Freedom Updates: February 25, 2001

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Freedom Updates: February 25, 2001

All Freedom Updates by Ari Armstrong unless otherwise noted.


Coloradans Support Concealed Carry

According to a recent Rocky Mountain News / News 4 poll conducted by Talmey Drake Research&Strategy of Boulder, 67 percent of Coloradans said they support liberalized concealed carry laws (John Sanko February 25).

In addition, 64 percent of those polled responded affirmatively to the following question: "Should the legislature make it a crime for a person to have stored a firearm in such a way that it was easy for a juvenile to obtain possession of it and if a juvenile did in fact get a hold of it and took it to a public place or used the firearm in violation of state or federal law?" Of course, the fact that that's ALREADY ILLEGAL according to Colorado statutes seems to have deterred neither Talmey Drake nor the citizens responding, a point that calls into question the legitimacy of the study. Existing language makes it illegal to place a child in danger, regardless of the substance or object involved.

As I've argued before, polling data is easily manipulated. If Talmey Drake had asked, "Would you favor imposing mandatory gun storage laws, even though such laws have failed to increase safety in other states and have in fact increased every category of violent crime?", I suspect the results would have been somewhat different.

Still, the fact that the gun storage question was obviously written from a biased point of view whereas the concealed carry question seems to have been written in a more neutral way, yet concealed carry still pulled stronger numbers, bodes well for the civil arms community in Colorado.

By the way, have you noticed had John Sanko has fallen into the habit of quoting mostly the anti-gun lobby in his articles? I refer you to page five of the February 25 edition of the News. If you want to politely let Sanko know you'd appreciate more balanced coverage, you can write to him at sankoj@rockymountainnews.com or you can send a letter to the editor to letters@rockymountainnews.com.


IRS Seizes the Indianapolis Baptist Temple

February 13 was a sad day for America. Federal thugs raided a church because the Internal Revenue Service claimed the church owed penalty fees. The church paid all its workers as contractors, who in turn paid their own taxes, but the IRS said the church had to bow to its rules and comply with the mandated paperwork. We've often suspected that our political rulers have a deity-complex, but this is ridiculous. Tom Minsel passes along the following commentary:

U.S. marshals rushed through a side door into the church, where six or seven people - some who had been holding a vigil there for nearly three months - were gathered in prayer.

"The purge has started," said the Rev. Greg J. Dixon, the church's pastor emeritus, as the marshals wheeled him out.

"We had a promise from the Bush administration. We had every reason to believe there was a moratorium. ... They were going to dismiss the case. We had a deal, and they welshed on the deal," Dixon said.

"To have the IRS come in and seize the church's property, that is an extraordinary event unparalleled in American history," said Richard Hammar, an expert on churches and tax law.

Sources say the church has indeed paid the taxes the IRS claims owed. The IRS apparently has decided to create a dispute over the channels with which the taxes were paid.

Funny, where are all the liberals now screaming about the so-called "separation of church and state"? An actual reading of the first amendment and a study of actual history shows that the government is not supposed to control the church nor mandate a government sponsored religion. However, the church is not barred from taking part in the political process.

Now what do all the folks think who claimed that the country was back on track and that things would be all better simply because GW Bush is in office? Looks like he's carrying on part of the Clinton legacy already.


Big-Government Ashcroft

John Ashcroft recently said he wants to "reinvigorate the war on drugs." However, part of the recent declines in crime are probably attributable to Clinton's relatively lax enforcement of drug laws (even though Clinton's administration locked away plenty of non-violent drug offenders). Maybe Ashcroft needs a ticket to the film Traffic.

According to Yahoo, Ashcroft also wants to expand Project Gestapo (er, Project Exile) and lock away non-violent gun offenders, too. (See http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20010208/pl/ashcroft_priorities_4.html.)

On a positive note, Ashcroft said he wants to end discrimination and racial profiling. Unfortunately, his first two goals will continue to warehouse predominantly black Americans in the federal prisons.


Dumb Growth and the Poor

On February 22, John C. Ensslin of the News wrote, "The average homeless person in the metro area is working a job... A hot economy and welfare overhaul has found him or her work, but not enough to pay the rent."

