The Letter of the Law…
With laws spewing forth from 435 congressmen and a hundred senators in Washington, 40 state senators in Tallahassee, and a cadre of local legislators, Florida is being inundated with laws. It is hard to exit our houses without breaking a law. We are suffering from stage-four legal carcinoma. With volumes of laws already on the books and new ones being added daily obedience is impossible.
For the little yellow light before the school grounds we quickly slow from forty miles per hour to twenty miles per hour. It blinks for a period of half hour or more twice every school day and since it is electrically controlled sometimes when there is no school. Almost no one walks to school anymore and there is seldom, if ever, a student visible anywhere on the sidewalk or roadway outside the fence that surrounds the school. The slow-down is to protect students but there are no students to protect.
Early on Sunday morning on a six lane highway the only visible vehicle stops at a left turn signal and being completely alone on the highway turns left against the signal. A policeman parked off the highway in a gas station across the street stops the vehicle and the driver pays a $300 dollar fine.
A twinge of foolishness passes over a driver stopped at a sign when there is not another vehicle in sight.
Granted, it is difficult to control traffic. But traffic laws are boondoggles that have deteriorated into a contest between police and citizens and are often used by local governments to enhance revenue. Cameras that record the license numbers of cars that violate traffic signals are the latest pocket picking device. Issuing expensive tickets for actions that are safe and logical casts a pall on the law and adds to the disdain that plagues police officers.
For most Americans their only experience with law enforcement is a confrontation with a traffic cop. Being forced to stop the car, ordered to produce identification, and queried as if suspected of a crime by a policeman who is heavily armed and threatening, and who demands compliance when thousands of other drivers are committing the same offense with impunity rubs many victims the wrong way. The demand for acquiescence sometimes produces a belligerence that results in innocent but stubborn citizens being dragged from their vehicles, thrown to the pavement, handcuffed and transported to a local jail. Judges support belligerent cops.
The incremental deterioration of the policies of our police forces has resulted in a self-protective, self indulgent attitude in organizations that used to serve the public but now have often become an enemy to those they are supposed to serve. It is illegal for a citizen to lie to a policeman but legal for a policeman to lie to a citizen. It is legal for policemen to beat up a suspect but illegal for the suspect to resist. Without seeing a weapon, solely on suspicion of lethal resistance policemen can murder an innocent suspect with impunity. The innocent murdered suspect is quickly forgotten but when a policeman is murdered the grieving process is grandiose.
Over forty years ago President Nixon proclaimed drugs “enemy number one” and began the disastrous War on Drugs. Like the War on Terror it is perennial, like the experience with Prohibition it is futile, and like the misuse of traffic laws it has become a source of illegitimate revenue. Millions of dollars have been confiscated and used to enrich local police departments. In some states a few ounces of marijuana found by a sniffing dog can result in the loss of one’s car, one’s cash, and one’s freedom. The arbitrary appropriation of large amounts of cash and property receives little publicity but policemen strive to find these marks sometimes using instructions that are readily available on the internet. Read about this travesty here and here.
Murder, burglary, and robbery used to be the three major crimes. Today, selectively determined “sexual offenses” are the most feared and most punished. Murderers no longer receive the headline coverage awarded to child molesters. Murder is routine while child molestation is sensational. Sex offenders are branded with a symbolic S.O. that like Hester’s Scarlet Letter identifies their existence. However, unlike Hawthorn’s Hester who gained acceptance, their sentence involves a lifetime of being feared, shunned, and persecuted often for political advantage.
We have created an artificial set of laws that apply to children but the definition of children has become as blurred as the definition of a baby. Eighteen is broadly accepted as the age of adulthood but being chronologically adult bears no relationship to personal maturity; some individuals are mature at thirteen and others are immature a thirty. Humanist abortion advocates claim that “fetuses” are not human beings. This definition becomes seriously questionable at the time of birth when a full orbed baby is sometimes mutilated to obtain stem cells that were touted as potential cures for human diseases but are also being used for commercial purposes such as food flavoring.
Killing a developing baby is as murderous as killing an adult and much more cowardly. Laws against murder, adultery, and fornication need to be enforced, regardless of age. What is bad for children is also bad for adults. Sin is not and should not be age related.
R. J. Rushdoony writes, “Inability to learn: this is our national problem. We are destroying everything that made us great. We are undermining the farmer and pushing him toward ruin. We are pursuing immoral courses as though they were Godly ones. And, like a gambler, the more foolish we become, the more we persuade ourselves that our course of action will make us a winner.” Humanists are unable to learn. They may be smart as whips but they are unable to apprehend and follow truth. Rushdoony maintains, “The Word of God must be proclaimed, and it must be studied. Then men can learn by experience.”
