Noose Laws Hang Free Speech

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Not a hanging offense

According to DiversityInc, the number of reported noose incidents has increased exponentially since the Jena 6 affair:

Since September of last year, the number of reported noose incidents nationally jumped to nearly 80, according to the DiversityInc Noose Watch, the first and only tracker of national reported noose sightings….

"We might see half a dozen [noose] cases a year; there is no doubt in my mind that there has been a major outbreak of noose incidents blossoming because of Jena," said Mark Potok, director of the Intelligence Project for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which monitors hate crimes.

Also from DiversityInc, legislative responses to the noose "epidemic":

To date, three states have passed laws to punish those who use nooses as a means to intimidate. Connecticut and New York passed laws in May, with prison sentences ranging from a year in Connecticut to four years in New York. Earlier this month, Louisiana, the state where thousands of protestors marched in support of the Jena 6, became the third state to pass such a law. So far, no one has been sentenced under these new laws….

Louisiana's law makes hanging a noose, or an image of one, on another person's property or on public property with "the intent to intimidate" illegal and punishable by up to $5,000 and up to a year in prison.

Lawmakers in Florida, Maryland, Missouri and North Carolina are considering similar legislation.

There's little debate about the "real" meaning of a noose: It represents xenophobia, mob rule, and retribution by torch light. But the noose's negative cultural significance is not sufficient justification to ban it on public property. Why is a group of hicks waving images of a noose—or actual nooses—in the middle of a public park any less deserving of 1st Amendment protection than thousands of Ku Klux Klan members staging a rally on main street? Afterall, in order to allow groups like the Klan to march, cities must be able to differentiate between a protest rally and a mob hell-bent on peforming a lynching. That same rubric should be applied to displays of nooses on public property.

Associate Editor Katherine Mangu-Ward wrote "Five Facts About the Jena 6" here.

Hat tip to Al Tompkins at Poynter.org.

ADDENDUM: I meant to point out that "intimidation" is an ambiguous qualifier for determining which representations of a noose count as free speech and which count as a hate speech/crime. 

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  1. Personally I think the speech should be absolutely allowed, and if some ignorant hick gets caught hanging one and *accidentally* gets the shit kicked out of him, I won’t shed a tear.

  2. What sort of ammo would you all recommend for hunting wild Noose?

  3. Why is a group of hicks waving images of a noose-or actual nooses-in the middle of a public park any less deserving of 1st Amendment protection than thousands of Klan members staging a rally on main street?

    It isn’t, but then, the law described here doesn’t do that.

    If they are carrying a noose in a peaceful protest in the park, this law doesn’t apply.

    If a group of Klansmen use their robes and hoods to intimidate someone, that is illegal, too.

  4. When I was 17 on Halloween a buddy of mine dressed up as a hanged man. After we left the party he hung the noose on my rear view mirror. To us it was just a symbol of death. We thought it was cool.

    I didnt realize that I committed a crime. Since I was in St. Louis at that time they could of even took my car.

  5. Why is a group of hicks waving images of a noose-or actual nooses-in the middle of a public park any less deserving of 1st Amendment protection than thousands of Ku Klux Klan members staging a rally on main street?

    What if the Klan members were pointing shotguns at black people, to “symbolically” communicate with them? Or waving swords at them?

    Since the law allows nooses on your own property, I don’t have a problem with restricting them on public property. The noose is clearly supposed to be perceived as a weapon. Wave ropes with no knots in them if you have to bring ropes.

  6. Another entry in the book of “if we take away the tools to act, the motive behind the act disappears.”

    If they keep trying it, its bound to work on something.

  7. Alch,

    Also the police chief’s daughter may have “rented” your car . . . for her own brand of demolition derby.

  8. I didnt realize that I committed a crime.

    What part of “with intent to intimidate” is eluding people here?

  9. Alch,

    I too had a rear-view mirror noose in high-school, with a Cobra Commander action figure in it. Had no idea I was a race-terrorist.

  10. I meant to point out that “intimidation” is an ambiguous qualifier for determining which representations of a noose count as free speech and which count as a hate speech/crime.

    Then why did you claim there was a difference between nooses and gatherings of Klansmen, which can also be illegal or not depending on whether a particular example is conducted for the purpose of intimidating someone?

