Raptakis said he would be submitting a bill to the General Assembly that would make a criminal out of anyone who:
... stands, sits, kneels or otherwise loiters on any highway or roadway under such circumstances that the conduct could reasonably be construed as interfering with the lawful movement of traffic” or if that action causes “the interruption, obstruction, distraction or delay of any motorist operating a motor vehicle” on the roadway or highway.
And when I say criminalize, I mean CRIMINALIZE. According to a State House press release, Raptakis proposes those found in violation of the law be guilty of a felony (Hellloooo, permanent record!) punishable by, "... imprisonment of between one and three years, with no eligibility of suspension, deferral or probation for the first 60 days of any sentence." Emphasis mine. Draco himself might blanch!
That's right. A mandatory 60 days in the hoosegow for exercising a right that is - according to our constitution - granted to us, not by said constitution, but by God himself.
How broadly are we going to define "...the interruption, obstruction, distraction or delay of any motorist operating a motor vehicle” on the roadway or highway?"
Would this apply to the driver in front of me that doesn't take the legal right on red? He has delayed me! He must be punished!
The little old lady who takes a bit to get across the street? You have obstructed me, madame! To the camps!
The college co-ed out for a jog? Your womanly form has distracted my from the road! We must lock you away to prevent this from happening again! Let me stop texting while driving and call the police while I drive!
Moore, in his indefensible defense of Raptakis, writes, "Nobody wants to curtail the rights of people to protest, but when protesters take their frustrations out on the innocent, block highways, and endanger public safety, there should be serious consequences."
After reading this, I pondered, "What if the word protestors were replaced by police?"
Sadly, I think the reactions to the Black Lives Matter protests in Boston and Providence have less to do with public safety and more to do with sub-conscious and institutionalized racism, the double-standard they create, the white folks in this country who allow it to exist, and then demonstrate an inability to see it. When someone is avoiding confronting injustice, you make the confrontation unavoidable. That's the point.
And for those of you who think that there isn't a racial component to this reaction. As the POTaxpayer pointed out on this very blog, where was the outrage and fascist legislation in 1991 when, in the wake of the collapse RISDIC, a group of largely white, middle-aged depositors took to Route 95 not in a protest for social justice, but in a protest that amounted to, "Give me my gub'mint bailout!"
A man smarter than myself once opined that those who would sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither.
I worry that we're sacrificing justice for convenience.