So, last post, we left Bean and Bugs in a legal pickle. Bean had taken in Bugs without the upbringing, education, and licensure mandatorily required by the Second Law. The prosecution was about to begin.
By great good fortune, our duo drew Judge Richard Arnold, now returned to the bench as the most venerated member of the Feline Judiciary. Judge Arnold’s opinion is here reproduced by kind purrmission of West Thomson Reuters Publishing Company.
Synopsis of the Result: The sentence was pronounced. Bean produced the report as ordered. The Legislature amended the Second Law of Kindness. Peace, justice, and ecology were restored to the Bean-Bugs household.
Here is Judge Arnold’s opinion.
Before the Court is a case requiring interpretation of the Second Kindness Law. Absent interpretation, the Legislature could not have intended the harsh result.
Context is everything. The Second Law follows the First. The First holds that mere common or garden-variety kindness is not enough; it must be augmented with the jet-fuel-class Concentrate of Kindness embodied in the understanding that is Empathy.
The Second Law furnishes the particulars of how First-Law Empathy is to be achieved. It requires (1) A plenitude of gentle fostering, inculcated by the likes of esteemed Professor Tigger; and then (2) Rigorous testing, to ensure the buffing-up of Empathy’s sinewy muscle, for when the going gets tough.
What is less clear is how the Legislature intended to resolve the classic dilemma: How may fundamental natural law be applied? What is the balance to be struck between gentleness on the one hand and muscle on the other? When proper fostering and education in these matters has not been provided or enjoyed?
The law contemplates augmentation and mitigation in the appropriate case. This is that case. Bean needs to educate herself in boundary-drawing. She must find a way to empathize with, understand, and honor the being, the very soul, of her charge Bugs on the one hand – while also understanding her own needs with similar insight. These include protecting her Cod-given right to the sanctity of her own person. She must be able to keep and bear arms, to deploy and defend her sacred person when threatened – in this case, by Bugs when his nature has got the better of him.
Bean is therefore and hereby sentenced to six hours community service. She is required to do research and educate herself on boundary-drawing. She will thereafter prepare a report, which report shall be afforded due consideration by the Legislature.
From time to time, Bugs must be contained.
It is so ordered.