Dear Members of the Joint Committee on Judiciary of the General Assembly of the State of Connecticut:
My specific intent in writing this post is to annoy and alarm you.
I am posting this communication to you because of the traits and characteristics that I perceive in each of you, and which I firmly believe you possess. I specifically refer to your venality, your sub-normal intelligence, your poor hygiene, your regrettable oafishness, your indifference to your oath of office under your state's constitution ["You do solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be) that you will support the constitution of the United States, and the constitution of the state of Connecticut, so long as you continue a citizen thereof; and that you will faithfully discharge, according to law, the duties of the office of………..to the best of your abilities. So help you God."], and your civil, legal, and constitutional illiteracy. It's not clear to me whether these personal traits and characteristics are the result of poor upbringing, bad pruning on the sad Charlie-Brown-Christmas tree that is your genetic lineage, or the quality identified by philosophers and various Omen sequels as Pure Evil. At any rate, your traits and characteristics inspire me to write about you, and are the subject of my discussion, and I spit upon them like so, ptui.
You have no reason to be in physical fear of me, a blogger on the other side of the country. I am not violent and do not believe in visiting violence upon people like you just because you are oathbreaking censorious twunts. Moral and legal issues aside, there are simply too many of you — including other state legislators like you around the country — and it would be exhausting. I prefer to stay on my couch.
However, it is my sincere hope that by writing to you I will achieve the following:
1. That my message will have a substantial and detrimental effect on your mental health, in that I will help you to realize what an embarrassment to the very notion of responsible self-governance you are, and that you have clawed and bit and scrambled and fought to become dim, petty tyrants; and
2. That my message will have the effect of substantially interfering with your participation in, and ability to benefit from, (a) the academic performance of those of you admirably engaged in remedial math or English classes, (b) with the employment in the Assembly of each of you, and (c) with other community activities or responsibilities (giving speeches, opening strip malls, asking your LAs to write your pro-traditional-marriage speeches while you meet your catamites at the Ramada Inn, collecting your Teamster bribes, etc.). I hope that my message will have that effect because it will show you, and your constituents, that you are worthy of only contempt.
3. Most especially, I hope that this message has the impact of causing you substantial embarrassment and humiliation within the professional community, including the legislative community, the legal community, the political community, the business community, the community of functional illiterates who speechify about education, the community of people who work "liberty" and "freedom" into every speech whilst they find new ways to regulate ever aspect of human existence, and the community of people typically viewed by the general public as slightly more palatable than child molesters but definitely less palatable than car thieves, wife beaters, or lawyers.
Why, you ask?
Well, it's because of Connecticut Senate Bill 456. As the Student Press Law Center reports, you — the members of the Connecticut Joint Committee on Judiciary — have referred Bill No. 456, which expands Connecticut's harassment laws in a stupendously ridiculous and unconstitutional way. How stupendous and unconstitutional? Well, so stupendous and unconstitutional that this blog post could be a crime in Connecticut if the rest of the droolers in your General Assembly approve this turd. Under the current version, it would be a crime to do the following:
(a) A person commits electronic harassment when such person, with intent to harass, annoy or alarm another person, transmits, posts, displays or disseminates, by or through an electronic communication device, radio, computer, Internet web site or similar means, to any person, a communication, image or information, which is based on the actual or perceived traits or characteristics of that person, which:
(1) Places that person in reasonable fear of harm to his or her person or property;
(2) Has a substantial and detrimental effect on that person's physical or mental health;
(3) Has the effect of substantially interfering with that person's academic performance, employment or other community activities or
(4) Has the effect of substantially interfering with that person's ability to participate in or benefit from any academic, professional or community-based services, activities or privileges; or
(5) Has the effect of causing substantial embarrassment or humiliation to that person within an academic or professional community.
The statute helpfully provides that the crime is committed where the communication is sent or where it is received, apparently meaning that you might assert that I have committed a crime in Connecticut by this post even though I write it in California.
You've joined the moronic headlong rush towards "cyberbullying" legislation that tramples of our heritage of free expression in exchange for a few local news headlines. You've drafted a bill that is stupendously overbroad and chilling of all sorts of protected expression. Frankly, it is not even a credible gesture towards complying with the United States or Connecticut Constitutions. If your lawyers wrote it for you, you need to stop hiring lawyers from gas-station bathrooms and the alleys behind methadone clinics. If you had even a minimal grasp of the power you wield — or if you cared — you would recognize that this statute purports to criminalize all sorts of criticism, argument, and satire based not on any objectively threatening nature, but on the whiny subjective butthurt of the disagreed-with. I'm guessing you'd say you're thinking of the children. But our children are not helped by teaching them to be bad citizens, by teaching them they should look to government for redress when people hurt their feelings, or by steadily weakening their Constitutional heritage in the name of fashionable concerns.
In summary: you are ignorant censorious tools. If your Joint Committee on the Judiciary passes this bill along in anything close to this form, its members should consider this post directed to them all. If the entire General Assembly approves it, it is directed to them as well. If the Governor signs it, he's on the list as well. I will republish the post when the law becomes effective.
Perhaps some of you, members of the Joint Committee on Judiciary, spoke up about this bill. However, so far as I can tell, there's no record of it, and your state does not see fit to attribute the bill to any particular member. At any rate, if your reaction to this bill was anything but immediate denunciation, consider this directed at you as well.
In closing, snort my taint,
Edited 3/30: Or, sure, you could discuss this in a polite manner like First Amendment demigod Eugene Volokh. I mean, if that's your thing. He's a busy professor, he probably doesn't have time to be extradited to Connecticut.
Last 5 posts by Ken White
- Free Speech Triumphant Or Free Speech In Retreat? - June 21st, 2017
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- Free Speech, The Goose, And The Gander - June 17th, 2017
- Free Speech Tropes In The LA Times - June 8th, 2017
- I write letters - June 1st, 2017