Reason Roundup

Should It Be Easier to Put Mass Shooters to Death? Trump's Justice Department Thinks So

Plus: Harris and Buttigieg lose top-tier status, freelance writers face trouble in California, how credit cards created a surveillance state, and more...

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Expedited death penalty for mass shooters? The Trump administration is apparently considering it. A proposal circulating in the Department of Justice (DOJ) and supported by Vice President Mike Pence would reportedly speed up the capital punishment process for convicted killers who are responsible for multiple deaths.

The DOJ announced in July that it would bring back the death penalty for federal crimes.

On Monday, former Vice President Joe Biden slammed the proposal as "what you do when you can't get something done that's rational."

The new proposal will "likely be part of a larger gun control initiative that aims to address a wave of deadly shootings, including a weekend rampage in West Texas, that left at least seven people dead and 22 people injured," according to The Hill. "Pence has been directly involved in conversations with Attorney General William Barr about the death penalty initiative," notes Bloomberg.

Little details about the expedited death penalty plan are known.

In August, Trump fixated on the mental health of mass shooters and suggested enacting "red flag" laws, which make it easier to take away the arms-owning rights of people deemed to be a danger. (For an analysis of the problems with such policies, see Reason's Jacob Sullum.)

Meanwhile, Democratic presidential candidates Kamala Harris and Beto O'Rourke have been floating pie-in-the-sky gun buyback proposals.


FREE MARKETS

Freelance writers in California are screwed. California's proposed change regarding independent contractors is being heralded as a step against the "gig economy" and companies like Uber and Lyft—but it would go so far beyond that. One small example:


FREE MINDS

Credit cards and the surveillance state. Electronic financial transactions paved the way for the perfect surveillance network, writes Andrea Castillo:

It's genius, really. No spies, clunky camera and microphone equipment, or random checkpoints are needed. All you have to do to get a detailed surveillance picture of a population is to hand them a payment card and send them on their way.

It's not that financial institutions set out to build a super snooper for Uncle Sam. It's just that the infrastructure needed to operate a third party-provided payment system is coincidentally the same architecture that allows for constant spying. And all we see is convenience!


ELECTION 2020

And then there were three. The top tier of Democratic presidential candidates is down to just Joe Biden and Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. From Politico:

For more than a year, Democrats had approached their nominating contest with a widely-shared belief that — like Republicans in the earliest stages of their primary four years ago — they, too, might take turns rising and falling in an expansive field. That expectation sustained the campaigns of more than two dozen contenders this year.

But in recent weeks, the leading band of candidates has contracted unexpectedly early. … Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg remain at the periphery, while lower-polling candidates have largely failed to muster sustained, upward movement in fundraising or polling.

According to interviews with about two dozen Democratic operatives and consultants, there is little reason to expect any of them will.

Read the whole thing here. And a chaser: "Why Kamala Harris Hasn't Caught Fire in the Democratic 2020 Race." 


QUICK HITS
  • The U.S. is probably complicit in war crimes in Yemen, says the U.N.
  • Hurricane Dorian is hanging out over the Bahamas but still expected to reach Florida sometime tomorrow.
  • Despite Donald Trump's payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal having already been the subject of so much legal and public scrutiny, congressional Democrats are launching their own probe into the matter.
  • A growing underground network is helping women in states with restrictive abortion laws travel out of state to terminate their pregnancies.
  • Another person has been denied entry to the U.S. despite having a visa because of things someone else posted to social media.
  • Horrible and yet sadly unsurprising:

(More here.)

  • "People who lived through the Great Recession are understandably nervous about the 'r' word. But there's good reason to believe that when the next recession hits (and it will) the pain won't be nearly as great as what people experienced in 2008," suggests Fortune.
  • Leave Camille Paglia alone!
  • Anti-Nazi documentaries apparently violate YouTube's hate speech policy.

NEXT: "Litigating Citizenship" Accepted for Publication in the Vanderbilt Law Review

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  1. Expedited death penalty for mass shooters?

    Finally, someone figures out how to deter these suicidal maniacs.

    1. Hello.

      On executing killers. Perhaps thought not sure how it differs from killing any kind of murderer.

      Another angle is media sensationalism doesn’t help one iota. It likely does create the copy cat effect.

      1. But we can kill them more! Maybe one killing for each victim!

    2. You’ve got to hand it to Trump on this one. The public demands something. This is certainly… something.

      1. Some people are affected by Trump Tweets more than others.

    3. You think they care? Mass shooters are not rational. If prison won’t deter them, why would the death penalty?

      1. The joke might have flown over your head.

      2. Uneducated guess but don’t most end up killing themselves or being killed by the police. Their death seems like part of their plan.

