1. Da Bears
2. Da Bulls
3. Da White Sox
4. Da Cubs
Now, back to studying for the bar exam.
Griping about Games, Government, and Guns
Yesterday, inspired by the inauguration and Roman History, I tweeted:
The inauguration really ought to close with some random nobody following the newly sworn in president around, repeating "Memento mori."—
Bill Godbold (@wfgodbold) January 21, 2013
This morning, I awoke to a response to that tweet in DestroyTwitter that had sadly been deleted before I could get a screenshot on the actual Twitter page:
However, I did not threaten anyone; I suggested that the pomp of the inauguration might be best offset by having a non-politician, regular person follow the president around and remind him that he too, is mortal, and that this shall pass.
I’m not going to delve into the analysis here,*1 but the Court eventually decides that,
In harmony with well-developed principles that have guided our interpretation of the First Amendment, we believe that a law impinging upon the Second Amendment right must be reviewed under a properly tuned level of scrutiny—i.e., a level that is proportionate to the severity of the burden that the law imposes on the right.*2
The Court applies intermediate scrutiny, and ultimately holds that the prohibition on FFL sales of handguns to 18-20 year olds is constitutional (there is a “reasonable fit between the law and an important government objective”*3). Congress determined that the purchase of handguns by minors*4 is a safety problem (in that it exacerbates their impulsive, violent tendencies, or something), and that prohibiting such purposes is the best way to address that problem is to prevent FFLs from selling handguns to minors.*5 The Court lays out this determination and Congress’s narrow response to it succinctly:
Overall, the government has marshaled evidence showing that Congress was focused on a particular problem: young persons under 21, who are immature and prone to violence, easily accessing handguns, which facilitate violent crime, primarily by way of FFLs. Accordingly, Congress restricted the ability of young persons under 21 to purchase handguns from FFLs. [emphasis in original]*6
The Court defers to Congress’s determination, and upholds 18 U.S.C. § 922 (b)(1)’s prohibition on FFL sales of handguns to those under 21. The government interest is sufficiently narrow, and the means are reasonably adapted to that interest, so intermediate scrutiny is no bar.
The Court then looks at the NRA’s claim as an equal protection matter, and that claim fails under rational basis review (because, unlike race or sex, age is not a suspect classification*7).*8
However, possession/ownership of handguns by those aged 18-20 is (in most states, and under federal law) not illegal. Congress only prohibited (and only intended to prohibit) those persons from buying their handguns through FFLs. If you’re 18 and you receive a handgun as a gift, you’re fine.*9 If you’re 19 and you buy a handgun from a private person, you’re still fine.*10
Hell, you can even tell someone 21 or older to buy the handgun and then pay them for it!*11
Well, two out of three ain’t bad, I guess.*12
So it’s legal for 18-20 year olds to possess handguns, but it’s illegal for them to actually try to buy them from an FFL, or to get someone else to buy them from an FFL.
If you’re 18-20, I hope you know someone who’s generous or looking to sell a handgun they already have – if not, there’s not really any other way for you to legally acquire one.*13
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you “irrational basis.”*14
*0 Just for the record, I’m still a law student. None of this is legal advice. If you take any of this as legal advice, then on your own head be it.
*1 For reasons I am not currently willing to go into, but will eventually explain. In mid-March/April of 2013, I think.
*2 N.R.A. v. B.A.T.F., No. 11-10959, slip op. at 18 (5th Cir. 2012).
*3 Id. at 33.
*4 The Court in N.R.A. looks at age of majority throughout common law history and determines that it has traditionally and historically began at 21.
*5 And lo, the 1968 GCA and its prohibition on FFL handgun sales to minors heralded the end of youthful violence, and an era of peace and goodwill towards all descended upon the land. Truly, we live in an enlightened age.
*6 Id. at 35.
*7 Kimel v. Fla. Bd. of Regents, 528 U.S. 62, 83 (2000).
*8 N.R.A. at 40.
*9 So long as you’re not a prohibited person and it’s legal in your jurisdiction, of course.
*10 Same disclaimer as before, but with an added disclaimer about the legality of private sales in your jurisdiction.
*11 DO NOT DO THIS. This is a felony straw purchase, and both you (the actual buyer) and the person you get to buy it for you (the straw buyer) will be awarded an all-expenses paid trip to federal prison. Again, DO NOT DO THIS.
*12 Now, aren’t you glad I didn’t link to a Meat Loaf song?
*13 It’s like if 18-20 year olds could possess/drink booze, but were prohibited from buying it or getting others to buy it for them. Sure, it’s technically legal, but it’s a major PITA to actually do what you’re legally entitled to do.
*14 It’s the Chewbacca defense of standards of scrutiny!
If they’re publishing this dreck.
First off, they barely get started before printing their ignorance for all to see:
[Moynihan's] solution: Increase the tax on bullets. He wouldn’t raise the tax on ammunition typically used for target shooting or hunting. But he proposed exorbitant taxes on hollow-tipped bullets designed to penetrate armor and cause devastating damage.
