• Law for Backpackers

    LAW FOR BACKPACKERS 101

    The file that is "attached" here is the final version of my full Law for Backpackers 101 article, that began as a series of summarizations of topics with a lot of message debate in the "Straight Forward" Forum. It's in Adobe PDF format, which is easy to open, but if you can't, it is probably because you don't have Adobe "Reader." If that's the case, it's available on the Internet for free at Adobe.com.

    If anyone has suggestions, I welcome them, and comments about anything in here - pro or con - are welcome.

    I'd also appreciate you voting in the Poll above. It helps me with considering revisions.

    I hope this is useful to you. Thanks for letting me try.

    The Weasel
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Law for Backpackers started by The Weasel View original post
    Comments 130 Comments
    1. Heater's Avatar
      Heater -
      Has this post/poll benn subbed before?
    1. Bravo's Avatar
      Bravo -
      I voted neutral because I'm pretty clear about the things that I do. Some are within the law and some are not. I attempt to stay away from the law as much as possible. Just keep my head down and keep hiking.

      Kudos to The Weasel for the effort though.
    1. The Weasel's Avatar
      The Weasel -
      This is the same poll as was used when the article was submitted as a draft. Votes are new.

      Bravo to Bravo for 'staying within the law' but you can't stay away from it. Many of the topics have to do with things other than criminal law, such as insurance and powers of attorney (new). I hope you read those, too, and find some value. (Don't worry about the poll vote if you change your mind!!!)

      The Weasel
    1. Frosty's Avatar
      Frosty -
      Quote Originally Posted by Austexs View Post
      Has this post/poll benn subbed before?
      One difference: this is now a public poll. You get to see how everyone voted, who didn't like it and who did. Kind of like a TV camera in the jury room.
    1. The Weasel's Avatar
      The Weasel -
      Well, no one has ever held back from telling me when they didn't agree or like what I'd done before and saying so in public!
    1. Frosty's Avatar
      Frosty -
      Quote Originally Posted by The Weasel View Post
      Well, no one has ever held back from telling me when they didn't agree or like what I'd done before and saying so in public!
      True enough. Hope you get better answers this time around. If at first you don't succeed, ...

      My only comment is that the article is too long. It reads like a legal document, fine for lawyers. Articles for backpackers are most useful (in my opinion) are more useful if written with a layman in mind. Forget the obscure points. No one is going to remember all that junk you have in there. The best people can do if they get into trouble is to go back and read what they should have done, because they ain't gonna remember it after they read it. Assuming they finish reading without their eyes glazing over.

      Your article is a monumental effort, that is for sure. Unfortunately, a monumental effort does not necessarily equate to effective or useful, as the French found out with the Maginot Line.

      Revising an article is tough. I know. Tougher than the original writing. It is very hard to get a focused article.

      For grins and giggles, try condensing your article to three pages. Keep your old one, just do this as an experiment to see what you would keep if you only had three pages. You will have to leave out everything that isn't absolutely essential, and you may not like the final result, but I'll bet it is a superior product, and that you will have learned a bit in the process about what is most important to say on the subject. Then you can give a one-hour talk on the subject at the gathering or ATC biennial.
    1. Ronin's Avatar
      Ronin -
      Great job Weasel! I think the article is very informative. Sure, most people won't remember everything said, but I'll bet certain points will definitely stick with them.
    1. The Weasel's Avatar
      The Weasel -
      Frosty --

      There's an old saying, "Might as well be damned for a dollar as for a dime." Yeah, I know it's long. But most of the points are relatively short, and the best suggestion was that I put a table of contents in (which I did). That means if someone doesn't care about "Public Nudity and Sex" (chuckle), they don't have to read it. And the ones that are long essentially incorporate questions and information from others. So you can blame other people for it being too long!!!!

      I'll probably revised it again in a few weeks, but if it goes short, I'll just get complaints about what I left out. So you're right, but I may not change it.

      As for the Maginot line, it was never successfully breached, and did the job it was intended to do. The French problem was that it wasn't extended far enough to prevent flank attacks. But some parts of the Maginot Line held out for weeks, and were never overcome. I should be so lucky.

      The Weasel
    1. Frosty's Avatar
      Frosty -
      Quote Originally Posted by The Weasel View Post
      As for the Maginot line, it was never successfully breached, and did the job it was intended to do.
      That's like using an open tarp in Maine in July for mosquito protection and saying no mosquitos got through the tarp so the tarp did the job it was intended to do.

      Your Maginot Line was as effective in keeping Germans out or France as an open tarp would keep mosquitos off your body.

      Ah, see, you're tricked me again into debating with a professional word twister. Maginot Line did the job it was intended to do. Ha ha. Yeah, great for debating the meaning of words instead of their context, and shooting a discussion away from its original focus.

      Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Consider me shamed, and you on ignore.
    1. The Weasel's Avatar
      The Weasel -
      Frosty:

      First of all, if you want to debate military strategy, this thread isn't the place for it. You raised the point, but if you want to keep it up, that's hijacking. Please don't. Start a new thread.

      Secondly, I don't appreciate being accused by you -again - of "playing with words." I did nothing here or elsewhere that is a "shame on you." If you want to engage in a flame war, please go elsewhere. I'm tired of people thinking they can gratuitiously slam me; it's old, and been done enough by now.

      Those - including you - who have comments (whether favorable or not) about the topic/article, or questions/answers, are welcome to post them.

