The Law in Everyday Life
by marissaditoro on October 1, 2015 - 3:22pm
The law plays many roles in my life each and every day, large and small, obvious and non- apparent. Common ways the law impacts me on a daily basis are traffic laws and regulations, bylaws, and copyright laws. Traffic laws govern how I drive, where I am allowed to cross the street, and where I am allowed to park. Particular bylaws that affect me are fire codes enforced in residences: I am required by law to leave the building when a fire alarm goes off, even if it is only a drill. Also, copyright laws require me to cite sources when researching and writing essays as well as pay an artist for their music. These laws are all written laws, but I follow unwritten laws as well: cultural and social norms. For example, while I might be required by written law to stop at a red light, an unwritten law might be to not cut another driver off while switching lanes. This may not necessarily be written down as an offense, but other drivers will respond as if it is. In addition, immigration laws apply directly to me as an international student studying in Canada. These laws govern how long I can stay in Canada to study, where and when I can work while on a study permit, and regulations concerning application for permanent residency. These laws are not always easy to comprehend and can be difficult to understand the different limitations or requirements to study in Canada as an immigrant. Residing in Canada on a study permit means that I am not a Canadian citizen, restricting voting privileges and prevents me from working off of campus. I have been living in Canada for a few years and feel and live like a Canadian, but due to documentation and the lengthy nature of the laws process, the gaining permanent residency is taking a great deal of time. Society has a need to abide by laws, which means that individual members live their lives in a manner that indicates they are aware of the law. The law (and its enforcement) provides a sense of safety and security due to the belief that the majority of Canadians obey the law. One of the main purposes of the law is to keep individuals safe, but many times individuals decide what is safe for them at the moment. These people decide when the law applies to them, or when it should be followed. For example, I will often take the shortest route across the street even if there is not a crosswalk. Known as jaywalking, this is illegal, but if there not anyone around to enforce it, I will simply walk straight across the street. This type of mentality may not cause too many problems if only done once in a while or with small bylaws, but certainly cannot be accepted when dealing with more major laws. The law works to make society as equal as possible for all members: discrimination, oppression, or marginalization should not be common concerns for community members. The law is both a visible and invisible presence in everyday life: laws banning murder, theft, and fraud are obvious and widely accepted as laws, but certain bylaws may not be common knowledge. It is evident in many aspects of society, but is not always recognized immediately. For example, parking spots may change in residential areas during the winter due to plowing routes and the need for roads clear of cars. Many people may not be aware they cannot park their car on a certain side of the road, which may seem like an “invisible law”. In addition, unwritten laws as discussed above may not always be obvious, especially to newcomers to a certain community. The law, in general, is a visible force that is not hidden from the people of the community and are commonly known, practiced and enforced by the community, and apparent in everyday life.