Techie-Micheal wrote:Any crime comes with intent. What's the difference between manslaughter and murder? Intent.
I get what you are saying, but it is never as cut and dry as that.
I understand that, but intent is much easier to determine (though never truly easy) than what we are talking about here. Because in the video upload case, the intent
between the two people (the PETA activist and the sadistic teen) is substantially the same: to upload the video to the internet to make it visible to the public. And we still haven't established whose intent matters (the maker of the video, the uploader, or the viewer).
Roberdin wrote:Intent of what? We could hope to prove that a person intended to acquire a recording when it came into his possession, but that is an entirely different question to proving that he intended to enjoy watching it for sadistic purposes. Such a law would effectively create a "thought crime", doubtlessly a dangerous precedent.
A better analogy, Techie-Micheal, to make your case, would be our current hate crimes laws (though these are also not without controversy).
Case 1: Guy A kills guy B by intentionally shooting him with a gun.
As he shot him, he thought
, "He looks rich; I'll bet he has a fat wallet on him." That is a severe crime in the eyes of the law.
Case 2: Guy A kills guy B by intentionally shooting him with a gun.
As he shot him, he thought
, "He looks like a Jew; all Jews should die . . . and I'll rob him" That is a more
severe crime in the eyes of the law in many jurisdictions (even if he also robs him) . . . not because the act was any different (his intent
was to murder guy B with a gun and take his wallet), but because of what he was thinking
when the crime was committed.
A situation that accurately reflects this distinction has actually happened in the state in which we used to live. A creepy man was photographing teenage boys playing basketball. He was arrested and found to be only in possession of pictures of teenage boys with their shirts off. But the judge found that because the defendant
was sexually aroused when he looked at the otherwise perfectly legal pictures, they became
child pornography to him
, and the man was sentenced to 8 years on the manufacture and possession of child pornography (pictures of teenage boys with their shirts off). Someone else could take, possess, and distribute those exact same pictures and they would be perfectly legal.
We all may agree that we are much safer with creepy people in jail (or puppy stompers), but I find the criminalization of thought a very disturbing proposition. And with that, I am going to go back to just reading this topic. I have already violated my cardinal rule to not discuss politics or religion on the internet enough for one day.