Florida to CRIMINALIZE posting photos or videos of mass shootings in latest assault on the First Amendment and online speech
03/31/2019 / By JD Heyes / Comments
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Florida to CRIMINALIZE posting photos or videos of mass shootings in latest assault on the First Amendment and online speech

Some years ago, the “democratic” government in New Zealand decided to criminalize the posting of certain ‘offensive’ materials online.

Under  New Zealand law, it’s very illegal to post materials that would “be injurious to the public good.” That includes any video depicting violent acts such as the recent terrorist massacres at two mosques, which the shooter, Brenton Tarrant, live-streamed.

But that’s New Zealand, where there is no U.S.-style guarantee of free speech and expression.

America has a First Amendment, however, which is why it is so confusing to see lawmakers in Florida consider new legislation that, if passed, would ban the posting of similar criminal/terrorist activities online, via livestream or otherwise. (Related: Door-to-door gun confiscations begin in New Zealand; one gun owner already dead, with thousands more targeted by armed government thugs.)

The Truth About Guns reports that Senate Bill 186 “would ban the publication of photos, video and audio recordings of mass shootings.” Unfortunately, the measure has already passed and it was unanimous: 40-0:

The ostensible reasons for the bill are to avoid further traumatizing survivors and relatives of the victims, avoiding any encouragement of aspiring shooters who might crave publicity, and preventing anyone from profiting from recordings of carnage.

The bill would further bar distribution of the images of said carnage as well as any recordings of victims being shot or their bodies in the aftermath.

It’s a good thing that these kinds of laws have not existed beforehand; the world would never have learned, first hand, how horrible and destructive war is.


But there’s another aspect here to this legislation that ought to be considered, given that it’s Florida: Had the law already been on the books we would never have learned about the gross and criminally inept response by Broward County law enforcement officials to the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (and neither would victims’ parents). That would have had the effect of not only muting public outrage regarding the non-response by a school resource officer and Broward deputy but also, potentially, allowing him to remain on the job and allow others to escape responsibility.

This is the logic of tyrants

“The Legislature is concerned that, if these photographs and video and audio recordings are released, terrorists will use them to attract followers, bring attention to their causes, and inspire others to kill,” the bill reads, according to The Associated Press. “The Legislature also finds that dissemination of these photographs and video and audio recordings may also educe (sic) violent acts by persons who have a mental illness or who are morally corrupt.”

Specifically, the legislation would prevent government agencies from releasing pictures, video, or audio of any mass violent act, but that’s just one step closer to preventing the general public from posting footage as well.

The sponsor of the bill, state Sen. Tom Lee, acknowledged that video and audio can also be useful to investigators and for the purposes of holding people to account. But no matter; the bill would force news organizations to petition a court in order to force government agencies to release such footage, audio, and images.

“If you read the Sun Sentinel, we would have been unlikely to get to the bottom of what happened in Parkland without access to that footage. If there’s a compelling public interest, I’m hopeful the media will still be able to get to it,” Lee said, complimenting that news organization’s coverage of the shooting in Parkland, Fla.

He also noted that going to court is expensive — but that obviously did not stop him from filing his legislation or the rest of his colleagues from supporting it.

How many school shootings have there been in the U.S. — without a single one of them posted online? And yet, still, the mentally ill were ‘inspired’ to commit them.

This business of trying to curb the uses of technology under the guise of ‘protecting us’ from ourselves is the logic and reasoning of tyrants.

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