Work Together Now
  • Petitioned NRA, President Obama

This petition was delivered to:

NRA, President Obama

Work Together Now

    1. Scott  Davis
    2. Petition by

      Scott Davis

      Edgmont, PA

Tuesday, Apr 9, 2013 , 3 PM Eastern US Time:
WORK TOGETHER To Preserve, Protect and Defend the Constitution, For The Good Of America, NOW: According To This Plan - And Get The Job Done By August 2013.

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The 2nd Amendment is not an antique which is discarded
because of its age. The 2nd Amendment is not "outdated".
This type of viewpoint on the 2nd Amendment is the product
of politically correct propaganda by public educators who have
been propagating this viewpoint for nearly 100 years.
.
We don't table parts of the Constitution as archaic, on the
speculative advice of fabricators. There is no "expiration date"
on the 2nd Amendment, or the Third Amendment, or any other
part of the US Constitution - and indeed, the Third Amendment -
a part of the Constitution that was once regarded as a laughable
relic of the 18th century, has new and urgent relevance because of the
use of computer snooping, radar and other microwave technology,
long-range cameras, satellite photography, TV cameras and drones
by Government and papparazzi; and the Third Amendment, far from
being a vestigal throwback, has now moved to the forefront of
overdue importance. In fact, the US Supreme Court in recent
decades has barked up the wrong tree in affirming the
"right to privacy", in invoking the First Amendment - it is the
THIRD Amendment which can and must now be invoked in
restoring the shredded right to privacy.
.
The 2nd Amendment is now just as much in force and is
just as much the Law of the Land today as it was on
December 15, 1791 when it was first ratified.
.
If someone doesn't agree with the 2nd Amendment, or
the Sixteenth Amendment, or the 22nd Amendment (as
Ronald Reagan expressed disagreement with shortly
into his 2nd term) the course of action recommended
by the Fifth Article of the Constitution is not to spew
propaganda throughout the public schools and colleges
as to how that part of the Constitution has somehow
lapsed with time or "modern conditions". The only way
to go is to AMEND the Constitution to repeal the
unwanted Amendment, Article or section, and to
restore and affirm which, if any, words in the section
to be repealed, may be kept. For example, the
21st Amendment (ratified on December 5, 1933)
repealed Prohibition (the 18th Amendment, ratified
on January 16, 1919 and put into effect on
January 16, 1920.) If the President or his advisors
or the American people have a grudge against the
2nd Amendment, it can be repealed; but until it is
repealed the President is sworn to uphold it; and
the President is actually forbidden by his Oath of Office
from participating in any effort to repeal any part of
the Constitution.
.
The Constitution of the United States is the Law
of the Land, and it was meant to be obeyed;
especially by people in Government. It is
dangerous to interpret the Constitution according
to "living document", loose-cannon-on-deck standards
which are arbitrarily imposed by any Johnny-come-lately
bureaucrat or judge with "wide discretionary powers".
The Constitution is best interpreted according to the
precedents of its own time, which best indicate what the
Framers actually meant.)
.
Now, let us take a look at the meaning of the
2nd Amendment in the context from which it
originated:

THE ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION

Agreed to by Congress November 15, 1777; ratified and in force, March 1, 1781.

Preamble

To all to whom these Presents shall come, we the undersigned Delegates of the States affixed to our Names send greeting.

... New Hampshire, Massachusetts-bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, in the words following, viz:

Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union ....

Article I. The Stile of this Confederacy shall be "The United States of America."

Article II. Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every Power, Jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.

(That part of the Articles of Confederation has often been misrepresented in the flawed teachings of public educators as "too weak" and "lack of a strong central government," and this has been cited by these educators and those misguided by them, as the reason why it was necessary to form the Constitutional Convention. Actually, Article II morphed back into the Constitution in 1791 - and it is clearly recognizable in rephrased and amended form as the Tenth Amendment.)

Article III. The said States hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defense, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them, or any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretense whatever.

