Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Truck, the Law, and the U.S.

During hunting season, I take my husky out to the state land after dark. Sure, this makes running on forest trails a bit tricky, but if not that, I’d have to run along the canal trail with endless headlights in my face, or not run at all, or risk the hunters. So I run at night.

About seven o’clock, on my way to the dirt road down to the Stoney Pond trails, I passed a pickup in the parking area, apparently with someone there. I slowed my car and turned the headlights to check it out—some guy in an orange vest just sitting on the tailgate, patiently waiting. I had my suspicions, but he seemed fine, and since I could do nothing, continued.

After parking and running for about a quarter of a mile, my suspicions were likely confirmed. Blam! Blam! Just two shots, and this guy presumably got his deer, illegally, probably even driving over to pick it up. And not unique—a friend who lives 20 miles south of here reports that she hears shots daily before dawn (also illegal), and another woman I frequently run across walking her dog reports chasing hunters off her land regularly.

A few springs ago, I ran into a young guy carrying a bow and arrow, pregnant wife trotting behind him, campers from the campsite half a mile away. “Seen any geese?” he asked. How could I not. I had my dog on a retractable leash precisely because we saw plenty of geese, raising their goslings. Definitely not in season, and for good reason. He even suggested my dog could flush them for him (she’d hunt them herself, however). I declined.

Disregard for the law seems widespread. At first a few, and now many or even most of the nutty drivers doing dumb moves on the road are, as I take a look, on their cell phones. Let’s not even get into speeding or stop signs. Laws apply to other people. We’re a nation of law-breakers.

Starts at the top. The Bush Administration’s “interpretation” of U.S. law the Constitution has been creative at best. During the Nixon Administration’s woes, the mantra was “the President is not above the law.” Contrast that with Cheney’s contention that the administration makes reality.

What do we do with this? The U.S. is in a never-ending war in Iraq because of the Cheney/Rumsfeld version of reality proved either stupid or an outright lie. Certainly the White House lied about the details leading to the conflict. Now the news that the rhetoric about Iran’s nuclear progress is untrue—and was reported to the White House months ago.

What happens when the government actually does tell the truth, should that ever happen? How would we know?

And how can we pretend to be a nation of laws when both government and citizenry ignore those laws they find inconvenient?

We have found the enemy, as Pogo used to report, and “they is us.”


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