Jim Thompson
Jim Thompson
By Jim Thompson
HCP columnist

I have come to the realization that most “solutions” provided by governments around the world – at any level – are flawed. Laws are often times a reaction to symptoms of deeper problems.

Drive while intoxicated, if caught, you will be arrested and heavily fined, if not jailed. Steal from others and if caught, you will be facing jail time. The problems are not driving and theft, they are much deeper.

There is a guidance manual that is the solution to all the problems that we feebly attempt to cover with laws. It is called the Bible. I don’t think you can find a problem anywhere on earth that is not covered in the Bible.

You don’t have to be a Christian to see the wisdom in this, being an agnostic is just fine. Pick a problem, you’ll find the Bible has a solution for it. The Bible even has a quick summary of solutions for human problems. That summary is called the Ten Commandments. Love 'em or hate 'em, read the Ten Commandments and see if you don’t agree humans’ failings are covered there.

I have watched in my lifetime as human laws have changed on a number of subjects. Gambling, gun ownership, abortion and legalization of marijuana come to mind, although there are many others.

We read in this paper of many cases where people do not follow the civil laws and wind up in trouble. Yet, the laws just cover the symptoms, not the deep-seated problems.

There was the tragedy a few weeks ago of the man who shot his estranged wife, then shot himself as he abandoned their child. I haven’t heard of anyone locally calling for gun control over this, but in certain parts of the country they would. The problems here were far deeper-seated than guns. There was a basic breakdown of human relationships and likely even a mismatch of expectations behind this.

Billboards advertising casinos carry a prominent line alerting the reader of how to get help if they have a gambling problem. Doesn’t this admit that it is highly likely a person could succumb to a gambling problem? In my lifetime, I have seen gambling go from being only in Las Vegas (legally) to a few state lotteries to nearly a casino on every corner (after we got passed the silly regulations they be on reservations or floating in a body of water). The basic problem here is greed.

Gun ownership is going the other way. There is a huge fight regarding gun control in Virginia right now that will likely end up in the Supreme Court. We are going to hear a lot more about gun control from Michael Bloomberg this year. And I’ve got to tell you, those not in favor of gun control in Virginia are not doing themselves any favors with the rhetoric they are using. They make me ashamed to be in the same camp they are. When I was a child, nearly everyone had a gun, it was widely accepted.

But back to the high-level view. I have grown to assess all laws on the standard of what the Bible says. I am not a law breaker, but I am a head shaker when it comes to many of the laws I see coming down the road. Many are so shallow, so political and so devoid of real problem-solving attributes.

I was at a meeting in Maine a number of years ago where some politicians were talking about the weight of over-the-road trucks. One person, obviously well-fed by lobbyists, was arguing for higher weight limits on trucks because then there would be fewer of them.

Really? Have you got that in writing there will be fewer of them? Do you understand anything about physics and the potential consequences of placing large moving weights in the same venue as smaller ones? Trucks are to cars as cars are to bicycles. They don’t mix.

Now, perhaps the only Bible reference I can think of off the top of my head for this situation is separating the wheat from the chaff, but that seems like a pretty good place to start.

So, look at the laws controlling you and your neighbors. Can you see that most of them address symptoms, not deep-seated problems? It is a tragic trend that will likely not have a good ending.

Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press. He may be reached at jthompson@taii.com.