...............................................................
Special note: The words "in Order to form a more perfect Union...", in the Preamble of the Constitution, specify clearly that the Articles of Confederation are AFFIRMED by the Constitution, not repudiated, except precisely in those sections which revise the wording in comparable clauses and sections and articles. For example, the Articles of Confederaton describes the Union as "perpetual". The Constitution doesn't mention anything about perpetuity directly; but simply affirms perpetuity in the words "more perfect." Otherwise, the words "more perfect" would make no sense, because if something is already "perfect", then changing it to "more perfection" is a logical impossibility; and a thing would have to be left as-is in order for it to remain perfect.

The meaning of "We the People...form a more perfect Union"; as found in the Preamble to the US Constitution, is simply this: "The Articles of Confederation are not being repudiated, but only clarified and fine-tuned." Otherwise, the phrase "more perfect" amounts to a non sequitir. The Founders didn't create non sequitirs in the Constitution. They created the Law of the Land, and the Preamble is a part of that law and is meant to have legal force. Indeed, the first seven words of the Preamble, together with the first clause of Article Four, Section Four, define the United States as a federative Republic.
.
(Text of the Articles of Confederation, continued....)

Article VI. No State, without the consent of the united States in Congress assembled, shall send any embassy to, or receive any embassy from, or enter into any conference, agreement, alliance or treaty with any King, Prince or State; nor shall any personholding any office of profit or trust under the united States, or any of them, accept any present, emolument, office or title of any kind whatever from any King, Prince or foreign State; nor shall the United States in congress assembled, or any of them, grant any title of nobility.

(This, as well as the following clause, are immediately recognizable as Article One, Section Ten, first paragraph, US Constitution, except that the comparable part in the US Constitution adds this: "No State shall....grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, coin Money, emit Bills of Credit, make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts, pass any Bill of Attainder, (or) ex post facto Law, or Law inparing the Obligation of Contracts....")

(The text of Article Six of the Articles of Confederation, continued...)

No two or more States shall enter into any treaty, confederation or alliance whatever between them, without the consent of the united States in congress assembled, specifying accurately the purposes for which the same is to be entered into, and how long it shall continue.

No vessel of war shall be kept up in time of peace by any State, except such number only, as shall be deemed necessary by the united States in congress assembled, for the defense of such State, or its trade; nor shall any body of forces be kept up by any State in time of peace, except such number only, as in the judgement of the united States, in congress assembled, shall be deemed requisite to garrison the forts necessary for the defense of such State; but every State shall always keep up a WELL-REGULATED AND DISCIPLINED MILITIA, sufficiently armed and accoutered, and shall provide and constantly have ready for use, in public stores, a due number of field pieces and tents, and a proper quantity of arms, ammunition and camp equipage.

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This is the Articles of Confederation precedent for the 2nd Amendment. Let us look at

what the 2nd Amendment means in the immediate context of the language of the times:

The National Guard is referred to here, in the first phrase as a "body of forces". The "well-regulated and disciplined militia" are NOT the National

Guard, but are private organizations. The people who are decrying the fact that the NRA defends the 2nd Amendment (and these people seem to have as little respect for the First Amendment as for the 2nd, unless it is exclusively their own First Amendment rights which they are concerned about) are on very weak ground - the wording of Article VI of the Articles of Confederation PRESAGES the NRA and any other private gun club which is "well-regulated and disciplined." Although Article VI of the Articles of Confederation uses the term "well-regulated...militia," the language in the Articles which follows that (from the word "sufficiently" to the word "equipage"); is subsumed and clarified by the Constitutional clause "being necessary to the security of a free State".

.The 2nd Amendment clause: "the right of the people to keep and bear

Arms, shall not be infringed", contains a key term: "the people."

The term "the people" is a COLLECTIVE phrase, not an individual phrase.

The language of the Article VI clause in the Articles of Confederation which

has to do with the "well-regulated ...militia" uses the phrase "in public stores".