The politicians have the PERFECT solution to this problem. They want to pass growth restriction laws to drive housing prices up even higher. But don't worry -- the politicians will also be there to force the rest of us to pay for low-income housing.


Ban DHMO!

There's a new killer threatening our children. It's a widely available chemical known as "dihydrogen monoxide," or DHMO. The chemical is available for sale practically everywhere -- it has been reported in schools across Colorado. It recently killed one high school girl and hospitalized another.

DHMO killed the girl when she overdosed on it at a party. The chemical caused the girl's brain to expand and cut of the blood flow. After several days in the hospital, the brain-dead girl was taken off of life-support, when she officially died.

DHMO appears to be particularly dangerous when taken in conjunction with another "party" drug commonly known as "Ecstasy." Ecstasy appears to cause a strong craving for DHMO in a minority of persons. Unfortunately, DHMO is a "gateway" substance: every Ecstasy user questioned has reported previous and frequent ingestion of DHMO.

Probably the biggest obstacle in the way of controlling DHMO is that it covers three-fourths of the surface of our planet. It's common name is "water."

I do want to recognize the deep tragedy of the death of Brittney Chambers, the sixteen year old from Superior who fell into a comma at her birthday party. Her parents and friends will suffer for a long time to come. My little sister was sixteen not too long ago, and I would be devastated to lose her.

In the January 31 Updates, I said "if it weren't for drug prohibition, the girl would not be in a comma today." Now, following her death, we know that's not necessarily true. I wrote based on the previously reported contention that the Ecstasy was tainted. However, some of Chambers' friends took drugs from the same batch and were fine. Chambers' death was reported as an overdose of water. It's possible that even if drug prohibition had previously been repealed, Chambers would still have died. However, there's still good reason to believe she'd be ok. Professional makers of the drug would make sure it was sold in relatively safe doses, only to adults (legally), and would use warning labels like, "this drug is known to cause severe feelings of thirst in some persons. Over-ingestion of water in association with this product can result in severe injury or death."

Two high school students offered the best analysis of the problem I've seen. Haley Sinn-Penfold of Fairview High writes in the February 22 Rocky Mountain News, "We also need to realize that it is not teachers who are at fault. It is not the administrator or the district. Sometimes it is not even the parents. It is the kids who are making these decisions. Society can try all it wants to stop them, but the simple fact is that sometimes those actions work and sometimes they don't."

Even high school kids grasp the notion of Free Will. In the same issue of the News, Erin Machamer of St. Mary's Academy writes, "It is tragic that someone has died, but neither she nor the girl who was hospitalized was a victim. They both made a conscious decision to take an illegal and dangerous drug. By making this choice, they were responsible for the consequences."

When I meet or hear from young people who show this kind of basic wisdom, I am optimistic about the future of our country.

IN OTHER drug war news, the February 10 News reports the Littleton sandwich shop where two teens were killed last year may have been a "drug haven," which would provide a possible motive for the slayings. The February 4 paper reports that a kidnapping was "believed to be drug-related." Prohibition breeds violence.


Owens Fails the Symbolism Test

Nancy Mitchell's February 6 article in the News notes that our Governor Bill Owens missed the following ninth-grade reading question from the CSAP:

Read these sentences from the passage [I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou]: "My imagination boggled at the punishment I would deserve if in fact I did abuse a book of Mrs. Flowers'. Death would be too kind and brief."

The above sentences are best described as containing an example of:

a. Foreshadowing, through which the eventual death of Mrs. Flowers is implied.

b. Personification, in which Mrs. Flowers' book is described as if it were human.

c. Symbolism, in which the book represents the trust between Marguerite and Mrs. Flowers.

d. Exaggeration, through which the girl's respect for Mrs. Flowers is expressed.

Mitchell reports, "Owens chose symbolism. Wrong. It was exaggeration." Isn't that typical of politicians? They believe their positions and actions carry some kind of deep symbolic meaning, but in reality they usually have an exaggerated sense of self-importance.


