politicians? Would all those people have to PROVE that President Bush or John Kerry really is an idiot or a liar if they post a message stating as much on the Internet? And what about the international nature of the Internet? (There are international idiots, you know.)

Personally speaking, I'm getting sick and tired of people trying to make a new law to cover any little thing that bothers them; and people are obviously sue-happy. We already have too many stupid laws. Let's start repealing some of these laws, not make new ones. It used to be said that ignorance of the law is no excuse. In fact, it still is, I suppose. But there are so many laws that we ALL are ignorant, even if we tried not to be.

On a somewhat related note (related as it applies to too many laws), I was listening to a talk radio show some time ago, a show hosted by a lawyer. He takes calls answering legal questions and discusses the legal issues of the day. A caller relayed the following story.

This caller walked his young child to the bus stop to wait for the school bus. While he was waiting there with his daughter, a couple of other girls started fighting. The way he described it, a bigger girl was literally pummeling a younger and smaller girl with punches and kicks. He said that he just stood there watching, not wanting to get involved. Another parent (a mom) soon arrived at the same bus stop and saw the fighting, but this parent broke it up. She then went on to chastise the first parent (a guy) for not doing anything, and said that he should be arrested for allowing it to happen.

The gist of the call was to ask this lawyer if he could indeed be arrested for standing by and allowing a smaller child to get beat up be a bigger one. Absolutely, the lawyer answered. He then cited some law that covered that sort of thing. The caller went on to say that he thought about getting involved, and decided that if he did try to break it up, which might even take some physical contact to do so (and did take such contact for the "mom" to hold the bigger girl back), he might be accused of inappropriate touching, or some other thing like that, so he thought it best to NOT get involved. The lawyer went on to admit that if that bigger girl had indeed charged him with doing such a thing, he could have been arrested for that as well.

That sure sounded like a case of damned if you do and damned if you don't -- an example of TOO MANY friggin' laws.

So, tying-in my little story with the opening comments, would this guy have been an idiot to break-up that fight, or was he an idiot for not breaking it up? (We're obviously a nation of idiots, if this guy found himself being one regardless of what he did.)

I suppose my rambling caused a tangent to the original discussion intent without even creating a tangent thread. How idiotic is that? But don't call me an idiot. I'll sue!

This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

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Yes, but

by NickNielsen In reply to Too many laws

if good sense was common, we wouldn't need a name for it.

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Broken laws may not be crimes.

by OnTheRopes In reply to But Your Honor, he IS an ...

What?s even stranger is that some laws broken in the presence of a police officer aren?t crimes.
There was a case in Adrian, MI.
The officer on patrol heard loud music with offensive language coming from a parked car. The officer thought it was in violation of the city noise ordinance. He stepped up to the car, and asked them to turn the music down. The occupants of the car got out, began arguing with the officer and one made the mistake of shoving him and was arrested.

The court decided that since no citizen had reported the noise as being loud and offensive it wasn?t, even though the lyrics were pretty vulgar, to some folks anyway. The officer couldn?t be offended. If a citizen had complained, then an officer would be able to enforce the ordinance.

Crazy.

Legally?
?Would this guy have been an idiot to break-up that fight, or was he an idiot for not breaking it up? I?m going to ?cop out? on this one.

My attorney advises me that it?s in my best interests to say nothing about this issue that might look even remotely like legal advice.

If you were to call **1 or whoever handles your emergency services and report that a fight, as described, was taking place and then told the **1 operator that you were going to break it up, I?m pretty sure **1 would advise you to let the police handle it.

Seek out your attorney?s advice now that you?ve read the above statement. I take no responsibility and will forward a disclaimer if requested.

Morally? Let ?em fight and record the video on your cell phone for anonymous posting on the Internet, after blurring their faces of course.

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There are already libel laws.

by Absolutely In reply to But Your Honor, he IS an ...

The medium does not re-define the crime, nor necessitate re-iteration of a definition of crimes that are already well-defined by a combination of statute and precedent, nor warrant further discussion than I have just provided.

