Child abuse in regards to Dungeons and Dragons IRL, how should such things be handled.

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Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
Fighting words is an essentially dead doctrine. It hasn't been applied at all in more than half a century.
Not quite. While the window has been narrowing, in 1992’s R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul, even though the Court overturned a statute prohibiting speech or symbolic expression that "arouses anger, alarm or resentment in others on the basis of race, color, creed, religion or gender" on the grounds that, even if the specific statute was limited to fighting words, it was unconstitutionally content-based and viewpoint-based, they nonetheless made it repeatedly clear that the City could have pursued "any number" of other avenues, and reaffirmed the notion that "fighting words" could be properly regulated by municipal or state governments.

And cases involving the fighting words exception have appeared before the Roberts court. Narrow doctrine? Yes. Dead? No.

It’s also popping up in legal discussions on cyber-bullying.

As for the immediacy test, that applies to incitement, not fighting words.
 

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
If you could be arrested for "fighting words", we'd finally be able to stop all of these protests here in Portland between ANITFA and the Proud Boys/Patriot prayer...
 

kyuss

Explorer
Are you familiar with America?

Incitement to riot, “fighting words” and similar offenses under a variety of names are very localized, facts and circumstance offenses that essentially hinge on whether spoken words are likely to cause a breach of the peace.

Fighting words are, as first defined by the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) in Chaplinsky v New Hampshire 315 U.S. 568 (1942), words which "by their very utterance, inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace. It has been well observed that such utterances are no essential part of any exposition of ideas, and are of such slight social value as a step to truth that any benefit that may be derived from them is clearly outweighed by the social interest in order and morality."

To illustrate: shouting “Roy just came out of the closet!” in a gay bar in San Francisco might result in a celebration and someone buying a round. The exact same exclamation in a bar in a different part of the country might get Roy hospitalized, and if done knowing or expecting Roy to get jumped at some future point, that’s a criminal act.

Similarly, in a small, conservative Christian community, calling someone a Satanist could set that target up for violent reprisal, and that could be a criminal act depending on whether such an accusation could foreseeably expose the accused to violence.

Like I said, I don’t think it’s probable. But the legal possibility does exist. Whether it would happen depends on whether there is a community in which Satanists are viewed with enough animus as to make them targets for assault*. I don’t personally know of any, but I’m not certain enough to handwave the possibility away.




* there are cases in the U.K. and USA where people are serving life sentences for killing innocent people they thought were drug dealers and pedophiles. Some are likewise doing time- or found not guilty because of the “gay panic” defense- for killing people perceived as gay. Satanists could easily fall into the same societal rifts in certain communities.

An excerpt: The Supreme Court was once again confronted with defining fighting words in Cohen v. California, 403 U.S. 15 (1971). Cohen, the petitioner, was convicted of disturbing the peace for wearing a jacket with “F*** the Draft” emblazoned on it into a courthouse. In invalidating his conviction, the Court ruled that offensive language did not constitute fighting words. The majority held that fighting words were only “those personally abusive epithets which, when addressed to the ordinary citizen, are, as a matter of common knowledge, inherently likely to provoke violent reaction.”

The very next year, in Gooding v. Wilson, 405 U.S. 518 (1972), the Court cited Cohen and stated that speech that is “vulgar or offensive…is protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments.” Then, the very next term, the Court reaffirmed this stance in Hess v. Indiana, 414 U.S. 105 (1973) by finding that the pronouncement “we’ll take the f** street later” did not constitute fighting words.

In assessing the fighting words doctrine at this point, it is important to note the speech involved in Gooding. While assaulting a police officer, Gooding shouted, “White S.O.B., I’ll kill you.” “You S.O.B., I’ll choke you to death.” and “You S.O.B., if you ever put your hands on me again, I’ll cut you all to pieces.” If this speech doesn’t constitute fighting words, one would be hard-pressed to think of speech that would qualify."

end excerpts.


Do you know anything about the USA? THERE IS NO JURISDICTION WITHIN THE USA THAT WOULD SANCTION ANYONE FOR CALLING SOMEONE A SATANIST. Give it a rest.
Profanity edited out.
 
