Reason Foundation

Reason Foundation

Reason Alert: Gun-Free School Zones

April 19, 2007

Virginia Tech Tragedy and Gun-Free Zones
In a column in today's Washington Times, Reason's Jacob Sullum says gun-free zones, like the one at Virginia Tech, only disarm law-abiding students and faculty: "In shootings at other schools, armed students or employees have restrained gunmen, possibly preventing additional murders. Four years ago at Appalachian Law School in Grundy, Va., a man who had killed the dean, a professor and a student was subdued by two students who ran to their cars and grabbed their guns. In 1997, an assistant principal at a public high school in Pearl, Miss., likewise retrieved a handgun from his car and used it to apprehend a student who had killed three people. Not only can guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens save lives in situations like these; they may even make such situations less likely. It may seem implausible that the possibility of armed victims would deter a seemingly irrational, suicidal attacker such as Cho Seung-Hui, who ended his attack by shooting himself in the head. But even a gunman who expects to die during an attack does not want to be stopped before he can carry out his homicidal mission."

Duke Lacrosse Case Shows Defense Needs DNA, Too
In the New York Post, Roger Koppl, author of an upcoming Reason Foundation study and director of the Institute for Forensic Science Administration at Fairleigh Dickinson University, writes the Duke lacrosse case shows that in today's CSI world the scales of justice are tipped heavily in favor of the prosecution: "When forensic scientists work exclusively for the prosecution, we should expect errors and abuse. Using post-conviction DNA evidence, the Innocence Project has helped exonerate nearly 200 people wrongly convicted of crimes. A study of the first 86 such cases, published in the journal Science, found faulty forensics played a role in almost two-thirds of those convictions. The time has come to free forensic science from the pressures of prosecutorial bias. To that end, crime labs should become independent of police and prosecutors, and public defenders should be given greater access to forensic advice and testing. Crime labs should be independent, operating under the supervision of an officer of the court, who would be responsible for assigning forensic evidence to laboratories and ensuring that all crime labs in the system are following proper scientific procedures."

Feminists, Rape Victims and the Falsely Accused
In a column for the Boston Globe, Reason's Cathy Young says, "The same feminists who rightly tell us that a rape victim should not have to be an angel to deserve support apply such a different standard to men who may be falsely accused of rape...The past 30 years' progress in the treatment of rape victims needs to be balanced by better safeguards against unjust prosecutions. The Duke case, which has given a face to the plight of the falsely accused, may well turn out to be the start of such a change. If feminists want to retain their credibility as advocates for victims of rape, they need to drop the habit of knee-jerk support for every accuser—and to show decency and compassion toward the victims of false accusations."
» Cathy Young: How Big a Problem Is Prison Rape?

Women and the Immigration Debate
Anti-immigration groups often yell, "Mow your own lawn." Reason's Kerry Howley writes, "Self-sufficient households, quite simply, are homes that embrace separate spheres. Where there is an unpaid laborer to do the cooking, the cleaning, the babysitting, domestic services needn't be outsourced. The keep-‘em-out, mow-your-own-lawn [immigration] ideology falls hardest not on the traditional purveyors of lawn care, but on the traditional purveyors of childcare — mothers. Women have done much to free themselves from the burdens of domestic labor, but as study after study makes clear, it isn't because men are picking up the slack. Instead, women have been fantastically successful at seeking solutions in the market, from center-based daycare to increasingly affordable cleaning services. We send out our laundry and order takeout for dinner. It's not that we’ve equalized such burdens, but that we’ve commodified them...We could mow our own lawns. We could also make our own candlesticks and churn our own butter. The question to ask isn’t why we don’t live in a more self-sufficient America, but why Americans—and especially women—would ever want to."

Drinks With Reason and John Stossel
You are cordially invited to join Reason Foundation, the Los Angeles Press Club, and ABC News anchor John Stossel on Wednesday, May 2, at 6:30 p.m., at a reception in downtown Los Angeles in honor of John's latest book Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity: Get Out the Shovel--Why Everything You Know is Wrong. Please join us for a lively and fun evening of cocktails and conversation at the Blue Velvet Restaurant. For more details and RSVP information, please click here.

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