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371 comments

yes (2, Insightful)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 2 years ago | (#36123962)

Is this an appropriate response to online harassment, or a threat to free speech?

There should be consequences to being an asshole. Glad this guy found that out too. As someone who's gone through high school in this country, I don't feel bad about that guy at all.

Re:yes (2)

Marillion (33728) | more than 2 years ago | (#36123996)

Slander is not free speech.

Re:yes (2)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124026)

Actually, this would fall under libel, but the point still stands.

Re:yes (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36124148)

Ranking someone's boobs at a 2.5 on a scale of 1-10 does not fall under libel, because it's clearly subjection and only someone's opinion.

I'd be surprised if his "list" actually constituted libel.

Re:yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36124152)

I meant "subjective" not "subjection". ffs.

Freudian? (1)

reiisi (1211052) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124218)

I think "subjection" might be more reflective of the point of view you are expressing.

At least until humans can advance to the point that sexual identity is not nearly universely considered a close equivalent of identity in most social situations.

Re:Freudian? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36124242)

No, what I intended to say was that an opinion is subjective and therefore can't be slander by definition unless it's a claim of a fact that can be shown to be false.

Without seeing the list, I really can't say. Perhaps someone could post it.

Oh hi, Ms. Streisand... funny you should show up right now...

Re:yes (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36124234)

Actually, this would fall under libel, but the point still stands.

It doesn't sound like libel or slander to me, so long as his comments were sincere. If he says "Sally is way hotter than Mary because Mary is ", it is hard to see how a libel charge would hold up. His defense would be that he indeed believes Sally is hotter that Mary is a member of that race is factual.

When I was in high school we made a list of a dozen girls and rated them on categories like "boobs, butt, face, personality, intelligence." In the end, we scored them like a product review in consumer reports or something. We didn't have any racial slurs but I am sure I probably said something like, "Kerry is hot because she is Asian and Asian girls are so much prettier than white girls". Does that count as a racial slur?

Re:yes (1)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124426)

Indeed and it should be prosecuted as such. As a civil libel case not as disorderly conduct.

Throwing harsher penalties at a problem doesn't make the problem go away. This is doubly true when it is children and teenagers who are the targets of said penalties.

The penalties are supposed to make someone "think twice" about committing a crime. However your average teenager hasn't yet learned to think for the first time.

Re:yes (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36124070)

Yes, there should be a consequences. For example, this guy made a list of asshole bitches. Although that doesn't seem like much of a consequence, they really should be arrested for being uptight cunts or something.

Re:yes (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124198)

The whole concept of "disorderly conduct" if about social control and nothing else. The actions that fall under that completely arbitrary category never where about harming others, but mostly about stuff the "moral majority" does not want to see. Don't pretend this is a new one here.

Re:yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36124306)

Don't care. Post the list!

From TFA: (4, Interesting)

raving griff (1157645) | more than 2 years ago | (#36123964)

"The teenager is believed to be responsible for a list that ranked 50 female students — using racial slurs and ratings of body parts — that circulated around the school and on Facebook, police said. The teen is accused of handing out hard copies of the list Jan. 14 at various lunch periods and posting a copy online, according to police."

This list was spread both through Facebook and throughout the school. Is it valid to address this as an online harassment case when the article does not even make clear which distribution method the teenager is being charged with disorderly conduct for?

The summary is bad (5, Informative)

bsharp8256 (1372285) | more than 2 years ago | (#36123966)

He didn't get arrested and charged because he posted it on Facebook, TFA says he distributed hard copies at school.

Re:The summary is bad (3, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124192)

My freshman year of high school in the mid-90's, homemade fliers distributed by a disgruntled ex-boyfriend showing a photograph of one of the female students topless with words like "bitch" and "slut" were spread all over campus overnight. The school staff tried to clean them all up the next (school) day, but there were still some laying around in odd places at 2:30 that afternoon.

In case you're all wondering, no, the FBI and police were not called. No random arrests and child-pornography investigations occurred. We all knew what breasts looked like, and while they were nasty-looking tits, the event occured in a place where the majority of the population were too poor to file lawsuits and pranks could be pulled and fireworks could be lit without federal intervention and terrorism charges.

This is just one more instance of the new American business model of making more and more people criminals. Those Middle-east war vets have to do something when they finally return, right? DHS gropers, prison guards, cops. It's much easier to justify hiring more of those when can make some more criminals out of ordinary citizens by way of ever-encroaching laws.

More Difficult With Technology (5, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 2 years ago | (#36123970)

Things like this are becoming much more difficult for any rational person to reach a sensible conclusion on. My initial reaction would be that you don't censor or criminalize thoughts. Even mean or vile ones. As long as it is not libel, you just need to have thick skin and move the fuck on.

On the other hand, it's a different thing when it's something that has a global audience of potentially billions, will be archived and indexed by search engines, possibly have a longer life than the person it is about, come up in searches for that person for the rest of their life by future friends, mates, and employers and otherwise follow them around indefinitely. You can't graduate the internet and move away from the "attack" and you can't just go to a new town. You are stuck forever with whatever some ignorant idiotic juvenile wrote years ago or whatever some spiteful twat might write about you today.

