Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

Three felonies a day? I believe it.

Posted by Lissa on February 9, 2010

Good morning all!  My apologies for skimping on yesterday’s post; it was a miss-the-alarm, oversleep, panic-about-missing-the-train kind of day!  I’m equally sleepy today, but the coffee was ready and the cat was obnoxiously scratching the side of the bed, so I hauled myself out.  Besides, I’m indignant, and a good dose of umbrage is helpful for yanking one’s sleepy butt out of bed.

Why am I indignant?  Because I’m surrounded by felons. Yep, that’s right!  Thousands upon thousands of them.

According to Harvey Silvergate, the average adults commits roughly three felonies a day — not rapes, murders or theft, usually, but breaking small stupid little rules.  Seeing as how I believe almost every student on a Massachusetts campus is a felon, three per DAY seems a little high, but not undoable.

Don’t believe me?  See for yourself.  These are the kind of weapons prohibited at all colleges and universities in Massachusetts:

1 Sec. 53-206: “slung [sic] shot, air rifle, BB gun, black jack, sand bag, metal or brass knuckles, or any dirk knife, or any switch knife having an automatic spring release device by which a blade is released from the handle, having a blade of over one and one half inches in length, or stiletto, or any knife the edged portion of which is four inches or over in length, or any martial arts weapon or electronic defense weapon, as defined in section 53a-3, or any other dangerous or deadly weapon or instrument.” Sec. 53a-3(6): “any weapon, whether loaded or unloaded, from which a shot may be discharged, or a switchblade knife, gravity knife, bill, blackjack, bludgeon, or metal knuckles.”

No blade that opens with a spring over one and a half inches.  Geez, even Boston’s knife laws aren’t that strict!  And no knife with an edge longer than four inches?  Do they think no one ever cooks at any Massachusetts college?

Now, the quote above might be inaccurate.  I wasn’t able to easily find the law itself; a search for “mass.gov 1 Sec. 53-206” turned up bupkis.  “MA law 1 Sec. 53-206” got me links from pepper spray, self-defense and blog sites, but nothing officially mass.gov.

And that’s the point. The good lawmakers of Massachusetts (apparently) passed this ridiculous regulation (which won’t be followed by thousands of students who like to be able to slice open a frickin’ cantaloupe), don’t make it easily available for research, and have no way of enforcing it.

The happy result?  I’m forced to leave myself defenseless when I go a-campusing.

Thanks a lot, Massachusetts.


14 Responses to “Three felonies a day? I believe it.”

  1. Brad K. said

    Lissa, when the Brady Bunch and their lobbyists set out to create “Disarmed Victim” zones like college campuses – they might as well do it well.

    I wonder, shouldn’t the “tavern keeper” laws apply to college boards and admin? I mean, if someone selling beer or other intoxicant can be held criminally liable for serving an already intoxicate patron who later commits a crime, that should be the same thing. When you create a Disarmed Victim Zone, you should be held personally liable if you fail to provide enough security to protect everyone in the zone from any violation of that security.

    Like a shooter that violate the law and regulations to take advantage of a Disarmed Victim Zone.

    Maybe a variant on “Conspiracy to Commit Murder” charge for the second through “nth” victim.

    • Mike said

      While I sympathize with your viewpoint (and Lissa’s), I think a twist on your logic is why such laws (and school rules that are often tighter) exist in the first place. Without such a restriction in place, the school could likely be found liable–without any further negligence required–if someone got shot on campus. Public universities are a difficult case because they’re quasi-governmental bodies, but carrying weapons is banned on most government property even if you go that route with the argument.

      To play devil’s advocate, if I own a business and just don’t like firearms around, why should your rights trump mine? You wouldn’t have the right to come into my business and exercise freedom of speech or freedom of the press except as I allowed and I wouldn’t need real probable cause to stop you and search your bag.

      Why is bearing arms so different? Are you not accepting the these restrictions and the corresponding hazards by entering a “gun-free zone”? If someone dies of a heart attack, should McDonald’s be criminally liable for selling him Big Macs?

      • Bob S. said


        It is your right, IF you own the place, to set the limits for exercising the right to keep and bear arms.

        You don’t however have a right to search my personal property – your right of ownership doesn’t extend into my personal effects. Taken to the extreme what you are saying is that a property owner has the right to strip search a person — just for entering that property??

        Without such a restriction in place, the school could likely be found liable–without any further negligence required–if someone got shot on campus.

        Only if the University didn’t take reasonable steps to prevent the shooting. And banning firearms is not a reasonable step.

        Change your “shot” to rape, stabbed, defrauded, libeled, slandered, or any number of crimes – does that justify completely banning an activity, a right?

        Think of any of the online social networking sites, they are not responsible for the content the people using it put up- just for leaving it up once it has been notified. Public Universities can be treated the same way — if there is an issue they fail to address, then they are liable.

        Is there evidence of a problem that requires such draconian measure (banning firearms from campus)?
        Is there evidence that such draconian measures are effective at solving the problem?

        In Texas, for 2007 Concealed Handgun License holders were 0.2612% of all convictions. One quarter of one percent — hardly a crime wave eh?

  2. Jeff said

    Slung shot is not incorrect. A slingshot and a slung shot are two different things.

