Clueless lawmakers propose idiotic legislation as knee-jerk response to homeless beating

December 23rd, 2011

Last week, a homeless man by the name of David Ivins was senselessly assaulted by a couple of teenagers that punched, kicked, and threw rocks at him. The teens recorded themselves performing the beating, and then proceeded to upload the video to Youtube. Not surprisingly, public outrage in response to the video was immediate, and the teens were promptly arrested by the police.

A trio of New Jersey lawmakers were so disgusted by the beating that they announced the sponsorship of new legislation that will make recording an assault a crime that carries harsh penalties. Yes, these geniuses are seeking to criminalize the very act that captured the evidence which enabled police to swiftly arrest the victim’s assailants.

According to the Park Press:

“It is absolutely appalling that two young men found it amusing to stalk and attack a homeless man,” said [Republican Assemblywoman Mary Pat] Angelini in a prepared release. “The fact that the young men posted the attack on the Internet as if it was entertainment is frightening and we must send a clear message that this behavior will not be tolerated in our state.”

Under their proposed legislation, videotaping and distributing the recording of an assault will result in an automatic second-degree aggravated assault charge. A person convicted of second-degree aggravated assault is subject to five to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000.

Did these clowns think about this for more than 30 seconds?

If these legislators actually believe that the motivation for assaults such as these stems solely from the prospect of internet fame through self-recording, perhaps they should take a look at the countless other cases of homeless beatings. For example, consider the 2006 south Florida case where two teens beat a homeless man to death, simply because they were bored (and again, it was video surveillance evidence that led to arrests — although in this case the assailants did not know they were being filmed).

The knee-jerk reaction of these NJ lawmakers is a ludicrous assault on common sense. The proposed legislation will do nothing to prevent future assaults, but it will absolutely hinder the ability of law-abiding citizens to collect the evidence needed to prosecute the punks that commit them.

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