Monday, December 03, 2012
Mocking the First Amendment in Ohio
30 days in jail for play-acting?
Now, please don’t get me wrong, I’m not defending this idiot. I’m simply defending his constitutional right to express himself as an idiot.
He and his 9-year-old son were filmed in front of a school bus imitating the limping gait of a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy. The two reportedly made a habit of imitating the girl’s limp at the school bus stop in full view of she and her classmates.
Yes, they were cruelly mocking her. Apparently there is some sort of ongoing feud between the two families involving their children. The disabled girl’s family members it seems were in the habit of calling the man’s 9-year-old son, who suffers from seizures and ADHD, a ‘retard.’
The man, William Bailey, 43, pleaded no contest to reduced misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and aggravated menacing at a municipal court in Canton, Ohio. The judge gave the man the maximum sentence for his “crime.” His son won’t face any charges because of his young age and because prosecutors thought he was acting under the influence of his father.
Am I missing something here? Imitating someone’s limp is disorderly conduct? Mockery of this sort is aggravated menacing? If that is so, surely the cast and crew of Saturday Night Live are going to have to turn themselves in.
Limping is not a crime. Imitating a limp is not a crime. This guy was not thrown in jail for limping. He was jailed for his thoughts! He was convicted for expressing his mind! He was persecuted for exercising his rights of free speech!