Freedom Updates: June 12, 2001

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

The Colorado Freedom Report--www.FreeColorado.com

Freedom Updates: June 12, 2001

All Freedom Updates by Ari Armstrong unless otherwise noted.


Again

From the June 8 Rocky Mountain News, submitted by Eric Prideaux of the Associated Press: "Tokyo -- A man armed with a knife forced his way into an elementary school in western Japan today and stabbed at least 29 people, killing six children... Most of the victims were first- or second-grade students." Later reports placed the death toll at eight. The knifeman carried a six-inch blade.

Because the killer used a knife -- and not a gun -- news reports failed to quote lobby groups. ("Knife Control, Inc. said the event is further evidence that background checks, licensing and registration should be required for the purchase of a knife. 'We want reasonable, common-sense knife control legislation,' said John Doe of KCI.") Because the killer used a knife -- and not a gun -- Japan was not demonized by the politicians and media of other nations. Because the killer used a knife -- and not a gun -- news reports focused on the culpability of the killer, his psychological problems, general crime problems in Japan, and the pain of the victims.

Anti-gun groups in America tend to completely ignore non-gun related crime, despite the well-demonstrated link between disarmament laws and (increased) general crime rates. As the murders in Japan suggest, we should be concerned with crime in general, not only gun crime.

It is true that Japan suffers lower general crime rates than does the United States -- a fact accounted for by cultural factors (as opposed to, say, gun laws). Japan suffers significantly higher rates of suicide, only these deaths seem not to count with American anti-gun groups because in Japan suicides aren't committed with guns.

Chances are that the Japanese murderer selected young victims because they couldn't offer much resistance to his knife. Thus, it's probable that a mass-murderer's choice of weapon affects his or her decision whom to attack. It's hard to believe that a person anywhere could attack little six and seven year old kids. Disgusting.

The fact that the murders took place in such a far-away place seems to have reduced the coverage of the story in the American media, which I suppose is to be expected. That certainly doesn't reduce the horror of the crime, or the sympathy which we should feel for the victims and their families.


Big Brother is Watching

Communist China is reportedly planning to issue electronic identification cards to every person in that country. Sort of a souped-up version of America's "Social Security" identification numbers. (Incidentally, Social Security was adopted from a plank in the American communists' platform.)

The government has absolutely no business even knowing who the citizens are, much less personal information about each citizen. The main reason the U.S. government tracks citizens is for purposes of taxation. However, in the vision of the Founders, the vast masses aren't supposed to suffer direct taxation. A person should be able to be born, live out a productive life, and pass on without ever appearing on so much as a single government database. (I can't think of a way the voting system could be kept straight without a government database of registered voters, however.)

As if you needed any additional reasons to homeschool your children, consider the following bit from the June 12 Rocky Mountain News (21A):

LandLinx Communications plans to install Secure-Scan 2000 for free at Skyline High School [in Longmont]. The results there will determine whether the system is used in other Longmont schools. The $20,000 devise detects only the metals used in weapons and pinpoints their location, size and number. When people walk through an archway, their digitized images appear on a monitor. If anyone is carrying a weapon, it appears superimposed on his or her image.... The Defense Department used a similar system to locate enemy submarines in murky water.

Yes, Big Brother is watching. This system is likely to work about as well as the video cameras at Columbine High School. It would work great against, say, a kid who handed a knife to his friend through a window, or a kid who planned to open fire immediately upon detection.

Even children in government schools are relatively safe. Children generally face greater danger riding to school in a car than actually going to school. The problems of violence that exist in the government schools are better solved by privatizing the schools, not turning them into Orwellian control camps.


Greed

Norm Olsen passed along the following quote, which is a gem.

"Politicians never accuse you of 'greed' for wanting other people's money -- only for wanting to keep your own money." -- Joseph Sobran

Put another way, when politicians accuse the hard-working citizen of "greed," they ought to look in the mirror.


Jared Polis Returns

I thought he'd been properly embalmed, given up as politically dead. But he may be back! Jared Polis is the multi-millionaire who funded the Senate Democrats last year as well as his own race for school board. Jon Caldara sent out the following message on June 6 about a meeting facilitated by Polis:

This won't be the last that the Independence Institute sees of Jared Polis, the young dot-com wiz who, over the shouting of educational choice guys like me, won his race for state school board by 90 votes. Jared is working on an Issue Paper for us calling for the privatization of the Postal Service. Stay tuned. This could get interesting.

My bet is that Jared Polis makes friends in politics so easily because of his charming personality.


Cheers!

I've long argued that the legal drinking age should (at the highest) be the same as the legal age of adulthood -- 18. Preventing legal adults from buying a drink is unproductive, hypocritical, and oppressive. Thus, I have sympathy for the Bush girls, who recently got busted for buying alcohol.

Simon Jenkins of the Times of London writes June 12, "Most Britons will have been amazed by the [Bush] twins' plight. Here were two young women old enough to vote, fight, marry, bring up a family and walk about armed to the teeth. Yet they are banned from buying a beer at the end of a hard day's work." The British government infantilizes its citizens in numerous other ways -- such as by denying them the right of self-defense -- but damn it at least they can buy a beer.

The Colorado Freedom Report--www.FreeColorado.com