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Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Not quite. While the window has been narrowing, in 1992’s R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul, even though the Court overturned a statute prohibiting speech or symbolic expression that "arouses anger, alarm or resentment in others on the basis of race, color, creed, religion or gender" on the grounds that, even if the specific statute was limited to fighting words, it was unconstitutionally content-based and viewpoint-based, they nonetheless made it repeatedly clear that the City could have pursued "any number" of other avenues, and reaffirmed the notion that "fighting words" could be properly regulated by municipal or state governments.

And cases involving the fighting words exception have appeared before the Roberts court. Narrow doctrine? Yes. Dead? No.

It’s also popping up in legal discussions on cyber-bullying.

As for the immediacy test, that applies to incitement, not fighting words.
No, it's effectively dead, as no judgement has been issued to hold someone accountable for fighting words in ages. The case you cite above is one where SCOTUS said that the law was unconstitutional because it didn't actually describe the doctrine of fighting words -- this doesn't mean that the fighting words doctrine is still useful, but that even considered under that doctrine (which SCOTUS was required to accept, being a state ruling) it failed to live up to that narrow exception. The reason fighting words is dead is because there hasn't been an actual conviction on the merits under Chaplinsky for many decades. Zero convictions for 50ish years looks like a dead doctrine.

And, yes, the current Chaplinsky doctrine requires fighting words to have immediate effect.. "nsulting or 'fighting words', those that by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace...."
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member

An excerpt: The Supreme Court was once again confronted with defining fighting words in Cohen v. California, 403 U.S. 15 (1971). Cohen, the petitioner, was convicted of disturbing the peace for wearing a jacket with “F*** the Draft” emblazoned on it into a courthouse. In invalidating his conviction, the Court ruled that offensive language did not constitute fighting words. The majority held that fighting words were only “those personally abusive epithets which, when addressed to the ordinary citizen, are, as a matter of common knowledge, inherently likely to provoke violent reaction.”

The very next year, in Gooding v. Wilson, 405 U.S. 518 (1972), the Court cited Cohen and stated that speech that is “vulgar or offensive…is protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments.” Then, the very next term, the Court reaffirmed this stance in Hess v. Indiana, 414 U.S. 105 (1973) by finding that the pronouncement “we’ll take the f** street later” did not constitute fighting words.

In assessing the fighting words doctrine at this point, it is important to note the speech involved in Gooding. While assaulting a police officer, Gooding shouted, “White son of a bitch, I’ll kill you.” “You son of a bitch, I’ll choke you to death.” and “You son of a bitch, if you ever put your hands on me again, I’ll cut you all to pieces.” If this speech doesn’t constitute fighting words, one would be hard-pressed to think of speech that would qualify."

end excerpts.


Do you know anything about the USA? THERE IS NO JURISDICTION WITHIN THE USA THAT WOULD SANCTION ANYONE FOR CALLING SOMEONE A SATANIST. Give it a rest.
And

No, it's effectively dead, as no judgement has been issued to hold someone accountable for fighting words in ages. The case you cite above is one where SCOTUS said that the law was unconstitutional because it didn't actually describe the doctrine of fighting words -- this doesn't mean that the fighting words doctrine is still useful, but that even considered under that doctrine (which SCOTUS was required to accept, being a state ruling) it failed to live up to that narrow exception. The reason fighting words is dead is because there hasn't been an actual conviction on the merits under Chaplinsky for many decades. Zero convictions for 50ish years looks like a dead doctrine.

And, yes, the current Chaplinsky doctrine requires fighting words to have immediate effect.. "nsulting or 'fighting words', those that by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace...."
First of all, @kyuss, please save the mod staff some work and edit out the f-bombs.

