Fear of the Law

6/12/2016

 

Last night something terrible happened in Orlando; the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States of America. A gun-man entered a club and opened fire, killing fifty people and injuring over fifty more.

 

In the last several years, decades even, there have been more and more reports of riots and violence and shootings in this nation. There are some who believe the solution is stronger gun control legislation, if not banning firearms altogether. There are some who believe all citizens should be armed to level the playing field. Still, there are some who believe police officers should be held to a higher accountability, pursuing the placement of body cameras on police officers. Then, there are some who seem not to care at all.

 

This recent event sparked in me a couple questions;

1) How did our society get to a point where violence and shootings became a normal occurrence?

2) How do we correct this issue?

Sometimes it is difficult to look at a situation from an objective point of view when mine is so influenced by the Word of God. I understand the Law, as in the Torah, was given to us, not as a pathway through which we achieve righteousness, but rather as a mirror to reveal to us how wicked we really are. I understand this. So, when the Torah states; “Thou shall not murder” it is because there is a human desire within us to murder. Maybe not each of us on a personal level, but within us as a people.

 

Consider all the laws and rules and regulations we have here in this nation. What are they there to do? I believe it is to state what is and is not socially acceptable behavior in our culture.

 

We possess a branch of the government that enforces these laws. Not only are there laws, but there are consequences tied to the breaking of these laws, as well as officers whose job is to enforce these laws.

 

Keeping these things in mind, I believe I know the answer to the first question I asked; How did our society get to a point where violence and shootings became a normal occurrence?

 

We, as a society, no longer possess a fear of, or reverence for, the law.

 

It is much easier to cast stones at others. It’s much simpler to yell “crucify him” when someone else is the transgressor. I don’t want to cast stones at anyone else, so I’ll cast them at myself. I am guilty of breaking the law. Probably every day that I get behind the wheel of my vehicle, I exceed the posted speed limit.

 

Why?

 

Is it because I think I am above the law? No.

Is it because I think I am special and the rules don’t apply to me? No.

Is it because I feel I’m more important than everyone else, or that I feel I’ve had better training than others in regard to driving, or that I am a better driver and therefore can handle higher speeds than my fellow drivers? Maybe those thoughts have crossed my mind and I have entertained using those as my justification, but no.

 

It is because I do not fear the law in regard to speeding. Given the frequency in which I have been cited for speeding verses the frequency that I speed, there is a much higher chance that I’ll not get caught. Also, the cost of the ticket isn’t so unbearable that it causes me to obey the speed limit.

 

Now, don’t hang me out to dry for being honest; I’m simply proving my point. If we were all honest with ourselves, we’d realize there is likely some law we break, possibly on a regular basis. It doesn’t matter how minor or major the offense seems to be. There are some who don’t think speeding is a big deal. There are some who feel speeding is extremely dangerous and disrespectful of other driver’s. It is important to understand not everyone shares the same disposition when it comes to different laws.

 

And if we can admit, to ourselves at least, that we transgress the law habitually, why would you think we do that? Is it not because we don’t fear the law or its consequences?

 

So what about the second question; How do we correct this issue?

 

I believe the reason there is more and more violence and shootings in this nation is because people no longer fear the law. The solution is not more gun control or body cams for cops. The only way to reduce crime is to reduce its lure to criminals.

 

Higher stakes, deeper sentences, more enforcement officers, greater fines, longer jail terms; these are the things that will have an effect on criminals. People no longer fear going to jail. Jail should be a place people fear to go. Instead, there are criminals in jail living better than our vets.

 

I think people should fear being shot by an officer for ignoring his or her warnings instead of making the officers so accountable they are scared to do their jobs.

 

Disarming citizens isn’t going to cause the criminals to give up their guns; it’s going to cause more potential victims for the armed criminals.

 

I think there is no use in focusing on creating more and more laws centered around the individual needs of citizens when we are not even enforcing the laws we have to a degree that cause people to respect the law enough to not break it.

 

I bet you if various crimes yielded more severe punishment, people would start thinking twice. I know that for myself, if there were more highway patrol and the fines were higher, I’d likely make it a point to obey the posted speed limit.

 

For us to reduce crime in this nation, we must create a culture where people respect the law and fear the consequences of breaking them.

 

 

1 thought on “Fear of the Law

  1. I would amend this slightly. I do not just believe that we need to have a healthy fear of the law and fear of the consequences of the law, but rather a fear to do unlawful things. Now, I realize that may not seem to have much of a difference, but let me explain.

    Our local, state, and federal laws exist as a result of our culture. They are to serve us, not the other way around. Our culture determines what is lawful and not lawful. The citizens make up our culture. We, as a people, together, should have a fear of what our culture deems unlawful, and the repercussions associated with unlawful acts.

    In this post I wrote from the standpoint of having a fear of the law and law enforcement, but I think that is a little short-sighted. This puts all the responsibility on the law makers and law enforcers. I believe people should also fear committing unlawful acts in front of the citizens as well as law enforcement. That shares the burden of responsibility with the citizens as well as the law makers and law enforcers.

    If citizens held me accountable for my speeding, it may cause me to obey the speed limits more often. If we had a culture were people stopped “minding their own business” and let people know they won’t tolerate certain behavior, I believe it would dissuade criminal activity.

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