        1. Exactly. What we need is more people with guns out there to execute them where they stand. Thus saving the taxpayers a bundle.

          On-site execution also limits the death toll. Look at Dayton vs El Paso.

    4. Not reporting their names or just calling them “pathetic loser” seems a step too far.

  2. Looks like the California Legislature decides not to outlaw my specific job, but to potentially outlaw the jobs of freelance journalists who write more than 35 times a year for one outlet.

    If you were any good at your job, lawmakers would be afraid of screwing with you.

    1. Nobody is scared of people who buy ink by the printer cartridge.

      If you buy ink by the barrel though…

  3. The top tier of Democratic presidential candidates is down to just Joe Biden and Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

    Devil’s threesome.

    1. I would rather have an enemy with a firehose than any of those three in office. Shoot me now.

      1. No worries. Trump will be reelected for 4 more years.

        1. Not 4 more years, 4 more TERMS. Where’s your enthusiasm?? What kind of a fair-weather fan are you?

    2. Devilsome three…

    3. One flew over the Commie’s nest.

  4. Hurricane Dorian is hanging out over the Bahamas but still expected to reach Florida sometime tomorrow.

    The poor track of Dorian’s gray skies. I don’t know, you figure it out.

    1. I believe there’s a radar image of this thing in somebody’s attic, and it’s looking more and more like old news.

      1. That’s a wild notion.

        1. *Wilde

  5. Despite Donald Trump’s payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal having already been the subject of so much legal and public scrutiny, congressional Democrats are launching their own probe into the matter.

    They think they still see some muscle twitching in that horse lying there.

    1. “Donkeys plan to probe Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.”

      Now, that’s a headline!

  6. “Meanwhile, Democratic presidential candidates Kamala Harris and Beto O’Rourke have been floating pie-in-the-sky gun buyback proposals.”

    According to longtime libertarian activist Michael Hihn, the correct libertarian position is to support substantially more restrictive gun laws than we currently have. And I don’t see what’s so “pie-in-the-sky” about getting deadly military style assault weapons off our streets. It just sounds like common sense to me.

    #BanAssaultWeapons
    #UnbanMichaelHihn

    1. Substantially more restrictive? Like my gungrabber acquaintance’s proposal in light of the latest Texas shooting: anyone fired from his job needs to turn in his or her guns until evaluated and cleared by a licensed therapist? Further, anyone served with divorce papers should turn in guns? For that matter, anyone with anger management issues?

      1. Anyone with testicles?

      2. No, your employer should notify the authorities BEFORE firing you, and then they invade your house and take your guns away (knives, too). Only THEN do you get fired.

        Problem solved!

        1. Nah, just do like the French and make it illegal to fire anyone.

  7. A growing underground network is helping women in states with restrictive abortion laws travel out of state to terminate their pregnancies.

    Why would it need to be underground?

    1. Underground high speed rail

      1. Boondoggle genius!

    2. It is more dramatic and they can compare themselves to slaves that way.

      1. Despite their desire to treat a class of human as disposable chattel.

    3. Because once one of these states makes it illegal to cross state lines for the purpose of seeking an abortion, helping someone would be aiding and abetting.

    4. Why would it need to be underground?

      That’s where the data cables are buried.

    5. A new Mann act….to reverse some man’s acts!

    6. Yeah, literally zero laws are being broken. Unless they’re making the women go against their will.

      The Underground Railroad this ain’t.

  8. So. Let’s see. They have no problems arresting teenagers for sexting or an 18 year-old having sex with a 17 year-old even if consensual….BUT cops raping a handcuffed teenager doesn’t result in punishment?

    Sounds totes legit.

    Then they wonder why cynicism and nihilism seems to prevail in the zeitgeist. The perception is the system is broken.

    You go and take advantage of someone, hand cuff and rape them and see how that works out for you.

    1. Obviously there isn’t a Canadian flag with a blue line across it.

      1. I’m pretty sure those count as flag desecration.

    2. Well, it was a free market solution.

    3. Nihilism?? Zeitgeist??

      WhatareyouaNazi?

      Sprechen die anglais, s’il vous plait.

  9. A growing underground network is helping women in states with restrictive abortion laws travel out of state to terminate their pregnancies.

    why should this be underground? There’s nothing illegal about crossing state lines. It’s like going to Nevada to gamble.