Second, from that same article you quoted:
While the Court has invalidated many convictions in fighting words cases, the doctrine remains alive and well in some state courts. Those courts routinely cite Chaplinsky in upholding disorderly conduct, breach of the peace, or harassment charges. Even so, the cases are all over the map as to whether an individual’s profane outbursts cross the line into unprotected fighting words.
And:

Attempting to bring some clarity to this area of the law, in Purtell v. Mason (7th Cir., 2008) Judge Diane S. Sykes declared:

In law, ‘fighting words’ are abusive words or phrases
(1) directed at the person of the addressee,
(2) which by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace, that is, words that are likely to provoke a violent reaction, and
(3) play no role in the expression of ideas.
Nonetheless, confusion continues. On one hand, consider the following situations in which offensive statements were not fighting words:

  • Calling a police officer a “S.O.B.” (Johnson v. Campbell, 3rd Circuit, 2003).
  • Yelling “f*** you all” to a police officer and security personnel at a nightclub (Cornelius v. Brubaker,Minnesota District Court, 2003).
  • Telling a police officer: “I’m tired of this G-D police sticking their nose in shit that doesn’t even involve them” (Brendle v. City of Houston, Court of Appeals of the State of Mississippi, 2000).
  • Telling a security officer “This is BS” when rousted from a parking lot (U.S. v. McDermott, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1997).
On the other hand, consider the following cases in which other courts have determined that the expressions in the following situations were fighting words:

  • Flashing a sexually suggestive sign repeatedly to a young woman driving a car (State v. Hubbard,Minnesota Court of Appeals, 2001).
  • Yelling racial slurs at two African-American women (In re John M., Arizona Court of Appeals, 2001).
  • Repeatedly yelling the words “whore,” “harlot” and “Jezebel” at a nude woman on the beach (Wisconsin v. Ovadal, Wisconsin Court of Appeals, 2003).
  • Calling a police officer a “white, racist motherf*****” and wishing his mother would die (State v. Clay,Minnesota Court of Appeals, 1999).
  • Calling a police officer a “f** asshole” in a loud voice and attempting to spit on the officer (State v. York, Maine Supreme Judicial Court, 1999)
Note that some of those are decisions- one 7th Circuit Court and the rest, State Supreme Courts- are less than 20 years old.

The Nuxoll case- another 2008 7th Circuit case cited in Purtell v. Mason- discussed the doctrine, but concluded it did not apply. The arguments in the case noted that another slogan that was almost used would have satisfied the fighting words exception.

IOW, while few have used the doctrine successfully, it has not been overruled, and courts have made note of situations in which it would apply. So the doctrine is not dead.

Note also that all of the enumerated instances where fighting words were not upheld were when they were directed at police or security guards. In contrast, there’s a different standard being applied for them than for the instances between persons presumably without the backing of the state or operating in a similar capacity.
 
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billd91

Hobbit on Quest
No, it's effectively dead, as no judgement has been issued to hold someone accountable for fighting words in ages. The case you cite above is one where SCOTUS said that the law was unconstitutional because it didn't actually describe the doctrine of fighting words -- this doesn't mean that the fighting words doctrine is still useful, but that even considered under that doctrine (which SCOTUS was required to accept, being a state ruling) it failed to live up to that narrow exception. The reason fighting words is dead is because there hasn't been an actual conviction on the merits under Chaplinsky for many decades. Zero convictions for 50ish years looks like a dead doctrine.

And, yes, the current Chaplinsky doctrine requires fighting words to have immediate effect.. "nsulting or 'fighting words', those that by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace...."
I think it's effectively dead. If the Westboro Baptists managed to skate by in Snyder v Phelps without violating Chaplinsky's fighting words doctrine, then nothing will.

That said, it's only realistically dead in the upper courts - plenty of lower courts and law enforcement organizations could prosecute if they had a will to do so since it's not officially validated as dead. The fact that defendants will receive relief at some point, probably years later on an appeal, is academic. The pound of flesh will have been taken, the point will have been made.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
I think it's effectively dead. If the Westboro Baptists managed to skate by in Snyder v Phelps without violating Chaplinsky's fighting words doctrine, then nothing will.

That said, it's only realistically dead in the upper courts - plenty of lower courts and law enforcement organizations could prosecute if they had a will to do so since it's not officially validated as dead. The fact that defendants will receive relief at some point, probably years later on an appeal, is academic. The pound of flesh will have been taken, the point will have been made.
Well, yeah, lower courts will often do whatever they like because they aren't ever held responsible for it.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Running D&D games is not on the list unless said DM is being paid by the game store under some sort of community program to run camps just for kids
It strikes me as possible that the officers in question may have thought this was the case, and been mistaken.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
I think it's effectively dead. If the Westboro Baptists managed to skate by in Snyder v Phelps without violating Chaplinsky's fighting words doctrine, then nothing will.

