The Truth About Laws

It seems to me that many people simply do not understand what a Law really is. A Law is a statement made by society which simply says, "We will hold people accountable for the following action(s)". When writing these Laws, making these statements, society should bear in mind a couple of important facts:

1. Laws create criminals.
By definition, a criminal is someone who does not abide by the Law. Therefore, with no Laws there are no criminals. Following this same logic, we can see that the more Laws we write the more criminals we are going to have in society. Every action you can think of, and even some you can't wrap your brain around, is being done by someone-- whether we like it or not. A "Law" simply explains what we (as a society) will not tolerate.

Think of it like this: how many people own a car? Let's make this simple and say that 100 people own a car. Right now, it's not against the Law to own a car and therefore there are no criminals. If we pass a Law today which says owning a car is illegal, we just created 100 criminals since there are now 100 people who own a car which the Law says is illegal.

This leads to the obvious question: why on earth would we write such a Law? Owning a car is not, in and of itself, a danger to society and, therefore, we do not consider making the owning of a car a crime.

But what if non-car owners wanted to pass this Law and turn the rest of us into criminals? Obviously, it would never happen since they are a minority; that is to say, there are more people who own a car than there are who do not. But the point is: should that fact come into play when deciding if a Law should be written? If we look at the scenario from the other direction, where it is the majority who do not own a car, would it be ok to allow this Law to get passed against car owners?

Again, car owners would be outraged since they see no harm in owning a car and would consider such a Law to be unjust. Our problem, as a society, is that we stopped considering this scenario. Our prisons are filled with so-called "criminals" who have taken no action against society-- pot smokers, for example. And we allowed an unjust Law to get passed, and these people turned into "criminals", simply because the majority of us are not targeted by the Law.

2. Laws are for accountability, not control.
We understand that while a Law says we are going to hold people accountable for their actions, those Laws do not control a person's ability to act. If the Law had the ability to control people, writing a speeding Law would keep people from speeding. Obviously, that's not the case since speeding tickets are written every day. Therefore, writing a Law against speeding does not keep people from speeding, but does allow us to be given a speeding ticket and held accountable for it.

With this in mind, we need to question why some people want to pass Laws in an effort to control society. We do not allow non-car owners to pass a Law which turns car owners into criminals because we, as the majority of society, do not hold the car accountable for injuries or deaths involving a car. We may hold the driver responsible, and therefore require drivers to have a license and be held accountable for reckless driving, or we hold a vehicle manufacturer accountable for shoddy workmanship-- all of which we do have Laws for--, but we do not consider trying to hold the car, itself, responsible.

And even with all the vehicle-related deaths that happen each year, we (as a society) are not fighting to make getting a driver's license more difficult. So why are people trying to use that logic to pass more Laws against gun owners? Why are we seeing commercials with celebrities crying for stricter gun Laws if we understand that guns, like cars, aren't accountable for the actions of the people who misuse them?

Because people fail to realize the two points I've made here. We have allowed ourselves to become so terrified of the bad guys that we're willing to hold honest, Law-abiding citizens accountable for the actions of criminals. We're so afraid of the dangerous, violent drug dealers who kill people and sell to children that we've become ok with targeting non-violent, pot-smoking grandmas who just want to eat pot brownies at home. It may sound silly to put it that way, but make no mistake: when we pass a Law saying something is illegal, it's illegal for everyone.

And that's the point, that is the bottom line. As silly as we've allowed it to sound, the honest truth is that we're using Laws to punish grandma. Grandma isn't hurting anyone, or taking anything from the rest of us, with her pot brownies or the gun she keeps next to her bed. But we're so afraid of the people who are hurting us, who are taking from us, that we've placed grandma in the crossfire. We're willing to call grandma a criminal, and treat her like a criminal, based on the actions of those who have harmed us.

And it's extremely sad that we've been reduced to abusing the Law in this way.