This implies a collective readiness and a collective availability. The idea was

never put into effect, to have a first-come, first-serve ammunition and arms

cache available to all citizens in the form of a "gun library". Of course, if it

had been started in the 18th century, and if this language persisted in the

2nd Amendment, we would have to this day "guns on request", financed

at the public expense - most likely in every county seat, "ready for use"

in emergencies. This idea rules out background checks, and is more like,

"We're being attacked. Hand me a gun!" Remember, although this idea

was never put into effect, the language shows the thinking which was the

actual foundation for the 2nd Amendment. However, it also reveals one of

the first American failed experiments in collectivism - an idea which never

got off the ground in the first place, because it flies in the face of the

"well-regulated" aspect of the militia. It would be as impossible to have a

well regulated militia with a free-for-all gun library, as it would be to have

well-inspected motor vehicles for everyone if private ownership were

to be abandoned in favor of a public car and truck library of Demolition

Derby specials kept in a public parking lot. Accordingly, the Framers

in the 2nd Amendment abandoned the failed language of the "gun-library"

concept for emergencies, and enacted this guarantee:

"The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

This is a PRIVATE right, not a collective right, because the word

"KEEP", implies and clearly means OWNERSHIP by private individuals.

.

The "well regulated militia" is not a Federal domain, but is a State domain.

The 2nd Amendment clearly uses the word "State". They weren't talking

about the Danzig Free State or "the State" in general, but EACH STATE,

as is clearly indicated in the precedent to the 2nd Amendment, the

language of Article Six of the Articles of Confederation.

.

The language of the 2nd Amendment begs the question, "Who would infringe

on 'the right of the people to keep and bear Arms'?" Clearly, the infringement

to be guarded against is primarily Federal. Amendments 9 and 10 confirm

this, and are to be regarded as very important to interpretation of the

2nd Amendment. The language of the Tenth Amendment builds upon

Article Two of the Articles of Confederation in answering this question

too - Article Two of the AOC mandates that the States are to be protected

against expansion of power by "the united States in Congress assembled,"

which is the in continuum precursor to the Federal Government that was

established by the Constitution.

But the Tenth Amendment goes farther than that - it

indicates that "the people" reserve powers against both the States and

the Federal Government in any contest of demarcation of power.

And the 2nd Amendment clearly states that "the people" have the right

to keep and bear Arms. When you add the Tenth Amendment to it, this

2nd Amendment Right to Self-Defense is guaranteed against

both Federal and State infringement (or encroachment).

In fact, the 2nd Amendment should not be repealed or infringed

upon, but broadened by Congress to include the right of people

to keep and bear Arms for self defense which were not invented

yet in the 18th century - this includes electronic arms such as

cellphones (including cellphones with cameras), computers,

laptops, tasers; and such things as Mace, whistling devices,

pagers, Home Alert devices, and automobiles. Whenever

Government confiscates an automobile for any purpose

other than non-fabricated clear and present danger, they

are depriving an individual or a family of the right to eat,

the right to work, the right to safety and the right to

self-defense as well - as well as Third, Fourth and Fifth

Amendment rights.

.

Now, we have a President who is trying to beat down the door of the

2nd Amendment, and he has been doing this for four months, ineffectively.

President Obama has understandable motives for doing this. He feels personally

responsible for what happened in Connecticut and Colorado and

Arizona, etc. Five weeks prior to the tragedy in Connecticut, the President

was re-elected with 50.7% of the popular vote - giving him pause

to reflect now more on his legacy than on politics, and then his

legacy is tarnished with this additional tragedy. This motivates the President

to act on this according to the advice of his legal advisors - and the problem

with these advisors is that they have little respect for the Constitution

and more respect for their own little Federal groupthink rulebook

straight out of the ivory tower.

.

Let us take a look at the political situation: The President has no

particular axe to grind against the Constitution. He took a solemn

Oath of Office to preserve, protect and defend it; and his ivory-tower,

silk-suited Constitution-shredding advisors, whether they know it or not,

are bound by that oath because the President is. These advisors think

they are smarter than everyone else. They make mistakes all the time;

yet they never admit an error, and are never held accountable for

even their worst and most harmful mistakes or crimes. And it is time for

these isolated advisors to back off, and let the President win this one, in a

way which is also a win for We, the people - and a victory for affirmation

of the Constitution.

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One example of this "expertise" is the idea that "background checks" to

check for behavioral issues will solve the problem. There is a major

problem with that; and that is the law of unanticipated consequences -

combined with the fact that whenever there is one way in which

Government is entrusted to expand its powers, there are 100 ways

in which they abuse these new powers and become corrupted by them.

