The Law Is the Law

Bill Neinast

Scientific verification probably is not possible, but it appears that American generations before the 1960s were reared differently than they are today.

Back then, boys and girls in two parent families were taught by word and deed that they were to obey rules, laws, and authorities.  It did not matter if they did not like the rule, law, or authority; they were expected to comply.  Failure to do so resulted in consequences.

The rules were made by parents and school personnel.  The consequence of breaking those rules was frequently a good paddling by a parent, a teacher, or both.  Yes, there were some “beatings” instead of spankings, but they were the exception.

A good rule to avoid beatings was the one laid down by my wife.  You can spank, but only with your hand.  Using a hand instead of a paddle or strap quickly brought as much pain to the spanker as the spankee, so the spankings were just a few swats, just enough to make the point that there are consequences for not following the rules.

Just as important as making and enforcing the rules was the other role of the parents.  This was serving as a role model.  When one in authority said, “Jump,” they jumped.  If stopped by an officer, it was, “Yes Sir!” or “No Sir!,” not “You had no right to stop me,” or some such.

During that period  there was no constant need to build more prisons and to enlarge the size of police and prosecutors operations.

This relatively tranquil picture came under attack from four sources in the 60s.  Leading the charge were Spock, TV, drugs, and the government subsidy of single parent households.

Dr. Benjamin Spock began changing the way American children were reared.  He is blamed, rightly or wrongly, for the movement to “spare the rod” and to reward behavior with permissiveness and an expectation of instant gratification.

The generations reared in an atmosphere of instant gratification grew simultaneously with color TVs in every room.  Those screens were filled with images of beautiful homes filled with every conceivable gadget.  

Youngsters reared with an attitude of, if you want it, you can have it, envied the things they were seeing on TV that were better than what they had.  Some had not been taught that things come with a price, so they just took what they wanted when they found it. Hence  the continuing rise in burglaries and robberies.

About the time that these if-I-want-it-I-will-take-it generations began growing, the use of marijuana and hard drugs exploded.  As the possession, use, and sale of non prescription narcotics remains illegal, prison populations grew faster than even the most ambitious expansion plans for prisons could accommodate.

The answer to the prison cell shortage was the revolving door plan.  Have prisoners serve only a tiny fraction of their sentences before release  to open more cells for new prisoners.  

Just another way of continuing the Spock practice of minimal consequences for misconduct.

Then the great problem solver, the federal government, stepped in.  It decided the basic problem was poverty so it solved the problem by subsidizing children—the more kids you have, the bigger your welfare check will be.

One of the results of this well meaning program was a rapid growth of single parent families.  That means the absence of one more adult in some homes who could teach following the rules and law by example.

So here’s the perspective.

These four examples of causes for the current attitude concerning obedience are now being exacerbated by an almost unbelievable practice.  

As mentioned above, an important element of rearing children is the role model furnished by parents, teachers, and other authority figures.  They preach following the rules and emphasize that by following the rules themselves.

Today, unfortunately, we have role models not following their own rules.  That is exactly what sanctuary cities are doing.

If police, whose main purpose is to enforce the law, are proclaiming, “We are not going to enforce parts of the immigration law because we do not like it,” how can they expect all to obey something like the no texting while driving laws?

An even more unbelievable action or situation than sanctuary cities is a recent court ruling.

As reported in The Christian Science Monitor on Aug 31,

“Chief US District Judge Orlando Garcia in San Antonio's federal court found the Texas legislation [requiring cooperation with federal officials] was unlikely to withstand constitutional scrutiny.

“The judge's ruling temporarily blocks part of the law that would require local law enforcement agencies in Texas to fulfill requests by US immigration agents to hold immigrants in their jails until they can be picked up for deportation.”

Enforcing the law is now unconstitutional?  What next?


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