  11. We might see half a dozen [noose] cases a year; there is no doubt in my mind that there has been a major outbreak of noose incidents blossoming because of Jena

    Because of Jena? How does that work exactly? Because people forgot about the noose and Jena reminded them? Because Jena showed how to bring loads of media attention to your podunk redneck town? Because Jena sparked an anti-backlash-racist-backlash? Or because of something else?

  12. What part of “with intent to intimidate” is eluding people here?

    The part where some schmuck with a badge and some old coot who has a thing for wearing badly-tailored black dresses is deciding whether you seemed to have “intent to intimidate” or not.

    These are, may I remind you, the same people who find toy dogs frightening and those who absolve them of shooting said dogs.

  13. Joe,

    Intent is too vague of a word. For instance, I live in Mississippi. If I hung a noose up for Halloween. The intent would be for fun but also with the “intent” to scare/intimidate trick or treaters.

  14. Don’t we already have laws against intimidating people? Why do we need a special one just for nooses?

    Oh, that’s right: politicians want to be seen “doing something” and scoring re-election points.

  15. I’d want to read the exact wording of the legislation but hanging a noose “with the intent to intimidate” sounds a bit like sending a death threat. This is not speech as political or social commentary but an act with a specific and malicious intent. So long as the law is worded to apply when the noose is being used for the purpose of conveying a threat, it is perfectly just.

    LMNOP – look up “irony” and think how it applies to a mob attacking someone for advocating mob attacks.

  16. Intimidation is a crime? Why? Or are people equating Intimidation with Criminal Threatening?

  17. LMNOP – look up “irony” and think how it applies to a mob attacking someone for advocating mob attacks.

    Oh, I know. It’s…wonderful.

  18. Episiarch – good point.

  19. There’s little debate about the “real” meaning of a noose: It represents xenophobia, mob rule, and retribution by torch light.

    Xenophobia? That’s a stretch. As for the rest, perhaps, but a few decades ago it was also associated with capital punishment, Halloween, and horror movies.

    And, of course, the frequency of noose incidents is also tied (sorry) to the media hysteria regarding nooses. If civil rights activists decided the word “fnord” was a hate crime and a big stink was made about it, you’d suddenly start seeing lots more fnords.

  20. joe:

    define ‘feeling intimidated’.

    I saw a man waving a noose… in an intimidating way… I was intimidated. But only because he had a noose. When the noose went away, I no longer felt intimidated.

    Get ready for a spate of “I’m all for freedom of speech, but…” statements. For a walk down [recent] memory lane, here was one of my favs:

    “I am probably the most progressive liberal person in the world and I am personally offended by the sign,” said Janet Stillman, executive director of the Wallingford Neighborhood Office. “It’s so blatant and so in your face.”

    http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/304644_highmaintenance22.html

    We knew we were in trouble when the liberals embraced the conservative mantra about ‘community standards’.

  21. There shouldn’t even need to be a law like this, because you think people would show some common respect and decency. What a shithole backwater town, and that goes for both the white and black people there.

  22. Episiarch: Very true. The law books are full of redundant laws written to “deal with” a problem that’s already covered. I’m not sure if it’s still there, but back in the ’70s there was an Ohio law making it illegal for a music teacher to seduce an underage pupil. Of course it was already for adults to seduce children, but there must have been some specific case that caused a public outcry.

  23. And, of course, the frequency of noose incidents is also tied (sorry) to the media hysteria regarding nooses. If civil rights activists decided the word “fnord” was a hate crime and a big stink was made about it, you’d suddenly start seeing lots more fnords.

    That would be the very definition of public service.

    The world could use more fnords. Always.

  24. What part of “with intent to intimidate” is eluding people here?

    I suspect ‘intent to intimidate’ is well understood by everyone.

    Why don’t we just make it illegal to have ‘intent to intimidate’?

    That way, we don’t need a law banning nooses, or any other symbol that might be now, or ever construed to have a specific cultural meaning.

  25. Why are you all asking me to “define intimidate?” I merely pointed out an illogical argument in the post. Is that not allowed?

  26. Can anybody with expertise tell us how the difference between intimidation and free speech is handled? Yes, there are plenty of instances that would clearly be one or the other, and we all know it when we see it. How are the gray areas handled?

