Sunday, August 16, 2009

Get a Grip On the Slippery Slope, Mr. Griffo . . .

In response to the video-taped fight that appeared on You Tube the other day, Per WKTV Sen. Griffo and Mayor Roefaro want new legislation to make the person holding the camera guilty of a crime.

While most people are outraged at what happened, and outraged that the fight may have been staged for posting on the internet as entertainment, Mr. Griffo is ignoring what his legislation might lead to: Infringement on the Freedom of Speech.

Sure I understand that not all speech is Constitutionally protected -- you can't yell "Fire" in a crowded theater unless there is one -- but in this day and age THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ENTERTAINMENT AND NEWS IS OFTEN A FINE LINE.

There are other laws that allow the authorities to go after the cameraman. If he participated in the staging of the event, then he aided it --he is an accomplice.

Mr. Griffo's law would discourage anyone from videotaping any fight . . . in turn discouraging the production of evidence that would assist the police in apprehending the responsible parties and throwing them in jail.

More pernicious is the lack of knowledge by the general public of such events that such a law would encourage . . . which would allow the mayor and police chief to portray the safety of the city in whatever terms they wish. There will be no evidence to the contrary.

The public has a right to know what is happening in their community. Mr. Griffo's law will make it easier for some criminal acts to go unnoticed.


Anonymous said...

Griffo never misses an opportunity for meaningless grandstanding. For reasons mentioned, the legislation will never pass. Roefaro- Griffo- What a dynamic duo!!

Anonymous said...

Griffo should get a grip all right. For once in his political career, he should get a grip on what ails this area. How 'bout if Griffo goes to Albany, & instead of being part of the political machine down there, he attempts to get this area out of the economic wasteland that this area has become. That would be a first. Griffo actually accomplishing something positive for C.N.Y., instead of grandstanding in an attempt to further his political ambitions.

Greens and Beans said...

Strikeslip is right to mention that our freedom of speech is being trampled on by our local elected incompetents. But we always knew that when taking advantage of any adverse situation to favor political posturing will always trump the mere fact that they are usurping our Constitutional Rights.

I too was appalled by the disturbing video portraying a gang fight being held in my childhood neighborhood. One would think that after the horrible gang execution of Utica Police Officer Thomas M. Lindsey, the City of Utica would have declared war on street gang activity. But the YouTube videos portray Utica as fertile ground for gangs to thrive. After reviewing the video of the incident and noting that vehicular traffic casually driving around the gang members as they conducted battle in the middle of the city street, it was clear that this sort of incident must be happening on a regular basis. The residents of this neighborhood should never have to put up with this appaling behavior.

Assessing responsibility for the toleration for this gang activity is rooted in those ultimately responsible to protect the residents of the City. I refuse to place the total blame on the Utica Police Department because policy regarding gang activity MUST be set by City Hall. Besides the overt outrage proclaimed by Utica Common Councilman Phillips on this matter, in all of the subsequent weeks following this incident, we have heard virtually NOTHING from the remainder of our elected public officials regarding this issue. Instead of these politicians publically stating they are willing to fight this gang blight, they simply opt to seek ways to cover up the fact that they choose to tolerate this criminal activity by placing their heads in the sand. And that is just what the Senator and the Mayor is doing. By enacting a law that would place the camerapersons in jail they just may be subjugating the only means of exposing these criminals. They are rewarding the behavior that they desire most. This behavior can provide more opportunities to produce media exposure. And in turn, enable them to promote their political aspirations on the backs and the blood of Utica’s citizens.

Greens and Beans said...

Don’t place this on the fiction shelf because this is a true story.

Just yesterday the pressing news out of Utica City Hall was that the Administration has effectively declared war on . . . abandoned Garage Sale Signs! . It is ridiculous to think that their most pressing civic priority is to fine the residents for not picking up their garage sale signs in a timely fashion as the City’s gangland thugs engage in street battle in broad daylight. How sad is it that this Administration’s priorities are clearly to gain free media exposure on the backs of Utica’s residents.

Anonymous said...

Off topic but maybe the local officials ought to check with National Grid and Verizon before they endorse attaching anything to utility poles. Not legal.. They should be enforcing that.

Anonymous said...

The state of government in Utica is truly sad. Talk about a bunch in way over their heads!

onjeesun said...

There is a connection. It's a big picture thing. If these thugs, in the heat of battle, look around for something to use as a weapon, they could pull a garage sale sign off a utility pole and try to give each other paper cuts with it. Innocent bystanders (or those cheering on the thugs) could receive paper cuts too. The thugs could then hastily discard the old garage sale signs on the ground, and without the right to video tape these actions, we wouldn't know who to go after for littering. To hear people put down our local leaders for daring to invision a world without paper cuts or's almost as bad as bad mouthing them for thinking they could charge people for watching fireworks....or accomadate Blue Oyster Cult at Hanna park. If it wasn't so sad it would be funny!