Believe it or not, I do understand the necessity of using modern tools to deal with modern problems – the use of new technologies to battle technological crimes. I understand that criminals are getting more technologically sophisticated and globalized, and I do understand the need to employ contemporary technologies to battle the new threats. What I don’t understand is the need to control every idiot on every medium as a precautionary measure.
Elvis Rodriguez, 30, flashed Latin Kings hand signals on his
MySpace.com page and called himself “King Kamel,” according to his
Richard Figueroa-Santiago, 22, used his MySpace page to post
pictures of friends making “Eastside” hand gestures, detectives said.
Now, in the first cases of their kind in Florida and in the nation,
both Lee County men face five years in state prison for the
gang-related content of their Web pages.
Their prosecutions are the first under a state law passed last year
that criminalizes the use of electronic media to “promote” gangs.
Yes, the state that brought you the hanging chad and the voter who didn’t know the difference in casting a ballot for Pat Buchanan and Al Gore, now brings you jail for people who harm no one and who do nothing wrong other than being stupid on the Internet. You don’t have to be a member of a gang. You don’t have to have killed anyone, raped, sold drugs or done any other thing that gangs do. Just flash a gang sign on MySpace, and you get a stint in the state pen.
What’s next? You wear a red shirt in a photo on Facebook, and you’re arrested for wearing gang colors?
“Gangs are evolving, they’re changing… would challenge
that once someone said spraying walls was freedom of expression.”
That from the tyrannical assbag who sponsored the bill. Difference is, assbag, that MySpace is one’s own page – not the defacement of others’ property via graffiti. It’s one’s own site – their own expression – and it’s up to the owners of MySpace to ban said communication, since it’s their site – NOT yours.
Yes, gangs are evolving and changing, but criminalizing expression on one’s personal page is not a proportional response to the progressive nature of gang activity. It’s prior restraint on someone whose actions have been criminalized in the name of “security” even though the actions themselves are not criminal in nature. It’s simply a tyrannical measure that will put people who have not harmed anyone in prison, use up taxpayer resources to prosecute non-crimes and destroy any semblance of free expression left.