The Government Isn’t Competent Enough To Handle An Issue Like “Cyberbullying”

If you want to see a prime example of why the government isn’t competent enough to handle legislating what happens online, take a look at this story from the Charlotte Observer,

RALEIGH N.C. House members overwhelmingly backed legislation Thursday that makes it a crime to bully a minor over the Internet.

…The bill, which passed by a 112 to 4 vote, would make it a Class 1 misdemeanor to torment a minor in an Internet chat room or post an altered image of a minor on the Internet with the intent to embarrass or intimidate them.

So embarrassing people is now against the law and what does “torment(ing) a minor in an Internet chat room” boil down to exactly? Moreover, it seems to me, last I heard, we have something in this country called the First Amendment that makes it impermissible for the government to limit free speech just because it embarrasses or “torments” someone. Of course, if it crosses the line into threats — well, we already have laws against that.

….But, setting aside the fact that this law seems to be clearly unconstitutional and sounds so poorly defined that a 17 year old ribbing his friend in a chat room could be breaking the law, it sounds like a “wonderful” idea!

Moreover, setting aside the fact that these guys obviously don’t understand the internet or the Constitution, why do we have the government trying to get involved in something like “cyber bullying?” Why is that something that the government should be writing a law to correct in the first place?

If an issue this minor is considered to be a place for the government to stick its nose, then what’s next? Are they going to create the “It’s against the law not to finish all your dinner because people are starving in Africa Act”? Maybe they could come up with the, “You have to wash your dishes every day because that’s nasty” Act to fine people who aren’t leaving their sink dish-free every night.

Cyberbullying is a moral issue and it needs to be addressed that way, not with a law.

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