  3. A Slung shot is basically a weight on the end of a piece of rope. A Monkey Fist knot is a common form of slung shot but it can be as simple as a large metal nut tied to the end of a piece of twine. Sadly, they are illegal in many areas. I have a freind who keeps a Monkey Fist on a cord worn as a necklace whenever he flys on commercial airlines. Since the center of his Monkey Fist is non-metalic it is a very effective weapon that easily makes it through screening (he knows how to use it). I hazzard to guess that it is easily one or more of his daily felonys just having one. I have thought of doing the same, but I’m a little chicken when it comes to breaking laws that could result in jail time. I’m not sure my sanity would survive being put in a cage.


  4. Mike said

    Apparently I can’t reply to a reply to reply.

    Bob, I’m not in favor of most of our nation’s gun laws, but I thought the focus here was misguided. I also never claimed that lawful concealed carry leads to crime.

    While taking things to an extreme is fun, I never said strip searches and any rights I have on my own property aren’t unlimited (just as the right to bear arms isn’t unlimited). But there are plenty of situations where business owners look into workers’ bags, for example, on their way out the door to deter theft. I’m not aware of any situation where strip searches would be allowed.

    Don’t assume courts are going to be reasonable regarding liability determinations, especially when it comes to protecting the children. Nevermind that at colleges they’re not really children.

    • Bob S. said


      What do you mean by you feel the focus here was misguided?

      There are way too many laws that restrict one’s rights to keep and bear arms. I greatly object to those laws that are wrong because some regulation or statue says it is wrong.

      Making it a felony to import seafood in the wrong type of bag for example.

      One thing I did notice is that you switched from property owners to employers. There is a major difference in levels of liability.

      A property owner should have less ability to invade the rights of a person on that property then does an employer. You take a person’s coin, you take their rules.

      But there are plenty of situations where business owners look into workers’ bags, for example, on their way out the door to deter theft

      The example I can point to is a Wal-Mart store. I limit my shopping to there to the bare minimum, hey? Because this store is very obnoxious about searching my bags or purchases when I leave.

      When asked why, they say it is to make sure everything was paid for.

      I’ve had several conversations with the employees and even a couple of supervisors letting them know I don’t support stores that consider all their customers to be thieves. I understand why they do it and accept it as a cost of doing business in that store.

      I also think there is a distinct line in being able to search my bag just for going into the store. Or my coat or my back pack.

      The rights of the business ends at my property unless they can present evidence of wrong doing on my part. If that is the case, then the law enforcement officials should be doing the searching, not the business.

      Taking things to the extreme simply highlights how small a distinction there is one the infringement is allowed. If a property owner is allowed to search bags, then what is the difference by law in a strip search?

      There have been many cases of public schools doing just that, so I don’t think it is all that extreme.

      • Jeff said

        “You take a person’s coin, you take their rules.”

        You enter a person’s property, you take their rules is just as valid. Strip searching someone by force is obviously unacceptable. Requiring someone to consent to a strip search OR leave the private property is perfectly fine. It’s a terrible business practice, but there’s nothing inherently wrong about it.

  5. Jeff/zeeke42 said

    There’s a critical difference between laws and requirements of property owners. I don’t believe in laws disarming anyone, but my belief in private property rights trumps all.

  6. Bob S. said


    Then are you saying that a private property owner, like a retail store, can bar a certain class of individuals from entering? Say those of Irish descent or those with a southern accent?

    There are limits placed on private property owners, especially businesses, about how much they can invade my privacy.

    And without just cause that line is closer to the rights of the individual then the rights of the property owner.

    This is especially true when we bring it back to the original issue — committing felonies every day because of the arbitrary, arcane, overly intrusive rules set in place by the government.

  7. Jeff said

    “Then are you saying that a private property owner, like a retail store, can bar a certain class of individuals from entering? Say those of Irish descent or those with a southern accent?”

    Yes. I’m not saying that’s necessarily the law, but it’s what’s right. My rights stop where your property begins. Unwanted persons just entering the store shouldn’t be criminal, but refusing to leave when asked is trespassing.

  8. Brad K. said

    Jeff, Bob S.,

    I see a vast difference between a business and a private property owner. A private property owner owes no one access.

    A business owner, though, if his business has the appearance of serving the public, has an onus to serve all the public. That is, only serving people of one race, or people not of one race or religion, is discrimination, and a violation of federal law. This is something that doesn’t happen on private property. Renting? That is partaking in business with the public, and gets back to an onus to serve the entire community.

    Colleges are about serving the public, affirmative action sure as hell proved that, except on black college campuses. And I suppose that if colleges believe they are to follow the same rules as kindergarten, that students have no legitimate right to access to defending themselves (something that kicks me every time I pass by one of Wal-Mart’s walls of missing and exploited children), then I guess so be it.

    Except a number of students on many campuses meet state guidelines for concealed carry and adult citizenship on their own hook. Some few aren’t even dependents as far as the IRS is concerned. I question that colleges can legally brook the 2nd Amendment rights of citizens either enrolled, working on, or visiting campus.

    I remember a Texas campus, and a shooter in a bell tower, making the news. Colleges manifestly provide Disarmed Victim zones, not sufficient security. Burglary, assault, and rape are all too common on some campuses. Some violent incidents against students might not have happened, or might have been less severe, if the assailant weren’t *assured* the victim was unarmed.

    BTW – how to you make a technically correct quarterstaff? Will it look much like a walking stick?

    • Jeff said

      “That is, only serving people of one race, or people not of one race or religion, is discrimination, and a violation of federal law.”

      Federal law is wrong. Discrimination is bad, but government force is worse.

  9. […] by Lissa on February 11, 2010 We had some fascinating discussion here about the rights of an individual versus the rights of a business owner versus the rights of a […]

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