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Law is a Ass by Bob Ingersoll
Join us each Tuesday as Bob Ingersoll analyzes how the law
is portrayed in comics then explains how it would really work.

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THE LAW IS A ASS for 02/04/2003

"The Law is a Ass" Installment # 182

Originally written as installment # 162 and published in Comics Buyer's Guide issue # 805, April 21, 1989 issue

Someone once told me told me I might be able to make a book out of this column, if I branched out a bit and did more columns about movies and TV and maybe nursery rhymes. Topics that are a little more broad-based than our insular world of comics.

Who told me? One of the better literary agents in the country who had expressed a desire to see what it was I was doing in this column.

Never did get that book deal, but I did get this nice column on nursery rhymes.


Installment # 182

Through the years, They've tried to find someone to blame.

In the Fifties, They interviewed juvenile delinquents, found that all of them read comic books as kids, and blamed comic books for crime and violence--although with the "scientific" method They employed, They could just as easily have blamed mother's milk. Armed with their findings, They actively sought--and almost achieved--the death of comic books.

In the Sixties, They decided a coyote falling from a thousand-foot cliff, landing in a cloud of smoke and a puff of sound, then walking away looking like an unfolded accordion was dangerous. So They blamed cartoons and took Their butcher knives to another art form.

In the Seventies, They blamed television and the movies. But They found them too well-entrenched to be assailable.

In the Eighties, They concentrated on pornography. They learned their lesson from the movie fiasco. After all, only crazed liberals out of touch with the mainstream could possibly defend smut.

They missed the obvious. The problem isn't comic books or cartoons or television or movies or pornography. The problem is--and always has been--Mother Goose.

Fools! They think cartoons are too violent and comic books a bad influence, but They let fairy tales and nursery rhymes go unmolested. Hell, They probably read the things to Their own children--perpetuating the vile and violent, crass and crime-ridden evil of these so-called "innocent" stories, which are, in actuality, totally unfit for decent, civilized people.

Just look at the things!

Jack LNU--that's criminal justice system shorthand for "Last Name Unknown" and with all his crimes, I'm not surprised he kept his last name hidden--lives with his mother. They are poor. They have only one possession, a cow, which Jack trades for a handful of beans. No wonder Jack's poor; he's so dim he couldn't even hold down a job as a street lamp.

When Jack returns home, his mother is so angered by his dunderheaded dickering, that she throws the beans out the window--proving Jack's intelligence was hereditary. Yes, Jack's deal was stupid, but throwing the makings for the only meal you're likely to eat in a week out the window isn't rocket scientist thinking, either. Let's face it: if brains were water, Jack and his mother wouldn't be able to wet their whistles.

The next morning, Jack discovers that the beans have sprouted into a massive beanstalk growing into the clouds for several dozen feet, yards, even miles. Take your pick, the story never did establish how tall the blasted thing was. Jack does what any curious youth, who also happens to be in better shape than an Olympic decathlon champion, would do; he climbs up to the top.

At the top, Jack finds a giant's castle and . . . You know the story, think about it for a second. What did Jack do?

He stole a magic harp and a goose that laid golden eggs.

Yes, I said stole. Jack took the property of the Giant without that person's permission and with the express intent of depriving that person of the property. That is the definition of a theft--considering the worth of even one golden egg, a felony punishable by up to ten years in prison. Worse, Jack committed the theft by trespassing in the domicile of another person at a time when that person was likely to be home. That's aggravated burglary, a harsher felony, punishable by up to twenty-five years in the big house--no pun intended.

Then, if theft weren't enough, Jack ran away from the Giant--who was stupid enough to announce his presence with a nonsense rhyme rather than just squash Jack like an over-ripe tomato in a Veg-a-Matic. Jack escaped down the beanstalk. The Giant, who only wanted to get his property back--wouldn't you?--followed. Jack chopped down the beanstalk and the Giant fell to his death.

Jack caused the death of another, while fleeing from committing aggravated burglary. Anyone out there know what that is? Felony murder, a death penalty offense, that's what.

And Jack was the hero of the story.

In some versions, the tellers try to justify Jack's actions with the explanation that the Giant had stolen the harp and goose from them in the first place. Even if that were true, it doesn't excuse felony murder, aggravated burglary, and theft.

Try it yourself; break into the house of someone who stole from you, steal the item back, and kill that person in the process. I guarantee your defense of, "I was just taking back what was mine," will go over worse than claiming a sugar imbalance from eating too many Twinkees.

Jack's murder was not justifiable under the doctrine of self-defense. Self-defense is not available to persons who caused the life-threatening situation in the first place. For example, if a trespassing burglar finds a home owner holding a gun on him and shoots the home owner before the home owner can shoot him; the burglar's claim of self-defense will be rejected even faster than, "I was just taking back what was mine."

Think I've picked an isolated incident? What about Goldilocks? Trespassing in the Bears' house and eating their porridge is, again, aggravated burglary and theft. (When Goldilocks ate the porridge, she exercised control over it without the Bears' consent and with the intent of depriving them of their food. After all, even if Goldilocks had intended to give it back after she ate it, the Bears wouldn't have wanted it at that point.) Breaking their chairs was vandalism--a crime Hansel and Gretel also committed when they snacked on that gingerbread siding.

Tom Tom, the Piper's Son stole a pig and away he run. Try that in the local A & P, and you'll find the security guards on you, before you reach the parking lot.

Wee Willie Winkie ran through the town peeking through the windows. A decent prosecutor could make criminal trespass and voyeurism stick, even if Perry Mason were defending Wee Willie.

Georgie Porgie, pudding and pie kissed the girls and made them cry. Touching an--you'll pardon the indiscretion--erogenous zone in a way that is offensive to the touchee is sexual imposition.

Finally, have any of you thought of the degree of domestic violence committed by Peter Peter, Pumpkin Eater in order to stuff his wife into even the largest-sized pumpkin shell?

Fairy tales and nursery rhymes are nothing more than a detailed collection of sexual deviants, social misfits, and sociopaths, who act as heroes and parade their vile misdeeds before unsuspecting youths so that said youths can be inspired by and emulate the anti-social behavior found in the stories. Why haven't fairy tales ever come under attack in the same way that comic books, cartoons, television, movies, and pornography have?

I suspect, it's because the people doing the attacking--Them--grew up on fairy tales and find they didn't seem to have been affected by the things. Why, then, can't today's youth grow up on comic books, cartoons, television, movies, and pornography without being affected?

I suspect, it's because Their parents took the time to work with Them so that They could differentiate reality from fantasy and understand the difference between right and wrong. In that way, They had a good foundation for processing the fairy tales and nursery rhymes properly without being unduly or improperly affected by them.

Unfortunately, today They are too busy attacking things to bother devoting enough time to Their own children to give them the same foundation for processing fantasy and reality that Their Attackers' own parents gave to Them.

It may not be the whole reason, but I believe it is a definite part of it. All I ask is that you think about it.

It would be nice if someone were thinking instead of attacking.

Bob Ingersoll

BOB INGERSOLL, Cleveland-based public defender, comic reader and fan, and resident legal eagle, has a request. Will somebody out there please get on the stick and write The Book of Love already, so we can all stop wonder wonder wonder wondering who BOOM who wrote the blasted thing!
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