    If there is already a body of precedents and standard practices for dealing with the gray areas, and if cases of clear intimidation are already illegal and handled under the law, what is the point of a noose-specific intimidation law?

  27. Why don’t we just make it illegal to have ‘intent to intimidate’?

    Because thoughts and ideas don’t violate anyone’s rights, only overt acts.

    This law bans the overt act of USING a noose to intimidate someone.

  28. Does anyone object to including a finding about intent in the definition of murder vs. manslaughter?

    Determining criminal intent is an element of every criminal trial.

  29. Joe,

    Because government has a history of fucking up and taking matters to the point of overkill. Also, what illogical argument?

  30. I’d want to read the exact wording of the legislation but hanging a noose “with the intent to intimidate” sounds a bit like sending a death threat. This is not speech as political or social commentary but an act with a specific and malicious intent

    No one here would disagree. If I drew a highly detailed cariciature showing the death of their children, and I pasted it on their door “with intent to intimidate”, would they have to pass a law making it illegal to post highly detailed caricatures showing the death of children…with intent to intimidate? Or could we just accept that a reasonable jury can determine a threat when someone put something on ones property, and leave it at that?

    I’ll admit that this may have less to do with the liberal/libertarian divide in respect to the first amendment, and more to do with the philosophy of a need for a complex web of detailed laws vs. a simple umbrella of basic laws.

  31. Does anyone object to including a finding about intent in the definition of murder vs. manslaughter?

    Yes. But I understand I’m in the far minority on this one.

  32. If there is already a body of precedents and standard practices for dealing with the gray areas, and if cases of clear intimidation are already illegal and handled under the law, what is the point of a noose-specific intimidation law?

    thank you thoreau, for asking the question in a straight-forward manner.

  33. # Hugh Akston | July 22, 2008, 1:36pm | #
    # Another entry in the book of “if we take
    # away the tools to act, the motive behind
    # the act disappears.”

    # If they keep trying it, its bound to
    # work on something.

    Only when the tool-builders are extremely mentally challenged. Otherwise, humans are ingenious tool builders and if they have a will, they will find a way. Now, if you can take away the IDEA and the WILL to act, you may have something, there. I think Orwell had something to say about that strategy in 1984.

  34. Naga Shadow,

    “Becaue the government” blah blah, people are asking ME to define “intent?” Does not follow.

    Also, what illogical argument? The argument that such laws treat nooses differently from Klan gatherings, when they do not. Gatherings of Klandmen in their costumes can be illegal, or not, depending on whether they are conducted for the purpose of intimidating someone.

  35. I’ll admit that this may have less to do with the liberal/libertarian divide in respect to the first amendment, and more to do with the philosophy of a need for a complex web of detailed laws vs. a simple umbrella of basic laws.

    Both have very significant drawbacks. Of the top of my head, the first is a problem because it tends inexorably towards cruftiness, and is difficult to change while picking up all the loose ends. The second encourages police and prosecutorial “discretion” and similar bullshit.

  36. In poking around on this topic, I found that “intimidation” was tightly bound to the definition of “student hazing” (in NH). Yet another good “OMG DID U READ THE NEWZ WE MUST DO SUMTHING!” law.

  37. If there is already a body of precedents and standard practices for dealing with the gray areas, and if cases of clear intimidation are already illegal and handled under the law, what is the point of a noose-specific intimidation law?

    To provide guidance in figuring out those grey areas.

  38. Only when the tool-builders are extremely mentally challenged. Otherwise, humans are ingenious tool builders and if they have a will, they will find a way. Now, if you can take away the IDEA and the WILL to act, you may have something, there. I think Orwell had something to say about that strategy in 1984.

    I’m pretty sure Hugh was being facetious.

  39. Sometimes, when I feel like killing someone, I do a little trick to calm myself down. I’ll go over to the person’s house and ring the doorbell. When the person comes to the door, I’m gone… but you know what I’ve left on the porch? A jack-o-lantern with a knife stuck in the side of its head with a note that says “You.” After that, I usually feel a lot better, and no harm done.

  40. “But the noose’s negative cultural significance is not sufficient justification to ban it on public property.”

    So tell me, Libertarians, does the same hold true for the word “nigger”? In a free society Can one group own a word to the exlusion of everyone who is outside of that group?