If I had a kid and this happened pre-internet, I would tell them to ignore it and know they're better than that and that the words aren't true and to move on and eventually it will go away. With the internet, I don't know what I would do. As a parent, I think I would be helpless and stuck. How do you stick to the ideal that nobody should be able to dictate what you can do or say short of actual libel or threats and reconcile that with words or images that will be there under google for your name for decades to come?

Perhaps more importantly, how do we make sure that we deal with this in a rational way and don't just say "that pisses me off, so I'm going to make a blanket law about it" like with that stupid bitch and her family that drove that little girl to kill herself over myspace? A case where it was so tempting to have so much anger and hatred over the incident that even the completely logical person was tempted to say "fuck it, I don't care what the lasting legal consequences are for the rest of society, as long as we come up with a way to stick that bitch in a max security prison for life".

Re:More Difficult With Technology (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124030)

Does Google index inside of Facebook like that?

I thought half the point of Facebook was that they were the ones with good access to peoples info.

Facebook (1)

reiisi (1211052) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124278)

Yeah. This is one of the reasons we should turn our backs on the people who want to sell us tech like Facebook.

Re:More Difficult With Technology (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124200)

how do we make sure that we deal with this in a rational way

By not caring about it and realizing that it, like all other kinds of speech, is merely speech. That's what I would call "rational." The amount of people listening is irrelevant. It is still speech.

Re:More Difficult With Technology (2, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124250)

I have come to believe what the internet has provided in these situations is publicity, not any more complex decision making. In the past when a boy harassed a girl or ridiculed a group of girls, often because they would not date him, it could be kept in the school, apologize made, and everyone could believe a lesson was learned. The internet changed that local control of the situation.

For instance, when nooses were left in the schoolyard [wikipedia.org] and nothing was done until the kids who left the nooses were beat to a pulp, the natural reaction was to say the white kids were just funnin' and did not deserve to beat up. OTOH for many who understand the rules of high school, and understand that some things between boys require a level of physical interaction, the outcomes were unfortunate but predicatable. The school chose not to stop the bullying, so the kids took the issue into their own hands. A kangaroo court was prevented due to publicity.

Likewise when an a 11 year old girl was repeatedly gang raped [thefreshxpress.com] over some time, The community was willing to brand her a slut. Many saida1 she wanted to be raped, and the alleged rapist, one a star athlete, should not be held responsible. After all, what would it do to the scholarship opportunities? Again, easy publicity fo the internet and a video means that the community will have a hard time blaming the victim.

We see this publicity everywhere. Conservative radio wants to call women sluts and black men stupid and liars. How much father would Trump's birther thing have gotten, and his accusation a black man could never have been the best a Harvard without cheating gotten without the easy access provided by the internet for contradictory facts. The powerful have always had the bully pulpit. In school these are the agressive boys, sometimes girls, and star athletes. But the internet is the real world, and the real world does not operate by adolescent rules. Humiliating another person has never been the right thing to do. It is just that it used to be easier to get away with so we ignored it. Now a bully has the world as his or her judge.

Disorderly conduct is not new law. (4, Interesting)

reiisi (1211052) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124318)

Wikipedia has a article on disorderly conduct [wikipedia.org] .

Actually, I read this and think we are finally seeing officers of the law figuring out how the internet fits in.

Clearly, this is disorderly conduct in a couple of public places, and it sounds like the appropriately class of response is being pursued.

Misdemeanor, as opposed to felony. A bit more serious than a traffic fine, but not nearly on the level of being arrested for grand theft, even.

Wasn't only Facebook.... (1)

mtmra70 (964928) | more than 2 years ago | (#36123972)

He allegedly handed out materials at school, not just post it on Facebook. Pretty big difference IMO.

Re:Wasn't only Facebook.... (1)

RussellSHarris (1385323) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124172)

Was he the only person who distributed the material at the school? "Circulated" doesn't sound like one person handing out a list. Yet he's the only one they target?

Reality: Virtual or Physical (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36123974)

So a d-bag teenager put a 'demeaning' list of his fellow female classmates on-line and got arrested for it. Rather than the social stigma, female students, and student body appropriately handle this idiot, law enforcement decided to step in.

If this doesn't prove we've come full circle into a nanny state, I'm not sure what will. He's 17 for cry'in out loud, and in High School! How does an arrest benefit society here?

Re:Reality: Virtual or Physical (0)

exentropy (1822632) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124186)

How does an arrest benefit society here?

The police would answer that the arrest provides an example for future teens who want to publish demeaning content about their peers. But what makes you think that the police are interested in benefiting society? Fundamentally, they want more cases like this so they can justify their continued existence, and keep coercing more tax dollars.

Re:Reality: Virtual or Physical (2)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124432)

Do cops really have to justify their continued existence? I would have thought that murder, rape and theft would be adequate for that. Police forces don't need to arrest school kids for disorderly conduct to prevent themselves from being shut down, even if all they do is spend all day driving around in their cars and eating donuts.

What cops do have to deal with is citizen pressure, and you can be sure that someone's parents were up in arms about this. The only question is whether the parents in question called the cops themselves or coerced the school into doing it for them.

And no, even though I have ended up on the wrong side of the law in minor ways before, I don't believe in the slightest that the cops are looking to wring more money out of anyone through tactics like this. This is purely political, and probably starts with people who are interested in being elected every few years. It might be an elected sheriff or prosecutor or perhaps a mayor or public safety commissioner. The cops just do what they are told in these cases.

minor criminal charges (1)

reiisi (1211052) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124272)

Disorderly conduct charges would actually be the most appropriate response, IMO.

