Another terrorist brought to justice

Leawood, Kansas cracks down on little kid’s lending library.

With the Fourth of July fading from memory, its good to meditate on the freedoms our ancestors bled and died for, such as the freedom to crush small acts of kindness done by children under the jackboot of petty bureaucrats.

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  • Joe

    The fact that two people complained about it just shows how stupid and inhumane our society is getting.

    • Marthe Lépine

      It seems to me that those two people should have just talked with the parents instead of using the big guns of the law. That was, on their part, a major lack of community spirit – in addition to the fact that objecting to this little library was a petty complaint to begin with. By the way, what would have happened to this boy if he had the equally bold idea of offering lemonade to those kids who would stay around to read? Eating establishments inspectors making sure that his mom’s kitchen was up to professional standards?

  • Dan Berger

    I like that he’s exploring creative solutions, like attaching the library structure to his house with a rope. But ISTM that his parents might want to explore zoning regs and exceptions: are there ways to get permits for outbuildings?

  • Linebyline

    A kid’s project ran up against some zoning laws. That’s it. That’s all that happened. The “petty bureaucrats” even said–in the very article you link to–that they sympathized with the kid and they liked the library, but they can’t just do away with the rules.

    The only one saying anything about terrorists is you.

    Something else that bugs me is people’s insistence that the local government shouldn’t have wasted their time actually thinking about this problem and should obviously just ignore it. In the comments on the linked article, people actually ganged up on the person who suggested that codifying an exception for these types of structures was “the right thing to do.” No, they all said, the right thing to do is just ignore the law.

    Sorry, but the right thing to do is fix the law, not ignore it! When we ignore bad laws but leave them on the books, we wind up with plenty of things that a corrupt government could easily use as an excuse to harass someone doing something perfectly legal that the powers that be don’t like.

    Oh, sorry, I’m being paranoid again. Surely the National Security Police State of Heaven (Feel safer or you might be an enemy of the state!) would never do such a thing! After all, when have we ever seen anything but fair and reasonable application of the law from our beloved leaders?

    • iamlucky13

      He did mischaracterize it, but it is still a problem of petty bureaucrats.

      And honestly, some laws are so blatantly frivolous that I can see no way they qualify as a legitimate authority, so I have no fear for the health of my soul in ignoring them. Did you see the “structure” the city presumed to tell a private property owner they had just cause to ban? I’ve seen mailboxes bigger than it.

      Yes, the law should also be fixed, but until that happens, I would not be the least bit concerned about this boy continuing to pick grain on the Sabbath, except for the fact that I’m sure the petty bureaucrats will feel insulted by him and make sure to punish his family.

      • Linebyline

        It must be nice to be able to read the minds of the bureaucrats, but since I can’t I’ll take them at their word when they say that their priority was making everyone equal in the eyes of the law. From the linked article:

        “We empathize with them, but we still have to follow the rules,” said Richard Coleman of the City of Leawood. “We need to treat everybody the same. So we can’t say if somebody files a complaint but we like the little libraries — we think they’re cute — so we ignore it. We can’t do that.”

        And that makes sense. Sure, in this case it was something harmless, but what happens when some other bureaucrats ignore the law out of sympathy for someone they empathize with, and the consequences are something you don’t like? For instance, for the sake of that poor dear scared girl seeking an abortion, surely they can turn a blind eye to those nasty parental consent and mandatory reporting laws.

        The law is for everyone. If there are a bunch of unwritten exceptions based on nothing more than someone’s arbitrary decisions about who’s sympathetic and what’s harmless, then there may as well not be a law at all.

        Even if it was a bad decision (and I’m not saying it was), that doesn’t mean it was intended maliciously.

        • iamlucky13

          Unwritten exceptions are normal, and legitimate. It’s well established legal precedence that enforcement of the law is mostly discretionary, except where the law explicitly prescribes action. Even violent felonies (see Warren vs. District of Columbia), although ignoring that may be legal, there is a heinous failure of a moral duty in such cases.

          I see police ignore minor speeders, California stops, and jaywalkers all the time. Discretion based on actual harm still accomplishes the intent of the law without stooping to pettiness.

          I don’t read the minds of the bureaucrats, nor do I have to. Pettiness is not a state of mind. It is an assessment of significance.

  • cececole

    Just amend that part of the code to specifically exclude Little Free Libraries. Problem solved. Actually, that is what happened. He was granted a temporary exemption and the LFL is open for business (and getting lots of donations it seems). https://www.facebook.com/Spencerslittlefreelibrary

    • Linebyline

      Help Spencer work with Leawood, Kansas to amend its city code to allow Little Free Libraries!

      (From the Facebook page)

      Nice to know that common sense can still prevail. Thanks be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ! May Spencer’s efforts continue to bear fruit.

  • Morris

    Legal positivism is a major scourge of our existence that people tend to overlook because they’ve been taught to bow down before “the law”.

    “It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man who knows what the law is today can guess what it will be tomorrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule which is little known, and less fixed?” – James Madison

    • Rosemarie

      +J.M.J+

      Wow, Madison described Obamacare to a T.

      Back to the subject, though; if they have a problem with that little structure, do they also ban treehouses or birdhouses?

  • Dave G.

    Fact is, this sort of thing has been going on for decades. I remember, before I was in high school, a story that the adults were buzzing about. A group of kids got together and tried to make an impromptu sports park out of an abandoned lot near a higher end neighborhood. Neighbors were afraid it might bring in trouble makers and hurt their neighborhood’s ‘prestige’. Some zoning law or something of the sort was used to drive the kids away. I remember many adults then ticked off about it. I mention it being before I was in high school because that would put the incident at around the late 70s. I don’t know if this began then or not. But this approach to petty enforcement has been going on for some time and probably says more about out society than our laws.


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