Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Stop That Psychic!

No joke! The front page story in my morning paper was about a psychic suing Montgomery County, MD because they wouldn’t give him a business license. It turns out that the county has had a ban on “collecting cash for predicting the future” on the books for over 40 years. Now this psychic, Nick Nefedro, is claiming that 1) the law is a violation of his right to free speech and 2) that it is biased against gypsies and their “Roma” culture.

I don’t quite know where to fall in on this one as there are so many different angels to take. On one hand, if the law has been on the books this long, how could you have been surprised when your request for a license was turned down? Furthermore, there is no “speech” issue here. If you want to have “free speech” to predict the future then do it for...FREE! Likewise, you can try to collect clam shells or deer hides in lieu of cash. Note that the Supreme Court said that the First Amendment right to Free Speech does not include “false speech” (lies). Besides the county has a legitimate public safety angle here in that these “psychics” are usually frauds looking to bilk the susceptible members of the public by reading their crystal balls.

This last point brings me to the other side of the augmentable pillow (the “cool” side if you will). Maybe we should follow the lead of other area jurisdictions and not regulate this industry. If you as a member of the public are stupid enough to go to them/pay them/and repeat the visits as requested then you deserve what you get. Plus the county gets some padding in its coffers in the form of business tax revenue.

I still can’t understand why people who normally show some smidge of common sense (there’s that phrase again!) throw it all out a window when a woman with a scarf on her head going by the name of “Psychic Jess” tell them that the card with the cute kitty on it means they will meet the love of their life at the swap meet in Terre Haute, Indiana two Saturdays from now.

Perhaps we should do a little selective skimming from the good ole’ gene pool!

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