People Have a Right to Feel Safe
William Cassidy was indicted for violating the Interstate Stalking Act, 18 U.S.C. 2261 (A)(2)(A) and 2261(A)(2)(B) (2006). Section 2261(A)(2)(A) reads, in relevant part:
Whoever, with the intent to kill, injure, harass, or place under surveillance with the intent to kill, injure harass, or intimidate, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person in another state … uses any interactive computer service, or facility of interstate commerce to engage in a course of conduct that causes substantial emotional distress to that person or places that person in reasonable fear of the death of that person … is guilty of a crime.
Apparently Article III Judge Roger Titus forgot to read this or decided he didn’t have to. Wonder what the judge would think if this were happening to his wife, daughter, granddaughter or niece.
The rise of cyber bullying and cyber stalking across America has begged the question of when do we intervene before violence occurs? Does Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo, a Buddhist Master, Teacher, and Spiritual Director of a well-established Buddhist Temple, Kunzang Palyul Choling have to be harmed before it gets the attention of the law makers? A recognized and enthroned (i.e. credentialed) Buddhist Teacher she is and has spent her entire life bringing benefit to sentient beings is now being tossed aside in a court of law because the judge refuses to understand social media, and apply the law appropriately. He uses colonial time (really?) as a frame of reference, and states that Twitter is like a bulletin board. Will the real judge show up?
Judge Titus, it’s almost 2012, not 1612. And, Twitter is an interactive, dynamic, conversation that does in fact encourage people to engage with one another DIRECTLY, and not necessarily through direct messaging…that is the whole point of the “@” sign. We have to assume and believe that if one can rise to the occasion of a judge, once can rise to the occasion of understanding this social network service that has swept the nation literally overnight. We encourage him to sit down with a grandchild and get “trained up.”
There is growing support online for the judge and court systems to pay attention to what is happening in this country. It would seem we are being more and more controlled by government systems. Interestingly, government agencies that are trying to be fair, and bring justice are being scrutinized and monitored by higher levels of government. It almost feels like ethnic cleansing.
The amazing part of the story here is Jetsunma’s ability and skillful means to bring Dharma to the masses through this process. A Buddhist Teacher now teaches the Federal Court and Judicial System, and speaks to the basic human rights of all Americans. The haters can continue to hate, and it is true that William Cassidy may go free, but the trail that Jetsunma has blazed is immeasurable in its benefit. Her Twitter followers are more than 40,000 and growing. The online activity with news of the ruling is pervasive and the momentum of the “people speak” is hitting news headlines.
William Cassidy harassed and threatened Jetsunma through blogs and twitter for more than two years, yet she has taken the high road of utilizing the law, the judiciary process, to show that unlike Cassidy, she is not a con, she does not have to resort to criminal activity, that she respects and appreciates the law, yet now, in this time, at this juncture, the very process she has chosen to use and advocate is backstabbing her; hanging her out to dry. Why? Well, Judge Titus was appointed by George Bush, maybe that has something to do with it.
This remains an issue of cyber stalking, and now an issue of serving justice within justice, and rights of people to feel safe, to feel protected by their government, for victim’s rights, for women’s rights.
The court’s ruling impacts the ability of law enforcement to protect victims of interstate stalking. This court could help determine whether this particular class of stalkers will be held criminally liable and their victims protected under law. It’s a big deal.