    Or to paraphrase that woman on “The View” If we are divided by the use of a word, how on earth will we ever rise above our current status?

  41. I had a noose hanging in my room throughout high school. I never realized I was intimidating myself.

    I also have a “Living Dead Doll” hanging in noose from my rearview mirror. I am the intimidator.

  42. The gummit used to execute people with nooses, and not just rogue sheriffs in the wild west. Maybe we should add “law and order” to the list of cultural signifances of the noose.

  43. joe-

    Passing a law singling out the use of a particular symbol could certainly provide some legislative guidance on gray areas. However, treating different symbols differently takes some of the analysis away from the conduct and towards the message. That raises free speech issues. Yes, any prosecution for intimidation raises free speech issues, because there are gray areas and whatnot, but focusing too much on content vs. context and conduct seems like a bad idea.

  44. Nooses always remind me of Saddam Hussein’s execution. I get all warm and fuzzy.

  45. The second encourages police and prosecutorial “discretion” and similar bullshit.

    lmnop, I believe that judges are becoming more and more annoyed that they’re losing their judicial ‘discretion’ because now even sentencing is codified into law.

    And in fact, we’re also seeing an increase (arguably) of unethical behavior going unchecked because there was no rule found that specifically forbade the activity. While one might argue that this is because there aren’t enough rules, I argue it’s because we have too many. We’re now laboring under the impression that there has to be a rule for every single instance of “gray” and as such, if there’s no law or rule, the behavior must be ‘ok’. See yesterday’s Balko post on faking evidence.

    Yes, there is no perfect scenario, but the latter example, IMHO is preferable to the former.

  46. Won’t somebody think of the auto-asphyxiation fans?

  47. thoreau,

    It does raise free speech issues, but I don’t think that a noose-specific laws is necessarily a 1st Amendment violation, if it is drafted properly.

  48. A jack-o-lantern with a knife stuck in the side of its head with a note that says “You.” After that, I usually feel a lot better, and no harm done.

    The conduct already covered includes the display of swastikas on property without the permission of the property owner and also the burning of crosses.

    This adds the display of a noose to the existing law.

    What’s clearly needed now is the addition of “jack-o-lantern with a knife stuck in the side of its head with a note that says ‘You.’ “

  49. Judicial discretion is a good thing.

  50. So tell me, Libertarians, does the same hold true for the word “nigger”? In a free society Can one group own a word to the exlusion of everyone who is outside of that group?

    If you want to heap social and cultural scorn on someone non-black using “nigger” as an insult, I’m all for it. What to pass a law to make it a crime? No fucking way. Want to make a law indicating a reduced charge for someone who beats the shit out of someone who called them a “nigger”? I think we can work something out. (Although, I’m a fan of “provoking” defenses in general…)

    Why does not wanting to make something a law somehow translate as approving of it? Oh, that’s right… it’s a lazy and intellectually dishonest way of attacking libertarians.

  51. Won’t somebody think of the auto-asphyxiation fans?

    Dude, you could die like that. Always have a spotter.

  52. Judicial discretion is a good thing.

    Apparently not. See: Current thread.

  53. joe-

    Drafting it properly is part of it. Administering and enforcing it properly are also part of it. If the goal is to steer clear of free speech issues, then focusing on conduct and context seems safer than specifying content-specific standards.

  54. The whole “intent” thing is nonsense. How are you possibly going to gauge someone’s “intent”. Vulcan Mind Melds? Just to give an example, I plan on hanging a noose on the door of a black professor at a nearby university. My intent has nothing whatsoever to do with racism or sending the professor a message. I don’t know the slightest thing about the particular professor (I just choose her because of his color) or give a crap about his or anybody else’s race. My sole “intent” is to watch the University go in to hysterics and spends weeks hand wringing about “racism” and hopefully instituting new, expensive, utterly ineffective programs to help teach their incoming students about the joys of diversity. All because of a completely non-racist anarchist who enjoys pushing the buttons of idiots! But is there any real practical difference between me and the racially motivated actor? The slippery slope here is obvious. If they can ban the racist there should be no reason why they can’t ban the social commentator or jokester anarchist either. That’s why you can’t compromise on freedom.