    1. + this is why Roe v. Wade is basically meaningless at this point. Overturn it, uphold it, it doesn’t matter. When it was first decided, there were only 6 states (plus DC) with legal abortion. Now, if Roe v Wade is overturned, there are about 9 states with plans to fully outlaw abortion. All the other states will remain abortion states. Even a broke-ass teenager who can’t read can scrape up $50 bucks to ride the bus out of ‘Bama for the weekend. And that’s not even taking into consideration the above, where do-gooder support groups are in there actively helping women who can’t get out. There is zero chance that overturning Roe v Wade will have anything more than a negligible impact on “woman’s right to choose” in America.

      1. But if a state decides the fetus is a person then suddenly travelling out of the state for an abortion becomes conspiracy to murder.

    2. In the linked article the word underground is found only in its headline. I’m thinking an editor who doesn’t know any better slapped that on there to add undue weight.

      1. Resistance, underground, concentration camps, racism…all these words have connotations that the writer is trying to convey to paint them in a certain light. Propaganda 101.

  10. Another person has been denied entry to the U.S. despite having a visa because of things someone else posted to social media.

    Give us your tired… of putting off those friend requests.

  11. “Despite Donald Trump’s payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal having already been the subject of so much legal and public scrutiny, congressional Democrats are launching their own probe into the matter.”

    Yes! This is why I’m proud to have contributed to the #BlueTsunami in 2018. Surely this mega-scandal will finally result in Drumpf’s removal from office.

    The walls are closing in. It’s the beginning of the end.

    #Impeach

  12. Another person has been denied entry to the U.S. despite having a visa because of things someone else posted to social media.

    I’ll say it again: DON’T USE SOCIAL MEDIA. EVER.

    1. Yeah, like the Reason comment section. It gets you sent to the woodchipper.

  13. Two former New York detectives walk free after admitting to having sex with handcuffed 18-year-old female suspect…

    It clearly says former detectives. That’s the best outcome you’re going to get in these situations.

    1. Except in this case it should say formerly unincarcerated detectives.

    2. ….maybe she likes it kinky…

  14. People who lived through the Great Recession are understandably nervous about the ‘r’ word.

    So people over ten who haven’t died?

    1. Retards afraid of recessions. Haha!

  15. “And a chaser: ‘Why Kamala Harris Hasn’t Caught Fire in the Democratic 2020 Race.'”

    Don’t count her out just yet. I’m confident Democratic voters will do their own research and discover Tulsi Gabbard’s attack was full of lies and misrepresentations.

    #LibertariansForHarris
    #ProgressiveProsecutor

    1. Apparently, BJs can get you only so far.

    2. Gas is pretty combustible, so she only needs a spark.

  16. Anti-Nazi documentaries apparently violate YouTube’s hate speech policy.

    First they came for Hitler-in-his-bunker memes…

    (Hat tip: Tim Cavanaugh, gentleman lifeguard)

  17. With her excellent work on #TrumpRussia, Rachel Maddow is clearly MSNBC’s biggest star. But don’t forget about Chris Hayes. Here he is destroying the faulty logic behind the Electoral College:

    WATCH: @chrislhayes on the electoral college: “The weirdest thing about the electoral college is the fact that if it wasn’t specifically in the Constitution for the presidency, it would be unconstitutional.”

    1. That is a Bidenesque comment.

    2. Chris Hayes, the Yogi Berra of the modern American media.

      1. If only he were that witty.

  18. So YouTube has clear content policies no one can make heads or tails of and appear to be applied without rhyme or reason.

    But this is not a problem due to their being a private company.

    .

    1. That is what people seem to think. A contingent set of reason commenters who claim to be libertarian now dont believe in basic premises of contract law.

      1. With a layer of Congressional protection on top.

    2. “But this is not a problem due to their being a private company.”

      Correct. It’s not hard to understand; give it a try.

    3. If YouTube violates their terms of service, then take them to court over the damages. If the terms of service is ambiguous, as you claim, then use the courts to resolve these issues. It’s actually a function of the court system.

      1. If YouTube violates their terms of service, then take them to court over the damages. If the terms of service is ambiguous, as you claim, then use the courts to resolve these issues. It’s actually a function of the court system.

        What is it you think is going on when Reason dismisses PragerU’s court case? Does ‘court case ‘have some secret meaning that allows it to apply to what you’re talking about, but not to what PragerU is doing?

  19. “Another person has been denied entry to the U.S. despite having a visa because of things someone else posted to social media.”

    Reason still falling for first person appeals to emotion as the basis of “truth.” Reason now seems to support post modernism as every individual truth or narrative is free from bias and is real. The linked article was terribly one sided and devoid of actual facts.

