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October 30, 2006

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Deb

Last week, our editorial addressed the growing trend to turn all undesirable behavior into criminal behavior. Many of you wrote to give your opinions. Several of you referred to one of my favorite movies, Demolition Man, starring Sylvester Stallone, Sandra Bullock and Wesley Snipes. When it was released in the early 90s, we laughed at a future society where machines monitored everyone's actions and automatically issued citations for saying "bad words." Salt was illegal and physical sexual acts were prohibited, replaced by a "cleaner and safer" virtual version. As Clint W. said, "I used to think this was the most comical thing I had seen in years ... but now I fear it is becoming a reality."

Some of you told us about the laws you think are unnecessary or even ridiculous. While at least a dozen mentioned seat belt laws as being an attempt to "legislate common sense," Darren W. wrote that where he lives, it's illegal to cook cabbage on Sunday. Now that does seem to be going a bit too far.

Then there were those who want to see more and harsher laws. One who signed himself simply "a reader" said "if I had my way, I would castrate proven DNA sex offenders, cut the hands off proven thieves, and cut the tongues out of people who tell a lie/swear." Wow.

Some readers blame one political party or the other, but many recognize that both major parties seem to be overly eager to over legislate - the difference is just a matter of what to legislate. Most seem to agree with Dave N., who said "I'd like to see big government leave us alone, but they won't." And Robert B. made a profound statement, in my opinion, when he said "All through history, when governments have to create more and more laws to control, there is decline and less control."

In regard to lying on Internet forms, Jane B. brought up a good point: "My main point in writing is to ask all who type in fake personal info to be sure it is, indeed, fake. For years, a couple has routinely given out my phone number to avoid pesky follow up calls from businesses and financial services." This is where it pays to use a service such as the free voicemail service at www.privatephone.com to get a number that you can use without worrying about calls going to some other innocent party.

Thanks to everyone who wrote on this subject!

Quote of the Week

The good of the people is the greatest law. - Marcus Cicero (106-43 BC)

'Til next week,
Deb Shinder, Editor

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