When it comes to hysteria against photographers, no state appears to be worse than New Jersey.
Earlier this year, New Jersey legislators were attempting to make it illegal to photograph children in public, which stemmed from an incident where a 63-year-old man was photographing children at a pool because he found them sexy.
The law, which would have sentenced people to at least three years in prison and would have turned many photographers into criminals, doesn’t appear to have passed because I haven’t heard anything about it since and a quick Google search produced no updates.
Also earlier this year, a New Jersey school district was trying to introduce a policy that would ask people attending school functions, like games or plays, not to post photos of the students on Facebook and other social media sites – not realizing how many parents like to photograph their children in these events.
Now legislators are attempting to pass a law that would make it illegal for people to video record an assault – which in most cases, is the most solid piece of evidence against the actual assault.
The bill is being sponsored by two republican Assembly members in the wake of an incident where a pair of teenage thugs beat up a homeless man and stole his bicycle before uploading a video of their crime online.
According to the Asbury Park Press:
The beating caught the attention of New Jersey legislators. Assembly members David P. Rible and Mary Pat Angelini, both R-Monmouth, and Jon Bramnick, R-Union, announced they will sponsor legislation to increase penalties and mandate jail time for videotaping and distributing the recording of an assault.
“It is absolutely appalling that two young men found it amusing to stalk and attack a homeless man,” said 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.
“A perpetrator videotaping a crime and using the video to relive the event is a horrendous act and deserves a more severe penalty,” said Bramnick.
These legislators are missing the obvious point that it was the video that led police to the arrest of the punks who beat 50-year-old David Ivins.
If legislators believe the punks would not have done the same without a camera, they should take a look at the case from South Florida a few years ago where a group of teens beat a man to death with baseball bats just for the hell of it.
The only reason those teens were arrested was because a surveillance camera caught them in the act, which allowed authorities to release the videos so the public could identify them.
It didn’t take very long because the community was outraged as they are in the New Jersey incident.
But we can’t let this outrage overcome common sense.
As long as we’re going to have psychopathic teens randomly attacking homeless people, we want as many cameras around as we can get.
Even if they belong to the thugs themselves.
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