Jerry S. Jordan: Newspaper theft law may not be well crafted
To the Editor:
Regarding Letters to the Editor (Guest Opinion 7/25) and Editorial (Our View 7/25): I believe (quite strongly) that stealing what doesn’t belong to you is stealing. I don’t condone stealing and believe that it’s a rotten thing to do.
Still, I’m confused. The co-author of HB1057 (making it a crime to steal the Ski-Hi News and similar publications) states, “…we carefully crafted HB1057 to only bring the law into these crimes…”…those being theft to deprive peoples’ right to read a free newspaper.
First, the Ski Hi News editorial supporting HB1057 possibly inflames the issue by contrasting property rights with a bum’s right on Pearl Street to sleep under a free newspaper. Or HB1057 is possibly not as well-crafted as former Rep. Carl Miller maintains.
Second, Rep. Miller goes on to state, “You don’t take things that don’t belong to you.” I agree again. Either, one free newspaper belongs to me, and a second free newspaper does not. Or, the newspaper is free, but it doesn’t belong to me, one copy or a hundred. It seems to me that the law had better make the first distinction or the other.
I won’t inquire whether it’s my right to take one copy one day and another copy the next day. Nor will I ask if it’s legal for an illiterate bum or a blind window to take a free newspaper they can’t read? Nor will I ask, “If a dwarf-bum can cover-up with only one newspaper, is the bum still a crook?”
And so on about my parrot’s right to read in his cage.
The superfluous rhetoric, about don’t “kill” the bill, theft, censorship, violating free speech rights and a “vagrant’s right to comfortable sleeping arrangements,” takes a back seat to unbiased speech and simple, legal composition, period.
I enjoy reading the Ski-Hi News and believe in free speech, free newspapers and (probably) HB1057, if it says what it means.
Jerry S. Jordan
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