A teenager went overboard. Way overboard. We don't want the FBI involved, but what was done here does sound like it crossed the line into the range of crying "FIRE" in a crowded theatre, or of going into the opponent's stands at a football game and repeatedly disparaging their star player and refusing to leave.

crying "FIRE" in a crowded theatre? (1)

PaulBu (473180) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124338)

I guess his crime was more like crying "FRIGID" in (less than crowded) "theatre" of his remaining friends (judged from the fact that he has to resort to things like this to get attention from his buddies, and, I'd suspect, rather unwelcome attention from the girls).

Paul B.

No Such Thing as Free Speech (2, Interesting)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 2 years ago | (#36123976)

We've never had free speech in the US and probably never will, as long as people can make excuses to suppress it like "national security," "cyber bullying," and "copyright." So, how could anything be a threat to what we haven't got?

Re:No Such Thing as Free Speech (5, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124158)

You don't know what it is to lack free speech, because you've had it all your life. You're just a spoiled whiner who wants to be able to do literally whatever he wants, instead of almost whatever he wants.

When a reporter in Russia gets disappeared for saying the wrong things; when a man in Afghanistan gets his organs spread around town square for dancing with his wife; when an elderly Chinese woman is sentenced to a lifetime of hard labor for requesting a permit to protest at the Olympics... that is a lack of freedom.

When you are punished for leaking top secret documents, or copying other people's creations without payment, or spreading vicious lies about your peers... that is called living in an orderly society. You might think it's too orderly, but to claim you have no freedoms is fucking insulting.

Re:No Such Thing as Free Speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36124222)

I expect your post will be treated with complete dignity, as any pressure whatsoever to bend your opinions or viewpoints is a violation of your freedoms.

Re:No Such Thing as Free Speech (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36124296)

I find YOUR post insulting and full of biased bullshit

Re:No Such Thing as Free Speech (1, Troll)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124302)

"When a reporter in Russia gets disappeared for saying the wrong things; when a man in Afghanistan gets his organs spread around town square for dancing with his wife; when an elderly Chinese woman is sentenced to a lifetime of hard labor for requesting a permit to protest at the Olympics... that is a lack of freedom."

Because some people are worse off does not necessarily mean you are well off. However, I would agree that in the US we have it well. I'm not saying otherwise, but rather, that no government truly respects free speech, and all are constantly moving against it (among many other freedoms.)

The fact that there is absolutely no freedom of speech at all in some countries is exactly why we should be so concerned about letting it be trampled upon. If you know your American history, you'll know it was not always that great here, especially for some groups. It is not unreasonable to fear the fact that could happen again, especially with a massive social movement afoot to bring our politics back to the 19th century. Freedoms aren't free, and simply having them is not a guarantee you always will.

I think you're reading too much into what I said, then. I'm not saying that ANY restriction at all automatically makes it as bad as total dictatorial censorship, which would be absurd. I'm saying that free speech is constantly under assault by those who claim to have good intentions, and that as a nation, we never really were fully behind free speech, but instead always willing to make exceptions to suit the current political and social climate.

I definitely sympathize with those who have it worse, and wish there was more that could be done to help them. Unfortunately, to a large extent, that is their own fight, at least to start.

Re:No Such Thing as Free Speech (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124310)

Strawman. Parent never said he had no freedoms. Parent said there's no Free Speech, which is "the freedom to speak freely without censorship." Since there is some kinds of censorship, there is no Free Speech. Whether it's more or less free than in other countries is irrelevant.

You may feel the specific censorship that exists today in the US is justified, and there's nothing wrong with that opinion, but it's not Free Speech.

spreading vicious lies about your peers

Assuming you're talking about this particular case, what lies are those? From TFA, it was a ranking of people's body parts, which is obviously subjective and therefore not a lie, by definition.

Re:No Such Thing as Free Speech (4, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124232)

We've never had free speech in the US and probably never will, as long as people can make excuses to suppress it like "national security," "cyber bullying," and "copyright." So, how could anything be a threat to what we haven't got?

Why would you want to live in a place where someone could stand outside your door and hurl abuse day and night for weeks on end without any consequences?

Freedom does not mean the freedom to do whatever you like. If your actions harm others - whether it's as destructive as murder or as simple as a limited verbal assault, they should not be protected. That's not the kind of freedom I want. That's called the law of the jungle.

Re:No Such Thing as Free Speech (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124294)

or as simple as a limited verbal assault

Oh, I see. So if someone is offended by something, it should not be protected, even though the first amendment explicitly states that it protects all speech? What if someone is offended by the fact that I said that I don't like their god? They are as offended as if I insulted them personally, so they interpret this as a verbal assault.

They, in reality, are the cause of their own misery. They need not be offended by such things, as far as I know, and it is not my fault if they are. The constitution doesn't say you can do whatever you please without consequence, but it does give you some freedoms, and one of those happens to be saying what you want without consequence, despite what our government says.

Re:No Such Thing as Free Speech (1)

mpos (2153652) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124352)

Why would you want to live in a place where someone could stand outside your door and hurl abuse day and night for weeks on end without any consequences

I have no problem with that.