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To Thine Own Self...

by oneamazingwriter In reply to But Your Honor, he IS an ...

be true.
Name calling at any time and on any occassion creates controversy and reflects on the person doing the labling. Doing so in print before the public is not at all like muttering under one's breath. It resembles screaming, and is disruptive.
Time in grade does not necessarily bring with it maturity. Although life appears at times to be a cross between a day care center and a grade school play ground experience, those who choose to see "adult" as being responsible for one's actions and behavior relate more as teachers than as students on that play ground or in that day care.
Laws are simply a government's way of attempting to try to instruct or control the majority of immature people who make up the populace in any country. If the lawmakers themselves at times lack maturity, they simply reflect (in this country) what occurs in the majority.

When we, as individuals, decide within ourselves that it's time to grow up, we cease to lable those around us and seek to strengthen our own areas of weakness. We, thus, begin parenting ourselves and don't have to be overly concerned about breaking laws. We behave appropriately in most given circumstances, especially in print.

As for the question of whether or not to get involved in the children's battle, that's a matter of personal choice. Quite often a bully can be discouraged simply by hearing a firm adult tone. "Stop that...NOW!" tends to work well often. Calling attention to what is occurring will also cause other adults to enter in. In the case with the people fighting being female and the adult being male, I can appreciate a caution in getting physically involved. To children adults are still the "big people" and a deepened firm male tone can still shake the boots of a bullying girl.

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Great

by OnTheRopes In reply to But Your Honor, he IS an ...

post BTW. I copied it to my HD as a keeper. I just checked and see you don't blog.
That's too bad. I'd read it.

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Thank you

by maxwell edison In reply to Great

And I might consider starting a blog. However, which one might generate more readers, these discussion threads or a blog?

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Hard to say

by OnTheRopes In reply to Thank you

I look at a blog as a place to get something off your chest and speak your mind, comments be hanged. Of course folks comment on the blog too which might bring to mind more ideas for discussions by you and others. Circular reasoning I know but true, maybe.

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"comments be hanged"!

by Absolutely In reply to Hard to say

I'm much more interested in what Maxwell Edison has to say about the topics that interest him than in any of the comments back to him. Oz_Media is funny sometimes, the rest of the anti-Maxwell noise doesn't even have humour to redeem it.

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Defamation

by Oz_Media In reply to But Your Honor, he IS an ...

MAx, GENERALLY, in the case of a public figure:
Oddly enough, politicians are not really protected for defamation of character. They hol da character that is ALWAYS questioned and that is part of their career, it is expected of them and the flames and slander is seen as fair.

In the case of a public figure where their reputation is tarnished and that leads to loss o fincome or ability to succeed, they have a LITTLE more protection than a politician but are still seen as fair game for the most part. Otherwise tabloids would lose far mroe lawsuits.

In the case of a businessman runnign a company, defanation of character is an EXTREMELY serious issue and those found responsible for such losses face serious penalties.

In the case of you and I, if your comments were to reduce my ability to earn income or my company to succeed, you woul dalso be found libel in most cases and would pay hefty fines, obviously depending on the losses.

So really, it all depends WHO you are and how much exposure you have to general public, how it effects your personal income and success etc.

With most PUBLIC figures, there is little they can do or say, other than whine and get their name on the front page for a few weeks.

With most private companies or people, the offender will often suffer great penalties. So it's okay to say Bush is a phag or a loser, but it's not okay to say Oz's XYZ company is for phags and losers. Then of course there is also the issue of where the ionformation is found, on a billboard outside the head office would obviously cause more damage than word of mouth at a bar. In which case the amount of loss would again be in direct relation to the penalty.

With respect to th eissue of the girls fighting, the gentleman who stood by can easily claimn that he felt he MAY have been accidentally or intentionally hit by the girl(s) if he was to intervene, therefore he has a right to not become involved in order to not incur bodily harm.

There are ways to prosecute, there are just as many ways to defend. Unfortunately, what wee see too often is people who are easily prosecuted because they can't afford reasonable defense.

I have a really interesting suit right now that I am taking upon a MAJOR North American corporation, it is in my favour so far , I can't mention names at this time. But here's hoping, BIG coin if it pans out for me!

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Oz's XYZ company is for phags and losers

by Absolutely In reply to Defamation

Sorry, Oz, but unless you have your own NSA to command to eavesdrop without a warrant, you're an easier target for defamation than King George W.

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