This concept of appending psychological background checks monitored

by State and Federal governments and confirmed in official public records

presents two major dangers which should be listed here. A) The first is

that whenever Government, or any of its agencies or affiliated contractors

or any private individual or corporation wielding undue influence on

Government, wants to take property, abuse eminent domain, or silence or

personally destroy a whistleblower, all they have to do is to launch some

phony court action in which the innocent victim and law-abiding citizen

is declared "non compos mentis" - and in which the victim of such

false or malicious charges is basically guilty until proven guilty, and

in which Government affords no way out. There are in fact thousands

of examples of such cases in Pennsylvania alone, hundreds more

in Connecticut (which brags about its "strictest background checks")

and it is a fact that in the United States today, psychology is more

abused on behalf of corrupt interests and against dissidents and

against people whose only crime is their honesty and integrity,

than was the case in Stalinist Russia and perhaps even in Nazi

Germany. One of the newest corrupt interests is the unchallenged

citadel of misanthropic feminism. A man whose only crime is

trying to contact a woman who was trying to pick a fight with him,

can find himself not only on the receiving end of a knowingly false

and deliberately malicious allegation, but jailed and deprived of

his right to keep and bear arms on the word of one witness

who is never cross-examined, never doubted and never questioned

as to her motives or possible connections. Thus rendered vulnerable,

an innocent man can lose his credit, his vehicles, his business,

his home, his livelihood, his reputation, his freedom and his life.

And along that road to his personal destruction awaits the inevitable

psychological evaluation by people who, in truth, are not even

qualified to psychologically evaluate a barking dog or a shreiking cat,

let alone a human being. All these unqualified people really are,

are Government contractors paid by piecework, who are financially

motivated to do what they are told and to destroy the reputations

of as many people as possible, in a methodical process - and

there is no guarantee that any of these evaluators would even

pass their own evaluations. B) The second major danger is that

stalkers who gather information on people (especially on the

Internet, which seems to be a growing tendency these days)

will be able to use information to trump up cases against

people of sound mind (especially if these stalkers are officials

or Government bureaucrats, which most of them are; or able

to influence Government clerks and programmers with

money under the table or by planting false information) and

these stalkers will be able to use the trumped-up information

about the mental state of their victims to render their victims

completely defenseless.

There is one such case of stalking which I know of which has

gone on for almost twenty years, and which has completely

destroyed the identity of the victim to the point where she

can hardly fight back except by telling the truth to people who

really can do very little for her; and such a level of victimization

by cyberstalking can take the sanest person in the world, and

the most innocent and trusting person, and drive them over

the edge - especially when Government not only will not
.
listen, but CANNOT, due to the falsification of records by
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or at the behest of those who are perpetrating malicious attack.

And it is processes such as these that the President is telling us

to trust - because the financial interests which influence his

Administration side with these processes and are coyly blind

to the pitfalls and defects inherent therein; not because this would

really make any American any safer.

.

The President has good motives and justifiable reasons to try to do

something. He cannot sit there like a dummy, and do nothing except

orate, in the wake of the Connecticut tragedy. Those who say that we

cannot go on doing things the way we have been, are completely right.

Prior to 1962, the United States (except for the Civil War and the

Indian Wars) were characterized by "domestic tranquility". Since

1962, we have averaged one horrible crime, deadly riot or

civilian massacre per year; in a way which exceeds the

level of violence of the past era of lynchings*, Hatfield-McCoy

feuds, Molly Maguire-type union resistance, Wild West

shootouts, and White Citizens Council attacks.

(*Source: Ebony Magazine).

.

The United States is more violent and less moral since 1963

than during and before that significant year.

Here is my own solution to the problem:

.

1) The NRA is informing the President that he cannot infringe on the 2nd

Amendment rights of the people to keep and bear arms. The NRA

is right. And the NRA is more than just a lobbying organization.

They have a lot to do with the "well regulated" aspect of "the

militia". And they have a lot to do with the collectivity of "the people"

such as we have seen invoked in the Articles of Confederation, and

affirmed in many respects in the 2nd Amendment. The same is true,

no less, of other gun clubs which are both private and connected with

Government.