Freedom does not mean the freedom to do whatever you like. If your actions harm others - whether it's as destructive as murder or as simple as a limited verbal assault, they should not be protected. That's not the kind of freedom I want. That's called the law of the jungle.

Freedom of speech *does* mean the freedom to say whatever you want. Beside that, I don't really have a problem with the law of the jungle. To the contrary, it obliges me to stay sharp. When I'll weaken, I'll die (or be killed), and it will be the right way of things.

Re:No Such Thing as Free Speech (1)

PaulBu (473180) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124428)

As long as they are outside of my front door, and I am allowed to make it sound-proof (good fences make good neighbours, or how does that saying go?) -- well, they are welcome!

I, personally, would enjoy a bit of abuse attempts and heated discussions (though I have been criticized for that too, go figure!).

I totally accept non-aggression principle as the best idea humankind came up with to deal with differences in people's wants and opinions, but I would like to distinguish between actual bodily harm and politically incorrect "verbal assault" (of the kind not constituting an actual threat, if there is, I'm all for finding it moral to stop the perpetrator by all means necessary!).

That been said, of course the guy seems to be a total jerk, but this is why it's an important case to think about and examine your own views on the limits of state violence (and I do count being charged with a crime as violence, sometimes necessary and often justified, but still!); slippery slope, you know...

Paul B.

Re:No Such Thing as Free Speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36124364)

Free speech is a constitutional protection to protect citizens from prosecution for criticizing the government. It does no give anyone the right to harass and libel people, it also does not protect people from the results of their speech (ex you can't tell someone to commit a crime and claim it was free speech).

You mean... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36123980)

In response, teachers and students started a campaign against sexism, selling T-shirts that read “Respect.”

Instead of "started a campaign", it should read "exploited the situation".

Over the top, but not a free speech issue (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 2 years ago | (#36123982)

Free speech doesn't protect racist or sexist slurs. It's good to see existing laws used instead of making up new ones just for the net On the other hand the response is a little over the top. So let me guess, the police chief's niece was on the list or something?

Re:Over the top, but not a free speech issue (3, Insightful)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 2 years ago | (#36123998)

"Free speech doesn't protect racist or sexist slurs."

It only protects speech you like, right? Sorry, there is no free speech if it comes with strings attached. I might disagree with what they say - even find it sickening - but it is their right to say it, and not yours to say otherwise. Why? Redefining "free" to be only what you want is more despicable than anything a person could say.

Re:Over the top, but not a free speech issue (2)

bloodhawk (813939) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124060)

having consequences attached to attacking and demeaning others is not a violation of free speech. Free speech is meant to enable you to voice your views not as a means to attack someone without repercussion's

Re:Over the top, but not a free speech issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36124076)

People have a way of seeing anything they disagree with as an attack. Free speech by its very nature must not be limited or restricted to avoid causing offense.

Re:Over the top, but not a free speech issue (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124094)

No there is nothing wrong with being offensive, you can say all sorts of hatefull garbage. What you can't do is single out individuals and start making statements about them and expect it to have no consequences, their are justifiably laws that protect individuals from such attacks.

Re:Over the top, but not a free speech issue (1)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124118)

Remember that next time you feel like complaining about a politician. If your definition of freedom is adopted, it could land you in jail.

Re:Over the top, but not a free speech issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36124412)

No there is nothing wrong with being offensive, you can say all sorts of hatefull garbage. What you can't do is single out individuals and start making statements about them and expect it to have no consequences, their are justifiably laws that protect individuals from such attacks.

You're an idiot. Your grasp of logic is poor at best, and your ability to reason is apparently nonexistent.

It's a pity that your mother didn't believe in abstinence: If she had, we wouldn't be subjected to the drivel that you post here.

There, bloodhawk (stupid nickname, BTW), I just singled you out and made statements about you. What consequences should I expect? What laws have I broken?

Re:Over the top, but not a free speech issue (3, Insightful)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124098)

Laws restricting what you can legally say or placing penalties upon certain forms of speech are restrictions upon free speech. It is as simple as that, and I don't really see why the concept is so confusing to some people.

If it is an acceptable restriction on free speech is an entirely different discussion, although one that I personally believe should not be given serious consideration. However, it is, without question, a restriction upon free speech to create any laws regulating free communication. That's why it is called what it is. Once you cut out certain kinds of speech, it is far to easy to expand the definitions. We've seen it happen again and again across the world and right at home.

So please, be honest and say what you mean: you disagree with this particular freedom, at least to some extent. I find it offensive to the entire human race to go about redefining freedoms to only what you personally find acceptable.

Re:Over the top, but not a free speech issue (2)

bloodhawk (813939) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124154)

strictly speaking your correct. But such a concept of free speech has never existed and nor should it, free speech has always been defined in legal terms as freedom to express your views and hear the views of others within reasonable restrictions, those restrictions differ slightly from country to country but personal attacks on individuals has always been excluded. (at least I can't think of any country that has freedom of speech and allows it)

Re:Over the top, but not a free speech issue (2)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124132)

having consequences attached to attacking and demeaning others is not a violation of free speech.

What? Of course it is. Since the constitution mentions nothing about exactly what is free speech and what isn't, it is assumed that all speech is free. By free, it means you can say it without consequences. Otherwise, what would be the point of free speech at all? You could say anything you wanted even without the first amendment. Its job is to guarantee that you can say these things without consequences.

