MY WORD: Should there be a law?

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By Bob Pearce

There ought to be a law! Don’t ever say that where a politician can hear it. You’ll get a thousand pages of rhetoric, which will take a thousand lawyers to figure out what it really means – and chances are we already have a dozen laws that say essentially the same thing.

Moses brought down from the mountain 10 pretty good ones – straightforward and short. Today we would have to eliminate the first one because it has been declared against the law.

Jimmy Carter got it right about coveting. You can pass all the laws you want against it, but you can’t control it, because you never know when it’s going on or who’s doing it. Further it doesn’t hurt anyone.

So doesn’t it basically boil down to thou shalt not lie, cheat, steal or cause harm to another’s person or their property? As for the punishment, what about shunning? That doesn’t cost anything, but keeping a person in jail costs about $20,000 a year.

The length of the shunning would depend on the severity of the crime and give the lawyers something to argue about. This is the closest thing to solitary confinement, which is probably the worst we can think of to do as punishment. Probably wouldn’t work.

Someone would say to this person, “So, how are you doing?”

And what about the lawgivers? We have three legislative bodies in our county – fiscal court, a city council and a city commission.  Then state government, which mostly is saying “amen” to whatever its highest brother (Congress) says. This latter body has set up a myriad agencies with Gestapo power – the ability to write rules, which have the force of law with no appeal. Isn’t there something about “the rule of law?”

Or maybe that’s in the movies. “He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.” From the Declaration of Independence – the foundation of our nation.

We have so many levels of law enforcement it’s a wonder they don’t bump into each other.

Locally we have constables. Are they an arm of county government? What training do they receive? What authority do they have and to whom do they report?

There are two municipal police forces plus the county sheriff. All these folks have some sort of defined jurisdiction – or maybe it’s just something they’ve worked out. Jurisdictions are ignored when in “hot pursuit.” I suppose jurisdiction ends when the pursuer runs out of fuel. Maybe this is where the state police come in. Their authority runs out at the state line unless there is hot pursuit. Then we have FBI, ATF, federal marshals, Homeland Security, and Secret Service.

The post office and the railroads have their own enforcers. Then there is Border Patrol. Why is our Congress deliberating a new immigration law when we seem to pay no attention to the old one?

Have you looked of a map of the USA lately? Impossible to police it. Why don’t we give up and say, “Ya’ll come. Go to the local post office and pick up your Social Security card.”

But let it be known that if anyone in this country hires this person, they have to pay minimum wage, pay half your Social Security, the unemployment tax, furnish workers comp, etc. If they don’t play by the rules, we’re going to come down on them like a load of bricks.

In spite of all that was said above, I have a deep respect for those who wear a badge. If someone told me that my job description included wearing a gun and there was a good chance I’d have to use it, I’d rather clean toilets.

Thankfully, there are dedicated folks out there who don’t feel that way. They take their oath to defend and protect very seriously. We can’t thank them enough.

Stay tuned.


Bob Pearce is a retired business owner who lives in Shelbyville.