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Illinois City Bans Trick-or-Treating for Teenagers

October 27, 2008

Well, this is about the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard in a while.  Belleville, Illinois passed an ordinance last Monday that restricted trick-or-treating.  That sounds normal, right, most cities limit the time that kids can trick-or-treat.  But the city isn’t just limiting when; they’re also limiting who can trick-or-treat.  And it also limits the wearing of masks, to only Halloween (unless you’re under 12).

Here’s an overview of the ordinance (unfortunately, Belleville is a little slow in uploading their meeting minutes, and all they have right now is a copy of the agenda, so this isn’t the exact wording of the ordinance):

  • Limits trick-or-treating on Halloween from 5:00 P.M. until 8:30 P.M.
  • Bans anyone in above the 8th grade (anybody older than 13 or 14) from trick-or-treating on Halloween, unless they are a “special-needs” child, and then they must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  • Allows children age 12 and under to wear a mask and/or disguise any day of the year, but restricts anyone above 12 to being able to wear a mask and/or disguise only on Halloween.
  • Prohibits any and all child sex offenders from going to any event and/or holding any event for Halloween where any child (other than his/her own) will be present. Child sex offenders must also turn out their outside lights on Halloween night, and they are banned from handing out candy.

OK, so bullet points 1 and 4 I have no problem with.  It’s 2 and 3 that I have an issue with.

But before I go on, let me give you some quotes that Mayor Mark Eckert told reporters:

We believe that Halloween is for little children.  We just feel that we need to go that extra mile to protect the children.

We were hearing more and more about bigger kids knocking on doors after 9:00 at night and the people who lived in the homes were scared.  The seniors were especially scared.  They didn’t want to be the recipient of some kind of trick, but they didn’t want to open their doors late at night, either.

Sexual predators can’t have parties.  It’s not right, it’s wrong.  They lost that privilege.

OK, so I get the principle behind this, but here’s where you have a problem: Those teenagers out after 9:00 P.M. would be out past the overall curfew anyway, so they’d already be breaking the law.  What is the need for another law here?  If they’re out past 8:30, they can be arrested (I’m assuming that’s the punishment).  So that right there would solve your teenagers out late problem.  Banning trick-or-treating for anybody above the 8thgrade is simply ageism.  You cannot discriminate against somebody like this.  I’ll accept a curfew (although I have problems with those at times too), but to ban outright the practice of trick-or-treating for ANYBODY (other than felons who lose some rights when they’re convicted) is discrimination, and in my view, illegal!

Now, the mask/disguise ordinance.  You’re telling me that a 16-year-old kid can’t wear a mask outside at a Halloween party the night before Halloween (Devil’s Night if you live here in Detroit)?  Or what if a Star Trek convention comes to Belleville?  Are you telling me that masks aren’t allowed?  It’s ridiculous!  Unfortunately, without the ordinance I don’t have the city’s legal definition of “disguise” but would this apply to people dressed up as Santa Clause?  Are you going to haul away the Salvation Army Santa for being in a “disguise” on a day other than Halloween?  It’s dumb.  It restricts the Freedom of Speech (this isn’t a dress code in school we’re talking about here – this is just being out in PUBLIC generally!)!  It’s asinine, ridiculous, and it’s unconstitutional.

I hope somebody old goes out and trick-or treats, or wears a mask the day after Halloween so that this can be taken to court and overturned.  I’m a Law and Order Conservative – I abide by the laws.  I don’t speed.  I don’t drink underage.  I’ve never stolen a candy bar.  But when the law goes against Constitutional principles, it MUST be disobeyed so that it can be challenged in court, and this is one time where I say, “Break that law!”

Done Ranting

Ranting Republican
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Former White House Press Secretary, Tony Snow, Passed Away

July 12, 2008

I just found out about this, and this has really saddened my day.  Tony Snow was a great man, inside and outside of his job.  I had the privilege of hearing him speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference back in February, and he was just this amazing orator.  After all he had been through, he got up there and was happy, funny, and energetic.  You could tell he was happy to be alive.

I had the privilege of getting a picture with him after his speech, and he was just a cheerful guy.

Sadly, Tony lost his battle against cancer early this morning, and he will be greatly missed.

My thoughts and prayers go out to his friends and family.


Rest in peace my friend.

Done Eulogizing,

Ranting Republican
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8 Teens Attack A Girl Just to Post the Video on the Internet

April 8, 2008

Well, talk about your dumb criminals – today, Florida police officials released a tape of 6 girls beating a 16-year-old cheerleader from Mulberry High School, Victoria Lindsay.  The attack was carried out so that the video could be put up on the internet.  On March 30th, the girl was lured into a house in Lakeland, where two of the girls began yelling at the victim, while a third girl began to assault her, bashing her head into the wall.  The girl then went unconscious.  When she woke back up, 3 other girls joined in the attack and began to videotape it, laughing and cheering each other on.  During the whole event, 2 teenage boys kept watch outside of the house (1 of the boys was an 18-year-old, and the only adult present).  The 3 people from the group then forced ther girl into a car and drove her to another location.

The girl had a concussion, injuries to her left eye left ear, and several bruises.

I was able to find information about the teenagers:

In order from top left (bold indicates the kidnappers):

April Cooper, 14, of Lakeland
Britney Mayes, 17, of Lakeland
Cara Murphy, 16, of Lakeland
Brittini Hardcastle, 17, of Lakeland
Kayla Hassell, 15, of Mulberry
Mercades Nichols, 16, of Lakeland
Zachary Ashley, 17, of Lakeland
Stephen Schumaker, 18, of Lakeland

Here’s a clip of the attack (warning, violent content):

And here’s a link to the full video of the attack:

Here’s a video of Victoria’s parents’ (Talisa and Patrick) response

So, police found the vido and have charged all 8 teenagers with felony battery, false imprisonment, and kidnapping.  Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said that both the video and the attack were “shocking — I’ve never seen anything like it… this is outrageous behavior … It’s absolutely an animalistic attack.  They lured her into the home for express purpose of filming the attack and posting it on the internet.”  The fact that they did this just for the video means that I want more than ever for them to get the maximum punishment – they should be put away for life plus 10 years (life for the kidnapping, 5 for the false imprisonment, and 5 for the felony battery).  For those who didn’t participate in the kidnapping, I’d charge them with conspiracy to kidnap, a first degree misdemeanor which gives them up to 1 year in prison, so a total of 11 years.  There’s no reason that they shouldn’t go to jail for the rest of their lives – what they did was dispicable, and they need to pay.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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