Friday, March 24, 2017

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: Can a GIF Be Used as a Weapon?

GIFs Although Funny, can be deadly at the right time and place
From Popular Mechanics

I love to browse the internet and learn. As a fellow Redditor I get to see and read many unusual things. Recently the FBI charged someone with a Federal stalking offense by intentionally using a GIF to cause someone to have an epileptic seizure.

Is a GIF or can a GIF be used as a weapon? Is it against the law to send people electronic messages that can potentially harm them? Is this beautiful electronic digital connected world we are living in getting out of control?

Sending an Animated Strobe Image to a Disabled Person With Epilepsy is a Crime

The defendant, Ravello did send a GIF strobe image to a person with epilepsy. This person then had a seizure as confirmed by a Neurologist. Rivello is currently being charged with stalking under Federal law, and Felony Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon under Texas state law. Apparently a GIF image can be a deadly weapon. His crime is also being enhanced under Texas law because it is a bias and discriminatory offense (hate) crime against a class of people, in this case persons of Jewish descent.  

The government is claiming the defendant used "an interactive computer service and an electronic communications service" (i.e. Twitter) to threaten the victim and cause substantial emotional distress (by sending the GIF). The defendant made numerous claims of wanting to kill his victim, and cause him harm online. 

Can a GIF Really Be Classified as a Weapon?

A GIF is a Graphic Interchange Format, as my wife and I love to text them to one another as a short and often cute video that plays over and over. I guess the right GIF at the right time could cause a person harm or distress. 

Can't Anything Really Be Used as a Weapon? Even a Peanut?

As someone online stated, "if you knew someone had a severe peanut allergy and exposed them to peanuts would you be guilty of attempted murder?" These days we are living and communicating to each other in electronic formats. 

It makes you really think about all of things that we do and take for granted in 2017. My how the world has changed and how bullies have new tools to victimize. New tools for fun now used to harm others. All these advancements bring out the worst and hopefully the best of humanity.