I visited the Yellowstone Zone of Death

I visited the Yellowstone Zone of Death

I feel like there are other YouTube channels that would take a different approach here. ▪ With thanks to Professor Brian Kalt: his original article is here: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=691642 — any inaccuracies that have slipped in are mine alone, and this is, obviously, not legal advice!

To save you doing the research, my location while recording this was approximately 44.14 N, 111.05 W. I got three mosquito bites in under thirty minutes, including one on my hand.

(And the credits for this one are very old-school, so I’m adding a slightly self-aggrandising note here: I did everything for this video! The camera, the editing, the sound mix, the graphics. It’s good to know I can still do that occasionally!)

I’m at https://tomscott.com
on Twitter at https://twitter.com/tomscott
on Facebook at https://facebook.com/tomscott
and on Instagram as tomscottgo

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41 Responses

  1. Tom Scott says:

    Two people drove past while I was setting up my camera, and I was, ever so briefly, worried.

  2. Cream147player says:

    It’s a shame that this wasn’t put to the test in the poaching an elk case, as that would have given some precedent before it gets to murder or a similarly serious crime – or if the defence had worked, there’d be more compulsion to resolve it.

    • R3lay says:

      @John Airey Have you watched the video?

    • Jamie C says:

      @datdabdoe Its a federal loophole, I’m sure the state courts and civil courts will have something to say. Even if the criminal law was silent, the victims family would sue you into the dirt.

    • R3lay says:

      @John Airey The question isn’t whether it’s legal or not the question is wheter you can be tried for it

  3. Claire P says:

    My husband and I made a murder mystery puzzle escape type game with this as our premise for our family reunion at Yellowstone.
    It’s nice to know that our theoretical solve of “get the killer on conspiracy elsewhere” would actually work, I suggested it but I don’t actually have a legal background.

    • J - Sabre says:

      @LunarFoxz Might be rather difficult to explain a spur of the moment murder in the most legally dubious section of the country.

      Of course, some other solutions could be to develop a portion of the area so there are people to make a jury, or restrict access to the area so one cannot ‘accidentally’ or ‘conveniently’ commit a murder within that area.

    • LunarFoxz says:

      The hard part is proving there was a conspiracy else where and that it wasn’t seat of the pants. (assuming the murderer did their homework)

  4. tarmaque says:

    That’s a wise move. The mosquitoes in that area have been known to fly off with small pets and the occasional child. The death of an adult male has never been proven, but who wants to take that chance?

    • Backroad Junkie says:

      @VP You haven’t been to the Northwoods in Minnesota in June.

      You’ll begin to believe it’s true…

    • VP says:

      Mosquitos are not able to do that.

    • Vigilant Cosmic Penguin says:

      And when the mosquito gets put on trial, it’ll be a jury of all mosquitoes, and they’re definitely going to be biased.

    • ROGER2095 says:

      Mosquitoes with beaks, carrying off children. . . . Seems I heard Peter Falk talking about something like this years ago.

  5. Humphrey Yang says:

    This is fascinating, thanks Tom!

  6. Shiny Agumon says:

    I love these kind of legal loopholes.

    Reminds me of the bit in the Martian where Mark Watney points out that he’s actually committing international piracy by driving around Mars.

    • Vigilant Cosmic Penguin says:

      That’s got to be the furthest from the sea that a pirate has ever been.

    • Daniel Carrier says:

      I’ve read something where someone looked into it. What he was taking was abandoned, and even if it wasn’t, stealing a vessel with nobody on it isn’t enough to qualify as piracy. Also, space is legally very similar to maritime law, but it’s not literally the same thing.

    • ZackWester says:

      @Hurricane Floyd true but im sure there are law that state you can more or less take anything deemed necessary for your survival as long as it does not harm or risk harming someone else. (whit logical limitation).
      if Im on a life raft out in the occeaon and see a abountent ship float by I can logical comendare it for my survival as long as I return it to its owner(or equal) as soon as possible.
      that said if the coast guards shows up and ask me to hand over the ship (and im to be escorted to safely) and I refuse then I have committed Piracy.
      there is a lot of legal overriters for situvations.
      like last I checked I can use a military radio tuned to a military frequency whit out a radio/ham licence that I found in a military catch to call for help if I ended up extremely lost in say the mountains (and the only thing I might get charged whit is getting myself into that situation if even that) presuming that I return the radio as soon as I can.

    • ZackWester says:

      @Imię Nazwisko now I have a mental picture of the astonauts having to keep track on what module they are in before opening a can of bear (or bottle).

    • Bisken says:

      @Mike B actually, it’s defined as “international waters”

  7. CookinginFinland says:

    Long, long ago there was a small triangle of land in northern California that had accidentally been left out of all of the surrounding cities and counties. When this was discovered, there were casinos and brothels opened, as well as kids going there to get drunk. It was called “No Man’s Land” but sometime around 1955 they changed it and shut everything down.

  8. wispa says:

    I think if anyone actually tried to get away with murder via this loophole, the federal government would try to _”Al Capone”_ them. The prosecution would try to charge you with any and all potential crimes you committed outside the zone, e.g. conspiracy, or kidnapping (if you took someone there against their will) and make sure you got the maximum sentence on every single one of them. I think it would be close to impossible to commit murder inside the zone without committing any crimes before/after which could get you a custodial sentence.

    • Leo W. says:

      There is a good chance they would escalate it to the supreme court, who can overrule the constitution by just saying that that doesn’t apply, that it means something different or that another thing in the constitution also applies and that outweighs the sixth ammendmend.

    • mojothemigo says:

      Your assuming the judge would be nitpicky enough to say it couldn’t be tried for murder. Worst case the judge orders a mistrial and the case sent to the other state. The defendant could appeal to the Supreme Court and I doubt they are going to be that nitpicky. Worst case scenario it would be a retrial in one of the other states like one of the lower courts. It isn’t just what the law says, it is what it mean. Judges, particularly the Supreme Court, have sway one what the law means. While there might be a few Judges that throw out the case the vast majority wouldn’t.

    • Kevin Valdez says:

      @Jen’ari-asha They would likely argue you knew about the loophole and traveled there intentionally to commit a crime, thus committing the crime of conspiracy to commit a crime.

    • TomDufall says:

      Could they re-interpret the ‘and’ in ‘of the state and district’ and have a jury composed of a mixture of state and district representatives? If they were meant to both be true for every juror (i.e. each one is from the state and district) but district is almost always a subset of state, why would it be specified?

  9. Katie Chan says:

    I see how Tom deliberately chose not to bring a camera operator to film him so as not to tempt fate. 😅

    • Vigilant Cosmic Penguin says:

      @Horntx A found footage horror movie with Tom Scott as the villain would be quite interesting.

    • Horntx says:

      When I clicked I was hoping the video would end with tom pulling out a knife and looking menacingly at the camera operator. “So what would happen if a crime was committed in the zone of death. There’s only one way to find out!” *Cut to footage end screen*

  10. Sol says:

    Technically Tom risked his life to make this video

    • ThiefOfNavarre says:

      Well you can get murdered anywhere. It’s wether or not your killer will be convicted which is the doozy!

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