Thursday, November 27, 2008

Equal opportunity stupidity: Looking in public illegal.

Just in case you think that only the Theopublicans can buy into the rampant sex hysteria that infects America along comes Dawn Hill, a state representative in Maine and a Democrat, to prove that even her party can be infected with this sort of stupidity.

Rep. Hill tried to create a new crime for Maine called "visual sexual agression".

Here is the origin of the law. Some concerned member of the public (read moron) thought a man at a beach was watching children too closely. There is zero indication that this man did anything. There is no claim that he touched children or even approached them, let along spoke to one. He was at the beach and he watched them. The "concerned" anonymous individual called the police who complained: "There was no violation of law that we could enforce. There was nothing we could charge him with."

The cop, upset that he couldn't merely arrest this man when he wanted to complained to this third-rate politician. She suddenly had a new cause. She said she saw this as a "loop hole" in the law. What does that mean? Apparently it means there was some activity which the government still hadn't criminalized in our over-legislated era. Remember that this "crime" has nothing to do with actually violating the life, liberty or property of another person. It is merely looking at them in public. One need not be doing anything aggressive but the act of seeing another person can be defined as aggressive -- much the way that "violent sex offender" in California is applied to cases where zero violence was involved.

One Maine newspaper describes Hill's law: "Under the bill, if someone is arrested for viewing children in a public place, it would be a Class D felony if the child is between 12 to 14 years old and a Class C felony if the child is under 12...." So "viewing children in a public place" is something the moralists consider a serious offense. Then why not lock the little bastards up behind high walls where no one can see them (and thankfully, not listen to them). This reminds me of the school in England that wanted to prevent apartments from being built near the school because balconies would overlook their playground and they were convinced that perverts would buy the apartments so they could sit on their balconies to "watch" the children at play.

The local paper says the law is a response "to ever-growing concern over sexual predators" and the local police chief says, "There is a growing outcry by the public to protect our children." Considering how "the children" are used as excuses for every moronic piece of legislation that comes along, and the ever expanding police state which criminalizes everything, I'm coming to the conclusion that giving birth is a threat to liberty. The little monsters are stripping rational adults of their liberty -- okay, they aren't doing it, but bad politicians are doing it in their name.

Originally the law limited this offense to an adult peeping on a naked child in a place where the child had the expectation of privacy. That at least makes sense. But the problem is that bad politicians extend reasonable laws until they are entirely unreasonable. Hill's revision would expand the law so that it no longer included nudity or expectations of privacy. Now watching a a fully clothed child play on the beach could be a felony if the police wanted.

Note: It appears that public fury at this stupidity got some changes through. Now Hill claims that she was merely outlawing a person staring at children while the the adult was masturbating. Of course, this was already a crime. And the incident that started this crusade had nothing to do with an adult seeking sexual gratification while viewing children. Since the law was meant to close that "loophole" it is unlikely that Hill was outlawing something that 1) didn't happen in the case which started the campaign and 2) which was already a crime. It appears, for the time being at least, that this absurdity has died. The final bill clearly now speaks of deriving sexual gratification from viewing nudity in either a public or private place.

But some have noted that this could then make strip clubs illegal. And it does appear that the original intent of the legislation was to make viewing a crime.