Now, this might be the late, unlamented Patrick Moynihan’s* error, but considering they point out he first proposed this nonsense nearly 20 years ago, they had plenty of time to fact check him.
Had they done so, they might have learned that hollow points are the opposite of armor piercing.
Now, setting that minor factual issue aside, I want to consider the idea of an exorbitant tax on ammunition.
Apparently, the NYT thinks that such a tax would be constitutional; after all, they’re not banned outright. Sure, $1,500 for a 20-round box of ammo sounds like a lot of money, but it’s a small price to pay to get around the constitution’s protection of fundamental rights.
Presumably, the NYT would likewise approve of a similar tax on abortions; perhaps $250,000 per abortion?**
After all, abortions wouldn’t be actually banned; you could still get one, provided you forked over the tax.
Fundamental rights cannot be de facto infringed in this way; the right to arms necessarily includes the right to use those arms. And that means pricing ammunition such that no one can afford it is right out.
The opinion piece goes on to hand-wring about NYC’s sale of spent brass to a Georgia ammunition reloader, but those complaints are even more incoherent than the first half.
*I note that the NYT refers to him as “a United States senator with one of the great political brains of 20th-century America.” I wonder if the author would have been so effusive if Moynihan hadn’t been a New York Democrat.
**I’m not going to get into my thoughts on abortion here (maybe some other time); it’s enough for my point here that SCOTUS has held it to be a fundamental right.
Growlanser IV is out for the PSP in the US (if you’ve a PS3, you can download it there and transfer it to the PS Vita without issue; if you’re PS3-less, you’ll have to wait until it’s up in the PS Vita PSN store). It’s pretty good so far; the sprites are nice, and the gameplay is classic Growlanser (JRPG-like with a heavy dose of strategy).
As far as the Chick-fil-a brouhaha goes, I didn’t eat there on Wednesday. Not because I disagree with their position (which I do (disagree, I mean)), and not out of support for the attempt to crack down on speech Boston/Chicago politicians disagree with, but because the local CFA had cops out directing traffic, a drive-thru line that looked to be at least 50 cars long, and an in-store line that stretched around the building at least once. Their chicken is good, and I support their rights to hold positions I don’t agree with and be free from government harassment because of that speech, but it’s not stand-in-line-for-more-than-an-hour good. Linoge disagreed, and went on – in his characteristic way – to say in ~400 words what a normal man would say in 50 (I would have posted on this on the 1st, but when I got home, Linoge had already said basically everything I was going to. Even if he did say it in 4x the space).
Want to eat sushi at the Olympics? Hope you don’t like soy sauce, cause mini packets are banned on account of not sponsoring the Olympics (beware; Sankaku Complex is about as unsafe for work as it gets). Between that and the lack of business the Olympics was supposed to bring in, I don’t know why anyone would voluntarily pay for the games. Other than as an opportunity to fleece the taxpayer and enrich politicians and their cronies, I mean.
The latest live-action Rurouni Kenshin trailer is out, and it’s got English subtitles. My only complaint is that they translate Kenshin’s reference to his reverse-bladed-sword as merely “sword;” in Japanese, it’s literally written 逆刃刀; the first character means “backwards,” the second “blade,” and the third “sword.” Instead of being sharpened along the front edge and dull along the back, Kenshin’s is dull along the front and sharp along the back (reverse-bladed). It’s kind of a big part of the character, and just calling it a sword doesn’t really cut it (heh).
In my less copious than normal free time (when not playing Growlanser (and sometimes while playing Growlanser), I’ve been rewatching The Good Guys on Netflix streaming. It takes me back to a more innocent time, when I hadn’t had a class on pre-trial criminal procedure, and was ignorant of how much of a free hand the courts have given police. I’ve mentioned it before; every episode is essentially an 80s/90s style buddy cop movie (in 45 min.).
I’m also working my way through Simon R. Green‘s books. Again. Sure, they’re pulp, but they’re entertaining. And isn’t that what really matters?
The law review has handed down the first cite check for this year; it’s due a week from Wednesday. Between that and the Legal Editing & Scholarship class I’m taking before fall classes start up, I’m being kept off the streets pretty efficiently.
Well, not really. I don’t even like it.
I am a big fan of their half-assed coding, though*.
Apparently they decided that to keep freeloaders (like me) from just reading online articles all the time, they would limit people to 10 free articles per month. If you hit the limit, you see this:
But I was not deterred! It turns out that if you select the bit in the URL after the .html, like this:
Which, if you’re like me, is not very far.
Especially given this nonsense about algebra.
*Seriously. It’s like they weren’t even trying.
Since certain members of the media were scandalized about the “body armor” the Aurora shooter wore, I thought I would take a page from Robb Allen’s book, and make up a handy graphic. Note I said “body armor,” complete with scare quotes; it turned out that he wasn’t actually wearing body armor. He was wearing a tactical vest made to hold accessories.
