Oklahomans are rightfully up in arms over legislation authored by Senator Don Barrington (Rep.) that criminalizes wearing hoodies, as well other articles of clothing that conceal identity, in public. Oklahoma is making news for trying to ban the hoodie. Ugh. As ridiculous as it is to ban hoodies, the media narrative does not get to the heart of the matter. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/01/05/oklahoma-lawmaker-wants-to-ban-hoodies-in-public/
The hoodie (or a hood, mask, bandanna, etc.) is already illegal to wear in Oklahoma while committing a crime. So criminals, be warned: When you are holding up that liquor store, you must remove your hoodie because failure to do so would be a violation of the law.
There is an exemption in this law for clothing required by one’s religion. This comes as bad news for the religious bigots among us who don’t think anyone should be allowed to wear clothing that conceals their identity, especially people who follow “that” religion.
People have brought up the cold weather in Oklahoma and how it defies common sense to ban hoodies, scarves, and the like in this state. No worries, there is an exemption in this bill for protection from the weather.
The bill contains a finite list of additional exceptions including mascots, sporting groups, minstrel troops, circuses, people participating in public parades, people performing dramatic shows, and so on. If this applies to you, you can breathe a sigh of relief. This bill is not directed at you.
Some people have expressed concern that celebrating Halloween is at risk due to the ban on mask wearing in public. Well, hallelujah! There is an exemption in this bill for “the pranks of children on Halloween.”
Oklahomans, Halloween is safe, but your freedom is at risk and this is where the concern needs to be.
What people need to understand about this legislation is that the amendatory portion of SB-13 targets people using a robe, mask, or other disguise in a public place to conceal their identities. Public protests are NOT included in the list of exemptions.
Simply put, this legislation will allow government officials to be able to identify which of their “subjects” are willing to get up off their duffs and actively and publicly express criticism of their government. Protesting our government, petitioning it for a redress of grievances, is a natural right that is to be exercised freely without fear of punishment or reprisals. SB-13 threatens that right.
An aid of Sen. Barrington told a constituent that a while back, people visited the capitol wearing Guy Fawkes masks and that bothered him. I have personally visited the capitol wearing a Guy Fawkes mask. It was back in February of 2013 for the International Day of Privacy Rally. The event united people from across the political spectrum in opposition to the surveillance state and our loss of privacy.
What Sen. Barrington and politicians like him need to know is that we have every right to our anonymity whether in public, at a protest, on the internet, or anywhere. The government does not have the authority to make exercising that right a crime — in this case, a crime punishable by a fine of “not less than $50.00 nor more than $500.00, or by imprisonment in the county jail for a period of not exceeding one year, or by both such fine and imprisonment.”
This is not a matter of a state legislator seeking to become the fashion czar of Oklahoma. Passing and enforcing this law is a blatant overreach of government authority. Something much larger than hoodies is at stake here. What is at risk is our basic right to anonymity.
The underlined portion of this bill is amendatory: http://webserver1.lsb.state.ok.us/cf_pdf/2015-16%20INT/SB/SB13%20INT.PDF
Kill two birds with one stone…A Guy Fawkes Mask Hoodie