Friday, May 9, 2014

Three Felonies a Day

It has been argued that the typical American commits three felonies a day.  Most articles proceed into a diatribe.  Since EVERY American is guilty of something EVERY DAY, law enforcement is instantly politicized.  There is pressure to "see" some felonies and "not see" others because the system cannot process all of the felonies that are committed.

This post involves second hand, but credible, information that fell into my hands regarding an incident of
"Brandishing" and an incident of "Reckless discharge".

The story is that two 15 year old knuckleheads were hanging out.  The mom went to go pick up a younger daughter from practice.  One of the knuckleheads got a gun out of a closet and pointed it at the other knucklehead. 

Brandishing is defined as displaying a weapon in a threatening or intimidating manner.  The act of pointing a firearm at another human at a range of ten feet handily qualifies as "brandishing".

Then the first knucklehead lifted the firearm so it was pointing above the second knucklehead's head and pulled the trigger.  It was loaded.  It fired.  That would be "Reckless discharge."

What to do?

Tom Bernard's law states that the effect of combining half-wits is multiplicative.  Combining two half-wits (or knuckleheads, or 15 year olds....take your pick) means that you are dealing with a quarter-wit.  A heavy-handed approach will assuredly choke my source of information.  This appears to be a time for finesse.

A key characteristic of knuckleheads is that they seem incapable of visualizing "the next logical thing." 

One way to turn the knuckleheads into not-knuckleheads is to find somebody who is gifted at throwing down breadcrumbs, somebody who can walk knuckleheads through the most likely sequence of events should a repeat performance occur.

Mr Russ Nelson of Family Shooter's Corral agreed to be that "somebody gifted".  My to-do list now has "Take Kubota and First Knucklehead to Family Shooter's Corral" as a hot item.

He will explain to both kids (Kubota gets it as a bonus) that both "Brandishing" and "Reckless discharge" are felonies.

Russ will explain that it will cost at least $25K to defend against the charges, whether the knucklehead wins or loses.  So, the first knucklehead better figure out how he will explain to his mom why she must drive her four year old car for another eight years.....if he decides that "brandishing" is fun.

Russ will then explain that if the first knucklehead is convicted of a felony then all guns must be broomed from his place of residence.  Since the first knucklehead and his mom are living with his grandparents, first knucklehead must be ready to explain to his grandfather why his grandfather cannot keep guns in his own house. 

Of course, it may occur to his grandfather that he can keep his guns if he kicks his daughter and her kids out of the house.  In which case the knucklehead better be ready to explain to his mom why she must find an extra $800 a month for rent.

Pigou's solution

There are two kinds of costs. 

Internalized costs are costs that are inexorably entwined with the transaction.  It is throwing some coins in the jukebox when you want to hear "your song".  The costs are borne by the people inside of the immediate transaction.

Externalized costs are costs that you scraped off on some handy patsy.  It is dumping toxic waste on a gravel road in the dark-of-night.  The costs are borne by the people outside of the immediate transaction.

Part of the art of "managing" is to find ways to re-associate externalized costs back to those who are in positions of control when the transactions...or decisions...are made.

Sometimes it is simply a matter of "helping" those who are in positions of control to visualize what those re-associations will cost.

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