It’s getting chilly
After reaching out to her former law professor about the recently passed Computer Misuse and Cybercrime (Amendment) Act, 2019, a Beaconite was pleasantly surprised to receive a response: “I never cease to be astonished and alarmed when legislation uses such incredibly vague and broad language as information that is ‘grossly offensive or has menacing character’ or that is sent ‘for the purpose of causing annoyance or inconvenience.’ How could anyone possibly predict in advance whether any given information would likely run afoul of such a law? And of course that’s not to mention the staggering criminal penalty. Journalists are justifiably worried and upset. Think of all the US politicians who would dearly love to have such legislation at their disposal if we had no First Amendment.” The Beaconite finds this assessment particularly prescient given that Premier Andrew Fahie recently spoke of soon “making an example” of people through the new legislation. His comments stemmed from WhatsApp messages circulating about a suspected case of the COVID-19 coronavirus in the territory. This sentiment seems contrary to his recent public statement that his government would “never do anything to silence the media.” Threatening to make an example of people who are exchanging information about the potential spread of a contagious disease seems like a perfect example of the chilling effect that free-speech experts forewarned.
Last week, a viral video of tourists on a rented motor scooter ploughing into the back of a parked vehicle in Cyril B. Romney Tortola Pier Park made the rounds. Thankfully, there did not appear to be any serious injuries. The video did cause some hearty amusement among some viewers. For the Beaconite, however, it hit close to home, as she was recently in the same position when she fell off a scooter during a New Year’s trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, causing a painful injury that took weeks to heal. She’s thankful that no one caught it on video (or at least she hopes they didn’t). In any case, she discovered the hard way that even on holiday, it’s wise to be cautious and take it slow when driving any vehicle with which you aren’t familiar.
Making the best of it
Winding down a late night at the office, a Beaconite was cranking out his final story about an alleged robbery when, looking over video footage that police confirmed captured the incident, he noticed a previously overlooked detail that made him raise his eyebrow in confusion and then quietly chuckle in astonishment. Could it be? No, it couldn’t. But it was. After being accosted by the gun-wielding bandit, one of the two targeted men, without hesitation, removed his necklace and then his watch, and then immediately took a puff on what appears to be a cigarette. When the Beaconite first received the video he was too hurried to notice this act of steely reserve, but now could not help but admire a display of such cool in such a heated scenario. Obviously, the Beaconite never condones violence, and he hopes that both alleged victims can be reimbursed and the alleged thief caught. But if he were to find himself in such a situation, he would hope to emulate this chilled-out smoker, who wandered over to recline against a car while the gunperson continued to antagonise the other alleged victim. After the incident, the smoker walked away apparently unscathed, taking one more puff before leaving the frame.