Vail Daily letter: Too many laws | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily letter: Too many laws

Mr. Kostick’s and Mr. Seabury’s admitted violation of ethics a la Amendment 41 to the Colorado Constitution arouses more sympathy than antipathy. I empathize with both of these public officials in the ignorance they jointly shared regarding the “law of the land.” More than anything else, the unwary pitfall into which these two fell confront every American citizen, and that pitfall is the legion of complex statutes, regulations and executive orders that we are each held to know at all times, in all occasions and places. Herein lays the myth of “ignorance is no defense.” Ergo, the law must be applied and perpetuated on this inane and nonsensical premise, if we are to have what we wistfully call the “rule of law” — how else could government wield its dictatorial authority?

What with all of the federal, state and local statutes, regulations, codes and ordinances that apply in these 50 states and innumerable districts and towns (hundreds of thousands), it is humanly impossible to digest, understand, comprehend and obey them all. Our “rule of law” has become a pitfall or trap for each and every one of us whereby we are relegated to a state of subjugation under the authority of governments at all levels, because of our collective ignorance. This state of affairs renders a “law-abiding citizen” to a dupe or a mark for the prosecuting attorney.

This being said, perhaps the lesson in all of this is to recognize the fact that we are disadvantaged in our ignorance. Our representatives in government are disadvantaged also, yet they hold the club in administering the law, and imposing whatever punitive measures they deem to be appropriate under the circumstances. Mr. Kostick and Mr. Seabury may now have a different perspective on their legislative function with the town of Eagle — that being to be chary of more ordinances, laws and orders being added to the pile. When there is a public problem to be addressed, perhaps relegate it to the private sector to resolve. When there becomes a pitfall or violation of the law, label it the result of human fallibility, rather than a crime to be prosecuted under what we presumably call “the law.” I say that Mr. Kostick and Mr. Seabury had a human defense to the complaint, albeit, maybe not a “legal” one under the presumed and extant myth.

Fredric Butler