October 26, 2004

Barnum Was An Optimist

Posted in General at 3:04 pm by Ian

If we assume that it was true when said (although it turns out, Barnum never said it), due to increases in the population growth rate, there is now a sucker born every 5.78 seconds! And it was even worse in the ’90s.

Some would point to this as an example, but that’s not really fair.
the woman misled the young man into believing he was doing nothing wrong.
Now, I paid pretty close attention in school, and not once did anyone tell me point blank that it was illegal to fill out official forms with someone else’s name in exchange for crack cocaine. It’s probably buried somewhere in a bunch of techical interpretations and complicated interactions of interstate commerce law. When will Congress stop expecting its citizens to be mind-readers?!

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6 Comments »

  1. Nikhil said,

    Are you implying that I should return the crack?

  2. Evan said,

    If I may delve in to the realm of non- humor briefly, do you think it’s fair that ignorance isn’t an excuse? The applicable laws for any one city have to number in the absurd… how is one to know whether you can fill out voter registration cards, breast-feed in public (yeah, still illegal in some places. Wierd.), be naked in public, as long as you’re in your car, kill someone because ‘he needed it’ (thanks texas!) or any one of a number of other relevant laws? If the guy really was so dumb as to not realize what he was doing was illegal, should we really bust him on it? Let’s bust him for trafficking in an illegal narcotic or something, neh?

  3. JT said,

    Yeah, one would think that the possesion of crack would carry a harsher penalty than filling out false voter registration cards. After all, it’s not like you can vote on the fake names (unless you have some nifty fake IDs and nothing else to do on election day), while having crack is, well, having crack…

  4. Ian said,

    Evan:
    It’s a difficult question. The simple answer is that ignorance can’t be an excuse because it requires the court to divine the thoughts of each accused. It’s not necessarily a good system, but I can’t think of a reasonable system that would allow ignorance as an excuse. However, I agree that laws can easily pile up in an absurd manner and that a system in which everybody is a criminal in some minor way can easily be corrupted.

    In this particular case… he gets no sympathy from me. Everybody who went through elementary school should have gotten the “take a bit out of crime; don’t do drugs” spiel, and those voter registration forms say all over them that filling them out fraudulently is a crime.

  5. AB said,

    In an attempt to derail a thoughtful conversation, I will note that at first glance I thought your title was “Batman was an Optimist”. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

  6. Ian said,

    Batman is a scientist. Scientists have to be objective.


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