We Americans are well-intentioned people, and that sometimes leads to legislation that verges on the ridiculous. If someone robs a bank in a Richard Nixon mask and kills a six-year-old in the process, citizens will propose a law that robbing banks in Richard Nixon masks be subject to special sentencing.
If a protester burns the American flag on the Fourth of July, a Congressman will demand on the steps of his local courthouse that burning flags on a holiday be a capital offense. And I'm guessing that very soon, with the excitement generated by the Swine Flu, a law will be proposed that makes coughing without covering your mouth a crime unless it's in the privacy of your own home.

In response, I'm listing some things that I think the legislature should take up for designation as criminal offenses. They should all be felonies, of course, and on the plus side, it will add lots of jobs for police and other judicial system employees to see that they are obeyed.

#1:In traffic: The people who see the sign that says, "Right lane closed ahead" and refuse to merge must be punished. Their zipping by everyone else and then nosing in at the head of the line is demoralizing to all of us who believed the sign and pulled in behind those three semis. I suggest impounding of their vehicle on the spot. They can walk to wherever they were going. They probably need the exercise.

#2: On television: It should be required that advertisers show a variety of commercials at different times during the day. Watching the same ads every time during the evening news, a favorite sport, or reruns of CSI is detrimental to the mental health of the viewer. Ads should be shown a maximum of number of times per month, maybe 90, but never in the same hour in a given week. As a corollary to that law, there should be decentives for advertisers who (apparently) like their ads so much they never change them.

#3: In public: Well, there are too many laws needed to include them all here, but a good cover law would be that anyone, anytime who can be heard or seen talking on a cell phone in a public place will be fined. I suggest that the phone booths be returned to use so that phone conversations can again be private. I can handle someone saying, "Excuse me, I have to take this call" if I don't have to take it, too.

Of course there's more work to be done on this subject. Any ideas?

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