In the newest issue of the Washingtonian I’ve got a snapshot of what’s happening with the oft-acronymed trade associations that have, for nearly a century, represented the interests of technologists in the public policy realm. The increasing presence of Internet-native companies in DC (think Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp) is nudging change in the field, as the various associations rethink what it means to speak for technology in Washington. The piece isn’t yet online, though it will be, here, in the next few weeks. In the meantime, as the Printing Industries of America might recommend, perhaps you might pick up a paper copy.

Update: Boom. Online now here.

A quick thought on the Trayvon Martin verdict, and a pointer it inspires. Part of the inarguable context of this case is that regulation of U.S. gun culture has shifted in recent years, in favor of things like concealed carry and ‘stand your ground laws.’ That’s no accident, and as much as this case might be about race and crime and youth in America, it’s also about the way in which we make our laws.

Back in April of last year, I wrote for The Atlantic about the loosely coordinated effort by progressive activists to shove into the public realm the workings of ALEC, or the American Legislative Exchange Council, a state-based organization that joins conservative politicians and corporate leaders in the hope of advancing a specific agenda — including efforts to loosen constraints around gun ownership and use. You can believe that the Florida jury reached the right verdict and still be upset about the system and circumstances that produced this situation’s outcome. The critique in the case of an ALEC is that we’ve constructed an environment that influences how people handle weapons without a real robust public debate about whether the world we’ve made makes much sense.

(Now’s as good a time as any to point out that, generally, writers don’t write things like headlines and sub-headlines that run along their pieces. Note that I didn’t say, “don’t get to write,” because it’s a difficult job and because the motivations of editors are different than those of writers. Somebody’s got to make sure pieces get read. But I think branding ALEC “shadowy” is a step too far. They operate in private, as other groups do by default. But what I find particularly interesting here is that activists are seeing the value in making those operations fully public, as a way of drawing attention to the sort of laws they produce. It’s something akin to the push to reframe the N.R.A. as “The Great Oz.” It’s less, in my mind, about revealing the exact identity of the man behind the curtain than the fact that what we’re dealing with is a man behind a curtain.)