I’m not of big fan of enacting new legislation, but for some time now I have been seeing a part of social interaction which is sadly deficient in controlling laws.
I hereby propose that Chapter 50 be added to the Texas Penal Code, simply titled: “Stupidity”.
While it may be tempting to start this new chapter with general “Misdemeanor Stupidity” followed up by “Felony Stupidity”, I have noticed that in a lot of cases, violating the Stupidity Statutes tends to be a self-correcting problem.
No, Gentle Readers, I have decided — this very day, as a matter-of-fact — that Chapter 50 only needs to consist of two charges: 1) Failure To Mind Your Own Business; and 2) Aggravated Failure To Mind Your Own Business.
The elements of the misdemeanor offence would be as follows:
A person, at a time and a place;
intentionally or knowingly;
involves himself in the affairs of a second or third party;
when a reasonable man would decide it isn’t the first person’s business;
and by such involvement tends to cause a breach of the peace.
For instance, here we have “Frank”. “Frank” is regularly having chandelier-swinging sex with “JoAnne”, with the caveat that both “Frank” and “JoAnne” are married — but not to each other.
“Darlene” is a neighbor to “Frank”, but isn’t married to either one, nor is she either kith or kin to either “Frank” or “JoAnne”.
However, “Darlene” is outraged enough by the activities of two consenting adult strangers that she arranges to tell the wife of “Frank” about the infidelity — resulting in “Mrs Frank” destroying various toys belonging to her spouse, selling off others, setting fire to still more, and following up by standing in the front yard, shrieking like a banshee and throwing various breakables at “Frank” and his car, thereby waking up the whole sodding neighborhood and necessitating the attention of the Gardai.
In this case, “Frank” would be firmly advised to find other lodging for the nonce, “Mrs. Frank” would be gently advised to cease and desist from the Abusive, Indecent or Profane Language (In A Public Place) — not to mention the Littering — and “Darlene” would be hauled off to jail for misdemeanor Failure To Mind Her Own Business.
The elements of the felony offence would be the same as above, only replace the last line with:
“and such involvement causes the risk of death, serious bodily injury or the felony arrest of one or both of the involved parties.”
As an example — a creative articulation — here is “Joe”. Some years ago “Joe” and his daughter “Shannon” had a falling out, leading to Shannon running off to California, vowing Never To Return.
Time, distance, and the arrival of a grand-daughter has mellowed the relationship between “Joe” and “Shannon” enough that “Shannon” and her daughter have moved back to town.
All is peachy and keen … until “Chuck” hears from his sister’s daughter’s boyfriend’s second-cousin-twice-removed’s baby-sitter that “Shannon” has apparently taken up with a non-mainstream, somewhat untraditional religion.
“Chuck” — bearing in mind that while he is a work buddy to “Joe”, he is not a relative, nor would he actually recognize “Shannon” if her were to bump into her on the street — breaks the news to “Joe” about his daughters choice in religion over a beer in the parking lot after work, and follows up with what seems to have been a truly awe-inspiring recital of those things what “everybody knows” about them “damn witches”.
Let us say that “Joe” is inspired enough by this performance that he takes about $41.00 worth of gasoline, throws it upon the porch of his daughters rented house, and follows it up with a lit road flare.
In this — hypothetical — case, “Joe” would be arrested for Arson and “Chuck” would be arrested for Aggravated Failure To Mind His Own Goddess-be-damned Business.
I realize that some of the elements of this offence must be fine-tuned, but for too long have busy-bodies been nosing off into others peoples business thereby causing hate, discontent, heartburn and police involvement — and the time is now to start making them shoulder some of the responsibility for the result.