Edit: I combined this with the GIMP (because it’s free). I’d never used it before, so forgive the unprofessionalness.
Edit Redux: Also, the “body armor” used by the Aurora shooter is the vest on the top left.
One of these things is not the same.
I should point out that the region-free list* after the jump (since it’s a pretty long list) is not exhaustive.
The PS3 has been region-free since its launch six years ago (with one slight scare with Stranglehold before it was released without a region lock).
And yes, I am mocking ATLUS. Mercilessly**. They deserve it for reviving the (supposedly) dead spectre of region locks on PlayStation console games.
“If you don’t want shitty laws, stop electing shitty politicians.”
Of course, John Roberts didn’t actually write this; he wrote:
Members of this Court are vested with the authority to interpret the law; we possess neither the expertise nor the prerogative to make policy judgments. Those decisions are entrusted to our Nation’s elected leaders, who can be thrown out of office if the people disagree with them. It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.
Politicians lie. It has ever been thus. So of course they would lie about a tax, and claim it’s not actually a tax, and then argue in court
Like Althouse points out today (in her post on Orin Kerr’s thoughts on the decision and whether Roberts might have changed his vote), maybe Roberts is trying to send a message.
Something along the lines of, “Yes, the price of freedom is still eternal vigilance, you fucking idiots. That means vigilance against our government even more than against external threats.”
Now, I don’t like the decision; I’d be much happier if the ACA had been held unconstitutional on all grounds (especially since Congress now apparently has the power to tax inaction (but at least they can’t regulate inaction!)). I imagine this will lead to Congress justifying their inane bills on the basis of the Commerce Clause and their power to tax, just to be doubly sure the Court will uphold whatever nonsense they decide to pass.
The Washington Post has a handy tool to let you see what the ACA means for you. Apparently for me, it means I can either pay $1500-3000 in premiums for health “insurance”*, or I can pay the annual penalty of $695.
Well, gee. I’d have to be a damn idiot to buy health insurance before I actually needed it once the ACA goes into effect.
I don’t know what this decision means in the long term constitutionally, and neither does anyone else. If someone says they do, they’re lying or selling something. Or in the case of a politician, according to Chief Justice Roberts, probably both.
*Look. It’s not insurance if higher-risk customers aren’t charged premiums in commensurate with that higher risk. That means that people who are likely to use doctors, hospitals, emergency rooms, and whatever have to pay more for their premium than those who do not. It’s not sexist to charge young men more for their car insurance than young women if young men are statistically more likely to get in wrecks and cost the insurance company money. So why the fuck is it sexist to charge women more for health insurance premiums if they’re the demographic that is statistically more likely to use services that health insurance pays for?
The way the ACA is set up, healthy young people are required to pay insurance premiums to subsidize old sick people. Except if the healthy young people are not financial idiots, they’ll just pay the penalty until they actually need insurance, at which point the insurance companies will be required to accept them as customers, and then have to pay through the nose for whatever treatment their (now pre-existing) condition requires. And since the penalty is so much less than premiums (according to the notoriously right-wing Washington Post**), only idiots will pay for insurance before they need it.
And since no young and healthy people will pay insurance and cover the costs for the old and infirm, insurance companies will go out of business. The ACA is apparently designed to force the insurance industry into collapse. Man, politicians are great at managing economies.
**Yes, that is sarcasm.
We learn that Blizzard really has no clue. At all. Have they never played another game before, or what? This smacks of more MMOification (making it more of a strict numbers game, like WoW).
Since my last post, I’ve lost a hardcore Barbarian in Act I nightmare, and gotten a hardcore demon hunter to Act II nightmare. My softcore barbarian is in Act I hell, and I haven’t really played any more with my monk or wizard (let alone started a witch doctor).
In non-D3 news, I’ve been busy too; summer classes start on Tuesday, and the write-on competition for the law review started this past Monday (and goes until the end of the first week in June, I believe). So unfortunately, it’s not all demons and clicking here.
Especially since I’ve been dealing with the car service people trying to get my headlights squared away. One or the other will randomly shut off while I’m driving, and that’s not exactly helpful (one time both shut off, and wasn’t that exciting). Turning them off and on again fixes it, but usually only temporarily (and I’m not the only one to experience this problem (yeah, I drive a Prius; the price was right, and thanks to the wonders of ethanol-free gasoline, I regularly get 48-50 mpg (I would classy it up with an NRA sticker or something, just to screw with people’s heads, but I’m paranoid (and here I go, overusing parentheses again; like semicolons, they’re a hell of a drug)))).
I’ve been able to avoid the headlight issue for a while by not driving at night, but since my summer classes are all in the evenings, I decided I’d put it off long enough.
I should be back to a more regular posting and tweeting schedule in the coming weeks, but for now, I’ll probably still be intermittent (Oh, I have some D3 screenshots to post, too, but that will wait for another day. Maybe I’ll schedule daily D3 screenshots or something).