The Renton City Prosecutor wants to send a cartoonist to jail for mocking the police department in a series of animated Internet videos.
The “South-Park”-style animations parody everything from officers having sex on duty to certain personnel getting promoted without necessary qualifications. While the city wants to criminalize the cartoons, First Amendment rights advocates say the move is an “extreme abuse of power.”
They’re trying to use cyber-stalking provisions to go after the guy. See? I knew those laws would come back to bite us. What else could happen in a society where mocking authority is considered the worst crime imaginable?
Well, the Renton police shouldn’t waste their time. Just wait until the Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act is passed. Then they can just ask the ISP for information on the cartoonist and proceed from there with the appropriate harassment and humiliation.
I’m hoping … hoping … that his is an example of a dim bulb prosecutor bringing big stupid charges to get some publicity before he pleads down to something more sensible. I’m hoping that because the alternative is that Phil Caviness is a power-crazed moron who has been given way too much authority:
[18 year old high school senior Tyell] Morton was arrested Tuesday after school surveillance cameras captured a picture of a man dressed in a hooded sweatshirt and wearing latex gloves, concealing a package and leaving without it. Believing it contained explosives, the school was evacuated and the Indiana State Police bomb squad was called in. It turns out that the package contained a blow-up doll placed in the girls’ restroom. Police say that Morton admitted putting it there as a prank.
He’s now charged with felony criminal mischief for a hoax that the teen’s family says doesn’t rise to the level of criminal charges.
He’s facing eight years in prison — five more than he’d be facing if he’d brought a gun to school. The school’s defense is that their massive over-reaction to a package cost them $8000. The prosecutor’s?
“In this post-Columbine world, that’s what you get when these kinds of things happen,” said Rush County Prosecutor Phil Caviness.
So placing a blow-up doll in a bathroom warrants a reaction similar to how we might react to the cold-blooded murders of 15 children. Nicely done, Phil Caviness. Nice sense of proportion.
I suppose Mr. Morton — who was incidentally set to graduate and has never been in trouble with the law — should feel lucky. In the world envisioned by school administrators and prosecutors swollen with their own sense of power, he’s lucky they didn’t shoot him right there in the hallway.