Re:Over the top, but not a free speech issue (2)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124064)

Libel is not protected free speech.

Re:Over the top, but not a free speech issue (4, Informative)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124090)

You are partially protected when it comes to libel: affected private citizens can sue you for it, but the government cannot bring criminal charges against you for it. It's solely a civil matter, not a criminal matter.

Re:Over the top, but not a free speech issue (1)

Asclepius99 (1527727) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124150)

If you're referencing the case in the article, what makes this libel? Or are you just making a blanket statement about free speech?

Re:Over the top, but not a free speech issue (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124156)

Only here would someone trying to defend abuse as free speech get modded up. Walking around town handing out flyers that racially and sexually slur all the girls in your former highschool should not be protected by free speech. There's no idea here to suppress. No lie or cover up. THis guy is just being an abusive idiot. Having an opinion on something and presenting that opinion is one thing. Whilstle blowing is one thingr. Outright abuse is another. Only an immature twit can't tell the difference.

Being permitted to say something does not protect you from the consequences of saying it. The typical example is yelling "Fire" in a movie theatre. That's illegal and I'm fine with that, not because I don't like free speech or only like some free speech, but because acting to harm others should be against the law.

Re:Over the top, but not a free speech issue (3, Insightful)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124196)

"THis guy is just being an abusive idiot."

Perhaps, but a restriction upon free speech still is one. I am not necessarily saying it is wrong necessarily to have a law restricting it, but that it is wrong to lie about your intentions. Redefining free speech to not include what you dislike is dishonest and despicable.

"Outright abuse is another. Only an immature twit can't tell the difference."

Or a person who actually knows where this kind of thinking leads. Not long ago did we have committees to determine if you were a communist. It isn't immature to know that such a travesty is only a few "well intentioned" laws away from returning, especially with the constant assault on our freedoms from every angle. Neither political party cares about them, and people like you are too clueless to realize when they are at risk.

"Being permitted to say something does not protect you from the consequences of saying it. The typical example is yelling "Fire" in a movie theatre. That's illegal and I'm fine with that, not because I don't like free speech or only like some free speech, but because acting to harm others should be against the law."

Do you people have like a book you get this crap out of? People thinking that statement is an argument for why they can pick and choose what certain freedoms mean is way too common, especially here on slashdot.

Re:Over the top, but not a free speech issue (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124292)

"THis guy is just being an abusive idiot."

Perhaps, but a restriction upon free speech still is one. I am not necessarily saying it is wrong necessarily to have a law restricting it, but that it is wrong to lie about your intentions. Redefining free speech to not include what you dislike is dishonest and despicable.

If you're going to be pedantic his speech was not restricted AT ALL. He was allowed to say what he said. He simply faced the consequences of saying it after the fact. I find it humorous that you call me dishonest and despicable but defend a bloke who goes around handing out racist and sexist demeaning flyers about women. Basically I think you have your values very twisted.

Or a person who actually knows where this kind of thinking leads. Not long ago did we have committees to determine if you were a communist. It isn't immature to know that such a travesty is only a few "well intentioned" laws away from returning, especially with the constant assault on our freedoms from every angle. Neither political party cares about them, and people like you are too clueless to realize when they are at risk.

You're a fool. You can't tell the difference between giving an opinion on an ideology and an immature abusive idiot. You seem to think it's impossible to defend one and restrict the other. You've presented no evidence of this. You just think that people should be permitted to do and say whatever they feel like regardless of the damage they do. You've totally missed the irony of condemning Mcarthyism while condoning persecution by this immature highschooler.

Do you people have like a book you get this crap out of? People thinking that statement is an argument for why they can pick and choose what certain freedoms mean is way too common, especially here on slashdot.

Yet you don't have a retort. It is perfectly valid and a very clear example that you should not be permitted to yell "Fire" in the middle of a movie theatre and cause a stampede that has the potential to kill and mame. Since you've got no decent logical answer you've chosen ad hominem and straw men instead. When you're ready to actually respond to the point I've made, let me know!

Re:Over the top, but not a free speech issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36124312)

I am not going to justify an obvious troll with further thoughtful responses. You may find your retort in any number of my other posts on this very site, where I replied to the same claim countless times.

Re:Over the top, but not a free speech issue (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124330)

First, why reply as AC? Childish.

Second, you can't tell the difference between a troll and a logical discussion either. You've failed to actually come up with any valid counter-arguments, and instead resorted to name calling. No wonder you wish to protect this kind of behaviour - you're incapable of anything else. PATHETIC!

People talk nonsense when it comes to free speech (3, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124224)

"Free speech doesn't protect racist or sexist slurs."

  It only protects speech you like, right? Sorry, there is no free speech if it comes with strings attached. I might disagree with what they say - even find it sickening - but it is their right to say it, and not yours to say otherwise. Why? Redefining "free" to be only what you want is more despicable than anything a person could say.

Fine, then you'd have no problem with people standing outside your house and yelling abuse at you day and night for weeks or months on end??? Because it's free speech right. You wouldn't bring noise pollution laws, or harassment laws to bear? No you'd defend them to the death. NONSENSE.

When's the last time you or someone you cared about was harassed to the point of being suicidal? If you have children are they fair game? Would you be fine if your children were disabled or mentally impaired? What if your wife/girlfriend/mother was on anti-depressant pills and suicidal?

