Yeah, sure, this sounds like a great idea. We've all come along some message board troll that we have secretly wished he would get thrown in jail for the idiocy he spews for the simple purpose of being a complete pain in your cyberbutt. Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act could make it a reality.
But honestly, is it really a crime? Being a jerk in public isn't a crime, nor should it be. Why should the online world be any different? Just because there is no way for someone to physically threaten the individual in order to attempt him to get him to stop? Because there is no consequences for online behavior? Well, let us take a look at this.
If someone is acting out in a public place, he does run the risk of infuriating someone to the point of physical retaliation. A flamer or troll does not really have to worry about physical consequences, this is true. However, to say there are no consequences is a bit naive. The person could end up banned from the boards, put on everyone's killfile, or any number of other cyber consequences. These may not carry the same weight in some minds as a good beat down, but they are consequences.
Also, in the real world, it is sometimes hard to escape a jerk. There is no "ignore" button, you can only attempt to ignore, and some are better at it than others. There is no killfile. The best you can really hope for is someone to knock his lights out (by the way, you risk jail yourself if you choose to hit someone over annoying you) or have someone throw him out. And if he really doesn't want to leave, you may have to call the police for that one, unless you have some bouncers in the place. There is definitely upside and downside to both worlds when dealing with someone immature and annoying.
And this whole idea that cyberbullying is horrendous and causes kids to commit suicide, such as the very sad case dealing with Myspace in 2006, or act out violently is plain rubbish. This kids were not only picked on in cyberspace, but in school and elsewhere as well. And we've all seen the press on school shootings, and nearly every time it has to do with someone being fed up with a bully or group of bullies. Where is the legislation on bullying in schools? Nowhere, because that's been around forever. This is in the world of cyberspace, a place that might as well be Narnia to most of the representatives in Washing. They are scared, and acting stupid in that fear. And honestly, I find the fearful blanketing of any topic to be getting quite old out of Washington.
Someone please put a stop to the asinine legislation coming out of Washington recently, as if our country doesn't have enough real problems on its plate.