Arizona cyberbully legislation tries to ban the sacred right to be annoying

Cyberbully law bans offensive or annoying speech, which is the whole point of the Constitution


There has always been a small minority of vocal geek tribalists who preach that non-geeks should not be allowed to make laws that affect tech issues, especially the Internet.

They've never gotten any serious traction, even among geeks, who realize geeks are good at technology but not usually at politics or at writing good laws.

That's true of most jobs. You don't have to be a doctor to know it's important to verify patients are getting good care at a reasonable cost.

You don't have to be an MBA to understand lying to stockholders or cheating customers by selling them worthless investments is not a good thing.

You don't have to be a coke-addled, money-hungry monomaniac to realize music producers shouldn't be able to use copyrights they may not own to extort money directly from consumers who may not have violated any copyrights in the first place.

Apparently you do have to have some special qualities to make laws in the State of Arizona, though.

Intolerance is good. So is short-sightedness.

Most important, in Arizona – a state so adamant that English be the only language used in public that it bars qualified candidates from elections for not speaking English well enough, stopped trying to fire teachers for speaking English with a foreign accent only after being threatened with a federal lawsuit and has required public schools to Bowdlerize the state's history to minimize the role of its historically large Spanish-speaking populace – it is no longer required that lawmakers have any understanding of the English words they use as long as they're not pronounced with a Latino accent.

Take this example, from Arizona House Bill 2549:

"It is unlawful for any person, with intent to terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, annoy or offend, to use any electronic or digital device and use any obscene, lewd or profane language or suggest any lewd or lascivious act, or threaten to inflict physical harm to the person or property of any person." – Arizona House bill 2549, amending an existing law by replacing "telephone" with "any electronic or digital device."

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