Category Archives: Local government

How police searches are like vaccines

I know, it has been over a year since I last blogged.  What can I say?  I’ve been busy.  I started a few posts, but they took too long.  I think I’ve been harboring the idea that I have to have detailed, well-explained posts that are also entertaining.  Well, fuck that.  From now on, I’m just going to throw down a few thoughts and call it good.

When I saw a post on Lowering the Bar, a “comedic” legal blog, I just had to share.  With both of my readers.  Who hopefully aren’t dead yet.

In an effort undoubtedly undertaken after rigorous research and study, the police chief in Beloit, Wisconsin, desiring to “reduce gun violence,” asked city residents to volunteer to have their homes searched by police for guns.  As Kevin of Lowering the Bar pointed out, this effort was doomed to fail: people who have committed a crime are not likely to invite the police into their homes, and people who have not committed a crime “do not need the police to come over and help find” their guns.

The police chief, while not expecting “the phone to be ringing off the hook,” hoped–and this is where skeptics might become interested–that “the program [would] encourage people to think about gun violence as an infectious disease like Ebola, and a home inspection like a vaccine to help build up the city’s immune system.”

Kevin’s analysis of the police chief’s statement is priceless:

So in this analogy, the town would deliberately inject weakened police officers into people’s homes to trigger a response that would make residents better prepared to fend off full-strength police officers that might invade their homes later. Hm. No, that doesn’t work. Maybe he meant something like white blood cells. Okay, in this analogy, the police are like giant white blood cells that patrol the city’s homes and destroy any Ebola guns they find inside before they can shoot other homes and create more … oh, &$^# it.

That is all.  For now.  More soon.

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Filed under Constitutional rights, Local government, Vaccines

Quickie News: Town gets sued for banning psychics

This post introduces a new feature of this blog: “Quickie News.”  Because I’m a lawyer and have to be precise with my language, I should explain that by “Quickie News” I mean a very brief post to inform my readers of some science/skeptical/legal news when I don’t have time for a lengthy, explanatory post.  I don’t mean news about couples engaging in short-lived coitus.

For some of the Quickie News posts, I’ll try to write a full, explanatory post later on.  I may, as I will do here, add a “quickie analysis” just to get things going.

The honorable subject of my first Quickie News is the town of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, which is being sued for prohibiting psychics from plying their trade within the town limits.

Quickie analysis: The psychics have a good case, especially as to the “prior restraint” on their speech.  It’s almost impossible for the government to legally prohibit (enjoin) speech before it happens, as was famously described in the Pentagon Papers case.  Authorities would have a much better shot at charging the psychics with a crime or violation of their state’s unfair trade practices law, if they have one.


Filed under Local government, Psychics, Uncategorized