America is a nation of laws. In principle this is a good thing. However as with all things, there is often a disconnect between principle and application.
When do we say what we now have is too much?
When I was in high school (1973-1977), we had an area where kids could smoke. They had to have a note from their parents but between classes, the smokers would go down and have a smoke break.
On Friday, my daughter texted me from her high school. “Someone got caught with tobacco in school and now he is suspended and has a court date.”
What is wrong with this picture?
First, I am not advocating children smoke. Just the opposite. I am a militant non-smoker. I have asthma and cigarette smoke is one of the triggers for my asthma. My usual reaction to someone asking if they can smoke around me is a slightly less polite version of, do you mind if I pass gas?
In Tennessee, and most other states, it is now a juvenile criminal offense for someone under 18 to possess tobacco.
This kid who goes to school with my daughter is going to go to juvenile court, be prosecuted by the District Attorney and if there is sufficient evidence be convicted of a criminal offense.
The good news is for this kid; it is an offense that will not carry over to his adult life. Juvenile records are generally sealed and unavailable to anyone outside of law enforcement or the government.
The down side for this kid is that he will have probation, community service and the real possibility of going to jail.
If someone is on probation, if they violate probation, even in juvenile court they can and do go to jail. In juvenile court it is juvenile detention instead of an adult jail, but it is incarceration nonetheless.
What is wrong with this picture?
I do not approve of tobacco in any of its forms. I think smoking or using chewing tobacco is a really bad idea. It is disgusting and there are too many health consequences that go along with it.
If you are an adult, you do get to make those choices.
Put sending kids to jail and having them convicted of a criminal offense just because they had tobacco is insane.
This is the problem with America. We are no longer a nation of law; we are a nation of too many laws. Some laws are good. We must have some laws to avoid chaos. Some laws are necessary for a well-ordered liberty.
We have long since passed the point where we have enough laws.
This year Congress alone will create hundreds of new laws. Our state legislatures will create even more. Then the various agencies will be allowed to create regulations at the state and federal levels. Many of us routinely violate a myriad of laws and we do not even know we are doing it.
I can think of almost no problem currently facing America where the solution is a new law. I can think of a number of issues facing America where the best solution is the repeal of some really bad laws.
We need to tell our legislators at the local level, state level and at the federal level, to quit passing new bad laws and start repealing some of the old bad laws.
Today, the only good law is a law that repeals an old bad law.
We really need only one law: If You Cost, You Pay. The problem today is that government consists mainly of an ambitious group of lawyers--people who thrive on laws. Now we have laws to prevent people from doing something that could lead to crime. I call this preemptive legislation. For instance, you can't use fireworks, because you might burn something down. Moreover, we have preemptive legislation to prevent people from getting into a situation that could lead to crime. For instance, you can't make and sell fireworks to people because unlicensed people might use them and someone might burn something down. It goes on and on. You can't possess potassium nitrate, because it can be used to make fireworks that people might use and possibly cause a fire. We have layer upon layer of preemptive legislation, and it prevents people from doing good things as well as bad things.
What we really need is the gumption to make people pay when they actually do incur costs. If someone burns something down, he/she should pay the cost of replacing it plus a proportionate share of the costs of similar things that have been burned down without the perpetrator being caught and forced to pay. That's the only way to make crime not pay. When a person's debt for crimes committed exceeds the value of a human life ($3M U. S.), if no one is willing to bail that person out, then that person should be euthanized.
Now, when it comes to "victimless" crimes, there is no cost to others. There is no reason to make laws against smoking out of range of others, consensual prostitution, etc. The perpetrator is already punishing himself/herself. Just don't force me to give that person welfare assistance.
Regarding parental rights, each school should have a contract with parents specifying what the school should do if a child is caught doing certain things. It's not a government matter. Ideally, we should have all schools be private, so that parents can have a choice of rules to which to subject their kids.
Self-perpetuating bureaucracy. Have to stay busy, busy "doing the peoples' business." The "we are a nation of laws" rhetoric is no longer valid; we are a nation of selective enforcement. When a kid gets busted for tobacco, but Corzine is off the hook, we have inverted the system. When we have a prez and an attorney general who operate outside the law, we have a banana republic.
Oh Lord, Deliver us from a second term of this.
This smoking nonsense has gotten out of hand. It is a legal substance, onerously taxed by the Gov. and then the same Sate that taxes it decides its a criminal offense for this kid? Or, no smoking on State property, why not have a smoking section? Everyone that smokes knows the risks, but as adults are allowed to make a choice. First they came for the smokers.....
Just today they were talking about how business's are now allowed to NOT hire someone if they smoke...
They say its not DISCRIMINATION!! BS
I just think this is going over the edge.. What a person does outside of the work place, as long as its legal
should not have any bearing on your job. We have too damn many laws..
