Freedom Updates: September 5, 2001

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

The Colorado Freedom Report--www.FreeColorado.com

Freedom Updates: September 5, 2001

All Freedom Updates by Ari Armstrong unless otherwise noted.


Romo Persecutors Investigated

I thought the story was over. Broncos player Bill Romanowski was set free. However, now two people who testified against Romo are themselves under investigation. The September 5 Rocky Mountain News reports a prosecutor may "investigate statements from DEA Special Agent Kyle Brannon and Douglas County Sheriff's Detective Jeff Grimwood. Attorneys for the [Romo] accused Brannon and Grimwood of lying on the witness stand during hearings..."

What? A DEA agent may have lied? I'm shocked! So much for my long-held belief that the DEA was the cradle of virtue. What does surprise me is that the DEA might actually be held accountable, this time.


"Do It For The Children"

Janet Reno is actually going to run for governor of Florida. And here's her top campaign promise: "I want to build the best education system in the nation." I have to wonder just what nation she has in mind as her model.

Just for fun, here are some possible campaign slogans for Reno's team.

  • Vote Reno: The Butcher of Waco.
  • 'Cause only the Gestapo should have guns.
  • Resistance is futile.
  • Dissenters will be raided.
  • Fascists do it better.
  • For the Glory of Cuba.
  • Our Campaign is Incendiary Device-Free!
  • We're 100% Certain We'll Win.
  • Watch Jeb Go Down in Flames!

Liberty Links

Aaron Zelman, founder of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, has released two recent articles about civil arms that are well worth reading. In his latest at http://www.jpfo.org/alert20010903.htm, Zelman argues that Jewish leaders who advocate civilian disarmament are ultimately betraying not only Jews but the rest of America. Zelman defends Bob Glass, the Colorado Jewish founder of the Tyranny Response Team, against Glass' attackers in the ADL.

In another piece written with L. Neil Smith, Zelman offers a "A Blueprint for Ending Gun Control" (http://www.jpfo.org/alert20010815.htm). It urges a principled stand. It does make one mistake, however: it compares defensive gun uses with gun homicides, whereas the comparison should be between lives saved and lives lost, or between defensive gun uses and offensive gun uses. (Of course, regardless of comparisons, the key question is how additional laws will impact violence rates.)

WND published an article about Danforth's reaction to McNulty's "F.L.I.R. Project" (http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=24284). NcNulty argues that the government re-creation of the Waco conflagration was faulty for four reasons: the day-time temperature was different, the guns were different, the ammunition was different, and the test didn't include all the dust present at Waco, which enhances muzzle flash.

Danforth fires back that the government tests did use the same guns and that wounds of the victims are consistent with suicide. I believe the F.L.I.R tape demonstrates beyond a reasonable doubt that federal agents fired into the Waco church as it burned. Watch it for yourself and decide.

George Reisman gave a talk at the Ludwig von Mises Institute titled "The Future of Liberty" (http://www.mises.org/fullstory.asp?control=761&FS=The+Future+of+Liberty). I'm a big fan of Reisman and find his writing lucid and enlightening (even when I've disagreed with a few of his points). Reisman describes the libertarian conception of liberty:

Liberty should be understood as freedom from the government, specifically, freedom from the initiation of physical force by the government. The existence of a government has the potential to secure the individual's freedom from the initiation of physical force by other private individuals. It actually does so insofar as the government enacts and enforces laws against such acts as murder, robbery, rape, assault and battery, and fraud. However, the existence of government, as we know all too well, itself poses the greatest potential threat to freedom. The Gestapo and the KGB, for example, make private criminal gangs like the Mafia or the Capone mob look not only tame by comparison, but almost kind and friendly -- so utterly and massively vicious can governments be.

Reisman argues that today "the average successful businessman probably has more to fear from the government than does the average mugger.... [S]uccessful businessmen are prey to an army of government agencies enforcing arbitrary, unintelligible, and contradictory rules and regulations."

In Reisman's view, the Marxist view that free markets lead to the misery of workers is responsible for today's pro-statist sentiments. He says,

It should be obvious that an essential prerequisite for the restoration of liberty is a thorough refutation of Marxism. Only one man has accomplished this. And that is Ludwig von Mises. He has demolished the entire Marxian worldview. He has pursued it up every intellectual alley and into every hiding place, and has demonstrated its utter fallaciousness. In its stead, he has presented a radically different view of the nature of laissez-faire capitalism and of the modern economic world -- one that demonstrates that it is precisely economic freedom that both brings about a modern, industrial society and is necessary to its maintenance and flourishing, to the benefit of all.

Are You Aware?

Ralph Shnelvar authored the following comments.

The following question is posed on a Handgun Control questionnaire.

12) Are you aware that legislation requiring a waiting period for handgun purchases provides a safeguard to impulse suicides and "crimes of passion," because of the required "cooling off" period?

This question is equivalent to the classic "Do you still beat your wife?" question. There is no way to answer the question with a yes/no. Hell, one could be a handgun control zealot and still disagree with the premise of the question.


Lott Criticizes U.N. Arms Policies

John Lott ("More Guns, Less Crime") wrote an editorial July 30 for the Wall Street Journal Europe titled, "Small Arms Save Lives."

Lott argues that some insurgencies are justified, and successful rebels must have adequate arms. "[I]n hindsight, would Europeans really have preferred that no resistance was put up as Hitler rolled across Europe? Should the French or Norwegian resistance movements simply have given up? Surely this would have minimized war causalities. Many countries already ban private gun ownership. Rwanda and Sierra Leone are two notable examples. Yet, with more than a million people hacked to death over the last seven years, were their citizens better off without guns?"

