We are a nation of laws

Published 3:36 pm Tuesday, April 10, 2012

By CHRIS GEORGE / Guest Columnist

As you are aware, our legislators are currently in session and mulling over hundreds of bills that have been proposed to become law.

These bills include everything from renaming bridges to how we buy cold medicine. Many bills will pass, with some having little impact on our day to day lives, and some having great impact on our day to day lives.

With my profession, I tend to watch the bills that will make certain actions a crime or a violation. Several bills, such as texting while driving, are being proposed to help people protect themselves from hurting themselves or others. It should be common sense that there is a good probability that if you are distracted by a smart phone while driving a 2,000-pound missile, you may crash. It is not wise and you may get hurt, but people do it anyway.

The point I am trying to make is that we, as a society and as individuals, must know that our individual actions, no matter how small, have an impact on others.

When that impact is negative, laws are made. America is the world’s leader in the number of laws that we have. Since 1962, we have also become the world’s leader (that’s number one) in violent crime, teenage pregnancy, illicit drug use and illiteracy.

Crime comes from the heart and if you can’t control the heart, you can’t control the crime. During his presidency, John Adams told Congress, “There is no government in the world that can make a people do what is right or control those that don’t want to be controlled. Our constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Here are some examples of what comes from within individuals, but must be controlled by the government: The law says it is unlawful to murder. If there were no hate, there would be no murder. The law says it is unlawful to steal. If there were no jealousy, there would be no theft.

During the next couple of months, we will add to the list of laws that govern our behavior, our income and our freedom, but these laws are not intended on causing any undue restrictions on us. However, they will restrict us — they must, because we can’t control ourselves.

Capt. Chris George is a commander with the Criminal Investigations Division of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. He can be reached at cgeorge@shelbyso.com.