  55. Dude, you could die like that. Always have a spotter.

    If I had someone with me, they’d be choking me and I wouldn’t need the noose! This is bigotry, plain and simple.

  56. Orlando recently had a noose “incident”. A city-owned golf course (been around since 1924) recently re-opened after a bunch of hoopla. They hung historical pictures in the club house. One of those pictures was of a white golfer putting while a barefooted black caddy watches. Daisy Lynum, somewhat of a race-baiting sensationalist, made a big stink about the photograph. A week later, a noose shows up at her office. The conventional wisdom is that she sent it to herself! Talk about intimidation!

  57. What part of “with intent to intimidate” is eluding people here?

    The above statement, which I fancy comes from the wording of the different laws, presumes that a person’s mind can be read as to know his or her intentions when displaying such nooses. Given that it is impossible to read minds, then it is logical to conclude the law will NOT really care about the intentions behind hanging nooses in whatever place it is done, and simply assume the intention in all cases. This will lead to (obviously) arrests and fines against people that hang nooses for other things besides political statement, like for instance Halloween parties and such.

    This is the reason the Framers of the Constitution did NOT place provisos in the First Amendment (the provisos came later by way of totally dishonest opinions about the scope of the amendment), in order to protect people from subjective gray areas within a law, or leaving its interpretation to government thugs and raving gangs (which we call, with a sick sense of humor, “police”).

  58. This is bigotry, plain and simple.

    Won’t somebody think of the choke-jerkers!?!

  59. It does raise free speech issues, but I don’t think that a noose-specific laws is necessarily a 1st Amendment violation, if it is drafted properly.

    I have heard this so many times before… and it is always wrong.

  60. Gatherings of Klandmen in their costumes can be illegal, or not, depending on whether they are conducted for the purpose of intimidating someone.

    Intent gets even harder to identify when you are talking about groups of people. How many of the Klansmen attending the gathering must have the prohibited intent in order to make the gathering illegal? If only one guy shows up to intimidate, and the rest are there to peacefully protest, is it illegal?

    And I’ve always thought that any protest march is a show of strength at some sub-verbal level.

    I mean, if we go around banning gatherings with intent to intimidate, what will we do about union picket lines? Anyone who has tried to cross one can tell you that there is very definite, and explicit, intent to intimidate there.

  61. government thugs and raving gangs (which we call, with a sick sense of humor, “police”)

    Excellent instance of RC’z Law, Francisco.

  62. There was a spike in noose news in late 2007. For some reason Brisbane, AU is particularly noose-happy.

    http://www.google.com/trends?q=noose&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0

    However, noose could not compete with boobs or moose.

  63. Sorry I’m late. Has anyone on the thread said, “No noose is good noose!” yet?

  64. That’s why you can’t compromise on freedom.

    And for many other reasons as well, you cannot compromise on freedom. Leave it to the state idolaters to say otherwise, and always under the guise of “reasonable” limitations.

  65. What if a black guy hangs a noose on his own property?
    To scare away other blacks?
    Crime?

  66. What’s the big deal, eh? Where I live we have a “moose incident” almost every day.

    Oh. Noose.

  67. So if I’m descendant from French aristocracy and someone leaves a guillotine on my lawn…

  68. What if a black guy hangs a noose on his own property?
    To scare away other blacks?
    Crime?

    I don’t know. But if a despondent black guy decided to end it all by hanging himself, that would definitely be prosecutable as a hate suicide.

  69. So if I’m descendant from French aristocracy and someone leaves a guillotine on my lawn…

    Oh, there won’t be a law against that, if you’re white. What country do you think you live in?

  70. So if I’m descendant from French aristocracy and someone leaves a guillotine on my lawn…

    Come to think of it, a lot of people in my family died of lung cancer and tobacco-related diseases. Are all the cigarette butts I keep finding outside my apartment door a form of intimidation?

  71. Then why hasn’t anyone tried to ban nooses on the premise that children might become caught in them? Like old refrigerators. They could expand the law to include having bear-traps on your lawn.

  72. So if I’m descendant from French aristocracy and someone leaves a guillotine on my lawn…

    The conduct already covered includes the display of swastikas on property without the permission of the property owner and also the burning of crosses and the display of a noose.

