Politics revealed by the technical legality of murder in a slice of Yellowstone

It’s interesting enough that a section of Yellowstone National Park provides an area in which to murder someone without breaking the law due to a lack of proper jurisdiction, but I ended up being equally fascinated by a professor’s pithy analysis of U.S. government and the motivations of politicians. See how he explains their inaction:

The game: “But nothing happens in Washington just because it’s a good idea.”

The priorities: “If Congress really wanted to fix this, it wouldn’t take long at all. The problem isn’t that it’s complicated; it’s that they’re not interested in it.”

Power: “They don’t deal with hypothetical threats. They deal with concerns that are currently affecting influential constituents.”

The reporter gave space for a reply to the professor’s judgment:

Congress doesn’t seem to agree. Wyoming senator Michael Enzi’s press secretary told me in an emailed statement that “Senator Enzi has studied the ‘zone of death’ issue in Yellowstone National Park, and there does not seem to be a simple legislative fix.” Idaho senator Jim Risch told me the argument is “science fiction” and insists the state of Idaho would have jurisdiction over a crime there. “This is all very romantic and a great fictional thing,” he said, “but I’m telling you, the states have jurisdiction.” (This statute, however, clearly places Yellowstone under the “sole and exclusive jurisdiction of the United States.”)

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