WikiLeaks and the Coventry Town Council What’s the Connection?

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has really stirred the pot in diplomatic circles with the release of sensitive documents previously held in confidence. The world is reading details from diplomatic correspondence that the inner circles of power never thought would see the light of day.

Today the Hartford Courant is questioning if Mr. Assange should be hailed as a hero or prosecuted for leaking sensitive U. S. documents. Why that is even a question should be disturbing, unfortunately it is not. Unfortunately we have lowered some of our ethical standards upon which this nation was founded. From Coventry to Washington there is a lack of courage in government and selective enforcement is a prime example.

We have leaders that will pass a regulation or law telling the voters it was needed, then brag they are working hard or even fighting “for the people”. The lack of courage is reflected in the policy of enforcement for the regulation or law. If the issue was so important that a regulation or law was required to control the activity why then do we see the concept of selective enforcement?

On a national level why are we asking if Julian Assange should be prosecuted, the only question should be did he break the law? Why does our local Town Council have regulations on the books for blight or sign control then have a policy of selective enforcement? Their enforcement policy is to have staff ignore an obvious violation unless a citizen actually complains.

It’s a good thing Liz Woolf is Chairman of the Town Council and not the Chief of Police. Can you imagine with an enforcement policy like that, stop signs and red lights would be meaningless until a citizen stopped at the police department to fill out a form to complain? Yes, a driver running a red light at 90 miles an hour on route 44 would be just fine as long as nobody came forward with a written complaint.

Selective prosecution or enforcement is not new and it occurs at all levels. One need only remember back a few years to the Clinton presidency. The President of the United States lied to a grand jury then selective prosecution became a topic of the day. The defenders of Mr. Clinton did not deny the act occurred but rather said it was insignificant and Mr. Clinton should not be prosecuted. Every presidency has a legacy and Mr. Clinton will have selective enforcement as part of his. That doesn’t make it right.

Selective enforcement is poor government policy for regulations or laws. If we need the actions of government in the form of regulation or law then it should be enforced. If the policy of enforcement is selective it could well be that the regulation is poorly written or not really needed, in either case review for possible removal from the books would be proper.


1 Comment


One response to “WikiLeaks and the Coventry Town Council What’s the Connection?

  1. scott auden

    Two things…
    In the first place, we should never (except perhaps in a court of law) ask ourselves if something is legal rather than if something is right. The law must reflect right and wrong; it cannot, of itself, define for us what is right and wrong. Think of all the heinous things that have been perfectly legal over history. In fact, asking whether the wikileaks founder did anything wrong is a MUCH more relevent and important question than whether he broke any laws. This is particularly true in a case like this one, where many sovereign states are affected. I’m quite sure he broke SOMEBODY’s laws, regardless of whether we in the US decide what he did was illegal or not.

    And as for selective enforcement, there’s a reason we have judges, law enforcement officials, etc., empowered to act with a degree of judgement. I don’t know about you, but I would want no part of a society that looked at the letter of the statute, ignored whatever the circumstances were, and punished you accordingly. When it comes to the specific issue of blight laws, furthermore, surely it’s relevant whether anyone is complaining about the blight in question? Where’s the sense in spending limited funds to force someone to clean up a property that no one is objecting to?

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