A punch in the face used to be enough to deal with a problem. Then after the fight was done the two combatants would dust each other off and have a beer. That’s not just a scene from the Quiet Man, it’s how men used to deal with their differences. Sure, someone would get hurt. There were cuts to be mended, shoulders to be nursed, and bruises to remind them for weeks after. There was a winner, and there was a looser.
Some states have written right into their laws that it’s a defense against assault charges if the other person uttered “fighting words” or if they were engaged in “mutual combat”. I think these mitigations are valid and that each state should have them. If men have honor they don’t always need the state to fight their battles for them.
In the story linked to below a young white man took video of a young black man in which he made fun of him and his race. When the young black man found out he beat the young white man up.
In the code of manliness from the old days that would have been the end of it. But instead they both are being charged with a crime. The white young man is being charged with, “cyber harassment of a child and ethnic intimidation” and the young black man with assault.
I think both charges are wrong
That the young black man beat up the young white man isn’t in question. He did it and admits to it. But he says he was driven to it by the fighting words. Sticks and stones aside, should someone be legally within their rights to hit someone for something the other person says? Should it be considered a crime?
Fighting words are considered quite different than normal insults. For example, if your mother sings in the choir and someone tells you her singing stinks, that isn’t fighting words. However, if they add that the only reason she got in the choir is that she had sex with all the other members, that used to be considered fighting words. In the old days a sock in the mouth did the job and the loud mouth learned his lesson. But things have changed. Now fights include stomping on the other person’s head or hitting them when they are down. The honor is gone. Oddly, fighting had gone out of style because it was seen as uncivilized. But that wasn’t true. It was controlled by honor. With that gone fighting has gone from harsh, but civilized, to barbaric. A punch in the nose in response to fighting words I don’t think should be a crime. I haven’t read in this case how bad of a beating was delivered but it’s hard for me to say that one wasn’t earned.
“Cyber harassment of a child and ethnic intimidation”
Harassment should be a crime. In this case there is no indication that it was more than a single instance. Harassment is legally defined in most states as, “the act of systematic and/or continued unwanted and annoying actions of one party or a group, including threats and demands.” There is no indication in this case that it was ongoing. Though people close to the case indicate the black young man was picked on that seems to be by multiple people not this one person. So it seems harassment won’t be proved.
The second “crime” of ethnic intimidation seems like the only kind of crime that could be is a thought crime. Intimidation certainly should be a crime though. Against it is one of the main reasons people gathered to form societies in the first place. Threats to force people to do the bidding of another is a terrible thing. That the motivation is someone’s ethnicity doesn’t make it any more a crime other than to punish thought. Punish the white young man if he committed a crime but not for being an ass. Like it or not people have a right to be an ass. It seems that the young man was nothing but an ass.
Let it be
Neither of these young men need to be punished by the state. The moral is, and should be, act like an ass and get your ass beat.
A 14-year-old who recorded a video at Saucon Valley High School in Pennsylvania of a fellow black student and made a series of racist remarks during the short clip has been charged.