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Do the crime, do the time

It is incredibly easy to run a red light.

The urge is especially great when the roads are empty and no one is around. You are sitting impatiently waiting for the light to turn, knowing that if you simply pulled out the chances of getting caught would be slim.

Yet, the vast majority of drivers don’t. They abide by the social contract that says there are rules and rules are in place for a reason.

Likewise, it is relatively easy to sign someone else’s name to a check and pass it as your own — this is a crime that shows up as forgery and uttering on the police blotter. While fraudulent checks happen, millions of checks exchange hands every day without incident. The system works because of the trust people put into it, and a reliance on the innate honesty of people.

For the vast majority of people, whatever brief fantasy they have of crossing that line and embracing a life of crime, the line remains a stopping point — no matter how easy stepping over it might seem.

Wisconsin made national headlines over the weekend as a handful of Wisconsin residents intentionally and willfully broke the state’s election laws in an effort to prove their conspiracy-fueled fantasy that widespread fraud exists.

A group of self-styled voting security vigilantes broke the law when they fraudulently applied for absentee ballots under false names.

They flagrantly grabbed the social contract that governs interactions in a civil society and tore it to bits in an effort to suggest there are countless other scofflaws like themselves. Their end goal is to prove a conspiracy-theory fantasy that anytime voters disagree with them, it is because there was something fishy going on. The goal, it seems, is to cast enough doubt on the election system that legislators will rush to impose draconian fixes for a system that isn’t broken. Then they will be able to at last slip in voter suppression tactics to ensure that only the right people’s votes matter.

While any system should be tested on occasion, there are processes to do so without breaking the law in a headline grabbing stunt which proves only that those involved have no moral compunction when it comes to lying or cheating. Someone with no inherent understanding of morality or of the rules of polite society sees all others as being no better than base animals.

This view of people as inherently being corrupt is nonsense and the people who broke the law to prove how easy it is to break the law, deserve to be punished to the full extent of that law.

Beyond this, there needs to be investigation into the Racine County sheriff for doing worse than nothing when learning about this very real conspiracy to commit voter fraud. Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling praised those who committed the crimes rather than arresting or investigating them and worked to use the situation to further his own personal political motives.

To someone willing to cross the line and break the law, many things are possible. But that’s why laws are in place, so that those who break them face consequences for their actions.