A bill submitted to the Florida legislature for consideration provides clarification as to the precarious and interlocking nature of the Bill of Rights where, if one of these in undermined, they are all ultimately undermined. Now that what is insisted is a consensus has coalesced that firearms in the hands of minors is so lamentable as to require in most instances intervention on the part of the state, it has been proposed that it ought also be against the law to the extent of a penalty of up to $1000 and/or a year in jail for anyone under the age of 18 to post an image of a firearm to social media.
So what other objects not inherently illegal or immoral in and of themselves ought youth to be punished for depicting in an artistic manner disseminated by electronic communication?
Youths below a certain age are not permitted to drive automobiles. Does that mean that a teen auto enthusiast that uploads the image of a vehicle to a social media profile ought to arrested in a police raid?
Given how broadly the proposed statute is written, continuing with this analogy to expose how asinine this is, the teen would not even have to be depicted driving the car without a permit or even simply seated in the driver's seat. One would be in violation of the law for simply posting an image of an automobile. It must be seriously asked would hate crimes penalties be added if the car depicted happened to be the General Lee from “The Dukes Of Hazard”?
Given the way the proposed law could be interpreted, could a child that likes to draw robots be imprisoned for posting an image of Megatron, the Decepticon leader from the Transformers who in his classic form not only transforms into a gun but has a massive canon strapped to his arm? Don't think this is absurd?
In 2008, a passenger was booted from a flight for doing nothing more than wearing a shirt where Autobot leader Optimus Prime from the same Transfomers series was depicted holding a gun. That's right, a passenger was removed from a flight not for carrying an actual weapon but for rather wearing the shirt with a picture of a cartoon character holding a gun that in actuality could not fire a single shot.
If today subjects of the regime can potentially face imprisonment and financial ruination for mere images that do nothing more than symbolize inanimate objects, where will this theoretically end? Might someone be subject to interdiction by law enforcement for simply posting a picture of the Cross, a crucifix, or the equivalent of a status update reading “Jesus is Lord” or “He is risen, indeed”?
Sophisticates will respond don't be silly. Those only represent ideas or beliefs. Guns or the promotion of firearms, on the other hand, represent a tangible threat to individual well being and maintenance of a sustainable social order.
It might be one thing to enforce prohibitions against weapons conveyed in a manner that does not comply with promulgated standards. However, if one can criminalize something that is not inherently evil in and of itself as the vehicle through which an idea is transferred from one mind to another, the floodgates have been thrown open to a new form of tyranny that is nearly boundless. Should images of sugary snacks be forbidden because of the dangers these delights pose to diabetics and the obese?
C.S. Lewis once observed that the way contemporary society treats sex was analogous to those dieing of starvation gathering to catch a brief glimpse of a meal that the viewers would not be allowed to taste nor touch. One must now ponder in deliberative seriousness if a mind as formidable as his own could conceive of a time when even the image of something innocuous would be as forbidden as a behavior allowed to fester out of control as a result of the attempt to expunge the transcendent eternalities intended to protect against such horrific outrages.
By Frederick Meekins