I am wondering why our main blog post entitled Is It Against the Law to Hunt for Indian Artifacts in Tennessee? is so popular? It gets numerous visitors each day, along with several other posts. I realize spammers may just be grabbing onto it somehow each day for their own purposes through some roving bot thing—and it registers as a visit to the blog. However, this is what most concerns me—meaning—the possibility that this is what is going on with all these visits and views:
Fred, I’ve read that blog post 377 times, and I still don’t understand it. Well, I gotta go back on line for the 378th time. Maybe that one will be the charm and everything will fall into place for me.
From my past visits to artifact collector forums on-line, one of the things I learned is that many artifact collectors are absolutely convinced that every American cultural resources law (and the regulations promulgated under it) has loopholes that will allow them to collect on federal and state property without fear of being arrested and prosecuted. Therefore, if they can learn the details of the laws and regulations by carefully reading the legal text or reading interpretations of the text, they will be able to identify the loopholes—and sneak through one of them to get a free and clear elbow pipe or other artifact off state or federal land:
Fred, I read that blog post for the 378th time. I understand it now, but I still can’t find them loopholes. I know them loopholes must be in there somewhere, but I can’t see them for the life of me. All right. I’m going to read that post for the 379th time, and maybe one of them loopholes will finally jump out at me.
Give it up boys and girls. There are no loopholes. Cultural resource management and protection laws and regulations are not written by archaeologists alone. Teams of federal and state attorneys who support the U.S. Congress and state legislatures help with the writing of these laws and regulations. These attorneys have many years of legal education and experience in writing laws and regulations so tightly knit that a mouse fart would not squeeze through the tiniest crack in one of them. You can bash your heads against a steel wall for weeks or months on end—and never see any loopholes—simply because they are not there. That which does not exist cannot be seen or found:
I don’t believe you!!! All them laws and regulations have loopholes. You just have to look real hard until you find one. You just don’t understand our thirst for new artifacts and how powerful it is. It just overwhelms us like the need to go pee!!!
Whatever. However, I will issue you one warning. If you ever think you have found a loophole, chances are extremely high that the thing you think is a loophole is not really a loophole—and that is why you will be sitting behind bars after jumping through that imaginary loophole.