    It’s not reason, it’s appeal to emotion.

    1. About that blurb…

      It’s not Reason, it’s appeal to emotion.

      FIFY

    2. JesseAz: “Reason still falling for first person appeals to emotion as the basis of “truth.” Reason now seems to support post modernism as every individual truth or narrative is free from bias and is real. The linked article was terribly one sided and devoid of actual facts.”

      Interesting analysis. I read the article as more of a warning about the rise of guilt-by-association and “wrong-think” as a way of screening out potentially “undesirable” individuals: some government agencies request one’s social-media histories as part of the employment selection process, – and it is far-from-unheard of for supervisors to monitor the social media of their employees.

      It seems that searching ones social media history is the “latest thing” for gun-controllers, as well, who, obviously, not only want to know what you are saying, but to whom you are talking, and base your “qualifying” on their “research.”

  20. On Monday, former Vice President Joe Biden slammed the proposal as “what you do when you can’t get something done that’s rational.”

    That’s comical, Biden pretending he is rational.

  21. Oh shit. Key manufacturing index just moved into contraction territory at 49.1% (ISM). Recession coming and The Dotard never hit 3% GDP annualized.

    #DotardisDoomed

    1. Not only that — did you see this latest explosive news about Stormy Daniels?

      #TinyMushroomDick

      1. Did the Dotard raw-dog Stormy again?

        1. Maybe. We’ll see what Democrats in Congress uncover in their investigation. I bet they’ll produce even more evidence for impeachment than we already have from the Mueller Report.

          #Impeach
          #Resist
          #TrumpRussia
          #TrumpStormy

          1. I hope their Stormy Daniels probing is on TV.

  22. So the Democrat nomination comes down to Dumb, Dumber and Senile Creepy Uncle. What a time to be alive.

    1. Any of those 3 candidates will easily win in 2020.

      1. God help us all.

  23. LETS GET THIS TRADE WAR HEATED UP BOYS!

    TRUMP SAYS THEY IS EASY TO WIN!

  24. One of the great things about being rich in California is that Sacramento makes federal taxpayers in other states pay for rich people to be fashionable.

    Exhibit 1: Subsidies for electric vehicles.

    According to the Congressional Research Service, 78% of all federal taxpayer funded credits for electric vehicles are claimed by people who make more than $100,000 a year.

    https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/IF/IF11017

    Meanwhile, more credits are claimed for electric vehicles in California than all the other states in the country combined–and that is how Sacramento achieves effective control of your federal tax dollars.

    Because such a huge portion of new vehicles are sold in California, when California mandates that car companies need to sell x number of zero-emission vehicles in order to qualify to sell other cars in the state without suffering huge penalties, the automakers end up obeying California’s standards, which are much higher than those set in Washington DC.

    This, in turn, leads auto manufacturers to join others in pushing Congress to use even more federal tax dollars to subsidize the purchase of electric vehicles. I understand there’s an ongoing push to reboot the subsidies for electric vehicles right now.

    So, if you see me cruising down Pacific Coast Highway in a brand new Jaguar iPace electric SUV (lease $849 a month after a $7,500 subsidy), try to remember, it isn’t that the your hard earned money is going to finance the fashionable lifestyle of Californians like me. Your money is actually being used to save the world from global warming. That the overwhelming majority of that money ends up financing the fashionable lifestyle of Californians who make more than $100,000 a year, well that’s just a coincidence!

    HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!

    Suckers.

    H/T WSJ

    1. But, virtue signaling should be government subsidized, because feelings.

      1. How dare you!

        You’re saving the world.

        Don’t you care about cute polar bear cubs?

        https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/8834575/two-polar-bear-cubs-frolic-in-the-snow-with-their-proud-mum/

        What is wrong with you?

  25. David Hogg is so brilliant, Harvard should be paying him to go there. With a single tweet, he perfectly captures the absurdity of American gun laws.

    Buying an AR-15 shouldn’t be easier than voting.

    #LibertariansForGunSense
    #LibertariansAgainstVoterID
    #LibertariansForFelonVoting
    #(IncludingThoseStillInPrison)

    1. Are there any other constitutional rights that should be hard to invoke, or is our Second Amendment rights the only one?

      I’d appreciate the honesty if they outright went after the Second Amendment. There’s a way to do that, but none of the gun grabbers seem to have the balls to actually go on the record for repealing the Second Amendment.

      I suspect the reason for that is because they know they’d lose, and they’d the politicians who supported doing that would lose so badly, it would be Justin Amash level political suicide.

