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When is teasing a jailing offense?

Students in a mock jail cell at Frontier Fiesta, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, via Wikimedia Commons

Okay, don’t get me wrong – I am completely against bullying and teasing.  Pretty obvious to anyone who knows me or has read my blog.  But…when is it time to send someone to jail over it?

In Ohio, a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy was “mocked” by a 43-year-old man, William Bailey, who was recorded with a cellphone camera imitating the limp the girl had.  He denied that it was directed at the girl, but did apologize to the girl in a statement after pleading no contest and being sentenced to one month in jail on charges of disorderly conduct and aggravated menacing. 

Was he wrong in what he did?

Well, yeah, duh.  We all know that.

But why go to jail over it?  Can’t we all just agree he’s a douche bag?  Can’t we just use him as an example of what’s wrong with the world?  Can’t we just shake our heads and point to him and tell our children that he’s obviously the one with the handicap?

Why do we have to legislate common manners and decency?

And why do it when the guy is already in his forties?  We ignore the problem in schools, we ignore the problems in life, but once someone has kids of his own, we suddenly realize that it’s a problem?

Maybe we need to do something about it sooner.  Maybe we should have handled this guy’s urge to make fun of other people back when he was in school himself, instead of waiting and tossing him in jail.  Although, I have to admit, there’s something to be said for the thought of a guy serving a sentence for bullying…what will he have to claim to avoid getting beaten up?

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Galveston, you disappoint me again…

From Slut Walk Houston, 2011

I have to say that I lived in Galveston, and while I was there, I pretty much loved it.  There were enough positives that part of me still wishes I was there.  But…someone needs to talk to their police department.

Recently, two joggers were attacked on Seawall Blvd.  In one case, the woman says that about a dozen cars went past during the attack, and no one stopped or did anything.  Now, to be fair, I don’t know that I would stop and get out of my car, but I might pull over, honk, and make it clear I was calling 911.  But that’s not the point.

The point is that the police chief made a lovely statement, as per the Galveston Daily News: “Galveston police Chief Henry Porretto said joggers should be aware of their surroundings. Wearing ear buds could give an attacker an advantage, he said.” 

Damn those joggers wearing ear buds!  They’re asking for it!  I mean, hell, first off, they’re women.  Second, they’re out alone.  Third, they’re wearing ear buds! Oh the humanity! Ear buds, the scourge of the 21st century.

Sigh.

Let me repeat something.
Don’t blame the victim.

One more time.
Don’t blame the victim.

Just because a woman has the nerve to do something that men would do does not mean that they have asked to be attacked or that they should be told that it is their fault if they are attacked.  If it had been two guys who had been mugged, would the police chief have issued the same statement?  I’m thinking not so much.

Oh, and just to add one fun detail: that victim who had the nerve to wear ear buds?  Yeah, she also had the nerve to carry a metal pipe that she used to defend herself.