Bad Reasons for Laws: Think of the Children

21 Jan

Starting off this series on bad reasons for laws is one most of  us have heard plenty of lately: think of the children! The idea of course is to strike at many people’s inherit desire to protect innocent children. Most people want no harm to come to their children or any others. Children possess the hopeful potential to make this world better than it is and we try to protect and nurture that hope. However, there is a fine line between showing a child as an example for a law and exploiting them for it.

With the tragedy of Sandy Hook Elementary politicians and pundits began their crusade for or against new laws by pulling on the emotions of Americans. Those against gun rights and those against gun control both have used children to pull people toward their side. However, the most egregious displays has to be when President Obama had children surround him when signing, not a law, but toothless executive orders for more government intrusion on gun ownership.

Children exploited by President Obama for more government gun restrictions.

Agree or not with more restrictive gun laws or rules, using children in this manner is down right deplorable. Later the White House released the videos of these same children reading letters to the President on the issue. I honestly don’t know which is worse.

On the other side the NRA used the President’s children in a video about the President’s hypocrisy for more gun rights restrictions by the federal government. While not quite as bad as President Obama’s use of children, the NRA could have make their point without using directly using the President’s children in their video.

Both sides think trotting out children is a useful strategy in swaying public opinion. Even on more local issues, like seat belt laws. Who would ever be against requiring children to be safe on today’s roads with all the horrible drivers? Apparently in Texas even those who say they are conservative like to use kids. Case in point, Texas State Senator Dan Patrick. While Dan has been conservative in the past before becoming a State Senator, his credentials have become tarnished more and more. In 2010 Dan backed a new law which added three years and over a foot and a half to the requirements for mandatory booster seats for children.

Senator Patrick told on air how lobbyists spoke with him about the “need” to increase the height and age requirements and he backed it “for the children”. This was disturbing to hear coming from someone who champions less government in our lives as their campaign platform.

So the next time anyone comes out and uses the reason, no the excuse for creating or voting for a new law is they were trying to “think of the children” do some research. Odds are it was very likely a bad piece of legislation if they have to resort to stooping that low.

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