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For Tom, breaking the law is breaking the law, even if the reasons are right

I don't get it. I just don't.

I was watching the late local news the other night; they had a segment apparently aimed at my heart, but it hit somewhat lower and around the back.

(Pardon the quick detour, but I have to mention that we sometimes watch the Channel 9 news at 10 p.m., especially after my wife has finished watching Castle. However, lately they've been doing these god-awful, 10-minute murder-mystery things instead of just giving us the news. If some suit somewhere told them that those things would be ratings grabbers during sweeps month, they need to fire that consultant, like yesterday.)

Anyway, we're watching the Channel 13 news and they've got this live segment about a family taking sanctuary in a southside church. The parents have been in this country illegally for more than a decade; the dad got pinched in a traffic stop and is set for deportation. The segment had its pathos all squared away and was tugging the viewers in the prescribed direction until the man spoke, in Spanish, saying, "I pay taxes. I'm a supervisor (at work). I didn't break the law."

Uh, yeah, you did. You may not have done anything wrong for a long time, but claiming that you've done nothing wrong is where you and the sanctuary people and the immigration activists and the DREAMers lose me (and, I'm guessing, a whole lot of other people).

You can argue that the law they broke is a bad law. You can push for immigration reform and say that we, as compassionate Americans, should welcome people to our country. I'll probably agree with all of those sentiments. Just don't pass gas in my face and try to convince me that the wind is blowing in from the sewage treatment plant.

Put simply, "I broke the law, but it was for a really good reason" is NOT the same as "I didn't break the law."

I have worked construction jobs with people who were in this country illegally, and I've been handed way too much food through my car window by people who were in similar circumstances. They're decent people who work hard and have hopes and dreams like everybody else. As long as they haven't broken any laws other than coming to this country illegally, I see no reason why they should be sent back to their native countries.

A while back, I saw a young lady on TV. She's a DREAMer, hoping to pay in-state tuition and maybe even get a scholarship to go to college. Her mom was set for deportation and the girl was understandably distraught. The girl was going on and on about how wonderful her mother is (and the mom may well be), but then the girl said, "My mom's never broken a law in her life."

Screeching halt. I simply don't understand where this mentality comes from, or how people who used to argue about the unjustness of the law now claim that the law has never existed. Some may find this nitpicky, but it seriously eats away at my sense of right and wrong.

I'm far from perfect. I've broken rules in my lifetime and I've probably even broken a couple of minor laws as well. But I was brought up right. I'm not going to say, "I stole some food, but I didn't really break the law because I was hungry." That's crap. And I'm damn sure not going to flat-out lie and say, "I've never broken the law."

This mentality used to be confined to the inveterate knuckleheads in our midst, but is now all too pervasive throughout society. You see it in that butt-wipe rancher who claims he doesn't have to pay grazing fees to the federal government because his cows have Nevada citizenship. And in the investment banker who steals billions from middle-class people and does so because everybody else at the office is doing it. Pretty soon, you have the Libertarian running red lights because they represent an unjust government intrusion into him getting to the liquor store in a timely manner.

I thought that we would have had immigration reform by now. Republicans want it for the cheap labor and Democrats want it for the cheap votes, perchance to turn the entire Southwest, including Texas, a deep political blue. The only real difference in the two plans (both sides want the transgressors to pay a fine and learn to speak English) is whether the people who are allowed to stay will have a path to citizenship or just permanent alien status. (The Republicans want the latter so that the Dems don't get the cheap votes.)

The vast majority of Americans simply want what's fair and what's best for America. We're neither overly punitive nor vindictive. But I'm guessing that the claim that no law was broken won't sit well with most folks. I think people should just own up to what they did and then we can all move on.

I'd like somebody to tell that guy who was on the Channel 13 news that it's not good to lie and that he damn sure shouldn't lie in church. And all you sanctuary people with the pristine hearts who swear he didn't do anything illegal, I want you to take your über-morality, climb to the top of Higher Moral Ground Peak and shove it all up your butts.

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