Save the Dogs, Screw the Children!  That appears to be the theme of Indiana House Bill 1258, introduced by Indiana Reps. Lawson  and Barnes on January 12, 2010.  Just examine this section of HB1258, tacked into the bottom of the synopsis.

“Makes promoting an animal fighting contest a predicate offense under the racketeering statute. Makes attending an animal fighting contest a Class D felony.”

Let me declare this loud, clear and for the record, “I DESPISE DOG-FIGHTING.”   I personally believe that it is wrong, cruel, unethical and immoral.  My opinion, full stop.

However,  I also have a sense of perspective because here are a few of the felonies that also fall into the Class D felony classification, complete with Indiana Code reference :

  • Possession of child pornography (IC 35-42-4-4)
  • Sexual misconduct with a child 14-16 by an adult, or more formally Vicarious sexual gratification; sexual conduct in presence of a minor (IC 35-42-4-5)
  • Soliciting an child under 14 to engage in sexual activity (IC 35-42-4-6)
  • Sexual Battery (IC 35-42-4-8

Are Reps. Lawson and Barnes trying to tell us that possession of child pornography is ‘only’ as criminal as attending as dog fight?  Or that soliciting a child under 14 to engage in sexual activity is ‘only’ as criminal as attending a dog fight?  Or that sexual battery, where a person with intent their own sexual desires  touches another person being compelled to submit to the touching by force or the imminent threat of force, is only as criminal as attending a dog fight?

Because if they are trying to argue that attending a dog fight is as criminal as possession of child pornography, this is ALSO what they are saying.

What about including promotion of an animal fighting contest as a predicate offense under the racketeering statute?  Never mind the recent US Supreme Court case regarding the1999  statute making it a crime to create, sell, or possess “any visual or auditory depiction” of “animal cruelty” which was described as ‘mauled’  by the Justices of the Supreme Court in this vivid report by SLATE’s Dahlia Lithwick.  (entertaining and well worth the read)  Never mind that there are RICO related cases currently before the US Supreme Court, regarding the excessive scope of such legislation.  Let’s look at some of the offences included as predicate offenses under the racketeering statute:

“Racketeering activity” means to commit, to attempt to commit, to conspire to commit a violation of, or aiding and abetting in a violation of  any of the following”:

  1. Murder (IC 35-42-1-1)
  2. Kidnapping (IC 35-42-3-2)
  3. Human and sexual trafficking crimes (IC 35-42-3.5)
  4. Child exploitation (IC 35-42-4-4)
  5. Carjacking (IC 35-42-5-2)
  6. Official misconduct (IC 35-44-1-2)
  7. Conflict of interest (IC 35-44-1-3)
  8. Perjury (IC 35-44-2-1)
  9. Obstruction of justice (IC 35-44-3-4
  10. Intimidation (IC 35-45-2-1)
  11. Promoting prostitution (IC 35-45-4-4)
  12. Dealing in or manufacturing cocaine or a narcotic drug (IC 35-48-4-1).

Conspiring to commit murder, kidnapping or engage in human trafficking are ‘ONLY’ as criminal as  promoting an animal fighting contest?

Rep. Lawson & Rep Barnes, perhaps those whose lives have been scarred by molestation, by being the subjects of child pornography, by sexual battery or been exploited by human traffickers might gravely beg to differ with your priorities.

Copyright 2009 by Erica Saunders
All rights reserved

5 Responses to “Save the Dogs, Screw the Children? IN Rep. Lawson & Barnes’ idea of good policy?”

  1. Tom says:

    To me, this is absolutely typical of a liberal. The reason things like this are proposed is because they want to appease their liberal constituents in return for their votes. Point blank. The fact is, everyone thinks any crime committed upon a child is heinous and laws are already in place for such offenses and there aren't many people out there screaming for harder punishments for these crimes. However, you're liberal quacks do not feel that the current laws against dog fighting suffice. They want to put children and animals on the same level and therefore, demand equal punishment for crimes against animals. Therefore, this creates a new voter base. Hence, stricter laws against animal abuse which equate to the severity of child abuse and they often excede in severity. These politicians aren't trying to stop animal abuse. They just want votes and they will ignore their morals and ethics to get them.

    • Guest says:

      OH TOM I believe you NAILED IT!

    • MDurham says:

      While I agree with much of what you say, Tom, I strongly disagree with your labeling these actions as "liberal". This is not about party, and legislators on both sides of the aisle are susceptible to this agenda. This MINDSET that is pushed is that animals should be equal to people in the law. It's exactly what the lobbyists for H$U$, et al, are doing from local to state to federal levels, and it has to STOP. The best ways to do that, IMO, are for MANY constituents to educate these legislators and demand that they stop listening to the AR industry lobbyists, and if they don't listen, vote them out of office, PERIOD. If they are that willing to eliminate constitutional rights of their citizen constituents, then they don't need to be getting our votes.

  2. Angelo says:

    What I find interesting about Tom's post is the fact that it makes no sense. Why would 'liberals' or 'conservatives' have an agenda to put children and animals on the same level in regard to punishment? Even if they did, how would that create a 'new voter base'? It's sensationalist writing like this article and over-the-top responses like Tom's that create such an issue here.

    It's also quite interesting that everyone seems to make this into some sort of punishment 'pissing contest', as if what one person perceives as a less serious crime having equal punishment as another makes the weight of the original crime less. That is a logical falacy. What I see is a writer who is more interested in riling people up than fairly portraying the truth and readers who are more interested in being riled up than being subjective.

    • AR_HR says:

      Hello Angelo,

      Please note that approval of comments does not necessarily indicate agreement with the comments made. There is a fairly narrow spectrum of comments that I do not approve. (Major profanity, racism, outright craziness. I even receive comments that combine all 3 categories)

      Personally, I don't see this as a liberal vs. conservative issue which is why I do not use such language in my articles. However, consider that statements equating animal abuse to child abuse are made with regularity as justification for legislation and accepted as legitimate. In that light, how is it unfair or 'riling up' to look at the same issue from the exact opposite perspective? If a person says animal abuse is as bad as child abuse, they are equally stating that child abuse is as bad as animal abuse. It is like a mathematical statement a = b therefore b = a

      As much as anything, my writings are often examinations and reversals of 'spin' as much as examinations of legislation, political and law enforcement activity. Thank you for reading and commenting. Feedback is always appreciated.

      Erica Saunders

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