I ticked off a few readers with my comments last week in "Colorado State Fair Fiasco Tops This Week's Bloopers." The piece was in regard to the youth rewarded by Colorado State Fair (CSF) officials after they elected not to follow the fair's requirement for premises ID.
The readers I heard from abhor the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) concept and feel it's terribly wrong to require of youth something not required of adults. These folks regarded the incident as an example of civil disobedience, openly defying a law in an effort to draw attention to its unfairness. They claim the CSF's premises ID requirement is a private property rights issue, and that registering your premise ID somehow signs over rights to the government.
Perhaps I'm too simplistic but, as has been said hundreds of times before, there's nothing on a premises ID that the government doesn't already have. In fact, there's nothing a premises ID has that a local telephone book doesn't have. All a premises registration does is put the info into a specific database designed for quick response should traceback be needed in the event of a disease outbreak.
The point I want to make, however, is that all of that is really peripheral to the real issue. The point is that the CSF put a rule in place that aligned with the rules of the 4-H and FFA programs, and that had the support of the state's major livestock groups, and which, most importantly, they have every right to make.
If you disagree with a rule or a law, you should work to change it; but there should still be consequences for breaking it. Whatever your political motives, the facts are straightforward. The rules were legitimate, they were clearly understood, and they were intentionally broken, after which they simply were not enforced.
Instead, under threat of litigation, those who chose to break the rules were actually rewarded beyond those who followed the rules. That is why CSF's actions have to be considered what they were -- an embarrassment.