Allowing one to break the law could impede the rights of others

Published 7:00 am Thursday, February 22, 2018

Tuesday night, the Poplarville Board of Aldermen unanimously decided to order the removal of a gate that had been illegally built across West Scott Street.

Donald Catherman, the man who erected the gate about four years ago, appeared before the Board to discuss the governing body’s objections.

Catherman claimed that since the gate had been placed across part of the road where he is the key resident, and since the road ends just beyond the gate, he should be able to leave the gate.

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Even after the Board informed him that it was illegal to build on public property, he refused to concede.

The discussion quickly became heated, and Catherman exited the room after proclaiming that he would not take down his gate.

What Catherman did not take into consideration with this matter is the fact that allowing him to keep the illegally installed gate on public property would only encourage others to break the law.

As an example, suppose a business owner in the center of the city decided that the traffic on one side of his or her business was decreasing sales and therefore decided to block off that section of the street during peak business hours without authorization.

Or, suppose an individual in conflict with his neighbor decided to block off a portion of the street to inhibit his neighbor’s ability to return home.

While these examples may seem like a step away from Catherman’s gate on West Scott Street, they are certainly possibilities.

Each city’s rules and regulations are put in place to protect and serve its residents.

If the city allows a gate to stand for the benefit of one but impedes on the rights of others, then the city is not truly protecting all of its citizens. The city is forced to retain its own property and rights for the benefit of the general public, lest others get the same idea.