Guns / Firearms

* A Pennsylvania newspaper just retracted its 1863 editorial panning the Gettysburg Address. Civil War CYA is all the rage these days. First Mississippi outlaws slavery, now this. [NBC News]

* “Man fired cannon during dispute.” That sums it up. [My FoxNY]

* Kai the Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker indicted for the murder of an elderly lawyer. His defense should invoke his maxim “even if you make mistakes you’re lovable.” [Huffington Post]

* The man who shot and killed Renisha McBride was charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter, and a felony firearm charge. [CBS Detroit]

* Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman needs to give up this dumb quest to change New York law to keep his job. [Overlawyered]

* Anti-religious jury tactics in intellectual property cases. Jesus! Or, not Jesus. Or, whatever. [Patently-O]

* Law is complex and nuanced and that’s a good thing. [Popehat]

* A follow-up on a previous item. Election fraud complaint dismissed in the case of Machiavellian Alabama Greeks. [Chronicle of Higher Education]

* Speaking of the Gettysburg Address, here’s how it would go down with modern political consultants per the great Bob Newhart. Routine after the jump… [YouTube]

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A tried and true trope of conservatives faced with the grim outcomes of their cockamamie schemes is to attempt to shame everyone into ignoring the human cost of their policies — ironically — out of respect for the people hurt. Something horrible happened, but it’s unseemly to try to explore why it happened, just sit back and let the moment pass and enjoy some bread and circuses until you forget.

We’ve seen it countless times before. It’s rhetorical standard operating procedure. After Sandy Hook, the usual suspects from Senator Rand Paul to the Washington Times decried the “cruel” and “shameful” “exploitation” involved in pointing out that putting military assault rifles on the street makes it easy for someone to kill a lot of kids very quickly. The tactic worked as it always does and time passed, people forgot, and nothing happened. It was only a week ago that Senator Ted Cruz suggested it was disrespectful of Trayvon Martin’s mother to lobby for changes based on her son’s death. I guess it was disrespectful to… Cruz? One would have thought his mom would be the right barometer of how to honor her son.

Now this trope is the subject of Tamara Tabo’s criticism of my article yesterday regarding the recent shooting of Renisha McBride because I noted the uptick in the “shoot first” culture brought on by Stand Your Ground laws (regardless of the fact that the law isn’t technically at play here).

Let’s unpack this and also look at some other misdirection being flung my way, shall we?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Misdirection And Casting Aspersions: The Predictable Response To My Stand Your Ground Post”

As Joe wrote yesterday, a 19-year-old Detroit woman named Renisha McBride was fatally shot last weekend on the porch of a Dearborn Heights home. Her death has received national media attention because of the speculation that, as Joe put it, it follows “the same basic pattern of an African-American in a predominantly white neighborhood at night running afoul of a gun-toting homeowner.”

The family members of Renisha McBride issued a press statement last night asking for peace while they mourn and promising to meet with activist groups after Renisha’s funeral. The funeral is scheduled for today at 10 a.m.

Authorities have slowly released details related to the young woman’s death. Some of these details match the statements made by Renisha’s family. Some do not.

Before leapfrogging over the specifics of Renisha’s case and launching a politically motivated rant, let’s look at what we do and don’t know about the tragedy that occurred on that Dearborn Heights porch. If Renisha McBride is more than a political prop, she deserves at least that much . . . .

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Person Not A Political Prop: Questions About Renisha McBride’s Tragic Death”

‘Don’t Tase these, bro!’

* A proposal to raise the retirement age for judges in New York was crushed by voters, but Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman has vowed to continue fighting the requirement — just like a stubborn old man. [New York Law Journal]

* Which law schools have the highest percentage of graduates working as corporate directors or executive officers of companies? You might be surprised by some of the results. Or you might not. [National Law Journal]

* Dean Lawrence Mitchell of Case Western Reserve Law wants parts of the retaliation suit that’s been filed against him tossed for being “scandalous” and “salacious.” But those are the best parts. :( [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

* Thanks to a $25 million donation from an alumnus and his wife, Yale Law School is going to be getting dormitories for law students in the very near future. The thought of all of those coed nerdgasms between future SCOTUS clerks is a thing of beauty. [Fox News]

* Clark Calvin Griffith, the former adjunct professor at William Mitchell Law, has been suspended from practicing law for 90 days after exposing his penis to a law student. Stiff punishment. [Pioneer Press]

* If you were thinking of giving away guns on Facebook, then you should think again. The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun on the internet is with slideshows of the 572 best kitty cat gifs. [Corporate Counsel]

* A police officer in Arkansas ordered a woman to flash him her boobs while she was at work, and when she refused, he allegedly Tasered her repeatedly. She’s obviously suing now. [New York Daily News]

So it’s happened again. Another state, another neighborhood, another young black person shot to death by someone based on a loose, subjective “fear.” This time it’s Michigan, and it’s a young woman instead of a teenage boy, but otherwise it’s the same basic pattern of an African-American in a predominately white neighborhood at night running afoul of a gun-toting homeowner.

There will be a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth over the prevalence of “Stand Your Ground” laws (which Michigan boasts), followed by the equal and opposite reaction loudly pointing out that Stand Your Ground doesn’t apply to this particular case (which it doesn’t).

However, while what happened in Michigan may not invoke the state’s Stand Your Ground law, the existence and high-profile nature of laws that lower the standard for legally forgivable gunplay has everything to do with what happened in Michigan…

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The United States stands alone in its permissive laws regarding gun ownership among major industrialized powers. But the United States is also one of the most heterogeneous countries on the planet. Are those two factors related? Could it be that our fear of each other inspires pro-gun laws that one doesn’t see in less diverse cultures?

