Monday - October 16, 2017 9:29 am

Felony charge possible even for those who do and say nothing

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As far as I can tell, there isn’t a lot of rioting going on in Wisconsin. At least what most of us would consider to be an actual riot. But Wisconsin lawmakers think there is too much riotous behavior in the state, and are working on trying to pass what has been dubbed the “riot bill.” This legislation would threaten to arrest and jail people who participate in a riot, even if it is really more protest than riot. It would be a felony, and those found guilty could get more than three years in prison. Even if they never throw a beer bottle, overturn cars, light fires, or even so much as open their mouths. As written, the bill defines a riot as a gathering of three or more people. If one person in that group acts violently, all three could be slapped with a felony. That sounds a lot like guilt by association. We shouldn’t have laws that lock people up for doing nothing wrong other than being near someone who did. People who protest peacefully should be allowed to do so. After all, we still have First Amendment rights to assemble and protest. If Wisconsin lawmakers think that rioting is such a problem in the state that we need new laws to deal with it, they should at least make sure the laws target only those who actually cause trouble.

Scott Robert Shaw

Scott Robert Shaw is the Program Director for both 1410 WIZM and 580 WKTY.   He's currently the morning news anchor on 1410 WIZM, Z93 and 95-7 The Rock.  He joined Mid-West Family Broadcasting as a reporter/anchor in 1989 and served as News Director from 1990-2015.   He's been the winner of several Wisconsin Broadcaster's Association awards for Best Editorial in Wisconsin.  He enjoys traveling, bicycling and cooking.

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