Monday, July 15, 2013

Think before you act

Pick-Up Sticks the game

Life has gotten very, very complicated. And obviously everyone thinks it is very, very simple. Just change it.

Far easier said than done. We had an open range law in New Mexico at one time. And some legislature decided we were too populated for that and so they amended the law. We now only have open ranges on Bureau of Land Management holdings, Indian Land, and forest service property. Good luck with figuring out which of those you are on because they are not fenced necessarily. But to make matters worse when the well meaning lawmakers decided to change the law they forgot one of the little parts of the law about it being the landowners responsibility to fence out the cattle. Not the cattle owner's responsibility to fence them in.

Several following court cases that made it to state supreme court decided that fencing the cattle out only applied to immediate neighbors. So if the cattle got out of the owner's property and wandered merrily down the county or state or forest road to a more distant neighbor's roses then they were in violation of the closed range law and the owner of the roses was entitled to damages and could hold the cattle hostage and charge a grazing fee. Which makes that neighbor more equal than the immediate neighbor who cannot even get the owner of the offending cattle to fix the damaged fence.

All of this is just a small example of how complex our laws get. Rather like the game of pick up sticks I posted at the top of this page. When I played the game the sticks were not striped. You could see where the solid blue one ran under the solid yellow and over the top of the solid orange. Goal of the game is to remove a stick at a time. I was surprised they still made them. And even more surprised they had striped them.

But it is a perfect example of how complex our laws and issues have become. And changing one little thing can upset the whole pile. Yes, I am usually liberal. No, I do not want my right to defend myself from what I see as a threat taken away. Yes, I do not support assault weapons. No, I refuse to have my right to carry a gun infringed upon. Yes, I am for wild horses. No, I do not think they have the right to graze areas in a severe drought and ruin it for grazing forever (note wild horses are transplants from Spain). Yes, I am for re-introduction of wolves. No, I do not believe they should be restored to historic levels because there is no longer historic herds of their natural prey about. Yes, I think it is wrong a 17 year old died. No, I do not think he was innocent either. Yes, I am for a path to citizenship. No, I do not think we should make that path available for felons (and those that entered illegally are guilty of felonies).

Oh, and on the messed up closed range law? I think the owner of said maverick cow is libel for any and all damages even the immediate neighbor and he should be required to fence his livestock in. Now that in the wild west (if the wolf statement didn't) should get me fearing for my life. So think, as you protest the verdict that if you changed the laws so there was one Zimmerman was guilty of, what freedoms you now enjoy would you be giving up?