The solution to this problem, and the answer to the clear call for action,

is for the President to sit down with representatives of the NRA, and

to say to them, "You have stolen the ball out from my court. The

ball is in your court, NRA. You come up with a plan to ensure that

your organization and others like it can do a better job of defining

and regulating the militia in a way that does not infringe on the

right of the people to keep and bear Arms - and I will give you the

authority to carry out that plan in legislation which I will propose

to Congress; after I review your plan. In other words, instead of

giving more gun control power to the Federal Government, I will

give the power to your organization to make sure that the militia

is more "well-regulated" - and that the militia, not the Federal Government,

ensures the security of every free State in the United States by

keeping lethal weaponry out of the hands of individuals who are

dangerous or untrustworthy. I reserve the right to edit or improve

whatever plan you send to me, but I will do my best to present it

to Congress with as few changes as possible, if you will send such

a plan to me within 90 days in as reasonable a form as you can

construct it. I will give you the business card of my chief advisor

or advisors on this issue, and they are at your beck and call 24

hours per day; and I also will be at their beck and call 24 hours

per day. Do we have a deal that we can shake hands on?"

.

2) In 1962, public prayer, classroom prayer and classroom

Bible readings aloud by teachers or students were a regular

part of opening exercises in public schools and many colleges

as well. In fact, public education in America began with the

Old Deluder Act of Massachusetts, which established a Christian

motive and basis for public schools in the colony; at about the

time Harvard College was also established. Unless the specific

and invoked rights of any teacher or student are actionably or

petitionably harmed according to affidavit, the blanket prohibition

against Bible reading, school prayer and other free exercise of

religion in public schools and publicly funded colleges

is a prohibition which must be challenged and ended; and

this challenge must be mentioned as part of the NRA security

legislation to be presented to the President, and the President

should accept it and submit this to Congress as part of the

proposals to prevent violence in American schools and colleges.

It is common sense that the scriptures of any religion or philosophic

writer, not only the Bible, be included in these religious exercises

of spirituality; and perhaps even atheist authors can be

quoted, as long as there is no objection to any specific reading

or prayer. Perhaps the list of Scriptural or philosophic readings

can be submitted as part of the monthly syllabus; in order to

ensure that there is an opportunity to object to some or all of

the Scriptural or philosophical passages to be read, so that the

religious rights of no one are violated by insults in the Scriptures

of one religion, against other religions. For example, Numbers

31:17-18 or Ezra, chapter 10, or certain portions of the

First and 2nd Epistles to the Thessalonians, and similar passages

in the scriptures of other religious and philosophical writings

would be inadvisable selections. The point is not to proselytize

religiously, but to emphasize the values which built America -

especially the better and more socially constructive ideals

from those values - ideals which have attracted good people of

all religious backgrounds and from no religion too,

to the United States. There is something to be said for

making schools and the general public physically safer

by vigilance in keeping deadly weaponry out of the hands

of those who are either temporarily or chronically unsuited

to have deadly weapons - and that is part of the well-regulated

aspect of the 2nd Amendment. The Federal Government could

not have prevented what happened in Connecticut this past

December 14, 2012; even if the proposed reforms the President

has recently asked for, were to have been in effect at that time.

But a vigilant local NRA chapter could have intervened in time to

save every life that was lost, had they been deputized to do so

by due process of law.

.

The aspect of long-term social guidance of the entire society

must accompany physical short-term measures assuring

minute-by-minute safety improvements. And the problem

since 1962 has not just been an increase in the level of

privately-held armaments - indeed, part of the problem is

the fact that there has been more restriction of the right

to keep and bear arms. Had this right not been infringed

during the Nixon Administration as a result of airplane

hijackings by people wanting to go to Cuba, there never

would have been any attempt to hijack planes on September

11, 2001 - because the perpetrators of the biggest massacre

in American history could never have been assured that their

plans wouldn't have been stopped in mid-air by a good citizen.

We might have wound up with small holes in the fuselage of an

airplane, instead of bigger holes in the Pentagon, in the New York

skyline, and in a Pennsylvania field.

.

