Fun_People Archive
13 Jun
Studies in Contemporary Sociology - Shotgun

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Thu, 13 Jun 96 14:00:51 -0700
To: Fun_People
Subject: Studies in Contemporary Sociology - Shotgun

Forwarded-by: Keith Bostic <>
Forwarded-by: glen mccready <>
Forwarded-by: "Kathryn R. Donohue" <>
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The Shotgun Constitution
	-by Brian Gerk

Shotgun --
    The rightmost front passenger seat in a vehicle, a prime choice for any
    passenger, since it is the most comfortable seat, and also because of
    the psychological advantage of not being forced to subserviently look
    at the back of another person's head during a trip.
Enthronement --
    The physical presence of a person in the Shotgun position.

Vehicle Ownership
    The owner of a vehicle, if he/she isn't driving, always gets Shotgun in
    that vehicle. It is their car, it is their seat and they get it.  This
    is a real bonus for an owner who is falling down drunk. They can rest
    assured Shotgun is rightfully theirs. They won't have to worry about
    concentrating through an alcohol-induced haze simply to remember to call
    Shotgun in their own hard-earned car. Once proper Shotgun 'enthronement'
    rights have been established, they may also be surrendered. If the owner
    of the vehicle is eligible for Shotgun, but wants to sleep it off in
    the back seat, then they may give up Shotgun to a person of their
    choice. The vehicle owner is also the ultimate judge in any Shotgun
    disputes. Their word is law, and all passengers must defer to the
    owner's interpretation of Shotgun law. Arbitration should be swift and
    final, so that everyone can be on their way. If the owner is going to
    stray from the Shotgun Constitution, they must have a good reason for
    doing so. If the owner is not eligible for Shotgun, any passenger can
    call Shotgun, but only under the proper conditions

Legal Conditions for Calling Shotgun
    Shotgun can only be called when the driver is enroute to the vehicle
    for the purpose of driving immediately, and the Shotgun position is
    vacant.  Shotgun cannot be called upon arrival, only upon departure.
    For example, a group of travelers may arrive at a restaurant and get
    out of the car for a meal. Some bone-head might try calling Shotgun
    immediately for the subsequent ride home, but that is not appropriate.
    If this kind of precedent were allowed, it would let anyone call Shotgun
    'futures' for potential rides into eternity. Only after finishing the
    meal, when the driver picks up the car keys, is a Shotgun call allowed.
    Jingling keys is a very strong sign of an Enroute condition. If the
    driver says 'let's go' that also can be reasonably construed as Enroute.
    Most Enroute conditions mean that driving will take place within a few
    minutes, but not always. If the driver of a car turns around on a three
    hour trail ride, and says 'let's go home,' then an enroute condition
    exists and Shotgun may be called immediately.

Forcible Dethronement (a.k.a. Physical Challenge)
    There are some people in this world that always remember to call
    Shotgun. Although this is an admirable trait at first, it quickly grows
    old.  These people tend to be real weenies, and if they knew better,
    would sometimes let someone else call shotgun just to be a little more
    diplomatic.The purpose of the Shotgun Constitution is to provide for a
    peaceful, fair method of getting to ride Shotgun.  Unfortunately, if an
    introverted nerd consistently calls Shotgun ad nauseum, there must be
    accommodations for that person to be forcibly removed from the seat.
    Thus the Forcible Dethronement policy. This allows one other passenger
    (usually larger in stature) to declare 'Physical Challenge!' and pull,
    push or otherwise eject the previous Shotgun participant from the seat.
    Although frowned upon if used regularly, this physical challenge is a
    legitimate means of wresting Shotgun control away from the legal party.
    Any physical tactics short of grievous bodily injury are employable.

The Dick Clause
    Though not a formal by-law of the Constitution, the Dick Clause is a
    necessary refinement in semantics.Just because the driver's girlfriend,
    boyfriend, wife, whoever happens to be in the car, that Significant
    Other does not get Shotgun by default. Anyone else can legally call
    Shotgun and force the Significant Other to ride in the back. But then
    of course that would mean that person is a Dick.

    I first drafted the Shotgun Constitution in 1990 while attending
    Embry-Riddle University in Florida. The Constitution was widely
    distributed via fax, and steered many young passengers towards a more
    democratic form of ridership. It is time to resurrect this living
    document, and to let a new generation of passengers rightfully call

If there is any new case law I should be aware of for the Shotgun
Constitution, please e-mail me at: I will conduct a
judicial review of your case and see whether it merits an amendment to
the Constitution.

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