The Kentucky senate passed a bill that would make it illegal to “accost, insult, taunt, or challenge a law enforcement officer with offensive or derisive words, or by gestures or other physical contact, that would have a direct tendency to provoke a violent response.” If found guilty under the proposed law a violator could face as much as ninety days in jail. Critics of the bill worry about an infringement on the First Amendment, over burdening the judicial system, and unfairly target peaceful protestors.
I agree with the critics. Right off the bat there is too much subjectivity and vagueness in the bill. One man’s curse is another man’s daily speech pattern. Think of any New Yorker. Whatever happened to meeting force with equal force? Though nobody wants to be cursed at or insulted the response should not be violence. This bill gives the police the right to assault people just because they don’t like what the person says. I’m not saying I support insulting the police but I don’t think the reaction to an insult should be presumed violence or incarceration.
Do we really want more people going through the over- burdened judicial system? We incarcerate more of our civilians than any other country as it is. This would be a boon for defense attorneys but who else would win in this scenario?
The First Amendment protects people from crack downs on the populace by the government. It is not absolute protection if there is a threat of imminent violence against someone or something. However, calling someone an asshole though not nice is not a threat of violence unless they are a dirty tushy and you are a piece of one ply toilet paper.
Why do police get special protection from hurtful words and gestures? You know how many middle fingers and curses there are in rush hour traffic? Maybe we should arrest all of the middle finger wavers stuck in bumper to bumper traffic. Why not? It’s not like they are going anywhere fast.
The Kentucky state senate is predominantly Republican. I do find it ironic that the party that use to say they wanted less government once again comes up with a way to make government have a heavy hand in the citizenry. Also don’t they cry free speech? Often they do so in matters that are not free speech but just a company saying they don’t want to be associated with certain behaviors or actions but in this scenario this is actually a free speech infringement.
What happens if the police curse at a citizen? Should the citizen be empowered to make a citizen’s arrest? The proposed law is nonsense. They want to curb bad behavior against police which is fine but this is not the way. I’m old enough to remember when Republicans warned of government over-reach. I think the whole thing is bullshit. That is a sentiment that if voiced in Kentucky to a police officer could land you in the hoosegow if the Kentucky Senate gets their way. Best to take a lesson from “Friends” and figure out a way “to give the finger without having to give it.”
We will discuss this on Tuesday at 6:30 PM Est.