Ya know, I still have the Time magazine with the write up from the man that was in charge of testing smoke
and second hand smoke.. This is when he blew the whistle on the entire investigation...They had not performed
the tests as should and we should all know what that means.. Remember the Scientists that had bogus results
on Global Warming..Of course this man was fired from RJ Reynolds and black balled forever...But he proved most
of the testing was entirely for the big boys in DC...They needed more money, so they have since taxed the hell out
of cigarettes...With this Job deal, it just proves to me another great hike in the cost and tax of Cigs is coming.
Yes there are way too many laws..Time to leave this petty stuff alone and get down to the real reasons they have
been placed in Washington...Or its time to boot most out..
i agree all the way
i was in school the same time.
sure it was bad kid will be kids??
screw all the laws we have.
we have no idea when we do
break them, as theirs way too meany
i been on this kick since the mid 90s
Great!!! Nail a kid for having tobacco but let the illegal alone, dont's do anything to the drug pusher(we need to find the leader), prosecute someone for crossing state lines to purchase allergy medicine..... Just what kind of law do we have in this country?
You are wrong. We need a law that sends lawmakers to jail for passing illegal laws
The solution to stupid laws utterly lacking in common sense is for vigilant citizens to elect level-headed, common-sensical, conservatives to EVERY office. Secondly, voters in EVERY State should carefully draft and pass an amendment to each State's constitution "enumerating" the specific powers "We the people" delegate to our elected representatives. RESERVE all powers NOT delegated to the PEOPLE ... NOT to the government.
We need clear, concise, and limited laws. God chose TEN Commandments. Start there and add only those laws needed to control escalating unwelcome behavior deemed worthy of made criminal.
We MUST retrain our elected officials ... they are elected to apply and enforce the Law. Not to spend OUR money absurdly nor to "think up" unnecessary new laws.
However, ALL of this will mean nothing unless WE demand our highest law[s] be obeyed, AND we return GOD everywhere WE are, in our minds and hearts, in our families, in our Houses of Worship, in our schools, in our government, and in our culture. Absent these, we are truly LOST!
This country has gotten way out of control. I think when I go get into my car that someone can tell me I have to wear a seat belt or get fined is absolutely nuts!!! Yeah we have gone way too far, way way too far. Even with the kids and car seats. I never had one and I managed to get to the age of 56. I had 2 kids of my own and managed to get them to the ages of 31, and 38 and they didn't have car seats!!! Way, way too far!!!! All these little things add up to alot. We must stop this before the day they come knocking at the door asking that we hand over our firearms. I think there are some places that have already done that with handguns. aWay, way, way tooooooo far!!!
"FREE SPIRITED AMERICANS THAT WERE ACCUSTOMED TO USING "THEIR OWN CREATIVITY" TO PROVIDE FOR THEMSELVES AND THEIR FAMILIES CLEARED, SETTLED AND BUILT THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA !
MY GREAT & GRAND PARENTS WERE "OF THIS BREED" THAT FARMED THE LAND AND TAUGHT IN THE SCHOOLS. THEY RESENTED ANYONE "TELLING THEM WHAT TO DO...SO DO I".
WE ARE NOT "CHILDREN" AND WE DID NOT WORK TO SEE OUR GOVERNMENT "TREATING US LIKE CHILDREN" !
FURTHERMORE, OUR CHILDREN BELONG TO US AND WERE GIVEN TO US BY GOD, NOT BY THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT !
WE have tried to "control human behavior with laws". Laws do not make people Law Abiding..."Conscience" controls human behavior. WE HAVE "INHIBITED THE THINGS OF CONSCIENCE" THAT OUR FOUNDING FATHERS DEPENDED UPON. THE "JUDEO-CHRISTIAN FAITH" WAS A FOUNDATION FOR "OUR RULES OF LAW". THE VERY ACT OF "SWEARING ON THE HOLY BIBLE" WAS A "COMMON STANDARD" MORE POWERFUL THAN SWEARING ON THE HEAD OF ONES' SON OR DAUGHTER.
WE SEEM TO HAVE TROUBLE CONVINCING OUR PEOPLE THAT "THE RULE OF LAW" BRINGS "FREEDOM" TO ONE RATHER THAN THEIR "SENSE OF LIMITATION".
THINK OF THE IMPACT OF NO DRIVER IN OUR SOCIETY HAVING "NO STANDARD" OF STOPPING AT THE "SYMBOL" AND WORDS "STOP". I WOULD BE AFRAID TO LEAVE MY DRIVEWAY AND GET ON THE HIGHWAY FOR FEAR OF BEING BROADSIDED.
WE MUST REVISIT OURS "STANDARDS" AND DISMISS THE "UNECESSARY" AND EMPHASIZE THE "IMPORTANT".