Thursday, November 20, 2014

California Prosecutor Thinks The First Amendment Is Annoying, Can Be Ignored

A rapper named Tiny Doo faces a possible long
prison sentence because a whack job prosecutor says
he's profiting from gangs, what with the images
in guns and bullets and all on this album cover. 
Let's face it. Few people like gang members.

Given all the murders, the thefts, the drugs, the violence and whatever else they're up to, it's always awesome to prosecute when they start committing crimes.

So it's good that the district attorney in San Diego is going after a dozen or so gang members implicated in a string of shootings.

That's the slight glimmer of positivity.

Here's why I think the district attorney is a creep arguably worse than the gang members:

 One of those charged is a rapper named Tiny Doo.  (His real name is Brian Duncan, but his moniker "Tiny Doo" is more interesting.)

According to the Los Angeles Times, Tiny Doo faces up to 25 years in prison. Why?

As the Times explains it, "Prosecutors say..... Duncan fits the legal definition of a gang member who 'willfully promotes, furthers, assists in any felonious criminal conduct by members of that gang.'"

Oh, Tiny Doo must have provided guns to the gang members so they could commit their crimes?  Or maybe drove them to them to the crime scene? Or told the gang members where they could find their victims to kill?

Um, no.  None of those things. He's clean.

It turns out Tiny Doo released a rap album. It's called "No Safety" and it has a picture of a gun and bullets on the cover.

Oooh! A picture of a scary gun! And bullets! Yup, that supposedly makes Tiny Doo a mass murderer or something.
This rapper, named Tiny Doo, faces a long prison sentence
for rapping about gang violence. First Amendment, Smirst
Amendment, apparently.  

Yeah, I'm sure the album is not my cup of tea, and I'm sure it's not the prosecutor's either. Everybody's a critic.

There's a little known California law that hasn't been challenged yet, that says people can't profit off gang activity. That's fine.

But prosecutors say Tiny Doo is profiting off gang activity because he raps about gang activity, which supposedly helps album sales, which means he's profiting from gang activity.

That is quite the little stretch isn't it, Mr. Prosecutor Man!

But last I checked, the government, under the First Amendment, can't suppress free speech, in this case in the form of a rap album, because somebody who listens to it might subsequently decide to commit a crime.

Oh sure, you can't yell "Fire!" in a crowded movie theater, but rapping about gangs and violence? It's distasteful to some of us, but not illegal.

At least it wasn't illegal.

Apparently, though, the prosecutor wants to repeal the First Amendment. By his logic we're all criminals. At least most of us.

This morning, I listened to, and enjoyed the song "I Don't Like Mondays," which is about a school shooting. (Though for the record, I hate and am distressed by real school shootings.)

So should I be arrested for promoting school shootings? Or should the band who sings it, The Boomtown Rats, be prosecuted, even though the song is something like 30 years old?

Maybe we should arrest the members of Guns N' Roses. The rapper 50 Cent is seen holding a gun on his album "Guess Who's Back." Arrest him, too?

Did you watch NCIS on TV this week? There was probably a murder involved in the plot? So are you promoting violence by watching this show?

Tiny Doo's attorney, Brian Watkins, makes the same point, says the L.A. Times.

"If we're trying to criminalize artistic expression, what's next, Brian De Palma and Al Pacino?" Watkins said after visiting his client in jail. 

"Every drug gangster loves 'Scarface.' Does it encourage violence." asked Watkins, a reference to the 1983 movie directed by De Palma and starring Pacino." 

Prosecutors said that they have photos of Tiny Doo with the other gang members. OK. He has lousy friends. Maybe he's a lousy person himself, I don't know. It should be noted that Tiny Doo has no criminal record before this. 

The district attorney wouldn't comment. Probably hiding from the Big, Bad Reporter who wrote the article.

I'm hoping all the publicity building virally about this stupid prosecutor will make him back down. I wonder if this kind of thing goes on elsewhere, though.

I obviously want no harm to come to the district attorney, but I think he is going to come after me, anyway.

After all, I'm criticizing him pretty harshly. So he'll probably want to charge me with hindering a law enforcement official.

All because I'm probably hurting his Widdle Feelings.

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