Man jailed in Britain for showing gory photo on cellphone

True, but it’s not like he jumped out from behind a bush and showed her the image. They had a conversation where he mentioned that he would show her an image that would keep her awake at night and then showed her.
Sounds like he was quite a loser anyway (I mean, having that sort of shit on a phone is pretty fucked up), but the warning bells should have went off with her when the creepy guy starts talking about alarming images that he has on his phone.
The guy crossed the line completely so far as social propriety goes but to start pushing this sort of thing into the law courts is strange. What’s the baseline of sensitivity that is expected towards images of violence? The evening news? Who makes the standard? If it goes towards the ‘Whatever makes the viewer upset’ line, ala sexual harrasment, then it’ll be hard to nail down.

I find this depressing. Firstly: so he showed you a gruesome video. Boo fucking hoo. Decline his offer and don’t look at the phone.* Secondly: I’m not sure why it is a crime to possess this kind of image. Certainly, it may not be healthy to have a fascination with such images, but the fact remains that events like the one recorded occur in our world and are of some social and political interest. Banning images of atrocities is head-in-the-sand nonsense.

*Which is not at all similar to having someone indecently expose themselves to you. It’s the fact that this is abnormal and threatening behaviour that makes that a distressing experience; not the presence of genitalia. The physical presence of someone unhinged who may then bludgeon you to death or rape you, is kind of different to someone showing you a video on a mobile phone during conversation.

Also: the licence fee is great value because it funds public service broadcasting, and other services such as the gargantuan BBC News website, World Service, free access to archive footage, etc. which people outside the UK can benefit from. If we didn’t have the licence fee, and I give it ten years at most before it gets scrapped, then all this would go, along with much of the radio, foreign correspondencies (which are already getting the chop) and all the good programming that the slavering masses can’t watch for fear of it actually engaging with their stunted imaginations.

I assume the overreaction is based on it being a beheading, and therefore linked to Islamic insurgents. Britain is too similar to the US in those kind of concerns.

An equally gruesome but different kind of image would not have netted as harsh (or any) a penalty under this theory.

In terms of punishment, why not make it a bit more logical? How about the judge sentences the guy to 4 months of bringing enjoyment to her to make up for the gruesome unwanted thing he brought? She would report regularly on the progress, kind of like a parole officer.

What does jail have to do with making up a transgression against someone to them?

Why do so many people on the Internet insist on saying things like “not at all similar” when something is quite clearly similar in some way, even if they don’t agree it’s the same? It always leads to unnecessary arguments. It automatically puts the person they are responding to on the defensive. Do you think it is deliberate? A crying out for attention? A demand to give them oxygen to fuel their burning flames?

Showing somebody something offensive on a mobile phone is similar indecently exposing yourself in public because both create an image that could potentially disturb someone deeply. Flashing isn’t illegal because it is threatening. Sure it could be threatening, but not if it’s an 80 year old grandfather exposing himself in his front garden. Do you think that if you recorded yourself masturbating and shoved it into the face of a woman after saying “look at this love, it’s sure to give you nightmares” that this would be somehow vastly different than actually dropping your pants there and then?

I think the punishment was harsh, but I don’t know the full details. I’ve got some sympathy for the magistrate and the law, because there is a huge grey area here (not black and white). Mobile phones take media out of the home and into the public arena. If you can’t expose yourself in public or broadcast imagery of extreme violence on big outdoor screens, then should you be able to do the same on a small video screen as long as you give some kind of warning beforehand?

I could ask why you aren’t addressing me in person, which could also be seen as an aggravating tactic!

Regardless, I didn’t mean it like that, and I didn’t even notice I was being hyperbolic - such is the level to which that phrase has been absorbed into everyday discourse. So, chill.

On to the flashing/picture thing: I didn’t say flashing was illegal because it is threatening. I said it was distressing because it was threatening. Very few people would say they were really “distressed” by girls showing their tits at Mardi Gras, although it is illegal here. Even Grandpa Streaky, with his cock out in the garden, isn’t likely to get punished, though he might get checked for senility. There may well be a blanket law that forbids nakedness in public, but people don’t get arrested, usually, unless it is in some way considered to be threatening or causing a public nuisance.

The point is that with a flasher the distress is largely associated with a malevolent physical presence - one which is far more difficult to ignore than an image on a phone. Again, in your example of having a phone thrust into your face, it is more the force with which you are exposed to these images and the worrying intent of the person showing them to you than the images themselves which are of concern.

I am as calm as a fine spring morning! If I wasn’t you’d be burning in hell rather than responding to some aimless pontificating :).

On to the flashing/picture thing: I didn’t say flashing was illegal because it is threatening. I said it was distressing because it was threatening.

But your opinion as to what is distressing or threatening isn’t really all that important, only the legality. The law of indecent exposure is pretty much the same here (the UK) as it is in America and most other Western countries: you aren’t allowed to undress yourself in public. It has nothing to do with appearing threatening. Old age pensioners get arrested for it all the time - threatening or not. A 70 year old guy opposite my friend’s appartment in Oswestry was arrested after he repeatedly exposed himself to passing pedestrians from his window. He was hardly threatening.

If you accept that exposing your genitals in public and broadcasting extremely violent images on big screens in the city center should be illegal, then you are also accepting that you shouldn’t have it shoved in your face on a mobile phone. Even if you don’t accept that, you have to accept that this is the law as it stands now, and as such does seem to infer that showing someone images or film on a mobile phone in a public place that you can’t legally display in a public place through any other medium is also illegal. If you accept that, then the conviction here can only seem harsh in its sentence, not in its interpretation of the law.