Just days after a McCain supporter in Ohio shot a teenager for knocking over his sign, Shawn Turschak of Chapel Hill, North Carolina shocked a nine-year-old boy after electrifying his campaign sign to protect it. What is unbelievable is that the police will not charge Turschak for this reckless act. In this case, the boy was carrying an Obama sign, but the boy’s father, Andrew Noble, insists that he just wanted to see how the sign was put together and was not trying to tear it down.
Sign thefts and destruction are being reported around the country. These acts are not only stupid but reveal people with little true commitment to or understanding of the democratic process.
Turschak had lost two signs previously.
Turschak insists that the boy was going to switch out his sign for an Obama sign. However, that does not excuse what Turschak did. He hooked the signs into a power source for an electric pet fence. Then he mounted a surveillance camera in a nearby tree and wired it to a digital recorder.
The use of electrical shock without any warning is a potential form of battery under tort and assault under criminal law. Any child could have innocently come into contact with the sign.
What is astonishing is that the video camera would have captured the culprit — as it has for Obama supporters filming misguided McCain supporters. Yet, Turschak took it upon himself to mete out his own hidden punishment.
Electrical fences have always been a matter of concern in torts. They are primarily used in rural areas with little foot traffic. In a city, it would be an invitation for a lawsuit, particularly if bystanders could easily come into contact with them and the owner placed no warning signs.
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