Murder was the case.
No, wait. Mockery was the case.
Somebody was mocking Rhode Island state Representative Scott J. Guthrie. And not even because of his 'stache! No, someone put up a clearly satirical Facebook page about Guthrie, mocking him and attacking his political positions.
Guthrie, as an adult, a responsible citizen, and a government official who cares about the public fisc, laughed it off and talked to reporters about how it demonstrated that his ideas are right.
No, wait. That's the bizarro-America response.
This is the real America — the America of butthurt, the America of snivelers, the America of "I'm entitled not to be offended," the mewling o-help-me-nanny-state America.
So Scott Guthrie went to the cops, and the cops conducted a full investigation — including subpoenas — before realizing that putting up a satirical Facebook page is not a crime, even in a world where we have broad and vague and unprincipled "cyber-harassment" laws.
How extensive was the investigation? Consider the police report yourself.
It turned out that the satirical page was created by Republican Sen. Nicholas Kettle. Guthrie is a Democrat. Kettle, naturally, faced no official consequences; the young communications director who helped him make the page was fired. The communications director used legislative resources, a computer, to create the page, you see. There was no consequence for Guthrie using substantial law enforcement resources to investigate being made fun of.
Kudos are due to law enforcement for resisting the demands of a state legislator:
But on advice of a lawyer in Attorney General Peter Kilmartin's office, they concluded the creation of this fake Facebook page did not constitute "cyber-harassment."
After reviewing the case, "I was informed that a majority of the posts were constitutionally protected activity," and the others "would not have caused substantial emotional distress which is another required element of the crime," the lead detective, Kevin Harris, wrote in a report obtained by The Journal on Tuesday.
After speaking to Assistant Attorney General Ronald Gendron, "it has been determined that there is insufficient evidence to go forward with charges at this time," Harris wrote.
It would have been nice if they had come to that obvious assessment earlier, after a smaller expenditure of taxpayer funds. In their defense, they do far better than most.
But Guthrie may not be done:
But the case may not be over. Kilmartin spokeswoman Amy Kempe said Gendron provided an "initial assessment," but the attorney general intends to review the case. Guthrie said he may now take his complaint to federal authorities.
Scott Guthrie, you petulant, pusillanimous prat, you're a disgrace. You're a disgrace to adulthood. You're a disgrace to American citizenship. You're a disgrace to public service. Stop spending the taxpayers' money as an unguent for your butthurt and react like a grown up with some grasp of American values. Retaliate with a page about Kettle. It should be easy. Dude looks like a spotty douchebro.
(Hat tip to Nicholas Cote.)
Last 5 posts by Ken White
- Free Speech Triumphant Or Free Speech In Retreat? - June 21st, 2017
- The Power To Generate Crimes Rather Than Merely Investigate Them - June 19th, 2017
- 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