Wednesday, April 21, 2010

For those of you who are upset

That the Supreme Court of the United States struck down a federal law that criminalized the creation, sale or possession of "depictions of animal cruelty," please attend:

[T]he First Amendment protects against the Government; it does not leave us at the mercy of noblesse oblige. We would not uphold an unconstitutional statute merely because the Government promised to use it responsibly. (US v Stevens)

You can read the entire decision by going to this page and clicking for the PDF of United States v. Stevens.

I haven't been able to count out how many posts on this blog made me a felon* because they depicted conduct that is illegal somewhere.

Here's what the law actually said:

[T]he term ‘depiction of animal cruelty’ means any visual or auditory depiction, including any photograph, motion-picture film, video recording, electronic image, or sound recording of conduct in which a living animal is intentionally maimed, mutilated, tortured, wounded, or killed, if such conduct is illegal under Federal law or the law of the State in which the creation, sale, or possession takes place, regardless of whether the maiming, mutilation, torture, wounding, or killing took place in the State
This one is a slam-dunk for the First Amendment, and no, I seriously do not know what Alito was smoking. Though the decision did come down on 420 Day.

And the dude who won his appeal? Sold videos depicting dog fights. Possibly Not Our Sort of Person. Dunno. Haven't seen the videos, don't know anything more about him. Mr. Stevens got sentenced to three years for making videos from other people's footage. Three YEARS.

How much time did Block Courage Award winner Michael Vick serve for personally drowning and beating to death his losing dogs?

Oh yeah. Not one day.**

* Subject to the whimsy of any Federal prosecutor with a bug up his ass about something.

** Stop emailing me. Vick served time for racketeering. When he pled, the state dropped the cruelty charges. He didn't serve a millisecond for the dog abuse.


  1. f'ng a.
    I am baffled at the number of people who don't get how wrong that law was and are perfectly sanguine about the prospect of losing basic rights.

  2. Amen sister.

    Once one kind of hateful speech is allowed to be banned, it's only a matter of time until that door gets closed on all of us.

  3. It seems that people just aren't taking the time to read between the lines, and are having a hard time differentiating between animal abusers and the documentation of animal abuse.

    And, the media coverage is not helping--I was upset when reading the headlines, then did my own digging and figured out what the decision more-or-less means... Its a complex issue, too deep for the mainstream media to explain properly (and I am not claiming to fully understand it either). Even NPR did a sub-par job of explaining it, and they usually are clear as day to me.

  4. What Tommy Kirk does to a dog at the end of Old Yeller, would that count? By my lights it's not cruelty although it could be misunderstood without the context...

  5. Another amen over here.

    By the way, in honor of the wisdom you took from the pet blog convention, my latest blog post (also on the Stevens decision) is both overly long and devoid of pictures. Thanks for the tip.


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