People talk such NONSENSE and BUNK when it comes to free speech. No one decent human being would find the above examples acceptable or defensible. There is a reason that these things are illegal. There are reasons for harassment and stalking laws. These are good things even if they violate your overly broad view of what free speech means.

But hey sandlotters, continue to mod this drivel up!!! Because slashdot has come to mod up only mindless groupthink drivel. (The irony is these defenders of free speech will mod me down!!!!)

Re:People talk nonsense when it comes to free spee (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124344)

No one decent human being would find the above examples acceptable or defensible.

Decent? Well, that's subjective, but I certainly would. They are indeed examples of free speech.

Re:Over the top, but not a free speech issue (2)

GWRedDragon (1340961) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124000)

Free speech doesn't protect racist or sexist slurs.

Yes, it does. Free speech is a right to believe and express whatever beliefs you wish. That expression is only rightfully limited when it amounts to actions rather than just expression.

Once people in power can regulate what you're allowed to believe and what you're allowed to argue, it is an inevitable slippery slope to them using it to control their opponents. Luckily, in the US, the first amendment has provided a rather effective guard against this.

Re:Over the top, but not a free speech issue (1, Troll)

syousef (465911) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124164)

Free speech doesn't protect racist or sexist slurs.

Yes, it does.

No it doesn't and it does not matter how many times you repeat the fallacy. Verbal assault is recognised as a criminal act in most countries that protect free speech.

Re:Over the top, but not a free speech issue (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124354)

Verbal assault is recognised as a criminal act in most countries that protect free speech.

And? If they claim to have free speech in something as "final" as a constitution, then they are the ones who are wrong, are they not? The number of countries that do this is irrelevant.

Re:Over the top, but not a free speech issue (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124362)

Isn't that a circular definition? "Free speech is the speech protected in countries that protect free speech."

The definition by the American Heritage Dictionary is: "The right to express any opinion in public without censorship or restraint by the government."

Clearly racist or sexist slurs are an opinion, and therefore countries that criminalize it don't protect free speech.

(By the way, I'm not saying that this is necessarily a bad thing - limiting verbal abuse can be perfectly justifiable.)

Re:Over the top, but not a free speech issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36124024)

Free speech doesn't protect racist or sexist slurs.

Actually, it does. You and I may not like racism and sexism, and it certainly isn't moral, but it isn't illegal to express it through language unless you are inciting violence and that's a subjective measure.

Re:Over the top, but not a free speech issue (4, Informative)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124044)

Free speech doesn't protect racist or sexist slurs.

Oh yes it does. For instance, in National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie the US Supreme Court ruled that the Nazis had the right to march through a predominently Jewish city. It's perfectly legal to call Hillary Clinton or Michelle Bachman (to pick a couple of random examples) a "cunt" or a "cracker" if you want to. And the various modern versions of the KKK can spew their rhetoric and have cross burnings all they like without government interference.

I'm not saying I approve of any of these, just that they are most definitely protected by free speech and assembly.

Re:Over the top, but not a free speech issue (0)

syousef (465911) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124180)

The right to protest is a different issue. However I think you'll find that anyone can sue you for defamation and libel, and that there are anti-discrimination laws - civil and criminal that if applied would prevent you from making slurs such as the ones you cite. That these are no enforced in particular circumstances doesn't mean it's sanctioned or permitted by law.

Re:Over the top, but not a free speech issue (2)

hldn (1085833) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124332)

calling a black woman a nigger cunt isn't defamation or libel, nor is it discrimination or any other sort of crime.

yes, anyone can sue you for saying it, but they will most definitely be laughed out of court. hurting your feelings isn't against the law... yet.

though denying a black woman a job and telling her it's because she's a nigger cunt would probably be held up by the courts as some type of discrimination.

going around town telling everyone that so and so is a nigger cunt that steals clothes from department stores would probably be held up by the courts as some type of defamation, not because you called her a nigger cunt, but because you actually slandered by claiming she was a thief (unless of course, she actually is a thief. truth is the absolute defense to slander/libel)

to wit, you sir are a nigger cunt.

Re:Over the top, but not a free speech issue (1)

exentropy (1822632) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124126)

Free speech doesn't protect racist or sexist slurs.

Actually, it does. Free speech must not be restricted unless it presents a "clear and present danger [to others]." The founding fathers knew that democracies function only when people have a right to criticize freely. This means that governments cannot eliminate speech simply because the masses find it undesirable. For instance: what if, in the early 19th century, all talk about freeing the slaves were made illegal because most considered it an undesirable and offensive idea? We would still have slaves! Thus, all speech (even racist or sexist slurs) must be protected. Although I find the 17-year-old's content repulsive, he absolutely does have a right to free speech.

This is from my neighborhood! (1)

ThatFunkyMunki (908716) | more than 2 years ago | (#36123990)

My little sister was on this list. Seems like an overreaction to fuck him over like this but it looks like she was pretty perturbed over this whole thing, reasonable I guess. I wouldn't say it was bullying but it definitely caused a lot of drama and people were really upset over it. It should probably be mentioned that this wasn't the first time he did something like this so the harsher penalties make a little more sense in that context. Then again, he's a black kid in a community controlled by whitevadulrs so I'm sure if he offended their little angels then he is gonna face some serious problems.

