Law vs Land – On the Weed Again

Missouri is one of the only states in the nation – if not the only – without a law on the books prohibiting humans from copulating with farm animals. While the absence of certain laws on the books can be forgiven as presumable oversight and presumed default to common sense, the existence of certain other laws on the books which also subvert common sense and weight of scientific authority are less forgivable.

Epoch Weekend recently reported that a fine in Chicago for city dwellers with weeds on their property jumped in 2010 from $100 to $600, and it’s being enforced with full force and absurd effect. The winner of a first-place prize in the Mayor’s Landscape Awards Program for her native landscaped yard was slapped last year by the city with a $600 fine for the very same prize-winning yard. Kathy Cummings fought the fine, along with letters of support (while the Epoch Times didn’t specify, one would hope they included scientific evidence debunking the erroneous bases for the law, including that weeds attract rodents).

The judge in Cummings’ case apparently disregarded the letters and instead applied his/her own presumptions and (il)logic, stating “In my experience, those are weeds,” in reference to milkweed, which is needed by monarch butterflies who won’t lay their eggs on any other plant.

Not only was the judge’s comment based on questionable grounds (since when is it okay for a judge to replace scientific evidence with their “own experience” and what precisely is their experience – is it as a gardener or farmer or as a judge spending more time on the bench than learning about the earth?), but it also suggests there is a dangerous dearth of education among the general public (and especially those in positions of power and authority) regarding the environmental damage overly processed lawns wreak, the current bee and butterfly crisis, and the value of simply getting back on the weed.

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