Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What's the dumbest law you've ever seen?

I don't mean stuff that doesn't get enforced. I mean stuff like this.

I know, it's been around for a while, but like the security theater at airports, sometimes you forget why it's there in the first place. And sometimes it takes a case like that one to make you realize how stupid the law was in the first place.

Think about it this way. I own a bank and you're using my ATM. If you get your PIN wrong twice in a row, then it's obviously not your card and you're trying to hack into someone else's account, and you're going to jail, and not only that, but basically you've got pretty much no chance of escaping the charges because I got the law to say that intent doesn't matter. You got it wrong twice, therefore you're a criminal.

Most people would see that as stupid. The panicky Indiana legislature obviously didn't. Hearing the prosecutor talk about it made me think I was listening to a Cook County prosecutor. I'm just doing my job, that's the law, nothing I can do, and anyway it would be too much work to actually have to do my job.

This is one of those things about which Reagan was so clueless. You can't fight a "war" on drugs. If you want to cut down on drug use, you have to find out why people use, and you have to present or provide alternatives that are or become more appealing than using.

You'd think that by the huge number of drug users in jail, prosecutors would have figured out that the prospect of jail time doesn't work as a deterrent. You'd be wrong. Hell, there's probably no shortage of addicts who aren't entirely sure why they're using anyway ... expecting them to break the habit because they might get arrested is just plain stupid.

But who knows? Maybe this will be the straw that breaks the camel's back. Maybe it'll get a small-county prosecutor to use some common sense for a change ...

1 comment:

  1. We are a country of doing the same thing over and over again with the same useless results. I agree that this is an extremely harsh law and is it really useless to catching and prosecuting the criminals.

    My answer to the problems with drugs is more regulation and make it legal and yet almost harder to get.

    I don't think you are ever going to stop people from doing drugs if that is something that they really want to do. Duh...they can get the same drugs in the prisons.

    I do like the guy out west who had the prisoners wearing pink and living in harsher conditions. I think that is the way to making the prisons unappealing and reduce crime.