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”:
- Murder (IC 35-42-1-1)
- Kidnapping (IC 35-42-3-2)
- Human and sexual trafficking crimes (IC 35-42-3.5)
- Child exploitation (IC 35-42-4-4)
- Carjacking (IC 35-42-5-2)
- Official misconduct (IC 35-44-1-2)
- Conflict of interest (IC 35-44-1-3)
- Perjury (IC 35-44-2-1)
- Obstruction of justice (IC 35-44-3-4
- Intimidation (IC 35-45-2-1)
- Promoting prostitution (IC 35-45-4-4)
- 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