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Legally Speaking

What's the Law?

02/01/2007 - Over the years of practicing law I have become more and more concerned by the lack of understanding that people have of the laws that govern their lives. This lack of understanding makes living in a free society less rewarding and often more dangerous. The laws of our society are basically the rules of the game if you live in our society.

The other day I was in an electronics store and overheard a clerk and customer discussing a video game. The clerk was explaining some of the rules and features of the video game where the player would try to work his way through a series of obstacles to win the game. The customer was clearly already playing the game and understood the basics but wanted a deeper understanding of the game. To my amazement the sales clerk led him to a whole series of books that explained the inner workings of the game and the underlying rules that governed the play of the game. The excited customer took all three books off the rack and, I assume, bought them.

I have never played video games but I would guess that the object is to go into a video world as long as you can. I would also guess that the game has certain obstacles that can harm the player and certain rewards that the player is trying to realize. The customer and the sales clerk both understood that a deep understanding of the rules that formed the foundation of the game were critical to success at the game.

The young man who bought those books understood that to succed in a viedo world he had to understand the rules of the game and had to be able to access those rules. Driving home on those icy roads I had time to ponder and it dawned on me that life in any society is exactly like succeding in that game. The better you understand the rules of the game the more success you will realize.

In this realization my New Year's resolution was born. During the next year I'm going to try to help the readers of Our Town Casper Magazine understand the rules of their real world.

The rules that form the foundation of our society are our laws. If you want to prosper in the game of life a good understanding of the laws that govern our society is critical. Like a video game there are two ways to proceed. The first is to just start playing and the second is to get an understanding of the rules and then play. I wish I could tell all of the readers out there that you could just buy three volumes of text, read them and you would understand the rules we all have to live by, but real life is not that easy.

In the real world we are surrounded by rules. There is no way that any person could even begin to scratch the surface of all the rules and laws that govern our society. Over the next year as you get your Our Town Casper Magazine each month, you and I will explore the rules of the game call "Living in Casper". We will start with discussing the basic framework of the agreements between you and your governments. This will cover Federal, State and Local Constitutions. Then we will move to the basic laws of the Federal, State and Local governments and, like the clerk at the electronics store, I'll try to let you know where to find the information you need to understand the laws we live by. Finally, if I have enough energy, we will explore the hundreds of thousands of regulations that are the framework of the endless army of Federal, State and Local agencies that govern our lives. Just talking about this exhausts me, but I hope my resolution to help the readers of this magazne understand the rules of their real world will make for good reading over this next year.

Tom Sedar is an attorney-at-law practicing in Casper.

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