We have to have laws, no argument there, but banning people from doing or using something, which the government thinks is harmful, does everything but solve the problem. Usually, it creates an illegal market, which results in normally law abiding people becoming criminals. Our firearms laws are a good example right now. While crippling the legitimate sport of shooting, the newspapers tell of criminals shooting at each other in our streets every day. On the wall of our pistol club, many years ago, we had a prophetic sign which said “If you outlaw guns only the outlaws will have guns”. Except for the few wealthy enough to afford all the current requirements, that’s how it is now.
Of course, the reality is that only a tiny fraction of gun crimes were ever done by licensed gun owners, so the premise for our draconian gun laws is without any foundation in the first place. The same can be said of our uninformed drug laws. While alcohol flows freely, causing havoc in many of our homes and on our streets, people, from all walks of life, are locked up for growing and smoking pot, despite there being no evidence that the practice is harmful to society. In fact, there is a growing body of evidence that says it can be very beneficial to some, as a safer alternate to sometime dangerous prescription narcotics. But, again, Australia’s slavish obedience to ‘International Law’ has kept it banned. And I’m not saying everybody should get ‘stoned’ either.
Long before the failed US alcohol prohibition, with its infamous gangsters and machine guns, world history is awash with example of indiscriminate bans, on a variety of beliefs and practices, which failed to accomplish their designer’s objective. If something really is bad for the community, the best way to stop it is with education. To arbitrarily prohibit a practice, belief or activity, the law makers must have a clear case, proving that what is being prohibited really is harmful to society. When that basic principle is ignored, our community becomes entangled in a plethora of regulations, which are put in place in accord with the often uninformed opinion of a few in power.
It doesn’t take much effort to find a host of Australian prohibitions which do not take this basic principle into consideration. Not only in our hopelessly misguided ‘war on drugs’ drugs, or our insulting ‘firearms legislation’, which, by innuendo, suggest that we are not as trustworthy as the populations of our ‘Sister’ and ‘Mother’ nations, but on our roads and even in our family lives. As a quick example, the well known fact that speed cameras, which should be placed in school zones to protect our kids, are, in fact, placed on four lane main roads, where they can catch the most speedsters…and fines! The reality is that only a tiny few of those exceeding the speed limits, usually by 5 to 10 kilometres per hour, are actually placing us at risk. Every driver exceeding 40 kilometres per hour, in a school zone, is endangering our children!
And in our homes? Once again, because a tiny minority of parents actually do harm their own children, all parents today are prohibited from administering any form of corporal punishment upon their children. This, despite the firmly proven fact that it is an essential part of bringing up children. Like, I’m sure, the vast majority of you, I copped a clout or two, when I was a kid, but I was never harmed by it, just taught that it wasn’t wise to repeat whatever it was. On the one hand the authorities rightfully demand parental responsibility for their children’s actions, on the other they deny them the right to utilise what it often takes, to get kids to behave! As a grandparent, I know this to be so.
The law, as it stands and always has, prohibits everyone from doing any harm to anyone else, whether ‘justified’ or not. Who could fail to agree that the law and justice must be administered by the courts? Not by the hand of the person or people who believe they have been wronged, that’s a cornerstone of our social system. But the courts don’t make our laws, politicians do. Then the courts have no choice but to uphold them, much like the police. Every senior policeman I have known agreed that their slender resources would be better serving the community, catching drunks and thugs on our streets and public places, rather than raiding pot head’s homes. They don’t harm anyone.
The increasing tendency to prohibit some things, because ‘they could be used by criminals’, has frighting ramifications for our society. After all, a golf club or a kitchen knife could be used by criminals, not to mention motor cars! Are we going to prohibit them, of course not. Alcohol has been proven to play a major role in domestic and public violence, not just the major cause of fatal accidents on our roads, but are we going to ban it? Of course not, they did try that once though didn’t they? Our law makers must place the community’s welfare and safety over profits, even handed fairness above their often pre conceived ideas, about what is ‘good for us’, and base our laws on FACTS!