National lawyer appreciation day

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I propose a national day set aside to honor our millions of unappreciated (if obscenely overpaid) lawyers. Those oft-criticized shysters need love and appreciation for what they have become, just as much as do heads of Mexican drug cartels.

Look at just a couple of current examples, illustrating how lawyers contribute to our welfare and general pursuit of happiness.

It is a scientific fact (lawyers may argue that “there are no adequate definitions of either ‘scientific’ or ‘fact’) that loud noise (which also cries out for legal clarification) is seriously disturbing to living things (which also require definition). Some rather interesting research has been done to illustrate and support that fact.

For example, scientists once placed a Habu (deadly viper common in parts of Southeast Asia) in a cage with a mongoose, which is normally able to kill snakes without itself being injured. When the two creatures began advancing toward each other, loud music was played over amplified speakers; both natural combatants quickly retired to their corners and cowered there until the music was turned off. Loud sounds interrupted their natural instincts, driving them into hiding in a futile attempt to escape the confusion and torture. Loud sounds, music or otherwise, are dangerous and intolerable to normal humans.

I know many persons who cannot long endure loud noise, including especially raucous eardrum-shattering music. They have reported having to leave places such as restaurants or nightclubs, in which over-amplified music made conversation impossible and enjoyment of food most unlikely.

Because it is generally recognized that noise pollutes, just as seriously as may asbestos, carbon dioxide, oil or pesticides, many governments have enacted sensible and reasonable noise ordinances. One typical lawyer, who reportedly doesn’t get much other work, has invested a lot of his time for nearly three years in trying to get an anti-noise ordinance ruled to be unconstitutional on the grounds that car audio systems (including especially those that are loud enough to rupture eardrums) are a form of “free speech” and therefore cannot be outlawed. A recent news report opined that his seemingly ridiculous case seems on its way to the Florida Supreme Court. It could, one supposes, go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. This is a classic case of where legalistic mumbo-jumbo, coupled with jurists endowed with little or no common sense, can lead to a waste of millions of dollars and a breakdown of whatever legal system still exists.

In hopeless defense of their embattled reputations, lawyers try to convince us that they work for the common good: protecting you and me against dangers, both physical and financial. Their hopes for buffing a bit of the tarnish off their image are dashed when news media run stories such as a current one about a Florida lawyer that has become filthy rich by handling a fifth of the state’s growing number of foreclosure cases.

Well, it turns out that he was, in that process, creating and using patently fraudulent documents. Do you believe that he will be made an example of by his kindred sort? Will prosecutors and judges bring him quickly (that’s in less than 10 years, according to lawyer speak) to pay for his inexcusable and heinous crimes? Will he be fined more than the many millions he apparently gained through unlawful means, and will he spend years in a hard-time prison?

Of course not!

The Bard of Avon was amazingly prescient when, toward the end of the 16{+t}{+h} century, he wrote (as part of King Henry VI) “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” Yes, more than 400 years ago, literate, educated, thinking persons apparently viewed lawyers as undesirables; if anything, the situation has worsened since.

In this observer’s view, lawyers do more damage to our nation than they do good. They contribute nothing to the Gross National Product – indeed wasting uncounted trillions of dollars that could be used to build a strong economic base. They create the worst possible kind of politician, and there are far too many of them. Of course, we should not “kill them all,” but we probably should limit their election to public office, reduce the numbers cranked out of lawyer mills such as Harvard, and then especially hold them accountable to the highest possible moral and legal standards.

That won’t happen either.

So (with heartfelt apologies to Patsy and Ed Bruce, along with Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson), mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be lawyers: let them be cowboys, plumbers, machinists and such…

Of Cabbages and Kings is a syndicated column by J.G. Nash. The author accepts comments sent to him at