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Saturday, June 19, 2004

The sticking point...

“If the law supposes that,” said Mr. Bumble, squeezing his hat emphatically in both hands, “the law is a ass — a idiot. If that’s the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is, that his eye may be opened by experience — by experience.” - Ch. Dickens (1812–1870), Oliver Twist (ch. 51, p. 399).
I often think it's not "the law" that is the problem. The problem seems more to be idiot legislators (most of them lawyers, oddly enough) who pass bad or inadequately written laws, and sometimes the judiciary is not a great help in eliminating the problem:
A Cincinnati law governing picketers' behavior on Fountain Square forbids anyone to use a sign held with a stick.

A U.S. District Court judge temporarily lifted the ban Thursday while the city and a local man battle about whether the law violates a person's right to free speech.

But Judge Sandra S. Beckwith was quick to add: Any stick used has to meet certain criteria.
[LINK]
Judge Beckwith goes on to define those criteria:
It must be wood. It cannot be more than 2 inches wide. It cannot be more than a quarter of an inch thick. It cannot be more than three quarters of an inch in diameter. It must be blunt on both ends. (Python fans take note...no pointéd sticks - EG)
I suppose that if this happened in a Canadian court, the judge would also insist that the stick be CSA(Canadian Standards Association)-approved.

It probably would make more sense just to toss a law like this out on its idiot ass but, as the title of an old Canadian TV show reminds us: This Is the Law! (scroll down on new page)

"You promised you'd tell us about pointéd sticks." "Shut up." - Monty Python's "Self Defence" sketch