Legislative Updates

The Senate actually did the right thing and rejected Senator Gordon's discriminatory gun storage law. The House passed the law intending to reduce racial profiling, which I think was a smart move by Republicans (as well as the right thing to do). I'm just sad that the senate judiciary killed the bill to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders. (The Republicans joined Senator Gordon to stop that one.) Hopefully the House will move to kill the ridiculous bill requiring a year of counseling before a divorce can be finalized. Being a libertarian is tough. The Republicans keep infringing our personal liberties, while the Democrats try to limit our freedoms of economy and self-defense. Civil libertarians of the world, UNITE!


'Papers, Please' Reconsidered

Some time ago, I wrote of my experiences eating out, when "I produced my identification papers and purchased the glass of wine."

Patrick Lilly wrote back, "Why? I long ago adopted a policy of refusing to produce papers on demand. Even if I have them (and I usually don't) I "just say no." In the specific case of the increasing government zeal of demanding papers of people to buy booze, I go even further: If asked to produce documents to prove that I'm a government-approved person, I not only do not do so, I also cancel my order, and walk out. This practice, as you correctly note (Great article, BTW!), has already become very ingrained in American society. Thus, only putting businesses (which do not make _nearly_ as much from the sale of alcohol as the government does, but still make a good deal of their profits therefrom) on the spot, and cutting into their revenue, will any significant pressure be created to change it.

"Now, I know that this is inconvenient. It can ruin, or at least disrupt, many an otherwise enjoyable night out. But I think the issue is serious enough to justify some temporary inconvenience."

However, I'm not sure I'm ready to go that far yet. I think I will adopt as a normal policy, when asked to show my identification, to reply, "If you say, 'show me your papers!' I will do so." If I really feel rambunctious, I might suggest the person say it with a German accent. We have to remember, though, that the government officials entrap restaurants and levy huge fines if the identification rules are broken.


Socialism is Not 'Progressive'

God only knows how I ended up on the mailing list of NOW, the National Organization for Women. True, I agree with many of NOW's positions: I believe women ought to have equal rights, ought not be discriminated against, etc. However, I also disagree with NOW's big-government disposition.

The fundraiser I got from NOW asks me to sign the following statement: "I agree with the National Organization for Women that the public airwaves should not be used to usurp our political system. While progressive organizations like NOW struggle to be heard, Rush Limbaugh [a.k.a. "Satan"] can and does use the power of the public airwaves to mobilize anti-feminist, racist and homophobic sentiment. [I often disagree with Limbaugh, but this rhetoric is rather extreme.] NOW has my support for its efforts to win fair access for opposing points of view from the radio stations that air Rush Limbaugh's show. I also support NOW's position that the FCC must require broadcasters that are benefiting from _free use of the public airwaves_ to make channels available on the new digital spectrum to public interest groups."

In short, NOW calls for the abnegation of property rights, the torching of the First Amendment, and the socialization of the means of communication. And they call this "progressive!" NOW calls Limbaugh a "reactionary," but its leaders ought to take a quick glance in the mirror.

On a positive note, NOW members protested the rapper Emenem at the Grammy Awards, thus disproving Limbaugh's contention that the rapper would get special treatment because of his leftist politics. I am not familiar with the music, but apparently the lyrics contain violent and ant-homosexual sentiments.


NRA Hypocrisies

The March 2001 edition of America's 1st Freedom, the NRA's major publication, quotes Charlton Heston on page 29, "It was the NRA who pioneered the criminal background check on gun buyers -- not Bill Clinton. He wants criminals turned away. We want criminals turned in." Of course, the Brady law has not deterred criminals. Instead, it has increased violent crime by denying some responsible citizens their right to purchase a firearm for self-defense. In addition, the NRA's Brady law registers gun owners with the national government.

On page 50, the publication states, "Canada's political leaders promised their gun registration scheme would never lead to the confiscation of privately owned firearms. They lied. Are American politicians who call for gun registration and gun owner licensing any different? Don't bet your Bill of Rights on it."

If you replace "politicians" with "NRA leaders" in the preceding paragraph, you get the idea.


One Small Step for Hillary...

Hillary Clinton recently discussed her failed scheme to completely socialize the medical industry. In comments carried on CNN February 13, Hillary said she learned from her past mistakes: she now realizes it takes "small steps to get a big job done." In other words, you can't socialize large chucks of the economy all at once, you have to do it in smaller pieces. (That way you can dupe the short-sighted Republicans into supporting your policies.)

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