Quantcast

Ask Dr. Mad Law | The Nation

  •  

Diary of a Mad Law Professor

Ask Dr. Mad Law

  • Share
  • Decrease text size Increase text size

Section 10-131, subparagraph (g)1, of the administrative code of the City of New York provides that: "It shall be unlawful for any person to sell or offer for sale, possess or use or attempt to use or give away, any toy or imitation firearm which substantially duplicates or can reasonably be perceived to be an actual firearm...."

About the Author

Patricia J. Williams
Patricia J. Williams
Patricia J. Williams, a professor of law at Columbia University, was born in Boston in 1951 and holds a BA from...

Also by the Author

From Ferguson to France, pliable racial categories are used to mark who counts as fully human—and who does not.

Dear Dr. Mad Law:
My little girl was invited to a cowboy theme birthday party. She wanted to go as Annie Oakley, but we can't find a single store in New York that sells toy guns. What gives?
       Concerned Mother

Dear Concerned:
There is a ban on the sale and distribution of toy guns in New York City. This measure was enacted after police accidentally shot and killed a child who was brandishing a toy pistol. There is no such ban on real guns, however. Perhaps you could lend her one of your own. Have fun at the party.

* * *

Dear Dr. Mad Law:
My father's birthday is coming up and I wanted to buy him a nice hand-tooled Italian leather wallet. But I can't find a single store in New York that sells wallets. What gives?
      Curious Son

Dear Curious:
There is a ban on the sale and distribution of hand-tooled Italian leather wallets in New York City. This measure was enacted after police accidentally shot and killed a man who was brandishing just such a wallet in a wild and erratic manner. How about a nice silk tie?

* * *

Dear Dr. Mad Law:
My wedding anniversary is next week, and I wanted to buy my wife a Three Musketeers candy bar, which is what I bought her on our first date. But I can't find a single store in New York that sells candy bars. What gives?
      Desperate Hubby

Dear Desperate:
There is a ban on the sale and distribution of candy bars in New York City. This measure was enacted after a police officer accidentally shot and wounded a teenager who was brandishing a Three Musketeers candy bar in a very threatening manner. There is one gray area of the law that you might explore: Ben and Jerry's Chunky Monkey, in which disassembled candy bar pieces sneak into the city disguised as ice cream.

* * *

Dear Dr. Mad Law:
I am a 19-year-old suspect profile pursuing simultaneous doctorates in astrophysics, economics and brain surgery at Columbia University. I can't find a single person in New York who believes I am innocent. What gives?
      Troubled Mind

Dear Troubled:
There is a ban on innocent suspect profiles in New York City. This measure was enacted after police accidentally shot several dozen innocent suspect profiles who were brandishing their bodies in suspiciously expressive and unpredictable ways. As you can surely understand, it becomes very confusing for law enforcement when they have to make on-the-spot judgments balancing the presumption of innocence, one of our most sacred jurisprudential ideals, against the kinds of decisive action necessary to protect us all from high crime statistics. You will be pleased to know that since the enactment of this ban, the police have shot only guilty suspect profiles whose résumés provided ample probable cause for prolonged gunfire.
       Have you considered moving to New Jersey? I hear that there are quite a few innocent suspect profiles who commute.

* * *

Dear Dr. Mad Law:
While on vacation in Jamaica, I sent a postcard to my sister, who lives in New York City. When she got it, the card was in little pieces and wrapped in a plastic bag with a note of apology from the post office. My sister says it's because the post office unfairly singles out Jamaican postcards; next thing you know they're in a plastic bag. Can this be true? What gives?
      Bewildered Sister

Dear Bewildered:
There is a ban on the sale and distribution of all postcards, regardless of ethnic or national origin, in New York City. This measure was enacted after a recent flood of angry postcards nearly buried City Hall and threatened to sweep the occupants from their various offices. Better safe than sorry.
       Furthermore, I was able to confirm that the postal workers who encountered your particular postcard acted reasonably under the circumstances. What your letter fails to mention is that your card pictured a suspiciously beady-eyed, gaudily outfitted tropical parrot whose talons were clenched around a large gun-shaped branch. Understandably, the postal police, whose jobs are very stressful, feared for their lives and drew their weapons. But despite repeated volleys, the parrot's fierce raptor talons remained clenched, leading frightened law officers to reasonably conclude that the parrot was wearing bulletproof bootlets. They continued shooting in self-defense until they were sure that they had made a tragic mistake. As you must know, Jamaican parrots have often appeared on When Good Pets Go Bad, and your shifty little bird bore a strong resemblance to them all. I'd say those fine public servants were just doing their job.

* * *

PERSONALS

Hardworking, professional 25-year-old suspect profile seeking SWM, 35 plus, for chaperoning, good times, credibility and more. Looking for serious, long-term witness relationship only, please. Do you love fine cars, late-night strolls, running in the park? Could you be that special one to spare my life?

  • Share
  • Decrease text size Increase text size

Before commenting, please read our Community Guidelines.