Risking My Life to Bring You A Better Version of a Post on Internet Flaming

Josh Clark

Yeah, man, I've been hitting the tech stuff pretty hard lately, between this post and yesterday's. Despite finding the severed head of a Jellofox on my desk this morning -- a warning, I suspect, from J-Strick and Pollette to watch my back -- I will press on. Not only will I press on, I will write about a topic that Strickland already posted on. How you like me now?

At issue is a bill under consideration by the House Judiciary Committee. H.R. 1966 would make it a felony, punishable by up to two years in prison, for using electronic communication "to coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person," reports Network World. You've likely guessed that the bill came out of a case in Missouri where a woman made up a fake MySpace page to humiliate a teenager after she chose to no longer be BFF with the woman's daughter. The messages sent over MySpace eventually drove the girl to commit suicide at age 13.

I have two problems with this bill and they're both personal. Having been a fat kid when I was younger, I was subject to all manner of torment, not the least of which was spending several formative years as the Pillsbury Dough Boy. I even did the little titter when classmates pushed my stomach with their fingers. Hmm-hmm! Sure, I've tasted gun metal plenty of times, but I never pulled the trigger, knowwhatimean?

Second, if this bill passes I'm going to prison.

How else can one get others to do one's bidding than by coercion, intimidation, harassment, inflicting substantial emotional distress and kidnapping? Since most of my communication these days is via e-mail and texts, this bill would not bode well for me. Please, write your congressperson and say you want a no vote on H.R. 1966.

Thanks to Chris d'Aquin for the article.

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