    This adds jack-o-lanterns with a knife stuck in the side of its head with a note that says ‘You.’

    Damnit, I can’t keep up.

    What’s clearly needed now is the addition of a ‘guillotine’ on the property of persons with French heritage.

    There. NOW the gray areas eliminated.

  73. Does anyone object to including a finding about intent in the definition of murder vs. manslaughter?

    No, but in the case of manslaughter, we require the government to prove that the defendant’s act actually caused a victim to die. For this to be a valid analogy, the government would have to prove that the noose actually intimidated someone (as opposed to simply outraged their sensibilities, which I suspect is what happens in the majority of cases).

  74. So, if a bunch of Bears fans gather outside a Packer fan’s house wearing cheese-hats while chanting “Favre sucks!” they could be prosecuted?

    What if they also burn an effigy of Vince Lombardi?

  75. “Why does not wanting to make something a law somehow translate as approving of it? Oh, that’s right… it’s a lazy and intellectually dishonest way of attacking libertarians.”

    I’m not asking for a law. I’m just wondering why Jesse Jackson thinks its okay for him to say Nigger, but Michael Richards can’t. Either everyone owns the use of a word or no one does. What I am asking for, is an end to verbal segregation.

  76. No, but in the case of manslaughter, we require the government to prove that the defendant’s act actually caused a victim to die. For this to be a valid analogy, the government would have to prove that the noose actually intimidated someone (as opposed to simply outraged their sensibilities, which I suspect is what happens in the majority of cases).

    Um…what about attempted murder?

    And if I wave a gun in someone’s face, we ask juries to make determinations of my intent in doing that all the time.

    If my intent is to get you to give me your money, it’s armed robbery.

    If my intent is to tell you, “Sir, you left your shotgun over here, you don’t want to walk away without this” it’s not.

    There are plenty of crimes where intent is gauged in the face of the defendant’s denial and/or the impossibility of reading minds. Perjury. Fraud.

    There are two arguments being offered against this law in this thread:

    The first says that the law is unnecessary, because there are already laws against menacing. And that’s a strong argument.

    But the second argument being offered – that it’s impossible for a law to take into account the defendant’s state of mind – is just silly. If you’re displaying something that can be a weapon, but also can be innocuous, of course the defendant’s state of mind goes to the heart of the case.

  77. Whee! Late to the party, but see that Eryk, Thoreau, Epi and Elemenope have already eviscerated Joe (again).

    Good work, guys.

    Uh, Eryk, how do you type the umlaut on a standard keyboard? TIA

  78. Francisco Torres, if it is so impossible to determine intent, why does every single criminal conviction in American law require the finding of criminal intent as a necessary element of the crime?

    If it is so impossible to find intent, why do our laws differentiate between First Degree Murder, Second Degree Murder, Manslaughter, Reckless Endangerment, and an accident?

    What country do you think you live in? One where leaving guillotines outside of people’s houses to intimidate them actually happens, apparently. As opposed to the United States, where such an act, unlike leaving nooses in people’s offices or houses, has never happened.

    Imagine that, drawing up laws for problems that exist, as opposed to problems that don’t exist. Obviously, it’s discrimination against white people. Yeah, that’s it.

  79. “Eviscerated joe” meaning, as usual, putting forward implausible arguments that even other libertarians refute with little difficulty.

  80. I’m just wondering why Jesse Jackson thinks its okay for him to say Nigger, but Michael Richards can’t.

    Because calling somebody a nigger, as Richards did, is not the same thing as characterizing someone else’s thought process.

    This has been another installment of Simple Answers to Stupid Questions.

  81. Folks, intent is a standard element of most crimes. Police, prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, all try to determine people’s intent all the time, every day. Look up “mens rea”.

    Sometimes reading this blog is just surreal. “What do you mean the sky is blue? How would it turn blue? Some kind of magical sky-dyeing device??? Preposterous!”

  82. joe, you never addressed my auto-asphyxiation question, which clearly means that you were afraid to answer it. PWNED

  83. Intent is only difficult to determine if someone is such a flaming, violent bigot that he assaults or threatens other people based on their membership in a minority group. At that point, it becomes an act of supernatural psionic power to be able to determine why, oh why, did Buford, the guy with the swastika tatoos who’s always talking about how much he hates black people, hang a noose in front of the house of the black guy he got into a fight with yesterday.

