Thinking Out Loud

all of my ideas are works in progress

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An Appropriate Paranoia
In the aftermath of a kidnapped white girl media circus, there's usually someone who thinks, 'This wouldn't have happened if only...' and starts trying to pass some (usually unhelpful) variation of [insert name]'s Law.

Being removed from regular American media exposure, I only catch the briefest mentions, so I may be getting the details wrong (is this a new one or are they still talking about that Smart kid?). The one that's been on my mind lately is the one where the parents didn't report their daughter missing for something like 25 hours because they thought she was with friends. In classic punish-the-victim style, the new Whatshername's Law, the parents could be charged with child endangerment if they fail to report their child missing within a specific window. Which is ridiculous, because if you report someone missing in less than 24 hours, you're overreacting and the police will ignore you.

I sure hope I'm exaggerating, but that isn't the point. The point is that long after the media has gone after their next MWG and everyone has forgotten about this one, that law is going to remain on the books. And people are going to move to the state and get blindsided by it, because the legislative aftermath is a local-interest story or didn't get reported at all, and who can be bothered to keep track of every state's nutty laws on the off chance that I might move there in three years, and...hey! A job opening in my field in Missouri! I could live with Missouri.

I'm not talking about 'no putting you goldfish on a leash on Sunday' laws. I'm talking about 'how the heck was I supposed to know that in this county reporting a missing person before 24 hours is overprotective and reporting them missing after 26 hours is negligent' laws. Yeah, technically, ignorance of the law is no excuse, but at least when you move into a neighborhood, you get a copy of the HOA covenants.

What we need is a web database where you can type in the zip code you're moving into, you check some boxes for fields that might affect you, like kids, pets, gun ownership, motorcycle ownership, etc. Then it gives you the short, 'here's what you need to know' highlights of the city, county, and state laws pertinent to your situation, and links to the appropriate department and/or actual legal code for more information.


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