      The Weasel
    1. TJ aka Teej's Avatar
      TJ aka Teej -
      Way too many words for a subject that will (or ever has) actually impact(ed) few (if any) AT hikers.
      Socks are a much more important topic.
    1. The Weasel's Avatar
      The Weasel -
      Those who don't find if of value may ignore it with no hard feelings from me. At their peril, of course.

      As for socks, I look forward to your article on that. When will we see it?

      The Weasel
    1. smokymtnsteve's Avatar
      smokymtnsteve -
      heck rusty bolts..amerikans vote all the time without reading or understanding what/who theys is a votin four ....

      i mean take a look around...
    1. The Weasel's Avatar
      The Weasel -
      Well, I'm not in the same league as W, stevo!

      The Weasel
    1. rickb's Avatar
      rickb -
      heck rusty bolts..amerikans vote all the time without reading or understanding what/who theys is a votin four ....


      That's true even in this thread.

      When The Weasel voted that his own article was "very useful to (him) as a backpacker", my guess is that he really didn't understand the question. Perhaps he meant that the knowledge that went into writing the article was very useful to him.

      I really don't believe The Weasel looks at his own article as an important memory or reference tool, given his experience and education.

      But if so, that's OK. Eating our of aluminum pots for many decades could take its toll on anyone of us. Now off to work, if I could only find where I left my keys...
    1. The Weasel's Avatar
      The Weasel -
      Actually, Rick, I probably learned more than most people, since before I responded to most questions I checked the details in order to make sure I was right and to fill in things that made information more clear and, I hope, useful. And I don't remember everything, either (is entry into the US from Canada without a visa good for 90 days or 180? hafta look), probably from all those Scout aluminum pots I've used. That's really what being a lawyer is about: Knowing where to look for information, and understanding how it will be perceived in a court of law (hopefully to keep clients OUT of court by giving good advice!). There is so much "law" and so much changes literally daily that no one can know all of it, even in a specialty area, and even then the details get 'misremembered'.

      So when someone asks me one of these questions, I have a copy of what I wrote. It helps me remember what I said, and what I think the law provides. It's useful to me, and I'm glad - for my own purposes - that I went through the exercise.

      And I continue to hope that it helps others. That's the real reason I did it.

      The Weasel
    1. Rain Man's Avatar
      Rain Man -
      Quote Originally Posted by The Weasel View Post
      Actually, Rick, I probably learned more than most people, since before I responded to most questions I checked the details in order to make sure I was right and to fill in things that made information more clear and, I hope, useful. ...
      Likewise, I find that I learn more than my readers/listeners, when I prepare an article, a class, or a seminar speech. It's often said that the teacher learns more than the students.

      I'm also surprised and disappointed when people use words imprecisely and then complain that lawyers "twist words" when the lawyers use words with precision. The fact is, it is the fuzzy thinkers who are twisting the words. People who use words with precision are not twisting them, but are often untwisting fuzzy usage, whether they be lawyers or anyone exercising clarity and discipline of thought.

      I am going to pm you a couple of comments and items of advice for your consideration. GOOD article. Perhaps the ATC should pick up on it.

      RainMan

      .
    1. txulrich's Avatar
      txulrich -
      I found it to be way too long. 30 pages is way beyond overkill. It would be much more useful if it was formatted into bullet points. Just my $.02
    1. The Weasel's Avatar
      The Weasel -
      TX, I appreciate your comment, and understand it. And if I spent another 10-20 hours on this (I estimate that I've probably spent well in excess of 100 hours in writing the main points, reading comments that were helpful, and researching it), I might shorten it somewhat.

      But to those who want three pages or bullet points, I'm sorry, that's not going to happen. Most of these sections were much shorter when posted in the active thread, and generated (helpfully) a lot of questions that need answers. Saying, " + Don't consent to any LEO search" without describing how "searches" differ from "pat downs", what "consent" is, and, for that matter even who may or may not be a Law Enforcement Officer just won't work.

      Some things in this life don't condense to 3 pages and a 5 minute Power Point presentation. Yeah, you could condense Bubba Ho-Tep to 5 minutes ("Elvis and JFK kill monster. Bang.") or the Bible to 3 pages ("God does strange things. Do good things. Israel is old.") but that doens't mean that you understand them. My writing isn't up there with the Bible, or maybe even good enough for Bruce Campbell. But this is a topic that I think has more to it than bullet points.

      Sorry. Still hope it has use for you.

      The Weasel
    1. weary's Avatar
      weary -
      I've read through page 15 and have found the article a useful summary of the law. I wish it was a bit shorter, but I understand why that can't happen without misleading some hikers.

      I'll read the rest in a day or two. Tonight I have to get ready to attend a town land trust meeting.

      I continue to believe that though the words may not be as precise as lawyers might wish, the Baxter Park TRustees, who adopted the language, did so because they wanted to make drinking alcoholic beverages at campsites and leantos legal. The rules used to specifically prohibit the consumption of alcohol.

      I vaguely remember the discussion many, many years ago. The argument as I remember dealt with fairness. People who rented camps and log cabins in the park were considered able to drink legally. And park trustees and advisory committee members, who periodically stayed at "VIP" housing in the park also indulged, which I know from personal observation while covering park meetings as a newspaper reporter. Thus, the argument went, it seemed only fair that people using the shelters and tents should have the same right.

      However, no one should put complete faith in my sometimes less than precise memory in this matter -- at least until after I go to the park again and ask the park administrative staff, directly.

      Weary