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BONUS BOTD 5/24/13 "Permitted To Break The Law" A DMK Bonus Production

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David M. Katz


Marshall
PERMITTED TO BREAK THE LAW
A DMK BONUS Production

DEX - 16
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NATE - 12
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JENTZEN - 13
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Dex is your sixteen year old neighbor. He is a great kid and well behaved and used to mow your lawn. You have known Dex since he was a little boy and know his parents very well. Dex is polite and respectful and you trust him.

Nate is your twelve year old son. Despite the age difference, he and Dex are good friends.

Jentzen is Nate's very best friend. The seem to be inseparable. Jentzen just turned thirteen last week and is a very well behaved kid as well. Jentzen is in your care today because his mother is working late.

Dex just got his driver's license. In your state sixteen year olds are only allowed one non-sibling passenger under the age of eighteen in the vehicle. Dex, his parents and you are aware of the law.

It is a nice day and all three boys are out skateboarding in your driveway. You are out talking with Dex's mother when she realizes she needs a couple of items from the local grocery and asks Dex if he will run the errand. (Of course - Dex will jump at any opportunity to drive.)

Nate and Jentzen ask to ride along. Being aware of the law Dex looks to his mother and then to you for approval. You and Dex's mother agree to let the boys ride along even though it will put Dex in violation of the law. The grocery is close and it is a quick trip and you both know the boys really well and so you feel all will be well.

On the way home, Dex fails to come to a complete stop at a stop sign and is pulled over by a sheriff's deputy. The deputy asks about his passengers. Dex lies to the officer and says Nate is his brother. He does say Jentzen is a good friend. Nate said nothing but did smile and wave at the officer. The deputy accepts Dex's answer. Dex is allowed to go on with just a warning about the stop sign. The boys get home and relate the story.

Dex feels horrible about the lie. Nate feels worse. He is concerned because he supported the lie. As a side note, you recently spanked Nate for lying to you in order to get around some of your rules. (OK, the rules were a bit unreasonable and you and Nate have since come to terms concerning it all.)

What do you say to Nate? Is he in trouble? As a bonus to this bonus, if you were Dex's parent how would you deal with him?

**Please note, the pictures look nothing like the boys in question. They are just pictures.


_________________
Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.
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Padraig


Trailboss
He gets a lecture about stopping at stop signs.

I can guess where the law is coming from nevertheless I think it's a silly rule. However, law is law. But (at least where I live) law doesn't require you to turn yourself in. Though a lie is still a lie in that situation it was legal. Therefore I will explain to the boys that we parents are the ones to blame for putting them in the situation at first place. They are not in trouble - this time.

AFinch


Sherrif
I'm going to apologize to all the boys. We (Dex's mom and I) put them in this position. While Dex could have avoided the incident, maybe, by coming to a complete stop at the stop sign, that isn't really the issue here. The officer was clearly not bothered enough by the rolling stop to even issue a citation.

Was it for reasons of safety or the joy of harassing an obviously new driver that he was pulled over at all?

Either way, the issue for the BOTD is the boys are feeling guilty over a white lie, and Nate, especially, is feeling guilty for aiding and abetting by NOT saying "No, I'm not his brother". He didn't actively lie (though I guess he'd still be guilty of an "Honor Code" violation at the nation's military academies. And from numerous previous discussions, I'm not sure that really even IS a lie--Dex and Nate are at the very least LIKE brothers, if not by birth than by choice.

I'm going to try to explain the difference between a white lie, a "lie of omission", and a lie with true guile. I'm going to point out that in civilized society, polite fiction is sometimes a good thing. And then I'm going to pull out "Liar, Liar" so we can watch it together before having the same discussion all over again.

If anyone deserves to be punished, it's the parents who gave permission for what we all knew was a violation of a (in my opinion stupid and overreaching as well as discriminatory) law. After all, people who get their first license at 18 are not prohibited from driving with others for any amount of time once their licenses are earned. If lawmakers made any sense, and they do not, well, hardly ever, either one could not be licensed until they turned 18 at all, or the rules would be the same for 16 year olds as they are for anyone else.

The boys will not be punished for this, at least not beyond the few minutes of angst they suffered when the officer pulled them over. I would deal with Dex exactly the same way if I were his parent. He did nothing wrong other than obeying me when I told him that it would be OK for him to break what is a very silly law. "Law may be law" but in this case, with respect to Charles Dickens, the law is a ass".

ivor


Marshall
AFinch wrote:


The boys will not be punished for this, at least not beyond the few minutes of angst they suffered when the officer pulled them over. I would deal with Dex exactly the same way if I were his parent. He did nothing wrong other than obeying me when I told him that it would be OK for him to break what is a very silly law. "Law may be law" but in this case, with respect to Charles Dickens, the law is a ass".