It is a frightening thing to fall into the clutches of our legal system. When the law, the courts, and the judges fail to produce justice the system becomes torturous. Unjust laws upheld by dishonest lawyers in courts conducted by wisdom impaired judges produce unpredictable and outrageous decisions.
It is the inability of the unrepentant to learn that causes society to revert to mordant anarchy. History clearly documents the evil nature of human beings; it is a litany of strife and war. Unable and unwilling to learn from history in spite of superior mental acuity the unrepentant stubbornly maintain that human beings are “good”. This erroneous impression of goodness produces a legal system that is more concerned with human opinion and the law it produces than with the overarching justice of the Creator.
When the letter of the law is enforced, court officials will allow an incorrect decision to stand in spite of proof of innocence.
In his 1978 iconic speech at Harvard Alexander Solzhenitsyn said, “I have spent all my life under a Communist regime and I will tell you that a society without any objective legal scale is a terrible one indeed. But a society with no other scale but the legal one is not quite worthy of man either. A society which is based on the letter of the law and never reaches any higher is scarcely taking advantage of the high level of human possibilities.”
Justice cannot survive in a system that depends on the enforcement of the letter of human law. Without the objective legal system provided by the Creator the legal foundation of society is hopelessly flawed and when a flawed subjective legal system is enforced by assiduous police, injustice is rampant.
Instead of the static law provided by God, in this day of messianic government we have attempted to produce what God intended through the product of human intellect. The result is a legal system without an anchor plagued by the anarchy of brilliant human minds but bereft of justice.
As social injustice produces more and more unrest law enforcement has become more vicious. Policemen who in former days were peace keepers have now become law enforcers and are being equipped like invading armies. See this video.
Italy is noted for reckless drivers. On the Autostrada the left lane is reserved for high speeds and cars often careen along a hundred miles an hour. Slow drivers do not drive in the left lane. On rural roads, traffic moves quickly with cars and scooters darting in and out of tight spaces. When there is no traffic Italians ignore stop signs. In the cities scooters are everywhere they ride between cars, through, and in the outer lanes against traffic; they are carefully avoided. Speeding tickets and citations for violations are infrequent as long as there are no accidents. When there is an accident it is thoroughly investigated and fines are assessed on the violator.
There is more justice in Italian enforcement then there is in America.
Competing lawyers produce winners and losers; they do not produce justice. The judge maintains order and oversees legal compliance. The law is upheld but justice is forgotten, no one gets it, including the accused; if he is guilty and his lawyer wins he will go free and if he is innocent and his lawyer loses he will go to jail.
The messianic government of the United States of America imprisons more people per capita than any other nation in the world; though many of our citizens consider nations like China and Russia tyrannical neither nation has as large a percentage of their population incarcerated as we have in America.
A note to my readers: Fifteen year ago our home was new. Now we are in the process of fixing the things that have worn. We put in new flooring which involved unbelievable chaos – hundreds of books removed from and returned to the shelves, furniture moved from and returned to every room; carpet and tiles installers in and out of the house for several days. Lots of upset but now it is complete. We sold our motor home and I have supplemented my beloved Vespa scooter with a larger Honda (I can no longer handle a motorcycle but do well with the scooters.) Patty is planning to retire from her job at the end of this school year so we will be trying to sell a car and a scooter in a terrible market. I am hoping to return some of the housework to her and spend more time writing.
By plan and by happenstance…
My wife works and since I am far past the age of retirement and have mostly extinguished my business activities, I wash some dishes, do the laundry and ironing, some shopping, and some outdoor work. The remainder of my waking hours are spent reading (both books and internet sites) and writing. In past weeks I have been sidelined.
First, with justifiable fear and trepidation, I installed Windows Live Mail and Windows Live One Care on our computers (we have three). As is usually the case, these two new programs had several glitches that required hours of frustrating attempts to get tech support and when tech support was found understanding the individual that was attempting to provide it. Microsoft offers telephone support for Live One Care but since Live Mail is free but necessary if one wants to continue to use hotmail, the only support is by email.
Centralization and market domination have removed the need to satisfy the consumer and massive corporations like Microsoft provide services at their discretion with only moderate regard for the convenience and satisfaction of the customer. This is an interesting phenomenon since it was not long ago that Japan’s ability to produce zero defect manufactured items set off a decentralizing rage that swept the nation. Now billion dollar mergers are creating mammoth international corporations that protect their decision makers from the unwashed masses by presenting the public with a quasi-monopolistic product packaged to their specifications with a take it or leave it attitude.
Following all those hours of listening closely to English that is remarkably good considering the source but extremely difficult for aging ears, my Windows Live Mail seems to be working. However, I am still unable to properly install my contacts into Live Mail and Microsoft’s email support is hopeless.
