State Sen. Joseph A. Griffo, R-Rome, today announced he is sponsoring legislation aimed at curbing the videotaping and online distribution of violent acts.
Several incidents have been reported by national media recently in which teenagers attacked other students or homeless people and then posted video of the attacks on sites such as YouTube.com. The legislation Griffo is sponsoring would make it a crime to commit assault while knowingly recording the event, a press release said.
“It’s disturbing to see folks trying to achieve fame, attention and celebrity through criminal violent acts,” Griffo said in the release. “If criminality is caught on a recorded media, then we need to use it as a tool to pursue and prosecute these offenders.”
State senator Joe Griffo also believes that recording and disseminating violent attacks is a good thing:
The sport Mix Martial Arts, made popular by the Ultimate Fighting Championship, continues to grow in popularity, but it's not legal here in New York State.
It is a combination of different fighting techniques including martial arts and boxing. Matt Hamill of Utica is a contender and fights around the world. But the game isn't legal in many states including New York and State Senator Joseph wants that to change.
"I think it's time for the state of New York to take a look at the possibility of allowing this considering that the sport has grown and has evolved and has a significant interest and demand. And there's an opportunity for significant tourist and tax revenue to come as a result of holding and hosting these multimillion dollar gates," said State Senator Joseph Griffo.
I'm aware that I'm making a not altogether fair comparison, but I think there's a serious issue here. Is there really any moral difference between the "Bumfight" videos and Ultimate Fighting? In both cases you have willing participants being paid to fight each other with a minimum of safety equipment and limited rulesets. Why are bumfights bad and ultimate fighting bouts good? And why do we need to make recording a crime itself a crime? Don't existing laws against assault and conspiracy already cover it?
In case you were curious, Utica does have a thriving "Fight Club" scene. The majority of participants are high-school kids that don't seem to appreciate what the movie "Fight Club" was really about. Most of the videos are pulled off Youtube pretty quickly, but this one was uploaded earlier this month:
And then there's this gem, which gives new meaning to "getting medieval":