Monday, December 2, 2013

Assault and BA-TAH-RY!

The other day I was watching some live footage of Converge, and there was a point in the clip where Jacob Bannon's hoodie is getting pulled on by a fan who is attempting to stage dive (around 5:40).  Bannon proceeds to knee the guy in the face and then punches some other fan in the face (one can only assume he was trying to punch the same guy that he kneed, but who knows). 
After watching this, I realized something that hadn't occurred to me in my more-than-15-years of listening to Metal: assault and battery takes place at almost every decently attended Metal show.  OK, maybe not at EVERY decently attended Metal show, but at least at all of the shows that involve some sort of moshing or any sort of physical..."interactions"?

I consider myself a law-abiding citizen (ok, MOST of the time), yet it has never once entered my mind that by voluntarily (or involuntarily via my 14-year-old self at Hatebreed shows) joining a mosh pit, I am committing a crime against my fellow Metalheads.
I'm certainly not a lawyer nor an expert on law by any stretch of the imagination but think about it: unless you're playing American football, it's certainly illegal for people to run into you, which can sometimes result in your getting knocked to the floor (aka mosh pits). Those metalcore and hardcore guys who fly around like ninjas doing karate kicks?*  Pretty sure that's illegal.  Grabbing someone by the hair in order to toss them off stage (a la Randy Blythe)**?  Yup, illegal. Cutting someone's throat with a knife: DEFINITELY ILLEGAL.

 These guys all have black belts in karate.  Too bad they're breaking the law.
With the advent of smart phones with built-in video cameras, it's easier than ever to record the world around you at anytime, anywhere.  Of course, "anytime" and "anywhere" also include Metal shows where people beat the shit out of each other.  Thus, it is easier than ever to have irrefutable evidence that assault and/or battery took place at some random basement show in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
What I find slightly surprising is that even with this type of video technology widely available, there aren't Metalheads suing one another (and the bands!) left and right!  I guess that means that for the most part we're pretty chill dudes and dudettes...who like to beat the shit out of each other.

Anyway, am I missing something here?  Shouldn't we all be going to jail?!?!  I guess I need to talk to a lawyer.  

...Actually, I did talk to a lawyer.  A good friend of mine...ahem...I mean, one member of my legal team...has been out of law school for a couple of years now and is currently employed with some hot shot law firm (the rest of my legal team, The Inverted Cross Examiner and The Lecherous Litigator, were unavailable for comment).  To protect his identity, I will refer to him only as "The Cryptic Prosecutor".  Here is what The Cryptic Prosecutor had to say on the subject:

"When thinking of situations like this, one may consider other entertaining baseball games. A baseball fan is presumed to assume some risk in attendance. This is because a "reasonably prudent person" knows what to expect at such an event. Like a foul ball, or bat even, coming into the stands.

OK, sure.  Any "reasonably prudent" Metalhead, who has gone to more than one show, knows that mosh pits are to be expected. 

"So, the question is rather would a reasonable person take a risk in attending these type of concerts based on the knowledge these events lead to this risk. In this situation, it is not a subjective observation, rather, an objective observation."

OK, makes sense.  We objectively know that people will beat the shit out of each other at Metal shows.  Brutal.  Moving on...

"Another thing to consider is that a court may not care about two people getting into a fight in a consensual manner. Each party may be liable for the injuries for the other party. This can apply in a civil and criminal court."

Alright, courts don't give a flying fuck about consensual moshers.  

"At the end of the day we have to hope that a court will try and make a reasonable decision, not always the case, in which the parties are restored to where they were before they were injured. Civil courts lacks superhuman powers, so this is usually done through financial means."

So if you and some other dude get your bones broken ravaging each other in the pit, you BOTH may have to pay up until you're both not horribly disfigured.

Thanks, The Cryptic Prosecutor! 

So, since one would generally expect a mosh pit to take place at a Metal show, one would make an implicit acceptance of the risk, and therefore, could not lay fault on others for moshing.  If two hardcore kids get into a karate match, then chances are the court may make both parties pay for losses incurred by doctor visits or reconstructive surgeries. 

Case closed.


*Note: Assault, by legal definition, is merely the "threat of violence"...that is one law-related thing I do know...

**Note: Yes, I know he was not convicted.  I'm not saying he killed someone, I'm saying he grabbed someone's hair in order to remove them from the stage.  This is clearly seen on many a YouTube video.

1 comment:

WULF said...

And that's why they call him Judge Dredd!!!