There Oughtta NOT Be A Law

I noticed this article in the paper this morning and I almost broke down and started crying.

In the wake of the death of 18-year-old Brett Finbloom, his family has called for increased awareness of the new law, designed to encourage those under the age of 21 to promptly call authorities if a friend’s intoxication has reached dangerous levels.

Under the statute, a person who alerts authorities to a situation where heavy drinking has put a life at risk will not be arrested for public intoxication, or illegal consumption, possession or transportation of alcohol.

First, I feel so bad for the Finbloom family, as they grieve for their son, and for my fellow Hoosiers  in general that they are reduced to agreeing it is a good thing for the state to not enforce the laws, and to accomplish this by passing a law saying they are not going to enforce the law, if you can follow that.
Beyond that, there is so much wrong with this, and it is so reflective of the sorry, sorry state of our polity, and I am so distraught I can’t gather myself together enough to write a coherent rebuttal or critique of it.  So what follows is mostly a plea for commiseration.
When Obamacare was passed, and found Constitutional by SCOTUS, conventional wisdom was that  there was now nothing the government could not tell you  to do.  Well, of course.  But that wasn’t really precedent.  The whole trend for the last 50 years, some say a hundred, has been towards submitting to the whims of government and letting it tell us how we should feel and act because, well, you know, ‘it cares about us’.   And now the Indiana Legislature has passed a bill guaranteeing that laws against underage drinking will not be enforced if a lawbreaker shows compassion on a fellow lawbreaker who he or she diagnoses (in a drunken state I don’t know how they are expected to formulate a diagnosis, but you see the extent of the problem here) as being in peril of great physical harm or death due to overconsumption of alcohol, and somehow has the presence of mind and the courage to say “Hello authorities, Johnny’s passed out.  Come quick.”
If you read through to the end, the very last sentence gives the statistics – “More than two dozen people under 21 have died from alcohol poisoning since 2004.”  That’s three a year.  In a population of 6 million people.  The bleeding-heart plea would be “One death is too many!” But seriously, is one, or five, or 20, or whatever the figure is, justification for passage of a law?  Good God, can anyone not see the irony in all this?  Why do we have a law prohibiting consumption under 21?  Whether you agree on the proper age, or whether there should even be an age limit,  it has to do with judgement, liability, mayhem, even death, but to pass a new law saying you’re not going to enforce a law,  which was passed in the first instance to protect individuals and society, and to do so  in order to coax citizens, or children, to do “the right thing”, is madness.
Here’s the thing, the thing that caused my angst:  The article reports that this bill passed both houses of the legislature unanimously, and then was signed by the Governor.  My question would be, when Obamacare was passed and in the days preceeding the SCOTUS decision, Barack got up and shook his finger and said he pushed for the bill because “It’s the right thing to do”.  How many Republican legislators, state local or national,  stood up and cheered?  I suspect the figure approaches zero.  Why?  I’ll warrant it’s not because they thought about it a great deal, other than to argue prohibitive costs, or knee-jerk reactions about ‘Big Government’, or ‘health care is between doctor and patient’, or some other Party talking point.  But surely we want all people to have good health care outcomes, right?  Barack said it was ‘the right thing to do!!!’
And yet here we are, in good old conservative, traditional Indiana where apparently not one single solitary legislator is capable of understanding  or has the gumption  to say in public that you can’t pass a law every time a tragedy occurs, or a good outcome does not result.   Yet these same legislators would bristle, and do bristle, at the heft of the Federal Register  and the volumes of State Code containing the plethora of laws and regulations related to the conduct of business.  Their disdain is righteous, but these laws and rules were not passed in a single sitting.   Why are they not about repealing all those silly laws?  And they chide Obama for playing golf and not doing his job?
But the person who hit the nail on the head was the Democrat legislator from Muncie who was quoted thusly:  “In some ways (the Indiana General Assembly) can be very progressive.”   Of course he thinks that’s a good thing. Now, how many of you know that the Indiana General Assembly  is overwhelmingly …..Republican?
And there you have it.  Except Charlie White didn’t go far enough.  In many ways the Indiana legislature can be very progressive.   As can the United States Congress, on both sides of the aisle.
How do people think we got Obamacare?  It wasn’t just because the Democrats had a majority in Congress.  It was because the concepts of law, the premises for regulating civil and social affairs, the role of government in our lives has become so blurred, misunderstood, misconstrued, perverted and compromised over the decades that we have little local governments, county councils and state governments all across the land passing feel-good legislation, just like the big boys in DC do.  The big boys in DC were born and bred back home.  They all want to ‘buy the World a Coke, and keep it company’.  You can’t do that.  You cannot conduct the affairs of state that way.
Does it not occur to anyone in Indiana that the next logical step is for the General Assembly to pass another law, this time stating that among a group of juvenile lawbreakers, presumably juiced to the gills, not only will the one who calls for medical assistance be excused, but all the ones who did not make the correct diagnosis of Little Johnny and call a doctor will be charged with felony manslaughter.  Wouldn’t that be the ‘right thing to do’?
Toto, something tells me we’re not in Indiana anymore.


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