    2. Damn, I gotta figure out where these AR-15s are available just for my signature. That’s a deal!

      1. I do wish “gun control advocates”, just ONE, would attempt to buy a gun.

        1. Idea to troll progs:

          Build a portable gun sales cart and take it to various farmers’ markets, etc where they hang out. (Use plastic replicas so you don’t go afoul the law) Shout “Guns for sale” “Get ’em while they are hot” or whatever, and have the forms ready for them to fill out if anyone comes around. Or have an accomplice hang around and come over to buy and get the form and complain about filling it out and waiting a couple of weeks to get the gun (or whatever is the protocol). Hilarity ensues.

      2. They’ll probably predatorily lend you the money to get one based on your stated background

    3. If only we had to go through a background check every time we voted.

      1. Fingerprint would be fine.

    4. When I vote all I have to do is show my ID and I get a ballot.
      When I buy a gun I have to fill in a form, show ID and wait for the background check.

  26. In the category of shooting people bad–must do something!

    How about a complete ban of any news or discussion of shootings on all media?

    First, public sentiment (i.e. popular logic) supports taking actions that might at best have little effect, because, well, any potential effect justifies any action. And in reality, at least some motivation for shooters includes both inspiration from past events, and a desire for fame and impact.

    Second, all the current media and political hysteria about shootings makes people feel bad. And that is bad. We are supposed to make each other feel good, right? Especially government. So government should exercise the feel-good mandate and clamp down on bad news. (Of course, this flies in the face of irresistible urges by government agents to frighten people for various reasons, principally to justify more government, but what the hell.)

    Third, Constitutional issues? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  27. A growing underground network

    I’m guessing it’s not that underground.

  28. Anti-Nazi documentaries apparently violate YouTube’s hate speech policy.

    Don’t give a shit anymore. You reap what you sow. Time for a new paradigm.

    Dave Chapelle’s netflix special got a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes. Assume everything you see is filtered out by a pack of intersectional bay area twinks.

  29. Freelance writers in California are screwed. California’s proposed change regarding independent contractors is being heralded as a step against the “gig economy” and companies like Uber and Lyft—but it would go so far beyond that.

    #LearnToBeeKeep

  30. re: “what you do when you can’t get something done that’s rational.”

    That’s an accurate criticism of this proposal. But a bit rich coming from Biden.

  31. “Should It Be Easier to Put Mass Shooters to Death?”

    Yes.
    It would save the taxpayers a lot of money on buying their meals, their medical care, lawyer fees, dental care, etc. instead of these murderers parasiting off our tax dollars for the rest of their lives.

  32. Since most mass shooters are like suicide bombers I don’t know if expedited death penalty will deter them, but it sounds better than eliminating the fundamental and individual right of self defense under the Second Amendment.

  33. I have a little trouble reconciling the claim that mental health is the problem underlying mass shootings with the solution being to modify the death penalty process to expedite putting a convicted shooter to death. The implication is that those afflicted with mental illness should not only face the death penalty, but also that such a penalty should be easier for the state to act on.

    This seems like a problem of one’s own making though. If you’re going to take the position that mental illness is the reason people commit mass shootings then a subsequent argument in favor of the death penalty in these cases necessarily entails favoring the death penalty for the mentally ill.

    I am not necessarily opposed to the death penalty in these cases. However, I also don’t just assume that the act of committing a mass shooting means the perpetrator is mentally ill. Those who make the latter argument as well as the death penalty argument will likely need to work on a better synthesis of the two, as I do not think the “death penalty for the mentally ill” narrative is going to come off well.

  34. “On Monday, former Vice President Joe Biden slammed the proposal as “what you do when you can’t get something done that’s rational.””

    But irrational is pretty much what the Democrats always throw out after a shooting.

  35. Common sense death penalty application will save lives.
    And clearly so-called assisted suicide laws don’t prevent suicide by cop via mass killings or else perps would be flying to death-oriented European countries to get themselves put down just as women used to fly there to get babies killed, er, abortions.

  36. Now, lets consider the problem like a feminist would do…
    1. There is always collateral damage, one must be mature and pragmatic about this.
    2. The more the bubble culture, the greater the collateral damage.
    3. The more feminist culture takes grasp of everything, the greater the collateral damage tolerated.
    4. People despise nothing than the death of the innocent.
    5. People respond the strongest in front of the worst of grotesque depiction.
    6 Women are more empathetic towards other women than towards men.
    Therefore, logic indicates that the best repelant to mass shootings would be to, after each mass shooting event, act quickly and find the most appealing young female adult who is innocent of everything and hang her in the public space.

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