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A law school education in one BLOG entry

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I’m taking two law classes right now, one from Harvard called contract law and one from Penn State called Intellectual property law.

When I took the LSAT – a test which gauges your ability to succeed in law school, I would be asked questions like this:

When pregnant lab rats are given caffeine equivalent to the amount a human would consume by drinking six cups of coffee per day, an increase in the incidence of birth defects results. When asked if the government would require warning labels on products containing caffeine, a spokesperson stated that it would not because the government would lose credibility if the finding of these studies were to be refuted in the future.

1. Which of the following is most strongly suggested by the government’s statement above?
(A) A warning that applies to a small population is inappropriate.
(B) Very few people drink as many as six cups of coffee a day.
(C) There are doubts about the conclusive nature of studies on animals.
(D) Studies on rats provide little data about human birth defects.
(E) The seriousness of birth defects involving caffeine is not clear.

Pick the best (1) answer.

In a nutshell, this silly little question details the problem I had with my previous way of thinking.

Before, I would have selected something like (c) or (d), as there would be plenty of sample data for humans to choose from to cross validate this assertion. Or I would have selected something like (a) (more than (b)) because let’s face it, who drinks 6 cups of coffee a day? And while (e) is perfectly valid as well, as there’s no real discussion made on the what is meant by birth defect, this would have been lesser priority.

In hindsight, I would choose to break the written rule made for me, and select all the answers, and here’s why:

I don’t claim to know who and how the government representative thinks, let alone their biases and conclusions. And with the amount of information given, it’s a crap shoot, a roll of the dice. Even playing probabilities, there’s no ‘best’ answer, so every answer is still on the plate.

From personal experience, I know that just about anyone imaginable can work in government. There’s analytical types who will side with statistical conclusions. There’s emotional types who will side with rights. And then there’s the true scientists who don’t mind cracking a few eggs to make their omelet which might prefer answer (e).

I suspect if I had one more chance to take the LSAT, I’d probably score horribly, as I’d still not study for it and answered precisely as I thought, breaking a few rules along the way such as select the (1) best answer.

Sometimes all five answers are best.

Even if that’s against the rules.

Throughout my life, I have learned to respect the rules around me.

When rules about drunken driving were disobeyed, rolling the dice enough, I got into a pretty minor wreck with my new Corvette. The rules were there to protect me, but I damaged my ego and my car to the tune of $8000.

It was a lesson, so I curtailed the REAL drunk drinking and driving, which I was most certainly blitzed the night i got into that accident back in 1997.

This isn’t to say I cut drinking and driving altogether. I just became much more cautious, and when I was real drunk, I would call a cab. Sure, I might have blown greater than 0.8 at times to legally be drunk by the state’s measure, but by my measure, using that one severe accident I was angry at myself about, I learned to back off and do the self check.

Incidentally, I don’t have a car any longer, and haven’t had a drink in a couple years.

Being homeless is so much fun! Not.

I believe it’s our responsibility as citizens and as individuals to do what’s right for ourselves and balance that with the world around us.

This isn’t selfishness.

It is taking a hard long look at society understanding it’s primary focus is to make you and I consumers, essentially slaves to a system, which ultimately creates a system which will make your individual choices for you.

Now that may be your cup of tea.

And I respect you for that decision.

But it ain’t mine.

And here’s why:

I had read all about Cuba throughout my life, and had heard about the embargo and the Bay of Pigs invasion.

While it wasn’t really that interesting historically to me, it was of social significance – as I wondered what had been the impact of a society with limited to no interactions with America for nearly 50 years?

Up until this point, I had broken minor rules. Hacking into computer systems in my own off time. A recreational drug habit that helped fuel the late night hours. Watch Mr Robot, you will understand a lot of how my life was spent after 2005.

But Cuba. If caught, I could spend three years in jail for going there.

I had to do it right.

I had a friend from Guatemala purchase my ticket in 2010, and a few months later we flew, together, from Panama City to Havana, Cuba.

Now mind you. I don’t break rules out of disrespect.

I break them because I’m exercising simple choice.

What’s the difference?

The difference is – by then I had been to nearly 30 countries, I enjoyed exploring, and this large island nation with an interesting history which freely allowed everyone in, was restricted by the United States. I was curious. What would I find about this sparsely documented country? What treasures? What experiences?

You see, I love experiencing new things. And love going places no one else has gone before or talked about.

And Cuba was right up there on that list as no Americans I knew had ever been.

And trust me, I had known a lot.

I broke the rules to explore, it’s really that simple.

And I suppose you can say that’s predictably true with just about every time I choose to break the rules.

I drove 125 miles per hour to simply experience it.

Sure, you can take pictures at that speed but absolutely nothing captures the feel of that experience.

I took cocaine to understand what it felt like and why people got addicted to it.

Sure, you can explain it and sure you can make rules governing it’s use. But the feel – the experience – is something that I cannot describe. I didn’t know what I was signing up for. I just knew it would be an experience. Same with Bath Salts.

And I went to Cuba not really having any idea what I would find when I got there.

So going back to the LSAT, I can say I have firmly learned a few lessons since taking that what turned out to be a really weird test.

Taking the test, alone, sent me down a path of discovering law on my own.

Why it exists.

And who ultimately creates it.

ME.

You see, we ultimately all create the rules and laws of the world around us through our beliefs, our choices and our desires.

When I was on a playground, I learned real quickly that the laws and rules around gravity, when not functioning correctly, can wind up with me flat on my ass, in pain, wind knocked out of me, and unable to breathe wondering what just happened.

Laws govern this universe, but there are rare exceptions to those laws based on an incalculable number of variables, and also something else wonderful…

Free will.

I believe the laws should apply to everyone.

But me.

And when a law doesn’t work for me any longer.

Well, I’ll break it.

Because I can.

NOW THERE’S the ultimate law education for you!

Harvard ain’t got nuttin on this guy!

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