The difference between legality and ethics

Jim Gammon & Admiral Ben Moreell
Rarely are there two stories in the news at the same time that, between them, so well define an important issue in our society, character.You are aware, I'm sure, of the man who won a lottery and took home over $800,000 in cash, yet still collects food stamps legally, because the law doesn't see winnings as income. His famous words: "If you're going to try to make me feel bad, you're not going to do it"

His defense is that he has done nothing wrong, he is entirely within his rights, and in line with the law, in continuing to receive food stamps.

Then again, there is another story in the news of a very different man. This gentleman bought a house. When he went into the house to give it a more complete inspection, he discovered that the previous owner had stashed away a nest egg, over $45,000 in cash. The owner had passed away without anyone knowing of the nest egg, not even his son - who acted as executor in selling the house.

The buyer of the home could not even consider that this money (which is obviously, and very legally his by right) as his. He insisted on giving it the the deceased man's son.

The difference here is legality vs ethics. Character and dignity are quite different from legality. Some people have the morals and ethics of Bart Simpson (and a few real people in high positions like Edwards and Clinton) "I didn't do anything wrong, no one saw me do it, you can't prove anything, I'm innocent" and some people have character and a innate sense of right and wrong. There is a big difference between these two men. "Right" in an ethical sense is not defined by the law.

The important thing here is how our media handles such news. Did you hear of the honest, decent man's decision in the news? What does that tell you about our media?


Rarely are there two stories in the news at the same time that, between them, so well define an important issue in our society, character.

You are aware, I'm sure, of the man who won a lottery and took home over $800,000 in cash, yet still collects food stamps legally, because the law doesn't see winnings as income. His famous words: "If you're going to try to make me feel bad, you're not going to do it"

His defense is that he has done nothing wrong, he is entirely within his rights, and in line with the law, in continuing to receive food stamps.

Then again, there is another story in the news of a very different man. This gentleman bought a house. When he went into the house to give it a more complete inspection, he discovered that the previous owner had stashed away a nest egg, over $45,000 in cash. The owner had passed away without anyone knowing of the nest egg, not even his son - who acted as executor in selling the house.

The buyer of the home could not even consider that this money (which is obviously, and very legally his by right) as his. He insisted on giving it the the deceased man's son.

The difference here is legality vs ethics. Character and dignity are quite different from legality. Some people have the morals and ethics of Bart Simpson (and a few real people in high positions like Edwards and Clinton) "I didn't do anything wrong, no one saw me do it, you can't prove anything, I'm innocent" and some people have character and a innate sense of right and wrong. There is a big difference between these two men. "Right" in an ethical sense is not defined by the law.

The important thing here is how our media handles such news. Did you hear of the honest, decent man's decision in the news? What does that tell you about our media?