The Romgi thinks I’m heartless.

He’s wrong: I just believe in enforcing the law.

There have been a lot of news stories in the past few years about little kids having their lemonade stands shut down because they were in violation of city ordinances, which say you can’t peddle goods on a public street or sell goods in a public venue (like a farmer’s market) without a permit. You know what? I support those closures! Sob stories mean nothing to me. I always think of the line in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (yeah, I listen to it all the time in the car, really ALL THE TIME), “All this tugging at my heart-strings…”, but in my case, it’s not justified. Those little kids were in the wrong. The cops who shut them down? IN THE RIGHT.

Yesterday the Romgi sent me a link to a news article about Girl Scouts being told they couldn’t sell cookies outside the home of the Girl Scouts founder, Juliette Gordon Low, in Savannah, Georgia. The reason is that they were on the public sidewalk, which meant they were peddling. The officials were really nice, and tried to find a solution, but there wasn’t anywhere else on the property that the girls could set up shop.

I support Girl Scouts. And I love their cookies.

But I’m also heartless enough to give a little cheer for victories like this. The law is the law. No exceptions!

(This heartless attitude caused quite a stir in my student development class. We were discussing whether a man who was convicted of a felony and sentenced to jail for 10 years, then escaped and started a new life of do-good-ery somewhere else, should be turned in and sent back to jail years later if he were recognized. I may have shouted a resounding YES! My reason? He may have “made up” for his past deeds by being a philanthropist or even a saint, but it’s not his call to say that it was a fair trade. He was sentenced to jail. He doesn’t want to be in jail? GOOD! That’s the point – it’s a punishment!)

The end.

P.S. Krista, I really do support Girl Scouts. Really. Cookies soon, right?


10 Comments on “Heartless”

  1. kendy says:

    Eh, I’ve got to go with the Romgi on this one. Maybe those ordinances are the law, but I think the law should be a practical thing. You reminded me of this article:

    Take a look and tell me what you think.

  2. mika says:

    I think in this case the law IS reasonable. Who wants the sidewalk to be one long aisle of peddlers? If we say it’s ok for Girl Scouts to sell cookies on the sidewalk, it starts a chain of requests for exceptions to the ordinance, and then where do you draw the line? Instead of having to individually evaluate the merits of each petition, the line has already been drawn, and no one – even if they’re cute little girls – gets to cross it.

  3. jaromgi says:

    Not every slippery slide leads straight to hell. Sometimes it leads to everybody being able to buy delicious cookies.

  4. Mika, you are heartless. That’s why we like you so much. =)

    Seriously, though – I think it’s always important to examine the principles behind laws and ordinances. Laws are not immutable, they don’t even exist without us to interpret them, so they need to be contextualized and justified. I can’t see any reason why stopping girls from selling cookies makes sense.

    The real slippery slope that I worry about is continued increase in government intrusion in our lives. At what point can we say enough is enough: the government has no business regulating my activities. Do you need a permit to sell magazine subscriptions for your school fundraiser? Do you need to pay sales taxes when you sell a toy to your sibling? Should we outlaw the Peanuts because they have an unlicensed lemonade stand? It’s frightening how easily we’ve come to accept governmental bureaucratic oversight and control over so many aspects of our lives.

  5. Megan says:

    Agree with Jarom’s comment. More delicious cookies for everyone!!

    I do agree with you on the philanthropist ex-con though. Besides, if he escapes from jail, that’s further breaking the law. Doesn’t that just prove he needed to be there in the first place? I think so.

  6. Jim Lewis says:

    Just so you know the apple didn’t fall that far from the tree, I also agree with Mika. If there is a law, then you should abide by it. If you disagree with the law, there is a due process for getting it changed to be more fair, or less restrictive, or to create a loop-hole for cute little girls in their scout uniforms selling cookies. But you don’t get to break the law just because you disagree with it. If all that is required is a permit, then get the permit. Duh.

  7. Jim Lewis says:

    And just for the record, I LOVE Girl Scout Cookies. I could still eat a case (not a box, a CASE) of them by myself, if I had the money, and somewhere to hide them from the rest of the family.

  8. kendy says:

    What I keep wondering here, though, is why kids don’t just move back a few feet onto their lawn and avoid the whole issue. Everyone wins!

  9. mika says:

    Kendy – If you read the news article, they do explain it.

  10. Kate says:

    And just like that, all thoughts unrelated to “Thin Mints” and “Samoas” ceased.

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