Two hundred and fifty years ago, Jonathan Swift remarked that “Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through.”

Nothing much has changed over the years. Some laws are rigorously enforced while others are widely ignored. How many people ever get stopped for texting or using their cell phones? But I can tell you that if you drive with one headlight out, you will attract attention.

I was coming home on Saturday from a Thanksgiving celebration in Richmond, Virginia. It’s a distance of roughly 450 miles and I had covered over 400 miles of it before darkness fell. But as I made my way up Route 22 in Dutchess County, New York, I noticed flashing lights behind me and pulled over. To make a long story short, a New York state trooper wanted me to know that I had one headlight out and that I ought to deal with it as soon as possible. I thank him for the information and we drove on.

It’s less than 10 miles from Route 22 in New York to Route 7 in Connecticut and we had gone less than 10 miles when, once again, the there were flashing lights behind me. Now it was a Connecticut state trooper who wanted me to know that I had one headlight out. I told him that they had already informed me of the problem in New York State. He told me I should get it fixed as soon as possible and he hoped I would have a nice weekend.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had that much attention from the authorities. Over the weekend I have been meditating on that subject and making lists of other suitable objects for the attention of the law’s representatives. I have also had my headlight fixed. Now what about the other areas of American life that needs some fixing?

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