Monday, May 16, 2005

It is a Crime to Gossip

No, I'm not kidding and neither is the mayor of Icononzo, Colombia.
Fed up with people targeted by false rumors turning up dead or wrongfully arrested, the mayor of a small Colombian town has made gossip a crime punishable by up to four years in prison.

"Human beings must be aware and recognize that having a tongue and using it to do bad is the same as having dynamite in their mouths," says an official municipal decree issued last year in Icononzo, 40 miles southwest of the capital, Bogota.
According to this Associated Press story, a story that could have just as well been written by Gabriel García-Marquez, the move to criminalize gossiping was necessary --said the mayor-- because "in a country as violent as Colombia, gossiping can have serious consequences."

Nobody has been charged with felonious gossiping, but officials say it is not because they aren't gossiping, but merely that they have not been caught. There are also fines up to $150,000.00 for gossiping.

While the story does not mention our esteemed Representative Feeney, we have noticed that Rep. Feeney did not vote on the House of Representatives' latest harsh sentencing bill, H.R. 1279. See this Final Roll Call under NV here. Could it be that Rep. Feeney has moved to
Icononzo, Colombia? Ooops, better not start gossiping now.