There’s an argument that the Second Amendment itself was adopted to defend slavery. Please note: I don’t agree with this argument. I think the Second Amendment was adopted because we’d just fought a war that we couldn’t have won without the martial powers of citizens militias. That’s why “A well regulated Militia” is right in the text of the Amendment (a phrase modern gun nuts are quick to gloss over). But it’s clear that widespread gun ownership helped white plantation owners keep control of their slaves. And the right to bear arms was certainly useful when it came time to “settle” additional territory away from the people who were already living there. Gun rights, who has them, and who does not, are inextricably tied to our history of racial oppression.

Do these “race-war” justifications for gun ownership still apply to our modern understanding of the right? A new study suggests that they could…

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* Lawyers are too lonely. Well, it’s not easy to find friends when you’re the most despised profession in the world. [Law and More]

* A prosecutor managed to shoot out the window of the D.A.’s office while playing with another prosecutor’s gun. The boss is mad, but really, what’s the point of having guns if you can’t treat them like toys? [Waco Tribune]

* Typical traffic stop turns into anal cavity search because clenching your buttocks during a pat down is probable cause for a prostate exam. [KOB 4]

* Lawyer informed by judges that “not everything on the internet is reliable.” [IT-Lex]

* It’s release day for Keith Lee’s new book The Marble and the Sculptor: From Law School to Law Practice (affiliate link). [Associate's Mind]

* Texas has hired Texas Law grad Steve Patterson as its new athletic director, poaching him from the same position at Arizona State. I wonder if Todd Graham will slimily bail on another school and join his old boss at Texas when Mack Brown is unceremoniously fired. [CBS Sports]

* Michelle Mumford, the former Milbank associate who went public with her negative experience of being pregnant working in the firm’s litigation department, is now the admissions dean at BYU Law. If any institution is sympathetic to pregnancy, it would be the Mormon Church. [The Careerist]

* Professor Pamela Karlan explains how political gridlock is the result of the Framers’ failure. I refuse to believe a gathering of slaveholding farmers didn’t construct a perfect system. [Boston Review]

* Judge tells lawyers they can’t withhold their fee structure as confidential when he can look it up in other cases. Was their theory that the judge was stupid? [South Florida Lawyers]

* Harry Belafonte is suing MLK’s kids to establish ownership of a few documents. Why won’t the King kids jump in de line? [CNN]

* Bad news for Charleston Law: South Carolina has decided to pass on taking over the school. To InfiLaw and Beyond! [The State]

* Sometimes advertising creates some strange bedfellows. This story brought to you by the U.S. News rankings. [PrawfsBlawg]

* School sends in a fake masked gunman to scare kids as part of a lesson. This will end well. [Jezebel]

* Maryland’s Attorney General is a terrible backseat driver. Do with that information what you will. [Lowering the Bar]

* Sullivan & Cromwell is bringing in Jeffrey Wall, an assistant to the Solicitor General, to be co-head of its appellate practice. [Blog of the Legal Times]

* Some advice that you wish someone imparted back in the day. [Legal Cheek]

* The government shutdown wasn’t as much about tearing down government as it was about creating a paradoxical dictatorship of freedom. Time to brush up on your Carl Schmitt, y’all. [Concurring Opinions]

* The legal issues involved in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The traffic laws governing flying cars not included. [The Legal Geeks]

How did we get to the point where activities conducted on someone’s private property can somehow fall under the jurisdiction of a public school? The short version is this: concerns aboutactual criminal activity on school grounds led to tighter controls being built into policies. A few school shootings upped the ante and provoked disproportionate reactions from several legislators. And just in case no one felt the new weapon and violence policies erected to prevent the unpreventable weren’t being taken seriously enough, the government “helpfully” tied these new rules to federal funding.

“Playing it safe” just isn’t good enough anymore. Every administrator is compelled to err on the (uber-ridiculous) side of caution because to do otherwise might result in angry parents, or worse, the loss of federal funding. Anything that bears a slight resemblance to a gun is treated as the real thing — a weapon powerful enough to kill someone — even if that “weapon” is a Pop Tartfour fingers and a thumb or drawn on a piece of paper.

The illogical extremes seen in these earlier incidents has been surpassed by Larkspur Middle School of the Virginia Beach School District….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “School Suspends Students For Playing With Airsoft Guns In Their Own Yard”

* Profiling the new talent appearing before the Supreme Court this term. Honestly, I can’t get excited about oral arguments that don’t involve the Ninth Circuit cracking one-liners anymore. [The Volokh Conspiracy]

* The Montana man sentenced to 30 days in jail for raping a 14-year-old is out. I wonder if he can make it on the outside after being institutionalized for a whole month. [CNN]

* As we predicted, political battles have exhausted the budget of federal defenders programs. At least in Ohio there’s a guy willing to bend the laws of time and space to represent indigent clients. [Federal Times]

* Keith Lee of Associate’s Mind has a new book out, The Marble and the Sculptor: From Law School to Law Practice (affiliate link). The image of The Thinker on the cover is appropriate: most law school grads these days do just sit there wondering how to get jobs. [Associate's Mind]

* Maryland gubernatorial campaign promising to build another law school. Newsflash: Ray Lewis has retired! You don’t need more lawyers! [Baltimore Sun]

* The Daily Beast’s Josh Rogin mocked a stand-up act over Twitter last night. He was punched in the face for his efforts. The comic was arrested. Punching Rogin for criticizing the act was uncalled for. Punching Rogin for working for the Daily Beast on the other hand… [IT-Lex]

* Marissa Alexander, the Florida woman sentenced to 20 years for firing a warning shot at an abusive husband, is getting a new trial. Since George Zimmerman got a decorative fruit basket for actually killing someone a few miles away, Alexander has to like her chances. [First Coast News]

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