Sorry Kier, but I don't consider it is a silly law. At that age I believe a kid could be easily distracted and I'd question whether he should even be allowed to have one other kid in the car with him.

The mistake though lies with the adults who agreed he could go ahead and drive with the pair on board.

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AFinch


Sherrif
Sorry Ivor. You're entitled to your opinion, but we will have to agree to disagree.

I believe that if a 16 year old kid is deemed mature enough to drive a car, he/she is mature enough to do so under the same conditions as any other driver. Otherwise, logically, if not legally, he/she should be required to wait until he/she is deemed old enough to drive even in the face of "distractions".

I'd also argue that far more accidents have occurred as a result of a parent (usually over the age of 30!) dealing with squabbling kids in the car than young drivers with a quiet, well-behaved (or even not so quiet and not so well behaved) passenger.

ivor


Marshall
We will indeed have to agree to disagree Kier - unless and until you can provide some statistics to back up your contention.

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1strappedboy


Sherrif
I don't know...I transported my sibs and a couple of friends to school on a regular basis once I had my license and managed not to bend the car, but then what with what would have been the outcome of bent sheet metal I had good incentive to pay attention! affraid

As to our 3 kids here, I agree that we (the parents) are at fault here for not enforcing the rules and I really can't see punishment for this doing anything but making a royal hypocrite of myself. I think this one gets a pass with some praise for the boys for recognizing the wrongness of lying and having sufficient character to feel bad about it.

Dex should take this as on object lesson on why we need to pay attention behind the wheel, especially as a new driver. Getting a ticket on a junior license can get expensive fast from the insurance standpoint (or at least it can here in the People's Republik of PA! Razz ).

Kat


Editor Extraordinaire
Most laws are somewhat arbitrary and represent compromises. I think parents should be very careful about sending kids the message that it is okay to break laws that are merely inconvenient or annoying. By giving permission to break a law, you set a precedent and compromise your moral authority to impose your own rules on your children. I see a clear difference between willfully breaking an unjust law and willfully breaking a law that one doesn't like. If we are to have any sort of order in society, then we can't simply pick and choose the laws we obey. We also should remember that the choice to break a law, even an unjust one, comes with the responsibility of accepting the consequences. In a case of such as this one, where a parent disagrees with the law, that parent should work to change it but not give a child permission to break it.

That having been said, even the best of parents aren't perfect. Admitting my mistake would be my first step. My second would be to assure the child that the responsibility for the lie rests with me and not him. I will look up the fine for breaking the law and then donate that amount anonymously to a charity so that the child can see that I regret my decision and am making symbolic amends for the mistake.

Kat

Kat


Editor Extraordinaire
If I were Dex's parent, I would have very little to say. The cop didn't ticket for the stop sign violation but probably made his point. I can hardly blame the boy for lying to avoid a ticket for an act for which I gave my permission.

Kat

1strappedboy


Sherrif
I like Kat's idea of donating the amount of the fine to charity as a means of 'stepping up' and accepting responsibility in a meaningful and concrete way.

John Boy


Sherrif
I assisted in them breaking the law, so I don't see how I could punish them.

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Kat


Editor Extraordinaire
Totally different tack from my earlier reply: I think I'm going to smack Nate for being such a little prig. After I was nice enough to give him permission to ride with Dex, he's embarrassing me and putting me in an awkward position. It's one thing to have a conscience and another to turn into Little Lord Fauntleroy.

Kat

1strappedboy


Sherrif
Re Kat: Razz

Jack


Admin
AFinch wrote:Was it for reasons of safety or the joy of harassing an obviously new driver that he was pulled over at all?

Honestly, I'm glad that the officer who pulled them over was willing to give them a warning, because this is illegal and can be dangerous (I've nearly been ran over by a driver who did this without paying attention to pedestrians). Being pulled over by a cop might be enough of a shock to straighten Dex out. (And, if I were his parent, I'd let it go at that, this one time).

As for Nate... If he were older, I might refer him to Thoreau. As it is, I'm going to suggest that this might come under the general heading of white lie, and that contradicting Dex would have been very similar to tattling.

Of course, I think I'm also going to have to eat crow about spanking him for 'lying', before all this finally gets straightened out.

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squarecutter


Sherrif
It strikes me that Dex was put in the situation by us the parents and that inexperienced drivers don't always get it right. If he didn't run the stop sign as such I also think the officer bought and paid for the lie by pulling a young driver over and we would have bought and paid for it if Dex and Nate had implicated us. No, lesson learned all round. Clear observance of stop signs and for us no encouraging of Minors to flout the law.

Stone Man


Marshall
As parents we should not have allowed the boys to be put into this situation. We must apologize first and then take care of the boys' concerns about lying and enter into a lively discussion about lying and it's many forms, some acceptable and some not.

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