Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Thing About Laws...

First off, I hope I didn't offend anyone by posting a picture of a marijuana plant so prominently here.

I consider myself a staunch Conservative, and I have no regrets about it.  Former President George W. Bush labeled himself a "Compassionate Conservative," but I don't think I would go that far.  I firmly hold to the principles of self-reliance, seeking opportunity, and non-reliance on the Government for personal support.  I do understand that there are times when individuals may need a helping hand, but I do not "like" the current climate of a dependency on the State for daily survival.

People who disagree with me and who know of my Biblically based belief system have tried to convince me of personal and governmental imperatives to provide for those who cannot provide for themselves (even those who are unwilling to try based on the current "entitlement" state we live in-sorry for that jab).  Yes, the Bible DOES speak of charity.  Yes, the Bible DOES speak of caring for widows and orphans.  I get it and I have no problem with that.  But the Bible ALSO DOES state "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat." (2 Thessalonians 3:10).  So what is the right path?

Now, before anyone gets riled up, here is a bit of my history.  My parents divorced when I was very young (around 2-4 years old).  My mother was the single mother of four and needed assistance for us.  There were many years of her family, social organizations, and the Government assisting her.  However, she did not rest on her laurels and just sit back to take advantage of the freebies she was getting.  For many years, she worked multiple jobs to help make ends meet. 

Eventually she found a stable job as a janitor at my High School and she no longer required the assistance.  She accepted the hand up and stopped relying on the hand outs.  She set a valuable example to me, which I still hold to today.  "Do what you have to do."

I know this is a very divergent introduction to what I am going to discuss today, but it lays some groundwork as to who I am and what I believe to be correct.

During the current election cycle, two states (Washington and Colorado) legalized the possession and usage of small quantities of marijuana for individuals over the age of 21 without a medical prescription.  While I do not agree with the laws, as I do not think they will reduce usage and I think marijuana is highly abused (but so is alcohol and tobacco...), I would not fight for their repealing.  I firmly hold to the Mantra that you cannot legislate morality.  You either know what is right and wrong and hold to your values, or you do not.

The Bible ( in my roundabout way of connecting the dots) states in 3 of the 4 Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) a statement similar to what is found in Luke 20:25, "And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's."

Our obedience to the laws of the land is our way of rendering unto the "Caesars" of this day.  And remember, just because something is currently permissible does not make it mandatory for our participation. 

The first questions I had when learning of the two new state laws (other than how can a state violate the "Supremacy clause" of the US Constitution-Federal law trumps State and local law) was how will this effect DUI arrests in those states?  I am a former traffic accident investigator, and still think along those lines. 

Today, while browsing the online news media (at work; shhhh! don't tell on me), I came across this article.  I was glad to see that the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) is also concerned with the potential rise in DUI and Driving While Impaired drivers on the road in those states.  Also, I was interested in the defense lawyers chomping at the bits to challenge any DUI arrest which comes about after the implementation of the new laws. 

Don't get me wrong, I DO NOT LIKE DEFENSE ATTORNEYS, but I appreciate the challenges as an opportunity to create safeguards within policy and procedures to better enforce laws.  With several hundred DUI arrests in the past (on the right side of the badge, mind you), I only lost two cases. 

One was a test case when Georgia lowered the Blood Alcohol Content standard to .06 if there was a traffic accident.  I was mandated to run the case as a test case in a vehicle-deer accident where the subject tested at .06.  Since I testified that the subject did not demonstrate "Impairment" during the standardized Field Sobriety Test Battery, the case was dismissed.  I was not distraught, since it helped us to better document signs of impairment during the test and other allowable articulable facts which could contribute to the ascertainment of impairment.

The other case I lost revealed the fact that the local (military) hospital was not certified by the state in the handling of Blood samples for BAC testing.  I actually thanked the Defense Attorney and coordinated with the hospital to make this happen for future cases.  No harm, no foul, the future became less defensible for perpetrators.

While I believe Christians SHOULD be involved in the political process and try to guide this country back to the standards of the founding fathers (which were based on Religious morality despite what "Separation of Church and State proponents care to believe), I believe that once a law is passed, it is up to the courts to decide if it should stand.  I do not have to like the decisions, but I also do not have to participate in the newly allowable activities.  My morality will not be affected by any law that is passed as long as I can abstain.

On a side note, slightly related to the original introduction line of thought, I am glad to see several states looking into the mandatory drug testing of recipents of "benefits."  To me, this is a long time coming.  It always irritated me to see the designer clothing and fresh tattoos on individuals who are in line paying for groceries with their "Lone Star" cards and then pulling out wads of cash for the cigarettes and alcohol purchases before loading them into their new SUV while texting on their iPhones.  What were once considered luxuries are now believed to be an entitlement.  But now I am ranting and rambling.

Thanks for listening.

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