Posted Online: Dec. 03, 2012, 11:22 am

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

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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