That said, it's only realistically dead in the upper courts - plenty of lower courts and law enforcement organizations could prosecute if they had a will to do so since it's not officially validated as dead. The fact that defendants will receive relief at some point, probably years later on an appeal, is academic. The pound of flesh will have been taken, the point will have been made.
7th Circuit isn’t letting it go, for one. Not exactly pikers, them.

As for Snyder v. Phelps, that was distinguished from the fighting words exception mainly because:

1) The Supreme Court's holding turned largely on its determination that the church was speaking on "matters of public concern" as opposed to "matters of purely private significance." IOW, it is perfectly legal to express a negative opinion about homosexuality in general, even if the expression is offensive.

2) There was no pre-existing relationship between Westboro's speech and Snyder that might suggest that the speech on public matters was intended to mask an attack on Snyder over a private matter. Therefore, the Court held that the Phelps and his followers were "speaking" on matters of public concern on public property and thus, were entitled to protection under the First Amendment.

If, for instance, Westboro had called out Snyder etc. in particular using essentially the same language instead of condemning homosexuals (and those who love them) in general, the result in the case would have probably have been different.
 
If, for instance, Westboro had called out Snyder etc. in particular using essentially the same language instead of condemning homosexuals (and those who love them) in general, the result in the case would have probably have been different.
Worth noting that Fred Phelps was once a highly-regarded civil rights lawyer and his entire family's livelihood depends on him knowing exactly where he is, in relation to that line, at all times. Hate speech is their business, and business is good.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
7th Circuit isn’t letting it go, for one. Not exactly pikers, them.

As for Snyder v. Phelps, that was distinguished from the fighting words exception mainly because:

1) The Supreme Court's holding turned largely on its determination that the church was speaking on "matters of public concern" as opposed to "matters of purely private significance." IOW, it is perfectly legal to express a negative opinion about homosexuality in general, even if the expression is offensive.

2) There was no pre-existing relationship between Westboro's speech and Snyder that might suggest that the speech on public matters was intended to mask an attack on Snyder over a private matter. Therefore, the Court held that the Phelps and his followers were "speaking" on matters of public concern on public property and thus, were entitled to protection under the First Amendment.

If, for instance, Westboro had called out Snyder etc. in particular using essentially the same language instead of condemning homosexuals (and those who love them) in general, the result in the case would have probably have been different.
Yeah, but I found Alito's dissent much more persuasive than the decision - one of the very few times I've agreed with Alito. Lack of pre-existing relationship and inclusion of some public concern amid the direct comments do nothing to alleviate the damage being inflicted. As far as I'm concerned, the majority decision makes Chaplinsky pretty much unworkable as a guide.
 

pming

Adventurer
Hiya!

1. To the OP...no, I don't think it would qualify as child abuse. That said, I firmly believe that any adult trying to indoctrinate (re: TELL the child and DEMAND acceptance and obedience) a child into ANY religion should be illegal and classified as child abuse. I've seen it first hand with friends and an ex-girlfriend (when we were 13 to 15) does to kids and teens. It NEVER ends well. Ever. Maybe not outright "leaving the family never to return", but there is ALWAYS resentment and severe disappointment and trust issues between the kid and the parent(s) if the kid doesn't believe. But for all my Atheist (and two Satanist) friends? Great relationships with their parents. Mutual respect. Why? Because the kid was guided to live their own life and make their own choices since day one...exceptions being the 'obvious' child rearing ones (like trying to keep them away from smoking, drugs, drinking, lying, stealing, fighting, etc...things universal to every child, basically).

2. Police semi-OT stuff: You want to see the state of modern policing in the USA? Hit Youtube and search for "1st amendment audit". Be prepared for rage-inducing LEO antics ("LEO": Law Enforcement Officer).

3. Full disclosure: I'm a Satanist. Have been since I was 17 and I'm turning 50 on the 20th of this month. I can honestly say "Satanism saved my life"...and it's not only honest, but true (whole thing about messed up angsty love-sick teenage stupidity, two suicide attempts with the last resulting in a Near Death Experience; but that's a WHOLE other story! :) ).

