Riots, RICO, ridiculous Arizona Republicans and regurgitation

Feb 24, 2017, 11:48 AM
(Dave Killen/The Oregonian via AP, File)...
(Dave Killen/The Oregonian via AP, File)
(Dave Killen/The Oregonian via AP, File)

While we still have freedom of speech in Arizona, I’d better hurry up and tell you about Arizona state Senate Bill 1142, a proposed law that would allow the government to seize your assets and hit you with enhanced criminal charges if you simply participate in a protest that turns violent.

It wouldn’t matter if you participated in the violent part of the protest or not.

Chances are, you are going to hear that from critics of SB 1142 that it’s un-American to try to limit free speech! But the truth is, it’s not. It’s as American as apple pie because Americans politicians have been trying to do so for years.

Arizona politicians are just the latest ones to do so.

On a vote of 17-13 (split along party lines), SB 1142 advanced out of the Senate and now heads over to the House.

Why is there a need to punish people who don’t commit crimes? The reason you’ll get from conservative lawmakers is that there are paid protesters out there who need to be stopped because they’ve been involved in protests that turned violent.

The Democrats will argue paid protesters are fake news, but I beg to differ. There are plenty of paid protesters out there and plenty of paid organizers, but their existence is not a reason to shred the Constitution.

We have laws, by the way, that are designed to hold people who riot responsible — even the ones who incite the riot. These laws cover things such as what constitutes an unlawful assembly and a riot in Arizona and spells out who is responsible.

Heck, there’s even a law that compels officials to disperse an unlawful assembly. (For what? In case some cop decides he agrees with the protesters?)

Why don’t we just vigorously enforce those laws instead of adding more laws to the book? I’m sure some of the very same lawmakers behind SB 1142 have said the same about gun rights.

The existence of RICO (asset-forfeiture) laws in the first place is bad enough. I realize that they were created to combat bad guys — such as the mafia and drug cartels — but the idea that the government can simply accuse somebody of doing something wrong, declare the money in their bank account as ill-gotten gains and then force them to prove that it’s not, well, that is the very essence of guilty before proven innocent.

But using RICO statutes against Americans who are merely expressing an opinion and don’t do anything violent or destructive – even when the crowd around them did so – sounds like the equivalent of prosecuting the owner of a rug store because his carpet was used to roll up a dead body.

Or withdrawing money from your bank right before it’s robbed. Or driving down a freeway at the posted speed limit right before some idiot is clocked at 100 miles per hour. Or…please don’t make me go on.

I told you a few weeks ago when the Arizona Legislature officially went into session how nervous I was about the safety of our rights because you never know what they’re going to dream up under the copper dome.

Sometimes, it seems like they’re just trying to find a problem to throw a solution at.

In this case, the problem is people who say things that Republican lawmakers don’t like and, even though you didn’t throw a rock at cops, a brick through a window or a Molotov cocktail, the fact that you threw an insult at conservatives makes them want to throw the book at you.

And that makes me want to throw up.

Jim Sharpe

Kari Lake, Republican candidate for Arizona governor, speaks on stage at the Conservative Political...
Jim Sharpe

Why Kari Lake should tell Katie Hobbs to get a face tattoo

To ensure a fair election, KTAR News host Jim Sharpe has an outlandish idea: Kari Lake should insist Katie Hobbs get a face tattoo so the electorate can tell Hobbs apart from her twin sister.
6 months ago
(Twitter Photo/@RepAndyBiggsAZ)...
Jim Sharpe

Andy Biggs, Italian satellites and other GOP lunacy came out of Thursday’s Jan. 6 hearing

What came out of Thursday's Jan. 6 hearing -- including the claim U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona asked for a presidential pardon -- has KTAR News host Jim Sharpe believing some Republicans should be happy Donald Trump lost.
7 months ago
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)...
Jim Sharpe

How did fewer Arizona drivers equal more road rage?

KTAR News host Jim Sharpe is peeved since road rage incidents in Arizona seem to be climbing despite fewer drivers on the road.
10 months ago
(AP Photo/David Goldman)...
Jim Sharpe

Too many ‘mental’ members in Arizona Legislature

KTAR News host Jim Sharpe wonders why Republican Arizona Legislature members continue to push bills that propagate the idea there was widespread election fraud in 2020.
10 months ago
(Screenshot via Maricopa County Attorney's Office YouTube)...
Jim Sharpe

Failing future — and current — victims means Maricopa County Attorney Adel should resign

KTAR News host Jim Sharpe believes Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel should resign after her office failed current -- and likely future -- victims by missing a charging deadline for about 200 cases.
11 months ago
(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Union High School District)...
Jim Sharpe

How about actual ‘safe spaces’ for Phoenix Union students?

Following a Monday shooting at Cesar Chavez High School, KTAR News host Jim Sharpe asks if school resource officers should have a renewed presence at Phoenix Union High School District.
1 year ago

Sponsored Articles

(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
Riots, RICO, ridiculous Arizona Republicans and regurgitation