  84. Well, obviously, Episiarch. What other reason could there possibly be not to want to discuss your masturbatory habits?

    Hey, I’ve got another tip for you: if you keep refering to touching a woman’s breasts as “Rolling 2d20,” no one’s ever going to let you do it.

  85. What I am asking for, is an end to verbal segregation.

    Sorry, sarcasometer on the fritz. And we get a lot of that sort of stuff to begin with.

    Name should have tipped me off. SF tired.

  86. “Noose” means white hate crime.
    “Nigger” ok if you’re black.
    Me confused. Drink now.

  87. (hangs noose on joe’s door)

  88. Hey, just as long as it’s not a spotty potato.

  89. Intent is always easy to ascertain in a “racist” incident. No mistake could ever be made. Those silly libertarians are at it again, what with their nutty idea that laws revolving around intent and subjective offense could be used unfairly! AS IF!

  90. I thought most “noose intimidation” incidents were self-inflicted by minority college students and faculty trying to cover up for other problems and get sympathy.

    What is the percentage of “false noose intimidation” ?

  91. Can’t they just charge these “noose victims” with filing a false report?

  92. Intent is always easy to ascertain in a murder case. No mistake can ever be made. Those silly libertarians are at it again, with their nutty ideas that laws revolving around intent could be used unfairly. AS IF!

    Wow, that was a particularly lame non-argument.

  93. So eating a banana is just a civil case of racial harassment but hanging a noose is a criminal case of intimidation?

  94. Does there have to be a racial aspect for it to rise to the level of criminal “noose intimidation”? Most lynching victims were white, and most actually committed the crime they were lynched for.

  95. Boy, I’ll tell you: if anyone shows up here arguing that “it is always easy to ascertain intent in a racist case,” man, SugarFree is going to beat the snot out of that guy.

    Particularly if he is manufactured out of some kind of agricultural waste product shaped into a roughly human form.

    That guy better watch himself.

  96. TallDave-3:13pm

    Those Bears fans and anybody else who claims that Brett Favre sucks should be prosecuted for stupidity or impersonating a sports fan.

    I know this is straying off topic, but, here in Massachusetts, a well known weekend radio talk show host has been declaring Favre “to be the most over-rated player in the history of the National Football League.” This guy happens to be a high school English teacher and the adviser to the high school debate team. I guess its perfectly logical for a quarterback to be 7th on the depth charts his freshman year in college, a 2nd round draft pick, traded after his first year in which he threw 4 passes, then go on to win more games, throw more touchdown passes, throw for more yard and complete more passes than any other quarterback in NFL history and simultaneously be the most over-rated player in NFL history. Did I mention that he is the only quarterback to have 16 consecutive seasons of 3,000 yards or more passing? How about 3rd all time in 4th quarter comebacks?

    P.S. Favre is 4th all time in toucdown passes AT SOLDIER FIELD.

  97. If it is so impossible to find intent, why do our laws differentiate between First Degree Murder, Second Degree Murder, Manslaughter, Reckless Endangerment, and an accident?

    Because the law doesn’t distinguish first degree murder with a sharp pointy thing with a slight curve and first degree murder with a wider pointy thing that’s not quite as sharp but has no curve. Yes, some people on this board are focussing on ‘intent’ entirely. That’s a mistake. What I haven’t heard is why is intent to intimidate with a noose worse than intent to intimidate with a guillotine or highly-detailed cariciature?

    And why, if we agree that we must codify into law the object used in conjunction with the intent–why do we not need laws including guillotines, jack-o-lanterns and every possible object which in and of itself bears no threat or danger?

    Few would disagree with the intent suggested in driving slowly by another citizen and pointing a finger at them, mimicking the firing of a gun. Do we need a law describing the hand gesture required to make this intimidation? If that were the case, the next time the drive-by were to take place, the hands could be formed to suggest holding a rifle and therefore could claim that no law had been broken. Then later the facsimile of slashing a sword, stabbing with a knife, bashing brains in… the list goes on.

  98. Those silly libertarians are at it again, with their nutty ideas that laws revolving around intent could be used unfairly.

    Yes, ignore the evidence (an example of intent and subjective offense rules being used unfairly) to focus on an argument that no one here is making (intent is never an issue in any crime, even murder).

