Here a law, there a law, everywhere a law

Posted on July 9, 2008 by LCT Magazine

By Jim A. Luff

Today marks nine days since the “hands-free” cellular phone law went into effect in California.  Not surprising to me is the number of people I see still talking on their phone as they travel down the highway and city streets.  Does no one care about the new law?  They must know about it.  You can’t drive anywhere in California without seeing the gigantic highway signs that remind you, “It’s the law.”

Maybe they don’t care because the first offense is a paltry $20.  Everyone has a spare $20 right?  If you get caught and have to pay it, you’ll learn to check that rearview mirror just a little better in the future.  No big deal.

Our society exists for the most part in harmony because we operate under a judicial system where we have laws and the police enforce the laws and courts punish us for   laws we break.  But, perhaps we are in a trend of overregulation.  In the past week, I wondered how it came to be that many cities outlaw fireworks.  You just can’t light them off anymore.  Yet, it has been a tradition and part of my life since I was born.  When I was a child, we had bottle rockets and roman candles that we held in our hand!  4th of July was the best family event of the year with my children. 

So, I wonder what happened.  I have no idea how long bottle rockets were around before I was born.  Maybe they were relatively new and we learned over a 45 year period that they are really dangerous.  Or, maybe in the last decade, people started being careless and not following written directions so all of a sudden they became destructive when not previously so fifty years ago.

Another theory is that 50 years ago it was okay to have a house or two burn down on the 4th.  Kind of like a bonus bonfire.  When the annual count got to five houses burned down society got smarter and figured we probably should not burn any house down for the 4th and wondered why we did that for so long.

Truly, I think we as a society have become a smarter, wiser and more intelligent species.  Back in the day, a quarter century ago, I smoked like a train inside a hospital hallway just outside the labor room.  All kinds of men were pacing and smoking.  Ashtrays were everywhere.

Then, we realized that smoke and fire don’t mix well with oxygen and we’re killing people with the air.  No more smoking in hospitals!  Next, people were told there will be no more smoking in restaurants.  What?  No more coffee shops full of old farts drinking coffee for hours while puffing away?  The old men moved to the bars and traded coffee for beer and a nice place to chain smoke.  That too would be gone in the late nineties as bars could no longer allow smoking.  Now, you cannot smoke inside your car with children in the car and some states are considering banning smoking altogether in your own car.  I don’t know... I see a trend here.

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