Freedom Updates: January 18, 2001

The Colorado Freedom Report:  A libertarian journal of politics and culture.

The Colorado Freedom

Freedom Updates: January 18, 2001

All Freedom Updates by Ari Armstrong unless otherwise noted.

"Action" Jackson to Leave Politics

Jesse Jackson will leave public life because of his young out-of-wedlock child. Apparently, Jackson's girlfriend was pregnant as Jackson counseled Clinton on the Lewinsky scandal. The situation represents a terrible hardship for Jackson's family. The silver lining is we won't have to listen to his self-serving leftist preaching any longer.

Gun News Updates

Remember the porn star looking at a ten year prison sentence for posing nude with a gun? (See I thought I would be the lone voice pointing out the absurdity of the case. But it turns out I was wrong! In today's Denver Post, Mike PcPhee relates a comment Judge Richard Matsch, who said he is "concerned what the federal interest in this is. How far is this policy of locking people up with guns going to go?" ( The article is entitled, "Judge orders gun case reconsidered," which says a lot about the common sense of Matsch.

If you don't believe the drug and gun wars can affect you, you've got to read J.J. Johnson's article published January 17 at the Sierra Times ( A half-blind woman thought her neighbor (an Hispanic man, of course) was selling drugs. So she started recording the times the man -- Alex Gonzales -- came and went from his house. The crazy old coot called the police and told them Gonzales, who was out of town at the time, was shooting guns in the neighborhood. The police got a search warrant, arrested Gonzales at gunpoint, ransacked Gonzales' home while his children were home, and stole all his guns (which were conveniently listed in a government database). Does anyone need more convincing that we're on the brink of a Police State?

Boulder recently passed a slew of new gun restriction laws. I'll have more to say about this later. In short, Boulder required carrying cases for guns and imposed new storage restrictions. There is an especially worrisome addition about "Unlawful Storage of Assault Weapons." You can read the language yourself at (You must download the PDF file. Additions are highlighted.)

Amy Hoffman sent me a letter from the Boston Herald dated January 11, written by David Bergquist of New Hampshire:

Louis "Sandy" Javelle was my friend. On Dec. 26 in Wakefield, he was killed by a madman.
Sandy held both a federal firearms license and a permit to carry a handgun in New Hampshire. Ironically, the gun laws in Massachusetts prevented him from carrying a concealed handgun. But these same laws did not prevent Michael McDermott from obtaining illegal firearms.

When the rampage started, Sandy told co-workers to lock the door behind him and barricade it. He then confronted McDermott and became the third victim. If Sandy had been permitted to carry a pistol, he could have stopped McDermott. That meant that five other people could possible have survived this tragedy. But Sandy did not have that option.


I was surprised, really, to see such a honest look at drug prohibition. If you haven't seen this film, you must. Not only is it excellent for its political insights, but it's very well acted. The story revolves around the new Drug Czar for the United States, who discovers his daughter has a cocaine habit and his ally in Mexico is in on the drug trade.

A recent column explains:

The path from the good warrior to the disillusioned bureaucrat is the heart of this film, and a grim and gritty path it is. The movie takes us through three intersecting stories that detail not just the hopelessness of the drug war, but the misery and violence bred by this latest... jihad... There's.... the tale of the drug warrior waking up to the impossibility of his task. He discovers that his war is unwinnable and his allies deluded and corrupt. (

Wrongful Death Nets Paid Vacation

What happens to a Denver police officer whose incompetence and lies result in the death of an innocent man? The police officer gets a nine-month paid vacation, of course. Joseph Bini, the officer responsible for the death of Ismael Mena in a botched no-knock drug raid at the wrong house, was recently let back on the Denver police force, with back-pay. At least Denver's two major papers blasted Bini and the decision to keep him as a police officer. Columns from Chuck Green, Bill Johnson, and the two editorial boards are linked below.

Market Growth Gets a Hearing

In an e-mail alert today, Jon Caldara of the Independence Institute reported good news about the growth issue:

[On Monday o]ur Senior Fellow in Urban Studies and expert on growth, Wendell Cox, and Ron Utt, of the Heritage Foundation, spent the day poking holes in the logic of "Smart Growth." After being on Mike Rosen's radio program in the morning, the two gave a special lunchtime briefing to over 50 of the 100 Colorado State Legislators. Following meetings with the Denver Post editorial board and the Governor's staff, a presentation was made to Independence members in the evening... The important points made: One, growth control makes poor people even poorer. And two, we don't have a growth crisis, we have a transportation crisis. I find it odd how the elitist left wants to price working people out of homes, then stick them in government subsidized projects and somehow we free market folks are portrayed as anti-poor.

State Representative Glen Scott, who chairs the Local Government committee that will play a central role in the debate about growth, seems open to the concepts of market growth. In a January 16 article for the Rocky Mountain News, Todd Hartman described some of the issues raised by Scott:

What, exactly, is the growth problem? How do you get around the problem that there's just as much distaste for density as there is for sprawl? How do you encourage more people-friendly development -- like grocery stores within walking distance -- when many zoning laws discourage them?

The fact that these sorts of questions are being raised in the legislature bodes well for the advocates of market growth.

Sierra Club: Enemy of the Environment

The Sierra Club recently sent me a fundraising letter. (I don't know how I get on all these lists.) In the letter, the Sierra Club claims -- quite correctly -- that much logging on government lands is done at a loss, which is to say at a subsidy. Unfortunately, government projects are subject to the problems of special-interest group warfare and incompetent bureaucracies. Socialism works about as well for government wilderness areas as it does for government farms and government window factories. Even though Gale Norton would handle the lands more responsibly than most, her power is limited and short-term.

But the Sierra Club doesn't want to turn over the wilderness areas to private hands -- it wants to continue the same system that has so obviously failed. If the Sierra Club really cared about the environment, it would back my plan to give away half the wilderness areas to environmental groups and sell the rest to other private interests.

The Colorado Freedom