    Find me one person on this thread that (non-jokingly) thinks intimidating people shouldn’t be against the law.

    The point, which you’ve consistently avoided arguing, is that intent is murky when the “crime” is based solely on whether or not the “victim” feels intimidated. (i.e. intent becomes implied when someone claims to have been threatened by it.) If you don’t see how that would be an easy system to game, you deserve a spotty potato on your doorknob.

    Are you feeling well? It’s like you’re not even trying.

  99. Particularly if he is manufactured out of some kind of agricultural waste product shaped into a roughly human form.

    What if he is manufactured out of some very sticky petroleum based product shaped into a roughly human form?

    Would that be a hate crime?

  100. To Patriot Nation-

    Just because I admire Brett Favre does not mean I’m dissing Gizelle’s guy.

  101. joe | July 22, 2008, 3:30pm | #
    Intent is only difficult to determine if someone is such a flaming, violent bigot that he assaults or threatens other people based on their membership in a minority group. At that point, it becomes an act of supernatural psionic power to be able to determine why, oh why, did Buford, the guy with the swastika tatoos who’s always talking about how much he hates black people, hang a noose in front of the house of the black guy he got into a fight with yesterday.

    joe | July 22, 2008, 3:52pm | #
    Boy, I’ll tell you: if anyone shows up here arguing that “it is always easy to ascertain intent in a racist case,” man, SugarFree is going to beat the snot out of that guy.

    Maybe you should get the hay out of your pants. It lights pretty easily.

    Nevermind, it’s the same song and dance you always put on.

  102. I tried to offer joe a way out with my auto-asphyxiation threadjack attempt, but he preferred to mock me for being like Michael Hutchinson.

    Why do I bother?

  103. Why do I bother?

    Because you love too much. It’s a weapon to use against you.

  104. Because thoughts and ideas don’t violate anyone’s rights, only overt acts.

    joe, so I assume you’re against “hate crimes” statutes?

  105. “Because calling somebody a nigger, as Richards did, is not the same thing as characterizing someone else’s thought process.”

    No. Jackson CALLED Obama a Nigger.

  106. Because you love too much. It’s a weapon to use against you.

    It’s so true. But I spell love p-e-e o-n m-e.

  107. “The intent to intimidate” can make speech violate Libertarian principles. Telling someone, “Your money or you life,” is an illegal use of force. Still, existing harrasment laws already cover threats. Separate hate-speech laws don’t make sense. If someone puts a noose, axe, or chainsaw outside a person’s door there are plenty of other charges the victim can make.

  108. Epi, have you seen Callifornication?

    “We should have a safeword, so that the other knows when to stop. What do you think the safeword should be?”

    “‘Don’t. pee. on. me.'”

  109. No. I already have too much to watch and no time to watch it. Pee on me is also featured in Strangers With Candy.

  110. “excusa me, but you see, don’t you touch where they pee without coinage.”

  111. PUBLIC property is one thing. What bothers me is supporters of free speech who claim it should be OK to hang a noose or burn a cross on someone else’s property ( the person they are intimidating). If you think speech trumps property rights please try that shit in my yard.

  112. John,
    I haven’t seen anyone defending trespass or littering in this thread.

  113. I agree that arson, vandalism, and throwing rocks at people is not acceptable. Libertarians are firmly against violence to person and property. They’ll tell you that what a criminal says while conducting these offenses does not excuse it. This makes sense. After all, burning down a house doesn’t suddenly become OK if the arsonist leaves a polite note thank you note afterwards.

  114. Um…what about attempted murder?

    Well, the question was about murder and manslaughter, but if you want an analogy with attempted murder, then how about we enact a law against attempted intimidation?

    Oh, wait, we already did that; the offense is called “assault.”

    So now please explain why there’s a need for a law analogous to “attempted murder with a blunt instrument” or “attempted murder with cyanide,” rather than simply “attempted murder.”

  115. Maybe I’m missing something here, but isn’t any anti-noose law plainly unconstitutional under R. A. V. v. City of St. Paul?

  116. With many new announcement about the wizard of oz movies in the news, you might want to consider starting to obtain Wizard of Oz book series either as collectible or investment at RareOzBooks.com.

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