Sunday, April 5, 2009

Megan's Law II: Linda Sanchez Makes a Federal Crime of Cyber-Bulling

Listen to the interesting interview between NPR's Linda Wertheimer and Congresswoman Linda Sanchez of California's 39th district. The Democrat from Orange County is generally a champion of workers on economic issues. Her webpage proudly notes her support for President Obama's recovery program.

Representative Sanchez's current cause is the Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act, named for the Missouri girl who took her own life, apparently in response to intense personal attacks placed on a social networking site by (bizarrely enough) the mother of another girl.

I haven't studied the legislation yet, but the interview indicated all the classic governing through crime symptoms.

A problem that is anchored at the level of interpersonal life and mostly resolved through informal means that don't reach the attention of parents or school authorities, let alone police and prosecutors, is brought to the level of national crime policy and offered for resolution to the FBI and federal prosecutors.

Making some a crime is the preferred path to govern at a distance, authorizing (or mandating) people to take an issue seriously ("zero tolerance").

The fact of a tragic death, little different from teen suicides provoked with less high technology involved, is turned into a veritable battery of vengeance to empower politicians.

These moves have often been associated with conservative Republican politicians, but as this example shows, governing through crime is a strategy equally open to Democrats and liberals.

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