By now have we all heard about the tragic incident on ‘Black Friday’ where a Wal-Mart worker was trampled to death in the early morning hour? Predictably, New York legislators aim to prevent another occurence by…. passing a law. Here is one article describing the effort.
I just want to ask these Democratic New York lawmakers if they think it is worthwhile to create a new law for every variation on human misconduct? In their defense, the habit of passing laws after isolated incidents is common throughout the land. One of the more recent examples of note is the passing in Missouri of a ‘cyber bullying‘ law on account of one incident when a girl committed suicide because of what was said to and about her online. I suspect that many of the gun laws in this country are derived from similar isolated events. But is it really fair and right to take one instance of a thing and then pass a law about it?
Perhaps ‘fair’ and ‘right’ has nothing to do with it but rather it is a question of practicality. I used to be of the school that said that ‘ignorance is no excuse’ in regards to following the law or rules (ie, in my classroom when I was a teacher) but then I had a short list of rules that had enough sense to them that they could be easily learned, easily remembered, and easily applied. Who possibly could make themselves aware of the tens of thousands of pages worth of legislation passed now in this country, not even including our tax code?
I guess that there are many aspects of this problem. For example, I think lawmakers feel useless if they aren’t passing laws. The idea that perhaps their job was to make sure legislation was kept to the minimum seems far from their mind. And you can’t blame them. If a councilman (or a US Congressman) passed no legislation in a term one can imagine the populace thinking he was just lazy. Also, I think some people just like to be ordered around.
Are there alternatives? I think so, but it would be a lot more work. It would require raising children to be decent and have common sense. On a national scale, that would require some agreement on what things are decent. And this would be difficult, since the current trend is to purge any notion that any one thing is right or wrong and the call for ‘tolerance’ is intolerantly shouted.
In the meantime, a lot of good and decent people did not trample anyone and a lot of good and decent people are not bullying people online and a lot of good and decent people are not flying into a rage and running out that instant to obtain a gun by any means available. But the rest of us 300,000,000 have to live with an every narrowing base of personal liberties and freedoms. It just ain’t right.