Short Takes, September 1999

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Short Takes, September 1999

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Kopel Defends Paladin Press
In the August/September issue of Reason Magazine, David Kopel of the Independence Institute severely criticizes the law suit against Paladin Press in which the plaintiffs claimed Paladin's Hit Man was responsible for a murder.

The book is read by thousands of readers, notes Kopel, strictly for information or entertainment. Factually, the murderer did not rely significantly on the information in Hit Man to commit his crime, though he had a copy of the book.

Does the suit make sense? No, but then neither do the lawsuits aimed at filmmakers or gun manufacturers. We've nearly reached the logical conclusions of blaming the everything but the criminal for the crime. Isn't it past time we returned to a system of individual responsibility? -Ari Armstrong


Do Gun-Control Advocates Have the Courage of Their Convictions?
I would like to see a state legislator offer the following bill next year:

All unarmed house-holds in the state of Colorado must post a sign on or by their front door which is clearly visible from the street, with red letters on a white background of dimensions to be specified, stating, "The residents of this home do not own firearms."

There don't have to be any enforcement provisions included; obviously, the bill wouldn't ever pass (nor do I really want it to). The point of the bill would be to draw attention to the fact that anti-gunners free-load off the efforts of the rest of us who scare away the criminals by taking the responsibility of arming ourselves. The Democrats want gun bills -- let's give them this one. If they're so proud of opposing guns, they should be all for this law.

If we can't get a bill up, this would be a GREAT publicity stunt for the LP: make up a bunch of said signs and offer them to known anti-gun zealots, with the press watching, of course. We could call it the "anti-gun pride campaign" or something. -Ari Armstrong


911 Privacy Emergency
Although I've been paying a fee for 911 since I moved here in 1995, the San Luis Valley is now preparing to implement this 911 system.

I received a 4 page questionnaire which began with name, phone number, and directions to my house. Next they asked about medical conditions and prescription drugs. Then they wanted to know what "Hazardous Materials" I keep and where they are kept - things like paint, fuel, chemicals, fertilizer, guns, and ammunition. Then they asked for a list of pets and to tell them which ones are vicious.

Hmmm... do I really want to give all this information to a government agency? How will they use this information and who will have access to it? Is it paranoid to think that government might use this information badly? Just ask the New Yorkers who registered their guns -- as required -- and later had them confiscated because the police had a list of their guns. -Sandra Johnson


Governor Gun Control
Governor Bill Owens, not to be outdone by his fellow Republicans such as Congressman Tom Tancredo, has called for wide range of new gun controls laws.

Owens expressed approval of mandatory trigger locks, better known as "death-locks" because they will empower criminals and turn homeowners into victims. He wants to force private dealers at gun shows to conduct back-ground checks, which will make guns harder to buy for self-defense and will expand the national database on firearms owners. Owens also wants to disarm adults between the ages of 18 and 21, leaving them defenseless against crime.

Of course, none of the gun control measures Owens has proposed will stop criminals. Instead they will give criminals the upper hand by making it tougher for honest citizens to defend themselves.

Dudley Brown, Executive Director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, put the matter this way: "Governor Owens has staked his claim as Governor Gun Control. He got many of the gun owners' votes in his election, but has been stabbing us in the back ever since." -Ari Armstrong


No Smoke Screen from the News
On August 21 The Rocky Mountain News published an editorial of uncommon sense opposing smoking restrictions in Aurora. The political powers of that town have considered banning smoking in public places such as restaurants.

The editorialist's straight-forward libertarian message moistened my eyes. Here are some excerpts:

The city has no business telling restaurant owners how to run their businesses. They're perfectly capable of deciding how to handle tobacco... [V]irtue coerced is no virtue at all... Just because some habits are bad... doesn't mean they should be outlawed.

If the writers of the News would apply these insights consistently, their paper would be the most libertarian in the nation. The principles expressed imply we should get rid of all victimless "crimes" as well as all State regulation of businesses. - Ari Armstrong


My Native Blood
It turns out my great-grandfather's mother on my dad's side was a Seminole Native American. The Seminoles assimilated escaped slaves, so that means I likely have African blood in my veins as well. I judge people by the actions, not their genes, and it's ironic that many racists themselves have a rich genetic heritage.

Supposedly the Seminoles are still technically at war with the U.S. Federal government. Today, I'm in a strictly ideological battle with the Feds for similar reasons: they're stealing my property. I have to admit, though, that I'm being treated a lot better than were most of the Natives. (Others in our society haven't been so lucky -- just ask Randy Weaver.) The Seminoles weren't just victims, however; they also took Federal money to hunt down other Indian tribes. I suppose the lesson I'd take from this is to never sell out others to oppressive forces. In the most succinct words I've heard from a person of any ethnic heritage, Martin Luther King said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." If we take those words to heart, perhaps tyranny won't have as great a chance in the future. -Ari Armstrong

The Colorado Freedom Report--www.FreeColorado.com