Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Initiative 17: From the finest minds of the 15th-to-19th centuries

Say, here's some good news:

First came the Oregon House's idiotic Concurrent Resolution 14, which would adopt "The Code of the West" as the standard for legislative deportment. It's a shot in the arm in these difficult economic times for the state's spittoon manufacturers, of course, but the rest of us can only hope that the State Senate will have the good sense to bury this silliness quickly and deeply.

Now, hot on the heels of that bit of legislative foolishness comes news that Initiative 17 -- among whose chief petitioners are those Torquemadas of the Oregon initiative process, Kevin Mannix and Wayne Brady -- has been received at the Secretary of State's office, aiming for the 2012 ballot.

Its purpose is to enshrine the so-called "Oregon Castle Document" in state law.

A measure designed to preserve Oregon's rich heritage of medieval architecture?

You wish.

Section 1. In order to guarantee every person the right to be secure in his or her home or business without having to retreat from any intruder, and to ensure the peaceful enjoyment of land without concern as to trespassers, the People adopt this statute as the Oregon Castle Document.

Section 2. An owner of any land is not liable for any injury, death or other damage suffered by a trespasser on the land where such injury, death, or other damage is caused by any condition of the land or its fixtures. The only exception to this section is the following: this section does not protect an owner from liability for placing a spring gun, or other device, which is placed intentionally for the purpose of injuring a person.

Get it? It would establish an Oregonian's home as his castle (or "her castle," but I suspect they're mainly thinking "his" -- the whole scheme just has too much of the Y chromosome about it).

I have to admit that implementing the "Oregon Castle Document" would be a cheaper option than, say, adequately funding police and public safety in the state. No need to raise taxes if all a homeowner has to do is open fire on strangers.

("That's right, officer -- He didn't know who won the 1951 World Series, so I commenced a-blastin'.")

But honestly: It's as if Republicans are no longer even trying to pretend that they're aware of the problems of America in the 21st century, much less that they're interested in solving them. In a way, the candor of it is almost refreshing.

Watch for initiatives restoring Lèse Majesté and Droit de Seigneur, coming soon to a ballot near you.

Meanwhile, Initiative 17 would need 87,213 signatures to get on the 2012 ballot. The secretary of state's office is taking comments on the initiative through April 18th.

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