Since the computer is the vehicle of my principle activity, malfunctions become full time jobs.
The other time consumer might come under the heading of, “there is no fool like an old fool”.
One of my uncles was a well known professor at a large university. He lived into his late 80s and was active when most men of his age were sedentary. His intention was to “wear out rather than rust out”. I am trying to appropriate his mantra.
In the tedium of my rapidly progressing age I decided it would be a good idea to plan a motorcycle trip around the country doing some interviews in medium sized cities that have large unemployed or underemployed citizens as a result of globalization.
I began shopping for a motorcycle and listing potential visits.
I knew some cities that had been devastated by the loss of major industries but was unable to find a good source that would cover the geography.
When I told the motorcycle dealers I was planning a cross country trip they showed me big bikes, the Harley Davidson Electra Glide, the Honda Goldwing, and the Yamaha Royal Star. Being contrary, I ended up with a Victory Kingpin Tour. It is a good looking, very powerful machine.
When we moved to Florida over twenty years ago I brought a 650 Honda motorcycle with me and rode it around for a couple of years before selling it. During our trips to Italy I fell in love with the Vespa scooters and purchased a 150cc Vespa for around town use. I maintained the motorcycle addendum to my driver’s license and needed it to run the scooter. When I purchased the Victory motorcycle from a dealership located close to a hundred miles away, I thought I would have no problem riding it home.
After riding a scooter for six years the gears on the big bike were difficult and its weight was intimidating. The other problem was turning. The radius on the Victory was considerably larger than either the scooter or a smaller motorcycle; radius is important since many new riders have been killed by mistakenly turning their bikes directly into the path of cars or crashing into obstacles that surround the highway.
After riding the bike jerkily around the dealership several times, dropping it once, and feeling inadequate, I was reluctant to attempt to ride it home. I needed to negotiate two right turns, four stop lights, and a left turn onto the Florida Turnpike; once I got the bike on the turnpike riding would be easy. My son had come with me but he does not have a motorcycle license so getting the motorcycle home was my problem.
Riding from light to light was easier than trying to keep the proper gear on the dealer parking lot. I made it to the turnpike and things went smoothly with the exception of one frightening incident where the bike seemed to feel as if it was on an icy surface. It quickly came back under control and I gave it no more thought until I read in the manual that the Tour model has a limited highway speed.
We have a gated downhill driveway which drops at a right angle off the road and as I turned the bike to go down the hill I was headed for the left gate pylon. I hit the front brake and down went the motorcycle. I was not hurt and the worst damage to the bike was burned shoe leather on the pipes; that came off with oven cleaner and the bike was in ship shape.
I have signed up at the local community college for a highly praised motorcycle course and will not attempt to ride the Victory until after I get more familiar with riding. Several times I have backed the Victory out of the garage, started the engine, shifted the gears, and rode it down the driveway partially letting out the clutch. This has helped me get a feel for the controls and a better knowledge of how the bike operates. I am still intimidated.
The Vespa scooter has taken me around town for six years. During that time it has never been down. That was about to change. A few weeks ago, as I was thinking how much easier the scooter was to control than the new motorcycle and how comfortable I felt riding it, I hit a six inch wide patch of sand in the gutter as I made the 90 degree turn up the slight rise in the driveway into Best Buy (returning a computer part they recommended but I didn’t need); out went the front wheel, down went the scooter and bang went my right eye socket, right shoulder, and knee on the pavement. Since I was able to stand and move, I washed the blood off in the men’s room, finished my business, and rode the scooter home. At the hospital they took a CAT Scan of my head and found nothing. My wife said she knew that already…. Boy, did I look ugly! As my right eye swelled closed my right cheek doubled in size and a dark blue hematoma crept down my right cheek and down my neck. My right shoulder was bruised and I could not raise my arm, my right foot was black and blue from being caught under the scooter and I had skin missing from my knee and wrists. I felt like I had been hit by a truck. Almost two weeks have now gone by and I look and feel much better. I am healing and the scooter is being repaired.
It is now a month since the scooter mishap and I have completed the motorcycle course. The toenail on my right big toe is loose and will soon come off leaving a raw toenail cavity that will take up to a year to heal. I still have a raw sore on my right knee that has not healed and there is a small bump under my right eye that is receding day by day. The motorcycle course was informative and helpful but the bikes they used were 125CC Kawasakis that are quite different from 1600cc Victorys. I did well with the course and the instructor said I should be able to handle the Victory but will need lots of work. I will continue to work at learning to ride the big bike safely.
Al Cronkrite is a regular columnist for Novakeo.com
Al Cronkrite is a writer living in Florida, reach him at: firstname.lastname@example.org