The major part of the problem of increased violence has little to do

with weaponry or the availability of it, and more to do with incitement;

with inflammatory pharmaceutical behavior-modification drugs and

their unanticipated effects; and with the de-emphasis in spiritual

tone in the minds and hearts of Americans. That de-emphasis began

with the sudden removal of Bible-reading and school prayer from

public schools and colleges in 1962, in the wake of court edicts.

.

It is time to make America safer; not only by 

security measures which don't create additional Government

bloat and taxpayer costs, and which don't add to the already

steriodally excessive powers of a Government out of control;

but by realizing that we as a country have failed, and that this

failure cannot entirely be blamed on Government or the latest

conspiracy theory; but must be squarely and honestly addressed

in national repentance from wrongful behavior. If Americans

are going to ever again live meaningfully as bretheren, we

must demand of ourselves that we live up to that banner on

our coinage and currency which says "In God We Trust", and

we must guide our children toward creating a future in which

America once again becomes, as stated in the Pledge to the Flag,

"one nation, under God." Then and only then; these mourned

lost innocent precious souls taken from us, in one tragedy after

another from State to State, will have not died in vain.

Scott Davis

Chairman, Committee of 37 Peace Initiative

PO Box 877

Edgmont, PA 19028-0877

USA

To:
NRA, President Obama
Work Together Now

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Recent signatures

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    1. Reached 25 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Anita Kanitz STUTTGART, GERMANY
      • 11 months ago

      Harassment and Cyberbullying as Crimes!

      Harassment crimes include stalking, bullying, hate crimes and more!The crime of harassment (which can include stalking, hate crimes, and cyberbullying) occurs when one person acts in a way designed to annoy, provoke, threaten, or otherwise cause another person emotional distress. State laws and some federal laws identify multiple ways in which harassment can be committed.

      For most crimes, the prosecutor need only show that the defendant did an act that the law has made illegal. The defendant need not have intended the consequences that result. For example, when someone drives recklessly and causes an accident resulting in death, the driver can be charged with vehicular manslaughter because of his driving, even though he didn’t intend to cause an accident or death.

      But many crimes, including harassment, require “specific intent,” which is intending the specific act that one is charged with. This means that the prosecutor must show that the defendant did or said something with the intent that the communication would harass the victim. The person may intend to annoy or intimidate the victim, or the words may be designed to provoke a fight.

      Actions that unintentionally cause distress are not considered harassment. For instance, someone who plays loud music and mistakenly thinks that the sound won’t carry has probably not harassed his next-door neighbor.

      Stalking as Harassment!

      Harassment can be committed through verbal or non-verbal means. A person may use physical gestures to threaten or annoy a victim, or a person may intimidate a victim through a pattern of behavior, such as showing up at the victim’s home or workplace. In some states, harassment that involves monitoring or following the victim is known as stalking.

      Cyberbullying or Cyberstalking as Harassment!

      In addition to in-person communication, harassment also occurs where a person uses an electronic device such as a phone or computer to communicate threats, sometimes anonymously. The prevalence of the internet in everyday life has made harassment via email and social networking sites commonplace. Referred to as cyberbullying or cyberstalking, states have responded in differing ways to the growing problem. Some state legislatures have created separate statutes specifically addressing harassment that occurs online. Virginia, for example, directly addresses harassment that occurs on the internet, making it illegal to communicate via a computer network obscene language, threats of illegal or immoral acts, and obscene suggestions.

      Hate Crimes and Special Victims as Harassment

      Harassment laws also exist to protect specific classes of persons, such as persons holding public office. Hate crime laws typically prohibit harassment that targets victims based on their age, gender, sexual orientation, or race. For additional information on hate crimes, see our topic page covering hate crime laws.

      One Act or Many?

      For certain types of activity, many states require repeated acts or a pattern of behavior in order for a defendant to be found guilty of harassment. But where the activity involves physical contact, the threat of violence, or conduct likely to provoke a violent reaction, harassment statutes typically require only a single incident. For example, Hawaii’s harassment statute requires repeated phone calls in order for a violation of the law to have occurred, but the same statute requires only a single occurrence if the language or action is likely to cause a violent response or cause the victim to reasonably believe that the aggressor intends to physically harm the victim.

      In some states, it is not necessary that a person threatens immediate harm. In Washington state, for example, a person commits harassment even where the threat is to commit a physically violent act at a future time. Other states require an immediate threat, such as California’s criminal threat statute.