Re:This is from my neighborhood! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36124032)

Pics please so we can decide for ourselves.

Re:This is from my neighborhood! (1)

mpos (2153652) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124058)

Maybe your sis needs to toughen up a bit...

Re:This is from my neighborhood! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36124190)

Why does she need to toughen up? The only thing that the poster said is that she's perturbed.

Re:This is from my neighborhood! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36124236)

Your mum is perturbed!

Captcha: condom

Re:This is from my neighborhood! (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124244)

Maybe your sis needs to toughen up a bit...

Maybe his sister doesn't deserve the abuse, and maybe abusing people shouldn't be protected as free speech!

Re:This is from my neighborhood! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36124110)

My little sister was on this list.

Now I'm not suggesting a course of action or anything, but when I was growing up a few of the older brothers would have taken this boy aside and explained to him why it's not polite to say things like that.

Re:This is from my neighborhood! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36124138)

Has it not occurred to anyone that his opinions might not matter much?

Yes. (0)

TechwoIf (1004763) | more than 2 years ago | (#36123992)

Good. Because free speech does not equal freedom of responsibility. If the government prevented him from posting it in the first place, then it is a freedom of speech issue. In this case, they charge him/her with disorderly conduct after he/she posted it. Note they have not order the post erased, although I am sure the sites will remove the posts anyway for TOS harassment violations if they haven't done so already.

Re:Yes. (3, Insightful)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124014)

Wait, what? That's the most batshit definition of "free" I have ever heard. So it only is a restriction on free speech if you do it beforehand, and call it that? Well, North Korea must be the freest fucking country on the planet - they just kill you after the fact if you say what they don't like!

Re:Yes. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36124216)

Sigh.

IAAJBTINLA (I Am A Judge, But This Is Not Legal Advice) I have not yet seen the actual charges in this case, but I think this charge will be laughed out of court, and rightfully so (at least if it came before my judge).

In most states, 'Disorderly Conduct' is defined as a person who recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally: (1) engages in fighting or in tumultuous conduct; (2) makes unreasonable noise and continues to do so after being asked to stop; or (3) disrupts a lawful assembly of persons;

None of the above apply to the conduct of this kid. And even if by some twist of logic they do contort the letter of lat to apply, it would still have to stand up to both due process and first amendment challenges, which set a VERY high burden for the prosecution.

Re:Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36124346)

Because free speech does not equal freedom of responsibility.

This sentence makes no sense to anyone that has a basic grasp of written English. If you rephrased it to "Because free speech does not equal freedom from responsibility", then it would make sense, and even be true in an ideal world.

BTW, your resume is so replete with errors that I thought that it was a joke. "Ever sense 1990", "Ever sense 1997" - really?

Miss America (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36124004)

So, women rating on the air, by millons of American is fine, but you can't rate the butt in your school ? There is something I don't get...

Seen otherwise, it's OK to rate the beauty, but not to rate ugliness ?

Re:Miss America (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124188)

You realize that Miss America contestants sign up to be rated, right? Something tells me the girls on his list did not have that choice.

To borrow an analogy from Jonathan Blow... say a guy knocks up out, sticks a knife in you, and takes your money. If it's a mugger doing it without your permission, it's bad. If it's a surgeon doing it with your consent, it's good.

Re:Miss America (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36124248)

My point stay, you can comment positively, but everything negative falls under libel-like law when given without consent. You can cancel the First Amendment in that case, as you just forbid Free Speech. Btw, your example does not stand, it is still bad to stick a knife in me even with my permission, in order to kill me. Beside that, I'm pretty sure a doctor sticking a knife in me without my permission, in order to save me, would be seen as good, even if it would violate my will. You concentrated on the action, while the action is pointless beside the attend.

Taking the wrong approach. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36124114)

Too many people today go "grow a thicker skin and get over it", but then there are sites dedicated to bullying like encyclopedia dramatica (which the world would be better off without) portal of evil (the older more homophobic cousin) and fox news (which just makes shit up for ratings.)

The average... oh 40 year old might be able to tell the difference between the three and some gossip and discern how truthful it is. However the average child under the age of 18 who is still in high school may consider killing themselves because they "haven't grown a thicker skin" and even college students and NEET's may lack social experience and feel the world is against them.

The world would be better off if the power seeking psychopaths(who see nothing wrong in bullying) and general asshats (those that get jollies from bullying, but get upset when it happens to them) would be thrown in jail/community service for a month after a quick jury trial that finds they caused psychological harm to their target. These should be treated as civil (not criminal) unless someone died or ends up in the hospital from wounds.

However we shouldn't overstep the line from trying to control what people say (freedom of speech) and do (teasing,bullying) just to "Save the Children", because it always boils down to bad parenting. Perhaps maybe it's come time for parents to take responsibility for their children, where if the child is found guilty (see previous paragraph) the parent can take their place.

The thing is, we don't need more jails, just the experience of being held responsible for being a inhuman jerk.

Re:Taking the wrong approach. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36124168)

However the average child under the age of 18 who is still in high school may consider killing themselves because they "haven't grown a thicker skin" and ...

Let's be extreme: it helps get rid of the weak blood. Humm, Darwinism :)

He got off easy (1)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124124)

Don't know the juvenile penalties, but for an adult, disorderly conduct is punishable by up to a month in jail, while libel is punishable by up to three years. TFA didn't mention the exact slurs, but if any of them was "slut", then in Illinois that ia automatic libel since it is an accusation of fornication. TFA says "body parts", and "cunt" could reasonably be taken to be synonmous with "slut".

