Colorado's Tuesday state caucuses were tough on Mitt Romney. Not only did he lose, he was glitter bombed. Colorado authorities this week filed misdemeanor criminal charges against Peter Smith, a 20-year-old college student, for throwing glitter on Romney to protest the Republican presidential candidate's general platform. Though glitter bombers have similarly enhanced Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul — more typically to protest the candidates' position on gay marriage — Smith is the first person criminally charged for the increasingly popular stunt that could, say some medical professionals, lead to scratched corneas or even loss of sight. If convicted, Smith could face up a $1,000 fine and up to six months in prison. Fair punishment?
It's about time one of these fools went to jail: Enough is enough, says the Duluth, Minn., News Tribune in an editorial. "Arresting a glitter bomber may seem unnecessary and over-the-top, but a criminal record and fine (or other punishment) can send a message to would-be copycats" before someone decides glitter isn't "flashy enough," and tries throwing something more serious, "like acid or worse." Besides, there are more effective ways to take a stand than "making yourself into a public spectacle."
"Why no arrests after glitter-bombings?"
At most these harmless protesters deserve a warning: "This is absurd and outrageous," says gossip blogger Perez Hilton. Smith absolutely does not deserve to go to jail for such a "totally nonviolent act of protest" — especially one that was "barely even successful!" The young man was merely expressing his political views in a way that was "pretty much harmless." At most, they should let him off with a stern warning.
"WTF! 20-Year-Old Student who glitter bombed Mitt Romney may get jail time!"
Eventually, someone was bound to end up behind bars: The authorities looked the other way the first time a GOP presidential candidate was glitter-bombed, says Erik Hayden at TIME. And the second. And the third. But at this point "nearly every single GOP presidential candidate has faced the ire of the glitter bomb[er]," and it's getting increasingly difficult to condone these assaults. The more the glitter piles up, the more likely it is that the authorities will use prosecution, and jail time, as a deterrent.
"'Glitter-bombing' a politician could get you six months in jail"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The 10 best networking tips for people who hate networking
- 11 scientific studies that will restore your faith in humanity
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Why the West should let Russia have eastern Ukraine
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why baseball is America's most dangerous spectator sport
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- Scottish independence is another financial crisis waiting to happen
- Your literary playlist: A guide to the music of Haruki Murakami
- 9 Harvard dropouts who became fabulously successful
Subscribe to the Week