Not only doesn’t the first amendment protect a person from yelling, “fire!” in a crowded theater, but it also provides no protection for a person who yells, “bingo!” in a crowded Bingo Hall full of Senior citizens. An 18 year old who entered a Bingo hall during a game of bingo and jokingly yelled “bingo!” was arrested for disorderly conduct for delaying the game and causing some old people to have heart attacks. Though the teen was facing a maximum of 90 days in jail and a $250.00 fine, the Judge sentenced the teen to not say the word, “bingo,” for six months. If the youth complies the charge will be dismissed. Unfortunately, the boy has a dog and Bingo is his name-o, B-I-N-G-O! B-I-N-G-O! B-I-N-G-O! And Bingo is his name-o.
You know the funny thing is the right to free speech protects the teen if he yells, “Fuck You!” to the cop who arrests him, but not if he yells, “bingo” in a crowded Bingo Hall full of old people. I guess because the people in the Bingo Hall are old it’s the equivalent of using speech to cause a riot, or using “fighting” words. Which is of course the kind of speech that is not protected by the First Amendment. Like yelling, “The Early Bird Special has been cancelled,” after all the old people have ordered.
Legally speaking there is no way yelling, “bingo!” is not protected speech.
Bogus ‘bingo’ earns no jail time
COVINGTON — Yelling bingo when nobody has won can get you in trouble with the law.
Just ask the Covington man who falsely yelled “bingo” last month and was cited for second-degree disorderly conduct.
As part of 18-year-old Austin Whaley’s punishment, Kenton District Judge Douglas Grothaus recently ordered the Covington man not to say the word “bingo” for six months.
“Just like you can’t run into a theater and yell ‘fire’ when it’s not on fire, you can’t run into a crowded bingo hall and yell ‘bingo’ when there isn’t one,” said Park Hills Police Sgt. Richard Webster, the officer who cited Whaley.
On Feb. 9, Webster was working an off-duty security detail at a Covington bingo hall on West Pike Street when Whaley entered the hall with several other youths and yelled “bingo,” Webster said.
“This caused the hall to quit operating since they thought someone had won,” Webster wrote on his citation. “This delayed the game by several minutes and caused alarm to patrons.”
Webster said the crowd of mostly elderly women did not take kindly to Whaley’s bingo call.
“At first, everybody started moaning and groaning when they thought they’d lost,” Webster said. “When they realized it wasn’t a real bingo, they started hooting and hollering and yelling and cussing. People take their bingo very seriously.”
Had Whaley apologized for his actions, Webster said he probably would have sent him on his way with a warning. “But he refused to say he was sorry,” Webster said.
“He seemed to think he could say whatever he wanted because it was a public building. I tried to explain that that’s not the case. Just because it’s a public building doesn’t give you the right to run into a theater and yell ‘fire.’ You can’t go into a ballpark and yell ‘out,’ because people could stop the game.”
When Whaley appeared in Kenton District Court last week, the judge ordered Whaley: “Do not say the word ‘bingo’ for six months.”
The youthful defendant could have faced up to 90 days in a jail and a $250 fine on the misdemeanor charge. So long as Whaley, who had no prior criminal record, doesn’t get into any more trouble within six months, though, the charge will be dismissed.
“He was remorseful in court,” Grothaus said. “He was obviously a good kid who hadn’t been in trouble before. With all the other things that happen in the court system and the families you’re dealing with, you’ve got to keep a sense of humor.”