Date: Fri, 5 Jan 96 16:51:11 -0800
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Subject: Assault pens
Forwarded-by: firstname.lastname@example.org (Keith Bostic)
Forwarded-by: "Ken L. Holder" <email@example.com>
Here's my article from today's _The American Reporter_, a world-wide web
daily newspaper. The article inspired an editorial. You can find it at
REPORT FROM THE FIRING SQUAD: COMES THE REVOLUTION
by Ken L. Holder
LOS ANGELES -- I found out yesterday that I'm a felon. I was just
sitting at my desk at work when some e-mail came in from a mailing list I
subscribe to. The e-mail informed me that I was committing a felony, just
by sitting there at my desk, minding my own business, harming nobody.
Actually, it turns out I was committing multiple felonies. Now,
I'm a peaceful, easy-going, harmless fellow. I pay my bills, I pay my
taxes, I'm polite to my elders, I'm trustworthy, reverent, and all those
other boy-scout virtues. I've never harmed anybody, and never wanted to.
Yet, just by minding my own business I became a felon yesterday.
What was different about yesterday? Well, here in California eight
or nine hundred new laws went into effect. One of them made it a felony to
have a knife with a blade that locks open while at a school or university
anywhere in California. In my felonious pants pocket was a "concealed"
pocket knife with a blade that locks open. The knife was in my pocket
because that's where you carry a pocket knife, but since it was out of
sight that made it concealed, which is an additional felony. That's two
Now, I've carried a pocket knife ever since my grandfather gave me
my first one back when I was nine or 10 years old. Maybe 11, maybe eight,
it was so long ago I can't remember anymore. He thought a pocket knife was
a handy and useful tool, he'd carried one for 60 or 70 years, and thought
I should too.
I suppose he made me a felon right then since the knife he gave me
was a "switch-blade" -- it had a handy little button that sprang-open the
blade when pushed. This button allowed me to open the knife with one hand,
which is something you have to do sometimes. I eventually lost that knife,
and in the years since I have owned a half- dozen or so of various sizes
and shapes. I got this lock-open model last year because sometimes the
blade can slip when you're cutting something and fold up on your fingers.
You don't want this to happen.
However, as I read more about this new California law, I found
that I was even more felonious than I thought. The law bans "a knife or
other instrument with or without a handguard that is capable of ready use
as a stabbing weapon that may inflict great bodily injury or death."
I looked around my desk for "other instruments." There they were,
six BiC round stick ball-point pens. When I was a college student in Texas
many years ago, a highway patrol officer once told my government class
that a BiC pen made a dandy self-defense weapon -- just stab frequently
about the face and neck with it. And here I am, 30 years later, committing
a six-count felony with them. It gets worse, folks. I've also got one of
the 0.5-mm mechanical pencils on my desk. I've actually once accidentally
stabbed myself with one, so I have no doubt that they can inflict great
bodily injury, or even death.
The felony counts are now over 10, counting the mechanical pencil,
the six BiC pens (three of which are the dreaded fine-point assault pens),
my pocket knife with the vile locking blade, concealed in my pocket, as I
set here in my office at a university, committing felonies left and right,
thereby giving up my civil rights forever ... if I get caught.
Then there's that letter opener. Oops, a couple of new highly
sharpened No. 2 pencils. I started to open the pencil drawer of my desk,
but just couldn't -- there's a couple of screwdrivers and a pair of
scissors in there at least, and who knows how many "other instruments"
that are "capable of ready use as a stabbing weapon that may inflict great
bodily injury or death." Jeez, folks, I used to have a hammer here on my
desk! They're going to lock me up and throw away the key.
If they catch me.
Or if they decide they don't like me and need an excuse to lock me
up and throw away the key. I've been known to make fun of well-meaning
government officials, and we all know how much they hate that.
It's a good thing the cops aren't required to enforce the laws,
since they'd have to send the SWAT team down here to the university and
arrest just about everybody, staff, faculty, and students, because most of
us have BiC assault pens, and letter openers, and many of us have
concealed knives in our pockets, and lots of those concealed knives even
have blades that lock into place. It would get real crowded in the slammer
if the cops were required to enforce the law!
I've often wondered what kind of person wants to go into
government "service". I now know: busybodies -- people who are
physiologically unable to mind their own business, who will die if they
don't meddle in somebody else's affairs.
There's going to be a revolution in this country. It's going to be
caused by busy-bodies. Eight-hundred new laws, maybe more, each and every
one of them nonsense like this. There's a new law that makes killing
someone while stealing their car illegal. Now, I thought stealing cars was
already illegal, and killing people was already illegal too. So, why an
additional law making doing both at the same time also illegal? More
illegal? What is going on here?
What's going on is busybodies. They must "do something" even if it
makes no sense at all. They have got to meddle and tinker and fiddle. They
want to micro-manage every aspect of everything. And they are going to
cause a violent, reign-of-terror revolution in this country. Any day now.
There's going to be a revolution in this country. There are going
to be firing squads and lynch mobs, and the people being shot and lynched
are going to be the idiotic little creeps who pass laws like these. It's
going to be a terrible time for our country, a terrible time. But you
know, when I think of standing there in a firing squad getting ready to
shoot the idiots who passed this law, I'm not going to feel quite so bad
about it after all.
© 1996 Peter Langston