Anti-Bullying Bill Could Jail People Who Criticize Politicians
(REASON TV) School’s out for summer and Nanny of the Month is taking the opportunity to salute the zealots within the otherwise laudable anti-bullying movement. They take a real problem–few things are more loathsome than picking on the vulnerable–and bungle the response, as has been done with most every “get tough!” effort from D.A.R.E., the failed anti-drug program, to all the idiotic iterations of the “zero tolerance” fad.
Do we really need to ban trash talking at high school sporting events? Do we really need attorney general investigations of foul-mouthed jocks? And for the love of whatever remnants of common sense remain in our schoolhouses and statehouses, do we really need to fight bullying with jail cells?
Not only did this month’s top nanny introduce a bill that would criminalize speech deemed to be bullying–up to a year in the clink!–she introduced a bill that, according to UCLA First Amendment scholar Eugene Volokh, is not limited to speech about children (despite it being touted with the typical “for the children!” justifications). Volokh notes that the bill, if passed, could punish harsh speech directed at journalists, academics, celebrities, politicians, and the like, if the speech results in “substantial emotional distress.”
Presenting the Nanny of the Month for June 2013: New Mexico State Rep. Mary Helen Garcia!