There has been recently ( ? ( or not* ) ) been a trend to severely punish anyone that commits crimes which are arguably as inconsequential or behaviorally unavoidable as any Social Comportment can be.
i was just listening to NPR; Which had a story concerning Archeological Hobbyists, ( Metal Detector Geeks ) that are under fire from ‘Academic’ Archeologists for ‘Destroying’ Historical Sites, Which in this Specific Case; Was The Mud Banks of British Rivers, Which, as it turns out, are Terrific Places to find Very Old Artifacts, as it is typically The Case that when you Accidentally Drop or Lose something into a River, No Effort is made to Recover it ( ! )
The ‘Academics’ feel that these ‘Amateurs’ are haphazardly digging up these Sites, & Not only selling whatever they find to Unscrupulous ‘Collectors’, But Perhaps more seriously, are upturning The Soil Layers, making any future Professional Excavation of these Sites to be Nearly Pointless, As The Geological Position of these Items would be rendered moot.
Their ( The Academics ) Solution is Arrest & Imprison all these Amateurs, which would include anyone picking up litter or children digging in The Sand along a beach; Without any possibility of Parole.
When i was taking Anthropology Courses in College, The Professors at Eastern Washington University had The Same Position with ‘Hikers’ that picked up ‘Arrow Heads’ while out in The Local Forests or Grasslands. It doesn’t seem to matter to them that these items would never otherwise be found or noted without The Discovery by these Dilettantes, But No Matter; Whenever one of these Pedagogical Anthropologists would come across a Crafts Project at a Street Fair that was made of these Arrow Heads or Other Artifacts; They would fly into an Hysterical Tantrum.
While i am Sympathetic to these Concerns for Preserving & Accurately Recording The Unexpected History of Human Cultures, Extinct Daemon Fauna, Quirky Geological Phenomena &/or Any Forbidden Archeological Relics that may tend to provide evidence for Crazy Religious Myths or Visitations by Extraterrestrials—
i also find it very annoying & disagreeable to fill prisons & Squander The Creative & Enthusiastic Contributions of Any Given Community, with Genuinely Piety Ne’er-do-wells, Whose crimes are very often, The Result of where Common Sense conflicts with The Zealotry of Judicial or Academic Orthodoxy.
i would like to believe that a ‘Reasonable’ Solution is to merely Encourage All of These Overactive Bumbling Greenhorns to follow some simple protocols when collecting their pretty bobbles.
Whenever they’d buy a Metal Detector, or Any other Associated Geegaw, They’d be required by law to receive an accompanying DVD or Video Transmission that would provide them with a Host of Tips & Directives that They Really -Should- Follow when Pursuing their Compulsive Obsession.
a) Keep a Diary of When, Where & What you’ve Collected;
b) Which should include a simply doodle or drawing of The Item Next to The Item’s Entry. If The Hobbyist imagines themselves The Worst Artist Ever, The Video provides some clever & enlightening tips on how to draw things with reasonable accuracy. ( The first being; Don’t Scribble ! Draw with confident single lines & mind The Spaces as well as The Regions of Substance ! )
c) At The End of The Day; Clean off The Items in a Prescribed Manner, Taking care not to Damage them in any way.
d) Careful & Thorough Instructions are Provided on How to Take Very Professional, Clear & Detailed Photographs of Each Item, Front & Back, Taking Note of Any Curious & Significant Attributes or Subtleties.
e) Upload these pictures, along with all your notes & Contact Information to A National or Global Registry of Such Found Items, which is then accessible to Anyone in The World. ( This would also provide those Troublesome Academic Heretics with A Common Repository to Record & Find Forbidden Antiquities that may be Used to Overthrow Entrenched Dogmas & Obsolete Ideologies ! )
f) You must ( ? ) Then hold onto The Items for a Period of 2 ( ? ) Weeks, During which time; Any ‘Authorized’ or ‘Recognized’ Academic Institution, Museum or Repository of Treasuries would be able to purchase The Item for a ‘Reasonable’ Valuation.
g) If after this period, there are No Interested Parties to Obtain The Item; You would be Free to Sell or Auction It off to Any Bidder, Private Collector or Asian Pharmaceutical Peddler.
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* Actually; After reflecting on this for only a moment; Historically; Communities The World Over, Tend to Severely Punish their own Neighbors, for The Most Trivial & Inconsequential Crimes! / Which may be a Cultural Contrivance to Beat Down any attempt by anyone to express The Tiniest Individuality, which Everyone ( Read: Everyone ) Hates. / Everyone hates ‘The Others’ that are Different from ‘Themselves’. Even The Avant Gardé Artist’s hate Anyone that isn’t an Avant Gardé Artist ( ! )