Various charges might come to mind for Jeremy Putman who was walking around in this make up with a sword, but he was actually charged with . . . .
wearing a mask in public.
It is a crime to where a mask in public, a law that I have raised concerns about in the past due to first amendment issues and the danger of arbitrary enforcement. What is interesting is that this is not a mask but make up.
Virginia Code 18.2-422 states:
“It shall be unlawful for any person over 16 years of age, with the intent to conceal his identity, wear any mask, hood, or other device, whereby a substantial portion of the face is hidden or covered, so as to conceal the identity of the wearer, to be or appear in any public place, or upon any private property in this Commonwealth, without first having obtained from the owner or tenant thereof consent to do so in writing. However, the provisions of this section shall not apply to persons (i) wearing traditional holiday costumes; (ii) engaged in professions, trades, employment, or other activities, and wearing protective masks which are deemed necessary for the physical safety of the wearer or other persons; (iii) engaged in any bona fide theatrical production or masquerade ball; or (iv) wearing a mask, hood, or other device for bona fide medical reasons upon (a) the advice of a licensed physician or osteopath, and carrying on his person an affidavit from the physician or osteopath specifying the medical necessity for wearing the device, and the date on which the wearing of the device will no longer be necessary, and providing a brief description of the device, or (b) the declaration of a disaster or state of emergency by the Governor in response to a public health emergency, where the emergency declaration expressly waives this section, defines the mask appropriate for the emergency, and provides for the duration of the waiver. The violation of any provisions of this section is a Class 6 felony.”
This is not a person who is wearing “mask, hood, or other device.” Indeed, this would seem closer to a “traditional holiday costume.” The law strikes me as dangerously vague to now be enforced against scary make up.
If that were the case, there would be a lot of folks being frog marched to the big house . . . led by Courtney Love and a host of cosmetically challenged celebrities.
For the offense, Putnam could serve five years.
What do you think?