This week, the state of Tennessee has seemingly come closer to a totalitarian regime. There has been a range of unnecessary laws that have been passed, recently making it illegal to share passwords for online media services (Netflix, iTunes, Hulu, etc.) and now it is illegal to send pictures that could be deemed offensive. Supporters of this bill state that this is in place to curve harassment and prevent emotional distress. Here's the thing, offensiveness is entirely objective. Me being agnostic, I could find a picture of Jesus Christ dying on the cross "for my sins" offensive. Why would I want to see a man (yes, a man, not a supernatural deity) suffer in agony? This man was tortured, thorns driven into his skull, whipped countless times and then metal spikes driven into his forearms and feet to keep him suspended until his body gave out. This image I see is highly offensive. Or, what about the most popular animal on the internet, cats. I could be an ailurophobic individual and risk emotional distress just by opening my emails that have been forwarded to me.
There is media on the internet that does need policing, heinous acts that are dispicible in nature like child pornography, decapitation, violence driven by hate like "smear the queer". None of this has a place in a civil society, digital or not. This is where the true policing belongs. We cannot let Lady Liberty's panties get in a wad over a picture of a penis that may have been tweeted out. My First Amendment right gives me the freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is the same as expression. Pictures are a form of expression, just like any other form of art. Raising a smoke screen stating that this is to avoid "emotional distress" is ludicrous. This is a direct violation of the 6 million plus citizens that reside in Tennessee.
This act is a waste of time and money for Tennesseans. Harassment is harassment, and the harassee has every right to contact their local authorities to file harassment complaints. If the harasser has to resort to pictures being sent via email or multimedia message than the other forms of harassment have more than likely already been exhausted. If it has escalated to a point such as this, why hasn't the harassee taken action to try and get the harassment to stop? Let a crime be a crime. If we continue to itemize every little detail that can and cannot be done in our society, Big Brother is watching you. We continue to allow our elected officials to make bass-ackwards laws such as these and we continue to reelect them based on political association. This is the first time in Tennessee that the Republicans have had a majority in both the state house and senate since Reconstruction, and now they are doing a great job of playing Big Brother and contradicting the ideals of the GOP of saying less government. I have to thank my good friend for the final picture and a message to the General ASSembly in Nashville.