Last of the Law Abiding Citizens? Part Two: Differing Perspectives

By Erin Lale

I asked a diverse group of Americans whether it’s still possible to be a law abiding citizen. In this second part of the series, people differ over the impact of new regulations and whether they still respect the law.

Howard Handler, Lobbyist for the Illinois Association of REALTORS, said, “I think your query is a very interesting one. The more laws and regulations government adopts, the harder it is for the citizenry to keep up and follow the law — so I think it is increasingly difficult for citizens to know the law and follow the law, even if they want to. Use tax is a good example — for instance, in Illinois (and probably most other states) — people that purchase products over the internet and when the site is located in a different state, are supposed to self-report and pay sales tax to the state of Illinois — most Illinois residents do not know this and most do not.”
“Then there are a large number of citizens who find excessive (and granted that is a subjective term) regulation/laws complicated and difficult to follow and choose to remain ignorant — this is especially true when the odds of getting caught are slim and/ or when the penalties are minimal. Income tax law is a good example — a very large segment of the U.S. population does not pay income taxes on some income. For example, a person sells a collectible at a trade show and makes a hefty profit — many people are not going to figure out how to report that income and the odds of getting caught are very slim.”

“Next is the group that know the law, dislike the law, and choose to ignore the law — again, especially if the chances of getting caught are slim and the penalties are relatively minimal. A good example would be laws that prohibit the use talking on a handheld cell phone while driving. Some jurisdictions have adopted these laws, and others haven’t — right or wrong, many people ignore this law. Another example is marijuana use — for decades is has and remains largely illegal in all of the U.S. — many marijuana users find the law irrational and misguided and will not let the government dictate whether or not they use it.The last aspect you should consider is government not following the very laws they pass. I think this is often because it is very difficult for government officials to comply with the laws imposed on them (by higher governments) and laws they impose on themselves — they pass it, the law gets buried in a drawer, and the officials don’t even know what their own laws say. The other reason, especially in the case of  local, smaller governments, there is very little oversight and it is very difficult to force governments to comply with the law — so governments, I believe, purposely ignore the law. For example, I know of a local government that adopted an impact fee ordinance.  Their very own ordinance required every government agency that received impact fee dollars to conduct and file an analysis determining the impact.  After a number of years, not one beneficiary agency ever followed the law and conducted and filed the analysis — when I pointed this out to the local government, instead of enforcing their existing law, they went back and amended their ordinance to make the analysis optional. That same government also adopted a real estate transfer tax — however, I know they did not file all the steps required by state law to adopt the transfer tax.”

I asked Pablo Solomon, an artist and award-winning green designer, “Is it still
possible to be a law abiding citizen?”

Solomon says, “Yes, but it is neither easy nor palatable. One finds it hard to be a straight arrow with all the money wasted by government due to corruption, waste, fraud, incompetency, buying votes from welfare bums, etc. As a good citizen I try to live with in the law. I also am working to make government smaller and less intrusive in general and to specifically dump this anti-business, Marxist leaning administration. However, survival is more and more difficult due to the results of this Marxist inspired bunch now running the government.”

“I grew up in a family in which several languages were spoken due to being run out of several countries due to political and religious oppression before finding freedom and opportunity here. I find it sickening thatAmerica is being knocked off of the capitalist track to the American Dream and put on a banana boat to Havana.”

I asked Solomon if he had to start resorting to a black market like they do in
Communist countries. Solomon says, “I grew up in a multicultural home in some very poor neighborhoods. My parents taught me the value of hard work, discipline and education. They also taught me how to buy, sell and trade to stay alive. While not involved in “black marketing”, I must use all my wits in this horrible economy being perpetrated by the Leftists. I try to legally avoid letting the government interfere with my life and take my money in every way possible.

“It is virtually impossible to keep up with regulations. Frankly we need a Constitutional Amendment to keep laws down to one sentence in plain English with no added crap. We should also have line item veto power. “It is a travesty that our so called “representatives” would pass the nearly 3,000 pages of ObamaCare without reading it and discussing it line by line—you would be shocked at some of the crap this bunch of socialists and vote buying scum worked in to the provisions during the middle of the night.”

“I have respect for the concept of Rule of Law. However, the recent vote
buying and giving out exemptions to campaign contributors coupled with
the total lack of either accountability or accomplishment by our sorry
ass government bureaucracy has led me to lose all respect for our
current set of socialist inspired, overbearing, intrusive laws.”

Rasheeal Dixon, author of “How to overcome fear, and start living fearless” said, “I would first like to say that in today’s world it’s virtually impossible to truly be a law abiding citizen. On many different levels whether willingly, or unwillingly we all break some law, or ordinance, or some rule. When people go out on a Friday, or Saturday night with their friends; then get drunk and walk in the streets drunk, some would say that they’re breaking the law by being drunk in public. The funny thing about drinking alcoholic beverages in public is that it’s based on where in public you’re drinking that makes it alright.”

“Here is an example of what I mean, if someone drinks a beer at a sports game like a baseball game, or a football game it’s alright to drink in public there; but if someone bought the same beer and walked down the street drinking it then they would probably get arrested, or receive a summons. Another thing is I think that everyone has ran a red light before, so I think to find someone that never did that would probably be impossible, and running the red light is also considered against the law.

“Another problem that I realize most people are guilty of is talking on their cellphone and driving at the same time. No matter how many laws are made to stop people from doing this; it seems almost like people just can’t stop talking on their cellphone while driving.”

“Everyone breaks a law it might be something small like parking in a zone that
said no parking, but they do it anyway hoping that they won’t receive a ticket or get towed because they might just be making a quick stop. Now if we’re talking about serious crimes like murder or robbery, I wouldn’t say everyone do that because that’s something that’s absolutely out of the norm for the average person.”

“In my new book “How to overcome fear, and start living fearless” I talk about this issue a little. In one chapter in the book I talk about how I had a friend that allowed another person to trick him into breaking the law, and throwing his life away. My former friend got tricked because he fell for the lies, and everything that this other person told him. He thought that he had a brotherhood with this other person, but really he had nothing at all. This person tricked my former friend, and my former friend would do anything to prove his loyalty to this person. Now my former friend is sitting in prison wishing that he didn’t ruin his life.”