Why Laws Are Born

This is an incredibly tragic story, and like all such stories, it has prompted a call for action. The form this action will take will be of the legislative variety: a new law, tougher penalties, more enforcement, and so forth.

And if history is any judge, this very law will be derided as another example of the “nanny state” and “big government” as soon as the memory of Ofc. Michael Petrina fades.

It just seems as if people have forgotten why we have laws, regulations, oversight, etc. in the first place. People have lost touch with where these things come from. It’s not because of Big Government wanting to Control Your Life. Laws aren’t born out of a committee of Nancy Pelosi, the ACLU, a union thug, and an aborted fetus. We have laws because some innocent person or persons got really seriously hurt, maybe even killed, and We The People decided to try to make sure as few people as possible had to suffer that same fate again. We decided to be a society that would would Learn From Its Mistakes.

That’s how it works, folks. Tragedy happens, people mourn, they say “please, never again,” and we pass a law requiring air bags or seat belts or building codes or No Building Here or No Doing That There. And sure as shooting, in a few years some idiot is going to come along and wonder why the hell we do that (or don’t do that), and how stupid is that, and it’s costing us jobs, and it’s the Nanny State, and stupid liberals, and on, and on, and on.

No, it’s not that. It’s because someone died and we don’t want anyone else to die in the same way.

Or maybe someone didn’t die. Maybe something really precious or special was lost, forever. And people decided, let’s not do that again. For example, when I see a bunch of idiots like the Cliven Bundy Clown Car riding ATVs through protected Native American burial grounds in Utah because of Freedom, it’s hard not to remember these assholes, also in Utah (hello, Utah? WTF?), who destroyed a 170 million-year-old rock formation, because Safety (and also Freedom).

This stuff doesn’t come out of nowhere. It comes out of tragedy. Maybe next time some idiot tries to claim that everything from EPA regulations to the local fire code is stupid, maybe we could dig into the memory hole to remind them of the tragedy that spawned said burdensome chains on their freedom in the first place.


Filed under Tennessee

10 responses to “Why Laws Are Born

  1. Move over sounds like a good common sense law. It’s also a part of any good driver education program. I guess I am surprised that it had to be coded into law. It’s mostly ironic that the offending vehicle was registered in Florida. Still, I hope that most Tennesseans are aware of and do obey the law. The best answer is usually public service information announcements. However, if those are happening anywhere in the continental forty-eight, I would be the last to know.

    In California, we have “Slow down for the cone zone,” and “Traffic fines doubled in a construction zone.” There has been neither legislation nor signage addressing the issue of moving over for cars pulled over to the side of the road. This would usually involve a motorist in distress or a tow truck assistance call. New laws are always publicized with the coming of the new year. The most important new law for California is to require motorists to allow at the least three feet of clearance whenever they pass a bicyclist on the right side of the roadway. Like Tennessee’s move over law, it mostly has yet to be enforced. Still, just about anybody who reads a newspaper knows about it. Because it is not always possible to move over into the inside lane due to other cars, there are right-hand lanes in which it is legal to travel in an auto, but which may be claimed completely by cyclists. They are painted in green with bicycle logos and green arrows. Bicycle only lanes are also painted in green, although the transition is only in its infancy.

    The principle is the same. If you can’t guarantee the safety of a person, vehicle or cyclist legally occupying a portion of the right lane, just slow down so that you don’t hit them. I actually feel like something of an iconoclast when I observe this simple rule for safety and preservation of life.

  2. NYS has a “move over” law. Most people hate it and don’t get that it was done for a very good reason–to protect the lives of stalled motorists and those who are giving them aid; most people obey it, most of the time. Laws are made for the 90% (ymmv) of the populace who will obey them. Not passing school buses when they are stopped is a law that’s been on the books for a year and it’s been very effective. The same is true for stopping at grade crossings being mandatory for goods movers and mass transit vehicles.

    The problem that has been growing in the U.S. for many years is that there are millions of people who are pretty fucking stupid and have an enormous “entitlement” chip on their shoulder. They are, also, majority white and either current or former blue collar workers who have seen their “American Dream” evaporate. Let’s call them, “Teabaggerz” until some better label comes along. They love law and order, so long as the laws punish folks who they don’t like and the “order” is keepin’ the lid on the ghetto and sealing the borders. Other laws, the ones that inconvenience them? meh.

  3. deep

    Alexander the Great had to kill a lot of people to be great, same with Caesar and Genghis Khan and Napoleon and [redacted for Godwin purposes]. Beale, your “laws” are preventing the next Alexander the Great!

    You must hate greatness.

    • No, it’s only KKKristian white male greatness that she hatez!

      Hey, I’ve got a great t-shirt, badly hand lettered sign for the teabaggists.

      “‘Slavery’ has SIx leDders, so does ‘Soros’; coiNcadENse? I dOn’t tHiNk so!”

    • billygoodendorf

      Deep-shallow, are you referring to another Hitler/Stalin great?

  4. There is also this concept of using your brake pedal. Move over, slow down, imagine your daughter has stopped to help someone – or maybe your puppy.


      *digs tequila bottle out from under credenza*
      *sits in corner and self-medicates*

  5. Ed

    Since “governments” have easily murdered 1/4 billion of their own “citizens” in the past century, shouldn’t “governments” be illegal?

    • Government, at least this one, is made of, by, and for people. It’s not some building somewhere. It’s not some thing, disembodied from the people who created it. If you make government illegal you make people illegal.