Tuesday, July 27, 2010

If You Don't Get Caught

"There is NO reason for a student to have a knife on campus"
said the head of campus security in response to my question about their policy on pocket knives.

Yes, I was in attendance at a parent orientation event for my son's college. "I beg to differ" was my reply. "Well, why do you think anyone should be able to carry a knife?" she asked as though I were the slow student in a class. In addition to what should have been obvious, that I am a responsible adult who hadn't attacked anyone with my knife at breakfast or even at dinner the previous evening simply because it was handy,( as is almost always the implication when discussing these types of policies) I said that I had been in the habit, when I was younger, of carrying a pocket knife everywhere I went and it had been extremely useful in a number of situations. That, in addition to the blade, my pocketknife had had a variety of screwdriver tips and other useful tools.

Her response was not to acknowledge that a pocketknife was actually a very useful tool, (since scissors are generally awkward to carry) but rather to tell the rest of the parents to send a set of screwdrivers with their child, almost jokingly forcing the assumption that only the other tools I had referenced on my pocketknife had been useful, rather than asserting that the blade itself was a useful tool.

Then she shook her head dolefully while loudly repeating "THERE IS NO REASON FOR A STUDENT TO HAVE A KNIFE ON CAMPUS" as though by saying it slowly, it would become a less ridiculous thing to say. The other parents looked at me in some revulsion, as though I had grown a second head, or maybe that's just my perception since I was so obviously being scolded by the wise head of campus security whose job it is to keep our precious children safe.(From pocketknife wielding maniacs such as myself no doubt.)

While I was being assured that the bread knives they could use for dining purposes were the only knives allowed on campus, (A pointless gesture since sharp edges are available almost anywhere if someone is so motivated.)my son was being assured by the older students who were administering his orientation that "pretty much anything is okay as long as you don't get caught."

My point here is not that the students are bad people, or that the policies are excessively nannyish(or at least not my whole point), but rather that when regulations get to a certain point of intrusiveness, people ignore them and do what they like. There is a balance that must be maintained between personal responsibility and safety. Just as the excessive protectiveness at this institution of higher learning(and nearly all others of which I am aware) has generated an attitude of "just be careful not to get caught while you are breaking the rules" in the students, so does it occur in the general population. The problem is that when a people are forced to abandon the study of and adherence to our laws because they have become overly intrusive or protective and multiplied beyond comprehension, then we are likely to gradually come to a point where we disregard all laws.

If we are not a nation of laws, then we cannot have the highest level of individual freedom that is possible in a stable society. We must either restrain the government from becoming so intrusive, through laws, regulations and ordinances, that common sense will no longer serve to keep an individual safe from the breaking of those laws or prepare for a society where the law is regarded as a tyrant from whom we must hide our activities if we wish to live a reasonably normal life.

Laws serve a purpose. What we need to decide in November, is whether the purpose of laws is to assure a stable society with the greatest amount of individual liberty possible in such a society or to subjugate the people to a tyrannical government that can enforce archaic or little known laws at any time to enforce their will on the people as a whole.

The IRS has become the master tool of behavioral modification for the nation already. Now they will be in charge of regulating our access to health care as well as our ability to keep our money and our property.

Vote on character, not party in November. It may be the last chance we have at freedom. If we are willing to claim it, it will only be the beginning of the struggle to restore our freedom.

" But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. " ~ Gal 3:23-24


Soapbox Jill said...

"when regulations get to a certain point of intrusiveness, people ignore them and do what they like."
Thanks for this thoughtful post and excellent point.

Why didn't they ban nail files along with knives? How about calling the pocket knife something else altogether based on its many potential uses to get around the dumb rule? Just an idea.

Call Me Mom said...

I think the point is not so much about terminology, but rather about controlling how people think about weapons.

Really anything can be a weapon.
Safety means taking responsibility for yourself, not making the very idea of having or using a weapon anethema.