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

aramis erak

Explorer
Personally, I’ve always been disappointed when SCOTUS essentially punts Constitutional issues back to the states. The nature of your fundamental rights shouldn’t depend on what state you’re in.
When they do that, they're essentially saying, "This isn't a fundamental right, no matter what the plantiff (and possibly also the lower court) thinks."
 

GreyLord

Adventurer
It strikes me as possible that the officers in question may have thought this was the case, and been mistaken.
I was in one of the "everyone is a mandatory reporter" states. There are a few out there. Also, encased in state law it says that anyone is required to report (and that it can be a felony not to). It DOES specify certain types of professionals as well in the law, not sure why if everyone is required to report why they also cover which professionals are also required to report there. As I said, this is not a strong point that I am knowledgeable about. I WAS a volunteer that was working with youth. I DID have a training video and other training (which on reflection I should have paid closer attention to) that had some information regarding this, and I had a background check done prior to being able to volunteer.

This is why I suppose I was told I am a mandatory reporter.

I mainly just DM though. The game is open to ANYONE who wants to play, youth or adults. There were other adults in the room at the time, including my supervisor who is the head volunteer for our little group and has been doing this for FAR LONGER than I. I don't know who else has been interviewed by the police or what was said or told to them, but I'd imagine (or hope) they'd be the ones they'd look at before me even as they have a greater amount of experience than I do. I was the one at the table though to whom many of the remarks were focused at beyond the kids, and I was the one managing or supposedly supervising the group at the time.

I really have no idea though. Found quite a bit of information looking it up on line though, states differ from state to state on what required reporting is and who is a mandatory reporter. I think I live in one of the 15-18 states where anyone is considered a mandatory reporter from what I gather, though it also seems that would make 32-35 states to have it be more specific.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
When they do that, they're essentially saying, "This isn't a fundamental right, no matter what the plantiff (and possibly also the lower court) thinks."
Except they’re not.

The issues I’m thinking of are things that are specifically enumerated in the Constitution & Amendments and are often involved in landmark decisions, like gun rights, voter rights, religious freedoms and so forth. But several difficult cases involving the cores of those rights have been whiffed on by the SCOTUS. Some such issues have subsequently even been bungled by State courts, leading to new Federal legislation...and State legislation that is similar to but different from the Federal versions. Soooo messy.

This isn’t new or even modern; go back as far as you like, and you’ll find a few such cases.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
It DOES specify certain types of professionals as well in the law, not sure why if everyone is required to report why they also cover which professionals are also required to report there.
In all likelihood, those professionals explicitly mentioned in the laws as mandatory reporters also have certain carve-outs in law that otherwise allow them to keep secrets or even prevent them from revealing secrets under penalty of law. IOW, some kind of privilege- priest/penitent, attorney/client, doctor/patient, and so forth.
 

ccs

39th lv DM
Please don't make it personal.
I was in one of the "everyone is a mandatory reporter" states. There are a few out there. Also, encased in state law it says that anyone is required to report (and that it can be a felony not to). It DOES specify certain types of professionals as well in the law, not sure why if everyone is required to report why they also cover which professionals are also required to report there. As I said, this is not a strong point that I am knowledgeable about. I WAS a volunteer that was working with youth. I DID have a training video and other training (which on reflection I should have paid closer attention to) that had some information regarding this, and I had a background check done prior to being able to volunteer.

This is why I suppose I was told I am a mandatory reporter.
OMG. What are you, completely stupid? You work in some semi-official capacity with minors and you didn't pay attention to the training videos?? :censored:
Let alone actually find out the details of the laws they no doubt merely touched upon?


I'll stand by my original assessment of you. Ignorant & dangerous. Except now I'll also add scared & emboldened (because, like a broken clock, you just happened to be coincidently right. This time).
This is a horrendous combination.

Go talk to a lawyer.
Re-take your training courses.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I'll stand by my original assessment of you. Ignorant & dangerous.
Mod Note:
This is over the line. Talking to fellow posters in this way will get you removed from a thread.

The lucky thing for ccs here, is that other posters have gone over the line, and the thread is really off in left field, in terms of gaming-relevance. So, time to shut this down.
 
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