Legislator Wants To Ban People From Posting Pictures Of Accidents To Social Media... For At Least One Hour
from the dumb-idea-with-implausible-logistics dept
A bill assigned to the House Judiciary Committee would prohibit anyone who witnesses “an event that could reasonably result in a serious physical injury” from publishing information about that event on the Internet for at least an hour if their posting could identify potential victims.See how many problems you can find in that two-sentence summary.
Violators could be fined $20 to $100 per incident. Exceptions are made for the news media, victims of the event and emergency responders at the event.
Would posting video of a football game to Facebook violate this law? ("An event that could reasonably result in a serious physical injury.") How about a traffic stop? (Risk for physical injury again, obviously.) For that matter, is the law only violated IF a "serious physical injury" occurs or just when it could be the potential end result? Example: an automobile accident looks horrendous but everyone involved suffers only cuts and bruises. Does this fall on the right side of Carney's proposal?
And that's before you get to the costs involved in tracking down a person who posted the illicit footage to hit them up for $20-100. If nothing else, a guaranteed money-loser like this should be tossed on P&L merits alone.
The "one hour" blackout also poses a problem. Who determines when the countdown starts? Those issuing the tickets? The EMS crew (if any)? The victims (if any)? An official clock located at Carney's office?
On top of that, there's the always sticky question about who is or isn't "media," as well as the attendant First Amendment issue that even "Bam" recognizes is a problem (but that somehow hasn't prevented him from offering up the bill in the first place).
Of course, Carney has his reasons for crafting (a very generous depiction of the effort involved) this bill. Apparently, this isn't a stupid piece of legislation. It's actually an icebreaker.
“It’s purely my intent to get a discussion going out there, asking people to be more respectful about what they put on social media,” Carney said.That's a hell of a way to have a "discussion:" tell someone to shut up and take money out of their wallet if they don't.
The second half of his statement explains the copious amounts of "do something" dripping off his single-sheet proposal.
“We’ve had some incidents, including one in my community, and I’d hate for anyone to learn about the loss of a loved one through social media.”Something happened to a neighbor or, more likely, a powerful constituent, who gave Carney an earful about today's social media being nothing more than 24-hour tabloid TV staffed by youthful miscreants waving around iThings. Pure speculation, but I'd be surprised if it's not in the same neighborhood as the truth.
People said something should be done.
"Bam" Carney will do something.
And here it is: SOMETHING.
(1) Any individual who witnesses an event that could reasonably result in a serious physical injury as defined in KRS 500.080 shall not post any information identifying the potential victims on the Internet or other electronic media until at least one (1) hour has passed from the moment the event was first witnessed.BE IT ENACTED THAT I'M GOING TO TEACH THE PUBLIC SOME MANNERS, DAMMIT.
(2) This section shall not apply to: (a) The injured individual; (b) Any member of the news media; or (c) Any emergency responder responding to the event.
(3) Any individual who violates this section shall be fined not less than twenty dollars ($20) nor more than one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense.
And, finally, one last voice offering clueless support of a bad bill -- this one belonging to another government employee: Tiger Robinson, Pulaski County Public Safety Director.
“There have been times we’ve been pulling bodies out of cars and these people are standing there, snapping pictures on their phones to post on Facebook. It’s just not right.”Maybe so. But attempting to herd people towards a subjective level of decency can rarely be accomplished without trampling on a few civil liberties. Carney's trying to nudge the public towards his and Robinson's public decorum ideal, and if a little prior restraint is what's needed to achieve this goal, a little prior restraint is what the public will get.