An assault on reason, brought to you by law dictionaries

This article in the American Thinker, regarding a man being prosecuted for assault because he had a BB gun, stunned me.

I am not a lawyer.  I had always thought "assault" involved actual physical contact.  That is not the legal definition.  From the Cornell online legal dictionary:

The definition of assault varies by jurisdiction, but is generally defined as intentionally putting another person in reasonable apprehension of an imminent harmful or offensive contact.  Physical injury is not required.

It is worth visiting the hyperlink in order to also look at the definition of "reasonable," especially as this definition is just as vague and slippery as the 'assault' definition itself.

Which of these is reasonable? Will the answer to that change in the next year?

  • Joe Biden is assaulting women when he comes up behind them and grabs their shoulders, since it is reasonable for them to assume he is able and ready to commit the offensive act of hair-sniffing or hair-kissing.  (Exceptions for those women who do not find his behavior offensive.)
  • Jussie Smollett assaulted every white person in the country, especially Trump-supporters, through his actions in alleging that a hate crime was committed against him.  I had considered that his fake alleged hate crime constituted a real actual hate crime against Trump-supporters, but this is different.  Now, every time I see his face, I feel an apprehension that he's going to disparage Trump, Trump-supporters, conservatives, and white people.  I consider that disparagement an offensive (harmful) act, especially since I am a white Trump-supporter.
  • Hillary Clinton calls Trump-supporters deplorable.  I find that offensive, and it's on my mind whenever she opens her mouth.  Ditto for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bill Maher, and Stephen Colbert.  I find them all offensive, though (full disclosure) I avoid watching or listening to any of them, so technically, I don't think I can claim to be assaulted by them.

Do all weapons now become "assault weapons"?  If your neighbor sees you carrying a range bag with your handgun in it (and recognizes it as a range bag), or glimpses the mostly concealed .380 in your IWB holster, can he claim assault on the grounds that he is frightened by the sight of a gun (or thinking it is present), even when not pointed at him?  What about if he and you are about as friendly as Rand Paul and the neighbor who broke his ribs?  Does it then become reasonable for him to claim assault?

Some people claim to be more afraid when they see someone in a MAGA hat.  Will we have to recognize legal standing for "assault hats" as well as other "assault" weapons?

I'm an engineer — I could go on.  "Reasonable" for a liberal lefty and "reasonable" for a conservative are different.  Leftists are more easily frightened, and we are all vulnerable to being accused of assault.  On the bright side, we can exaggerate our fears to take them to court as well.

The concept of assault has no meaning if it can mean whatever someone wants it to.

Sam can be contacted at syounnokis@gmail.com.  Please keep article comments here at AT, where others can read them.

This article in the American Thinker, regarding a man being prosecuted for assault because he had a BB gun, stunned me.

I am not a lawyer.  I had always thought "assault" involved actual physical contact.  That is not the legal definition.  From the Cornell online legal dictionary:

The definition of assault varies by jurisdiction, but is generally defined as intentionally putting another person in reasonable apprehension of an imminent harmful or offensive contact.  Physical injury is not required.

It is worth visiting the hyperlink in order to also look at the definition of "reasonable," especially as this definition is just as vague and slippery as the 'assault' definition itself.

Which of these is reasonable? Will the answer to that change in the next year?

  • Joe Biden is assaulting women when he comes up behind them and grabs their shoulders, since it is reasonable for them to assume he is able and ready to commit the offensive act of hair-sniffing or hair-kissing.  (Exceptions for those women who do not find his behavior offensive.)
  • Jussie Smollett assaulted every white person in the country, especially Trump-supporters, through his actions in alleging that a hate crime was committed against him.  I had considered that his fake alleged hate crime constituted a real actual hate crime against Trump-supporters, but this is different.  Now, every time I see his face, I feel an apprehension that he's going to disparage Trump, Trump-supporters, conservatives, and white people.  I consider that disparagement an offensive (harmful) act, especially since I am a white Trump-supporter.
  • Hillary Clinton calls Trump-supporters deplorable.  I find that offensive, and it's on my mind whenever she opens her mouth.  Ditto for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bill Maher, and Stephen Colbert.  I find them all offensive, though (full disclosure) I avoid watching or listening to any of them, so technically, I don't think I can claim to be assaulted by them.

Do all weapons now become "assault weapons"?  If your neighbor sees you carrying a range bag with your handgun in it (and recognizes it as a range bag), or glimpses the mostly concealed .380 in your IWB holster, can he claim assault on the grounds that he is frightened by the sight of a gun (or thinking it is present), even when not pointed at him?  What about if he and you are about as friendly as Rand Paul and the neighbor who broke his ribs?  Does it then become reasonable for him to claim assault?

Some people claim to be more afraid when they see someone in a MAGA hat.  Will we have to recognize legal standing for "assault hats" as well as other "assault" weapons?

I'm an engineer — I could go on.  "Reasonable" for a liberal lefty and "reasonable" for a conservative are different.  Leftists are more easily frightened, and we are all vulnerable to being accused of assault.  On the bright side, we can exaggerate our fears to take them to court as well.

The concept of assault has no meaning if it can mean whatever someone wants it to.

Sam can be contacted at syounnokis@gmail.com.  Please keep article comments here at AT, where others can read them.