The whole problem behind bullying is that it is given a pass by the criminal system. Stuff that goes on in high school would never withstand police scrutiny in the adult world. Just an inadvertant brush against someone in the adult world is often enough to bring the police out. Any sort of name-calling would result in immediate job termination (compare to what it takes to get expelled from high school), likely a civil libel suit, and possibly even criminal libel charges.

The guy should spend a month in juvenile detention, but I doubt that will happen with a juvenile "disorderly conduct" charge.

Re:He got off easy (1)

hldn (1085833) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124358)

"cunt" could reasonably be taken to be synonmous with "slut"

cunt and slut are absolutely not synonymous. no reasonable person would take them to mean the same thing.

Distorted standards (4, Insightful)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124206)

I endured worse than what this kid is described as doing from more than a score of kids on a daily basis, and NO ONE in the school district rushed to my defense like this. Not a single one of my tormentors was ever arrested, suspended, or even disciplined.

I wonder: if this had been a GIRL shopping such a list about boys, would we have even had a Slashdot article to read about it? Would we even if it had been a boy with a list tormenting other BOYS?

Normal procedure (1)

no-body (127863) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124214)

Fire: "...the student no longer attends OPRF."
Call police: "...arrested at his Oak Park home"

Alternative could be a therapy/encounter session in a save environment where he and the people on this list are brought together to express their feelings about what he did, let him figure out why he did it and that there may be other possibilities for him to get what he actually needs.
Far from anything like that happening there....

Illinois law recognizes "defamation per se" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36124228)

From Wikipedia article: United States defamation law [wikipedia.org]

... some categories of false statements are so innately harmful that they are considered to be defamatory per se. In the common law tradition, damages for such false statements are presumed and do not have to be proven. "Statements are defamatory per se where they falsely impute to the plaintiff one or more of the following things":

        Allegations or imputations "injurious to another in their trade, business, or profession"
        Allegations or imputations "of loathsome disease" (historically leprosy and sexually transmitted disease, now also including mental illness)
        Allegations or imputations of "unchastity" (usually only in unmarried people and sometimes only in women)
        Allegations or imputations of criminal activity (sometimes only crimes of moral turpitude)

Reading between the lines of the news article - it appears that each women's name was listed with offensive or injurious comments that could be judged "defamatory per se" which would allow each plaintiff to proceed with legal action in civil court for damages, because Illinois does not have criminal law for defamatory acts.

The article seems to indicate that the charge of "disorderly conduct of a minor" was accepted in lieu of a full defamation damage civil law class action trial. This appears to be acceptable to the plaintiffs and to the legal custodians of the minor who allegedly perpetrated the offenses.

In the United States, the standard defense to a charge of defamation is to prove the truth in the contested statements. "Defamatory per se" weakens that defense since the simple act of alleging or imputing the reputation of a person in any of the four cases above is sufficient to be judged by a court as an act of defamation.

On these grounds, it becomes clear that Donald Trump has engaged in a campaign of defamation against the US Office of the President by imputing moral turpitude on the current office holder - Barack Obama. While this is not treated as a criminal act in New York State -- criminal defamation is on the books in New Hampshire, Kansas, North Carolina, Florida, Minnesota, Michigan, Colorado, and Virginia -- and both civil and criminal complaints are being considered for those states.

On the flip side, Donald Trump's employment contract with Mark Burnett Productions includes a standard "Morality Clause" that can trigger instant termination of employment if the employee is deemed to have committed a criminal act or a public act of moral turpitude. This protects the production of "Celebrity Apprentice" from civil actions for recovery of damages due to actions of a performer. Clearly, a public defamation campaign against the Office of the President counts at least as Moral Turpitude - and because "Celebrity Apprentice" is produced under a license granted by the BBC and Thames Talk TV - such a campaign would be considered a criminal action in United Kingdom courts.

There is currently a write-in campaign to the offices of NBC Universal and Mark Burnett Productions requesting that Trump's employment with "Celebrity Apprentice" be terminated for violating Trump's contractual Morality Clause. This campaign was initiated by MSNBC's own news commentator Lawrence O'Donnell. See his video clip from "The Last Word" (aired on MSNBC on April 27, 2011) [realclearpolitics.com]

Ofcourse, they're women (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36124322)

Wome are protected at all costs, men killed by other men trying to show the women how "good" they are.

Imagine if he was in a "good" muslim socity.

Fuck Chicago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36124334)

Mrs. O'Leary's Cow needs to come back and finish her job.

The whole city is nothing but a bunch of failure and faggotry.

Fuck you all.

Disorderly Conduct? (1)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124342)

Isn't this what police arrest people for just to get them off the street? As I recall, the charge almost never gets a conviction (of course that assumes you have a lawyer and not a public defender who will plea bargain any charge, even "breathing air while alive").

Whatever happened to chivalry? (1)

bensafrickingenius (828123) | more than 2 years ago | (#36124398)

Back in my day, we didn't ARREST punks for printin' nasty things about the womenfolk. We chased them down, surrounded them, knocked them over, and kicked them until their ears bled. And we liked it! We LOVED it!
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