Breaking the Law
Have you ever read a product safety manual that came with your hairdryer or toaster or just about anything else? Did you ever notice how some of the safety precautions sound so ridiculous because they are based on such common sense things like “don’t put this hairdryer in the bathtub” and other stuff like that? Well, as most of us know, the reason that manufacturers have been forced to add such ridiculous warnings to products they sell is because someone has or will sue them for not doing so, claiming that “they didn’t know that and should have been warned of the danger.” These people usually win these lawsuits.
Well, this got me to thinking about the “Law.” I was reading a book the other day about some guy’s life. In the book he talks about how he was arrested for car-jacking when he was 16 years old and that because he used a gun to force the driver of the car out of the car when he stole it, he was given a mandatory 8 year sentence even though no one was physically injured. What if this guy had stood up in court and said that he “didn’t know” that he would receive such a hefty sentence just because he had a gun with him during the commission of the crime and that, had he known, he would have left the gun at home. I mean, if this works for idiots who electrocute themselves by bathing with a hairdryer, why not use it in a legal defense too?
“Ignorance of the law is no excuse” is what they say. But come on – they pass dozens of new laws everyday – it really is possible that someone might not know, right? What if they passed a law yesterday that it was now illegal to wear red on Thursday (stupider laws have been passed) and you, not having been made aware of the passage of this law wear your red Phillies shirt today (it’s Thursday) and get arrested? Being a good citizen, you would have not worn the red shirt had you known, but here you are now – in jail. Not fair at all is it.
I think that legislators should be required to adhere by the same standards that product manufacturers are in disclosing the dangers you could face by the passage of new laws. A news blurb is not enough. What if I don’t watch TV? Legislators should be required to mail detailed announcements with the proper warnings to each and every U.S. citizen for the products (Laws) that they “sell” to us. Otherwise, we should be allowed to use as part of our defense, if arrested, “I just didn’t know.” -m