The Law is the Law

September 1st, 2019

I was already on edge. I had just received a call from somebody that I love, and it wasn’t a pleasant experience. I had to walk out of church just before Mass ended to take the call. Now I was hanging out in the narthex (the gathering space) , sucking some old coffee, and trying to make use of  my very limited social skills. At our church, the first Sunday of the month is set aside for Christian fellowship and random schmoozing. I was in the mood for neither. I was content to stand alone.

A young man approached me and smiled. He looked at me and said,

“That’s quite an interesting beard you have there.”

I reluctantly replied, “It’s just a beard, man. I’m Frank. Who are you?”

The young man replied, “I’m Dylan.”

Dylan was remarkably clean cut. If I had to guess, I would have said that he was active military. Dylan was tall, fit, and neatly dressed. He had a crew cut, and he wore a plaid shirt and chinos.

I asked him, “Dylan, what do you do?”

He told me, “I’m a plumber’s apprentice. I get to do all the fun jobs.”

I told Dylan about my youngest son, Stefan. I explained that Stefan was an Iron Worker and he liked to do dangerous jobs. I explained that when I was Stefan’s age, I was flying helicopters for a living, so I understood Stefan’s choices.

Dylan smiled again and said, “Well, you got to do what you love. Right?”

Then he asked me, “So, what do you do?”

I told him, “I don’t earn money any more. I retired three years ago.”

“So, what do you do to fill up your time?”

“I do volunteer work. Mostly, I do stuff with immigrants.”

Dylan seemed curious. He asked me, “Like what? Do you help people come across the border?”

“No, I mostly help immigrants who are here.”

“Why? Do they come here and get into trouble?”

“No, some of them are undocumented. Maybe they were brought here when they were little kids, or maybe they came here before all the rules changed. I don’t know. All I know is that they aren’t legal.”

Dylan sipped his coffee, and looked at me. Then he asked,

“So, do you call ICE on them?”

That stunned me. I asked him,

“Are you serious?”

He nodded.

“NO, I don’t call ICE on them. I’m trying to help them. Why would I do that?”

He stared at me and said, “The law is the law.”

I replied, “Some laws are immoral. Should I follow every law, even if hurts somebody?”

Dylan shrugged and said, “We need laws. They keep order. Otherwise we would have disorder.”

I snapped at him, “Hitler said the same thing.”

Dylan frowned. “I don’t know about that. I mean Hitler went to the bathroom, and we all do that. He was a vegetarian. Should we all be vegetarians?”

I replied, “You’re missing the point.”

He looked at me and asked, “What is the point?”

“The law is hurting people. It is tearing families apart.”

Dylan smirked, and said, “The law is the law.”

I asked him, “Do you know the law?’

He threw that back at me, “Do you?”

“Yeah, some. I took a 40 hour course on immigration law last year. That is probably more than you got. Tell you what, educate yourself, and then talk to me.”

“What do you mean?”

“Read some immigration law. Look at some case studies. Find out what is really happening.”

He smirked, “Why should I?”

I asked Dylan, “Do you know any illegal immigrants?”

He nodded.

“Did you call ICE on them?”

Dylan shook his head.

“Why not?!”

He drawled, “It would be too hard to locate him. I don’t know where he is right now. Nothing would really happen.”

“Okay, so what you’re telling me is that ‘the law is the law’, and the law is really important, but you aren’t willing to make any effort to enforce the law.”

He shook his head. “No, I mean a policeman would probably…”

I cut him off. “I don’t care what a cop would do! I want to know why you did not turn in an illegal alien.”

Dylan answered, “Like I said, it’s too hard to find this guy. It’s like if somebody speeds or throws a cigarette butt out of his car window. should I call the cops? They won’t do anything. Now, if I knew that a bunch of illegals are working at a place, maybe where they detail cars, then I would call ICE and let them know.”

“So, you would do that not knowing any of the people working at this place? You would call ICE even if you had no idea what harm would be done?”

He shrugged again, “The law is the law.”

He went on, “These people, they are taking jobs from young people here that want to work.”

I told him, “That’s wrong. The evidence shows that immigration grows the economy.”

He frowned, “It grows the economy of the old people that own the economy. It grows the economy of the rich. That’s why the young people are dropping out. They can’t find work because of these people.”

I told him, “My two sons have more overtime than they can handle.”

Dylan told me, “I’m sure that they are extraordinary men.”

“Maybe, just maybe, some young people don’t have jobs because they don’t want to work.”

Dylan replied, “Maybe.”

I told him, “These undocumented people are some of the best people I know. They have been here for maybe thirty years. They have families, they own homes, they are a part of their communities. Why would I want to hurt them?”

He stared at me, “The law is the law.”

I stared back at him, “You don’t know what you are talking about.”

He sighed, “I think that you have a very inaccurate view of what is going on.”

“I think the same of you.”

Dylan paused and said, “Well, let’s just say that we both have a unique perspective on the situation.”

“I can agree with that.”


He looked at me blankly and said, “I hope things go well for you.” (I am not sure that is exactly what he said. I just remember it as being lame).

I stared at him. Finally I said, “You too.”

I walked away to find Karin. I told her what had happened. Then she had to find her purse.

She came back to me. She said,

“That guy was just sitting there alone, smirking.”
















5 thoughts on “The Law is the Law”

  1. Gesetze helfen uns beim Miteinander. Gesetze als selbstzweck sind stumpf, eigentlich nicht wirklich zielführend.
    Sie sind die logische Konseqenz durch die Geschichte mit dem Baum der Erkenntnis von gut und böse. Wenn man allerdings genau liest steht da: “Frucht der Erkenntnis”. Es ist nur die Frucht, das heisst: was dabei herauskommt. Die Erkenntnis zu haben bilden wir Menschen uns nur ein und nennen das ganze “Gesetz”.
    Gesetze werden mit dem “Verstand” (was immer das sein mag) formuliert oft aus dem Bauch heraus, nie wird dabei zuerst nach Gott gefragt,um den Anschein zu wahren wird vieleicht noch eine Gottesformel angehängt. Es stellt sich sowieso die Frage: können oder wollen wir Gott noch dabei haben???


  2. Als Erwachsene gehen wir zu intellektuell damit um.
    Was mir dagegen half war einkleines Buch: Hallo Mister Gott hier spricht Anna. Sowar der deutsche Titel.
    Ein Beispiel für: Wenn ihr nicht werdet wie die Kinder……


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