Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Forgetting the Limits of the Law

Will Marshall is my contemporary in Virginia, although I attended UVA after he had graduated. He is a dedicated statist and supports giving government a monopoly on force. Those alone make it difficult for me to credit his pre-frontal cortex functioning. He has worked for nothing but Democrats and Democratic think tanks. So he and I probably could not be further apart politically. He seem here to have drunk the kool aid that legislation prohibiting things people want will be effective. But this is the dumbest thing he said in his dumb article:

After the Newtown atrocity, the NRA formed a commission to assess school safety. To no one’s surprise, it failed to recommend a single measure that would have made it more difficult for Adam Lanza to get the military assault rifle he used to murder 20 first graders and six adults.
Adam Lanza first murdered his mother in order to get the guns (including pistols) he wanted to use as an evil psychopathic mass murderer of children. What else could we do to make it more difficult for him to get access to the country's most popular rifle? One of the strongest societal prohibitions, against matricide, was not enough. Laws prohibiting murder, backed up with a death penalty (repealed in Connecticut) were not enough to prevent what happened. We need to pass some other law? A magic law to prevent future mass murders by evil psychopaths, perhaps? Really?

I supect that Mr. Marshall is an absolutist about first amendment protections of the press and speech. The second smendment must be different somehow from the first.

You can't get through UVA without encountering a lot of Mr. Jefferson's wisdom. Here's a bit Mr. Marshall seems to have missed.

Laws that forbid the carrying of arms…disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. … Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man. — (Jefferson’s “Commonplace Book,” 1774-1776, quoting from On Crimes and Punishment, by criminologist Cesare Beccaria, 1764...)
And a final thought from Cicero in Pro Milone: Inter arma enim silent leges


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