Though he is eleven years my junior, I'll admit that my heart melts a little when Justin Bieber sings to assure me that there's gonna be one less lonely girl. While my crush doesn't quite rise to a Taylor Lautner-level (team Jacob!), it's hard not to be smitten with the charming singer-songwriter. And oh, that beautiful hair...
Unfortunately, Justin's lovely locks aren't powerful enough to distract the strong arm of the law. It has been reported that, last weekend, JB was involved in an altercation with a twelve-year-old boy at a Planet Lazer, a laser-tag facility, in suburban Vancouver. I know that we can all get a little crazy when the lights go down and we find ourselves with a toy gun in our hands, but what happened in there, Justin? Were you disoriented by the neon paint? Caught up in the heat of battle?
The details aren't totally clear, but witnesses are claiming that Justin was provoked when the other child violated the "honor code" of laser tag by singling out Justin as a target, cornering him and then shooting him repeatedly. When Justin told him that enough was enough, the boy is reported to have responded with an anti-gay slur. At this point, Justin may have pushed him out of the way as he left the game area.
Such language is certainly offensive and inflammatory, and violence is never the answer, but can't we just leave the bad behavior on the playing field? Boys will be boys, right? Well, not when one of those boys is an incredibly wealthy celebrity and the other boy's father is a lawyer...
A formal complaint of assault has since been filed with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Though we oft consider Canada to be just a clean and friendly extension of ourselves, it is, in fact, a different country. So, let's get into some international law. According to Section 265 of the Canadian Criminal Code, a person commits an assault when: (a) without the consent of another person, he applies force intentionally to that other person, directly or indirectly; (b) he attempts or threatens, by an act or a gesture, to apply force to another person, if he has, or causes that other person to believe on reasonable grounds that he has, present ability to effect his purpose; or (c) while openly wearing or carrying a weapon or an imitation thereof, he accosts or impedes another person or begs.
Contrast this with the American understanding of assault, which refers to an act that causes the victim to apprehend immediate physical contact. The crime of battery would cover the actual physical contact.
Let's imagine for a moment that the Biebs decides to flee to the United States (there are far more concert venues here anyway) rather than return to Canada to answer for his alleged crimes. While I, for one, would be happy to adopt him as our own national treasure, the law does not share my love for the teen heartthrob. In 1971, the United States and Canada signed a bilateral Treaty on Extradition. Per Article 1 of the treaty, they agree to send back persons found in their territories who have been convicted or charged with any of the offenses listed in Article 2. The attached schedule in Article 2 includes the crime of assault. Alas, pulling a Roman Polanski doesn't seem like an option.
Justin's people are downplaying the incident and asserting self-defense, so I'm sure that he'll quietly settle for an outrageous amount of money to make this go away... er, I mean, I'm sure that justice will prevail. I just hope that all of this controversy doesn't affect his music. Or his hair.