We'd like to suggest a new class of crime: aggravated stupid.
Those brainiacs who do something either so patently offensive or obviously dangerous that a common fifth-grader could tell you it was a bad idea would be subject to enhanced penalties -- such as being forced to watch daytime TV in their jail cells.
The first ones we'd like to see charged under the new aggravated stupid statute are the Einsteins who thought it would be a gas to hang a Barack Obama effigy last weekend in Plains, Ga.
Let's examine how stupendously brainless this little prank was.
First, it makes Georgia look like it's made zero progress since the bad old days of the civil rights backlash. That's simply not true. How sad that the nation, and indeed the world, will have the worst stereotypes of the South resuscitated by a jerk who speaks for no one whose brain isn't filled with straw.
Secondly, it has to be plainly apparent to anyone over the age of 10 that the ancient art of effigy has no business being plied here today -- when America is marking its first African-American president. Hanging has a special, horrifying, resonance within a population for whom it was most often not a joke or a prank but a form of terror and retribution.
As so often is the case, such an act says more about the perpetrator than the intended target.
And while others -- including the state in general -- will be tainted by the asinine act of an individual or small group, the truth is much different than this single act of stupidity indicates. The majority of Georgians disagree completely with Mr. Obama on matters of policy, certainly, both foreign and domestic. But we will stand united against anyone who would knowingly -- or mindlessly -- use such terror-inducing methods to show their hatred of the president.
This was an act of sheer, aggravated stupidity. The guilty should have the book thrown at them.
And they should be made to read it, if they're able to.