Archive for the ‘Law’ Category

Briefly: Everyone needs to go read Wickard v. Filburn

Monday, August 26th, 2013

The 9th circuit has decided that federal laws can indeed apply to guns that never leave their state of origin. Though it wasn’t cited in this particular decision, this outcome (and that of any subsequent appeal) was inevitable because of the Wickard v. Filburn decision seventy years ago. Long story short, if you are buying goods that originate within your state then you are necessarily not buying those goods from another state, which has an effect on the market for those goods and thus affects interstate commerce. Go read it, and despair.

It Came To Me In The Shower: World Police Edition

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

In an average day, any time that I’m engaged in an activity that a) requires my near-full attention or b) creates an environment that largely precludes any other activity from taking place, I’m generally listening to something. Podcasts tend to dominate, usually in the area of tech and political news and opinion. The end result is that I tend to have my best ideas for things to write about on these pages in either the car or the shower, where I cannot immediately do anything about them. By the time I am empowered to put digits to keys my ire has faded, and the topic is abandoned. This one, however, has been with me for a few days now, and I figured I’d throw it against the wall and see if it stuck.

Arm the Peace Corps.

Well, maybe not literally, but why not create a volunteer-only NGO militia for humanitarian intervention abroad? Funding could come from private donations and be made tax-exempt. Arms manufacturers and related businesses could be given the opportunity to donate weaponry and equipment with a tax write-off at retail value. Training could be provided by the Army or Marines. Tax dollars and service member lives are spared, and people calling for intervention abroad are given a venue to, as it were, put their personal safety where their mouth is.

In response to Walter Kirn

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

The New Republic (you know, that magazine that gun owners don’t read), has published a very well-written article by Walter Kirn entitled “What Gun Owners Want“, with the subtitle “I’ve owned six guns. I’ve drawn them on bad guys. I want to be understood.” He’s right about that much, we do want to be understood. But in his attempts to explain us he’s describing phenomena that are far from unique to guns and their enthusiasts, using language that can only be described as somewhat ominous.

He describes the enjoyment of shooting as though it were some sort of drug, as though the feeling that “You want to do it again, again—again!” is somehow unique to shooting rather than a function of the human mind’s response to doing something it enjoys. People who love running want to keep running. People who love playing squash want to keep playing squash. The statement “…this appetite, this desire for a small, acute struggle that you can win. Win consistently. Repeatedly.” could just as easily refer to someone playing Farmville all day. His description of the phenomenon is factually accurate, but the manner in which he describes it in the context of guns plays right into ignorant fears about them.