Letter: Legal or illegal? Today’s definitions too confusing


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Posted Online: Dec. 03, 2012, 11:22 am
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I'm sitting with "Webster's" on my lap. Like most people, when I run across a word I thought I understood, it now leads to more words to further confuse me. If you can't trust "Webster's", who can you trust?

The word "illegal" makes me turn to "legal".

After reading the dictionary's explanation, I'm more confused than when I started. When does illegal become legal or legal become illegal?

In the case of immigration, when the two political parties decide how many votes they can get. Now illegal will become legal.

Now, take smoking, I'll admit, a nasty habit which I enjoy. A legal product and to governments a wonderful source of income, yet, if you own a small, say, auto repair shop and you work alone, it's illegal to smoke there.

If I break a law, my act is illegal, I think. I'm no longer sure because a judge gets to decide my punishment.

Depending on the law I broke, the judge has many options. He can let me go, fine me, send me to the Iron Curtain Motel or other punishments he wishes to inflict on me.

Now I have to research the true role of a judge. I'm past being confused.
Will someone out there help me?

I'm spending too much time with Webster.

Marty Shannon,
Rock Island



















 




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  Today is Wednesday, Sept. 17, the 260th day of 2014. There are 105 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: We are told league merchants have paid no attention to the prohibition on selling ammunition, but continue to sell just as before the order was issued.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The Rev. R.F. Sweet, rector of Trinity Episcopal Parish, left for the East to visit his boyhood home in Boston before attending the general convention of the Episcopal Church in New York.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Dr. E.A. Anderson was named to succeed Dr. E.L. Kerns as head physician of the Modern Woodmen of America, and moved to Rock Island from Holdingford, Minn.
1939 -- 75 years ago: One week late, because of the outbreak of war, Dr. E.L. Beyer resumed his work as professor of romance languages at Augustana College. Dr. and Mrs. Beyer left Germany on the last train to the Belgian border.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Employees in Turnstyle stores in Moline and Davenport will vote Oct. 2 in an election set up by the Chicago regional office of the National Labor Relations Board. Employees will vote either for the Retail Clerk International or for no union.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Rock Island High School is considering a step to help teen moms stay in school and get their diploma. The school board is expected to vote tonight on instituting an on-site child care center.




(More History)