Last week, Kim posted a piece here that triggered my “well, duh” reflex. In that posting, she linked to a study that showed that illegal aliens are more likely, statistically speaking, to break other laws than legal aliens or citizens.
The “well, duh” was not aimed at Kim, but rather the study. The conclusion, couched in scientific and scholarly lingo, was that folks who willingly break one law or set of laws will have no compunction about breaking other laws to achieve what they want.
This brings up two points I’ve believed for a very, very long time — and have hammered on over and over and over.
The first is that criminals have made a conscious decision that the law does not apply to them, and only shapes their behavior in relation to the chances that they will be caught and punished. Illegal aliens are already flouting federal laws governing who can and cannot come into this country, and how. Why is it such a great surprise that they would also ignore labor laws, housing laws, auto-registration laws, driving laws, and whatever other laws get in the way of their chosen way of life?
The second is that there is little more damaging to a society than stupid laws and unenforced/underenforced laws. These breed a disrespect — even a contempt — for the law in general. We see this every day, and it’s one of the reasons why I have such dislike for Massachusetts politics — it seems that their “solution” for every problem is another law.
Folks, we have plenty of laws on the books. At least half the recent “crises” addressed in recent years are already covered by existing laws. “Hate crimes” are one of my pet peeves. These actions are already illegal; “hate crime laws” are getting dangerously close to “thought crimes,” where it gets to the point where some victims are “more equal” than others, and their victimization is treated more seriously than others’.
This came up when the current President Bush ran for president the first time. He was denounced for opposing hate crime legislation in reaction to the James Byrd lynching in Texas. Bush defended his opposition by pointing out that two of the three men convicted of the brutal killing were sentenced to death, and the third was given life without parole. Bush’s argument — which I found a rare instance of common sense in politics — was that the existing laws had handled the Byrd case entirely satisfactorily, and showed there was no need for new laws.
In Massachusetts, it seems that every time they turn around, they’re talking about new gun-control legislation to curb their crime problems. The silliest (yet most dangerous) one was hen Boston’s mayor, Thomas “Mumbles” Menino, said that Beantown’s problems were being caused by guns bought outside Massachusetts — and was trying to find ways to compel neighboring states to toughen up their own gun laws. Up here in New Hampshire, we didn’t appreciate that notion, and told Mumbles to get stuffed.
Meanwhile, the 30-year-old Bartley-Fox Law, which mandates enhanced penalties for using a gun in the commission of a crime, goes utterly unused.
There are times it seems that the knee-jerk reaction of Democrats to any situation is to write a new law about it. They seem to think that words equal deeds, and problems will go away if they just make a new law banning it. They never stop to look at existing laws and see if simply enforcing those laws would address the problem.
In fact, it often seems that enforcing laws is anathema to them. Look at the outcry over the arrested illegal aliens in New Bedford, Massachusetts. All we are hearing about is the “poor workers” who got caught breaking federal laws, and calls for “immigration reform” to make their lives easier.
It’s the easy way, the cheap way. It’s a nice cycle. See a problem, pass a law, then “reform” the law when it’s enforced, return to step #1.
It’s so easy because it’s a nice, downhill slope. A slippery one, with anarchy at the bottom.
Thanks, but I’ll pass.