      Penalties

      States recognize both misdemeanor and felony forms of harassment. Many states punish first-time harassment offenses as misdemeanors, but punish subsequent harassment convictions as felonies. In North Carolina, a defendant’s first conviction for stalking is punished as a misdemeanor, but subsequent stalking convictions are punished as felonies.

      Some states also identify specific types of harassment as deserving harsher punishment. California punishes as misdemeanors harassing threats that are intended to make a victim fear for his or her safety, but threats to commit a crime that will result in death or severe physical harm are classified as felonies.

      In addition to jail time and fines, penalties for harassment can include court-ordered psychological counseling. Sentences also frequently forbid a defendant from having direct or indirect contact with the victim. Violating a no-contact provision can result in new charges, in addition to revoking the probation or parole of a convicted harasser.

      State legislatures have also passed laws that require schools to implement anti-bullying policies. A student who harasses another student, either in school or online, may face non-criminal penalties such as suspension or a ban from participating in school sports and activities.

      Restraining Orders and Civil Liability!

      In addition to criminal charges, harassment can result in civil actions brought by the victim. A person who feels victimized by harassing behavior may seek a civil restraining order to prevent further harassment. Restraining orders frequently require that the respondent (that is, the person accused of harassment) not have any contact, direct or indirect, with the person seeking protection. The orders also typically require that the respondent keep a minimum physical distance from the respondent at all times.

      While restraining orders are often handled in court as a civil matter, violations of a civil restraining order can trigger criminal charges, including felony charges.

      Harassment can also result in civil lawsuits for damages. An employee who feels harassed by a co-worker may sue both the alleged harasser and their employer, regardless of whether the harassing conduct rises to the level of a crime.

      Defenses to Harassment Charges

      Defendants sometimes raise the following defenses when facing trial on harassment charges.

      Free speech!

      First Amendment free speech principles may come to the aid in some cases. Although both the federal and state constitutions protect the freedom of speech, the freedom is not absolute. Whether a particular communication constitutes free speech, or crosses the line into criminal conduct, often turns on whether the communication is deemed to be for a legitimate purpose.

      For example, Alabama’s harassment law states that the statute does not apply to telephone communications conducted for legitimate business purposes. Under such statutes, a collection agency employee that makes multiple calls in an effort to collect a valid debt is protected from criminal harassment charges, while an agent who threatens to harm the debtor’s family faces possible criminal harassment charges because the agent’s threats are not deemed legitimate business practices.

      Unintended Consequences

      A defendant may also argue that the alleged harassment was an unintended consequence of the defendant’s actions. For example, a person at home might play music that contains offensive lyrics, unaware that his child left a window open; a passerby on a seldom-used path hears the offensive music. Although the passerby feels annoyed, the person playing the music did not commit the crime of harassment because the person did not play the music with the intent to harass the passerby.

      Just bluffing?

      Defendants may think that they can defend themselves by arguing that their threats were hollow and that they did not intend to carry them out. It is generally not a defense that the defendant did not actually intend to follow through with a threat.

      Consult With a Lawyer!

      Laws concerning harassment can be complex, and the meaning of key parts can depend significantly on how courts have interpreted them. Moreover, many of these laws are new and untested in the appellate courts; without this guidance, it can be difficult to know how trial judges will apply them. Congress and state legislatures are crafting new laws to address the increasing use of the internet and other technologies to perpetrate harassment.

      If you are facing harassment charges, consulting an experienced lawyer who understands the charges and how the courts have interpreted the law will be of great help. A good lawyer can evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your case, seek dismissal or a reduction in the charges, and craft an effective defense strategy should your case proceed to trial.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Jason Melvin NORTH PLATTE, NE
      • about 1 year ago

      It is not the law abiding that are doing acts of violence!!!!!!!! So lets not impose on our rights!!!!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Wanda Pinero LEBANON, PA
      • over 1 year ago

      It's important to me and my family AND to All Americans who believe in our freedom that was once fought for, so that we may KEEP IT.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Katherine Cherry LOVELAND, CO
      • over 1 year ago

      What part of infringement don't you understand?

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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