Just why so many otherwise intelligent people want to blame anyone and everything except the culprit is beyond me. But they do.
And if they can’t blame “society,” or poverty, or racism, they fall back upon the gun which he illegally obtained, possessed and carried—which “caused” him to shoot it out with police.
That unwillingness to blame the person for his own acts, and to instead blame the thing which he committed those acts, has ancient roots.
In England during the middle ages, if a rock fell from a wall and killed someone, that rock would be formally charged with the crime of murder; formally tried, formally convicted and formally executed—by being pulverized by other rocks.
The “punished” inanimate object that caused the death was called the “deodand”,” a Latin word meaning “given to God.”
We would consider such a trial and execution of a thing as a demonstration of medieval ignorance. Yet the deodand law was not removed from England’s lawbooks until the last century.
Medieval England was not the first place where the object was blamed for crimes. Anthropologist Joseph Campbell cites similar customs from Africa to New Guinea, to biblical times. Old habits die hard, and the deodand rule exists to this day.
The deodand theory of law still lives. It’s called “gun control”.
December 22, 1987
Deodand Law from The Gun Rights War, pages 112 and 113.
[Some people are saying Joan Peterson is lying. This quote from Neal is my lead-in to a post I hope to write this weekend. I will attempt to defend Peterson from the charge of lying. I don’t believe that charge is true.
On a side note—I finished The Gun Rights War last night. I highly recommend the book for gun rights activists. I didn’t like the last section, Part 7 An Uncertain Trumpet, about corruption within the NRA. It made me very uncomfortable. But it wouldn’t have been have been appropriate to leave it out either. Thank you Chris and Jay for all the work you put into the book.—Joe]