More on Zero Tolerance Gone Wild

Under the headline of "Child Punished After Finding Toy Gun At Bus Stop: Student Says He Brought Toy Gun To School To Give To Principal":

A Kansas City student is being punished for what he thought was a good deed.

"It came out real fast. I got a good look at it. It really was a gun. Thank God it was a toy gun," 10-year-old Frasier McCart said.

Frasier wouldn't find out it was a toy until later. He said when he first found it, he wanted to make sure nobody got hurt. Just before the bus arrived at the corner, he put the gun in his backpack so that he could give it to school officials.

"I was thinking, 'I'll give it to the principal, she'll know what to do,'" Frasier said.

"It did look like a real gun," Principal Marla Wasserman said.

She said the boy had good intentions, but while making his way through the hallway to her office, he told another student what he had in his backpack. Wasserman said the boy should not have told another student. The boy's mother said he was then suspended. The principal said she then gave him in-school disciplinary action. . . . "It's hard to find somebody that can be honest and do the right thing," said Tracy Johnson. "And to punish him for doing the right thing, that just doesn't paint a pretty picture."

What people are missing in discussing the Sentencing Guidelines

My newest piece at Investors' Business Daily is up. I think that Scalia and Thomas have this decision partly wrong:

The Guidelines have created more sentencing disparity because they focus solely on just one of the penalties that criminals face: imprisonment. There are many other penalties imposed on criminals, including lost professional and business licenses, the inability to join some unions or work for the government, lost retirement funds as well as fines and restitution. Prior to the Guidelines going into effect, judges usually imposed lower prison sentences on criminals who faced large other additional penalties. . . . The dissents by Justices Anthony Scalia and Clarence Thomas were right in that all the Guidelines don’t have to be thrown out just because a small section of the Guidelines that applied to some trials violated Constitutional rights to a jury trial. Yet, the jabs Scalia pokes at the majority’s seeming inability to grasp the inconsistency between making the Guidelines voluntary and saving the guidelines’ mission to reduce sentencing disparity missed a crucial point. The critique only makes sense if the Guidelines actually reduced disparity.


200,000 Total Hits and a New Website Design

First, I would like to thank all the visitors to this site for helping make it a success. The number of unique hits – 200,000 – is greatly appreciated.

My son Maxim has also redesigned the website and fixed the problems we used to have. The new features are:

-- A search engine. Just type something into the search field at the top of the page, and you will get all the matching pages from this site.

-- Posts are now on their own page (from Sept. ‘04 onwards). This makes linking and e-mailing easier.

-- The load time for the front page has been dramatically reduced.

-- The menu on the right is consistent for all pages (was a problem with the old site.)

-- Posts are archived by month.


My latest piece is up on National Review Online


At least in Europe crime guns are a deductable business expense for criminals

A bank robber has been allowed to claim the £1,400 cost of the gun he used as a legitimate business expense. The 46-year-old criminal was able to set the price of the pistol against his gross proceeds of £4,700, which he stole in the southern Dutch town of Chaam. Jailing him for four years, the judge at Breda criminal court reduced his fine by that amount. The Dutch prosecutors' service said yesterday that the judge had followed sound legal precedents. Leendert De Lange, a spokesman, said: "You can compare criminal acts to normal business activities, where you must invest to make profits, and thus you have costs." Therefore drug dealers would be within their rights to claim the cost of a car used to ferry the drugs around, he said. However, Mr De Lange scoffed at the hypothetical example of a drugs dealer claiming his Ferrari against the proceeds of his crimes. "No, he would have to prove that he needed the car to transport the drugs and I hardly think he would transport them in a Ferrari."

Thanks to Gus Cotey for supplying me with this story.

A sign of the times? Capitalism versus Socialism

John Fund has this interesting tidbit in his opinionjournal political diary:
"Today, [Ayn] Rand's books not only outsell those of Karl Marx, but are taken a lot more seriously."


Bad news on stopping suits against gun makers.