Lott adds: "And what about the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto during World War II? Wouldn't it have been better if they had more guns to defend themselves? With all the well-deserved publicity for the movie "Schindler's List," the movie left out how Schindler, an avid gun collector, stockpiled guns and hand grenades in case the Jews he was protecting needed to defend themselves."

Lott also points out that, in addition to averting tyrannical oppression, civil arms also make a country's citizens safer from petty criminal attacks. "Even in free countries, where there is little risk of a totalitarian regime, gun bans all but invariably result in higher crime. In the U.S., the states with the highest gun ownership rates have by far the lowest violent crime rates. And similarly, over time, states with the largest increases in gun ownership have experienced the biggest drops in violent crime. Recent research by Jeff Miron at Boston University, examining homicide rates across 44 countries, found that countries with the strictest gun control laws also tended to have the highest homicide rates."


Socialized Medicine

The web page http://www.self-gov.org/ recently released a concise summary of the problems with socialized medicine by Mary Ruwart, author of Healing Our World.

"Socialized medicine, in any form, rarely helps people with expensive medical needs adequately. In Canada, heart patients die waiting for surgery, so those who can afford it come to the U.S. for treatment. In Britain, kidney dialysis is rarely approved for people over 55 years of age. The reason is simple: when government promises to take care of every little sniffle, everyone clamors for more of the 'free' service instead of dealing with simple medical needs themselves. As a result, medical resources must be rationed. By sacrificing one expensive patient, many more people with modest needs can be satisfied. From a political standpoint, this type of triage maximizes votes.

"In the U.S., if a person with expensive needs manages to get care, Medicaid will not fully reimburse the health care providers. One of the hospitals I queried estimated that 80% of its shortfall was due not to deadbeats, but to partial payments by Medicare/Medicaid. To remedy this situation, hospitals charge those with private insurance more for their services. This increases the cost of insurance, and fewer people can afford it. When these people get ill, they turn to Medicare/Medicaid and the cycle repeats itself. Some doctors have become so frustrated with the paperwork, underpayments, and the liability that they incur for mistakes in coding their forms, that they will no longer take Medicare/Medicaid patients. Eventually, people with 'government' insurance will have a long wait to see a doctor who will work with the accompanying bureaucratic nightmare and may, like those in socialized systems, die in the interim.

"A better solution would be to get the government out of health care at all levels so that costs and insurance plummet. My estimates suggest that we could see price decreases as great as 80%. Almost everyone could afford to be insured and have access to catastrophic medical treatment when they needed it.

"Rare instances where an uninsured individual was not able to pay for care would still occur. However, health care providers would be more likely to take such charity cases if the cost of doing so was made more reasonable by getting government out of health care. An appeal to community charitable organizations might be sufficient to pay the lowered costs of marketplace health care as well.

"Medicare/Medicaid is like putting a bandage on a hemorrhage. In the long run, it simply masks the true problem. Instead of treating the symptoms of high health care costs, let's cure the underlying disease -- government intervention!"


Is the Drinking Age Effective?

An article at http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,30491,00.html ("America's Drinking Age Called Into Question," by Mike Tobin and Michael Patrick) sums up the arguments for and against a non-discriminatory drinking age.

Justin Schmid, 21, a student at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, told the reporters, "You can be drafted by your country, go to war -- yet you can't have a beer. You can be tried as an adult -- yet you can't have a beer." The authors add, "The list of rights and responsibilities that come with turning 18 doesn't end there: You can also take your marriage vows, apply for a credit card -- and relinquish your status as a minor."

The article also reports: "The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration estimates that minimum drinking age laws have prevented more than 19,000 alcohol-related traffic fatalities since 1975, when they first started keeping track."

I'd be interested to hear how they came up with those stats. I've heard similar claims here in Colorado, but when you look at the details you see the decline is consistent with pre-existing trends. I doubt the report from the Administration is sufficiently complex to give any accurate indication. Regardless, it's wrong to punish the innocent because of the harmful actions of a few. The appropriate response is to target drunk drivers directly, not deny every young adult his or her rights.


Explaining Japan's Homicide and Suicide Rates

According to official reports, Japan's homicide rate is significantly lower than that of the U.S., but the suicide rate is more than twice ours. Paul Kelly published a letter in the Rocky Mountain News July 17 which explained the problems with the official reports.

Kelly says that, according to reported numbers "our murder rate is 7 times Japan's and 40 times higher among those 15-24 years of age."

However, the reported Japanese suicide rate is higher than the combined suicide and homicide rates of the U.S., and double the total U.S. death rate due to firearms. The huge discrepancy (24.5-to-1) between Japanese suicide and homicide rates is, to put it politely, rare, but there's a reason for it: A whole lot of those suicides are really homicides.

Japan has a category called "family suicide." If a man kills his two children, his wife, then himself, all four are listed as suicides. It doesn't quite work that way here.

The real Japanese homicide rate is much higher than the reported rate; and since almost all of those unreported deaths are women and children, their rates are astronomical compared to the reported rates. Japanese and American women actually have an almost identical risk of being murdered, and Japanese under 15 are at greater risk than comparable Americans. They're just reported as suicides.

Japanese are much more likely to die violently, either by their own hands or someone else's, before reaching the age of 21 than Americans are.

Thanks, Eh!

Dear Ari :

I found your website and think it's great! I'm a Canadian and let me tell you as a former peace officer, gun owner, NRA member (and republican at heart) I must say that the article on the UN was dead on! I would have loved to be at that rally in New York! There is no doubt in my mind that the UN wants to pick up where Hitler left off. They are made up of Socialists who would love nothing more than to disarm the world -then dictate and/or socially cleanse/re-engineer what's left of society. Hitler wanted to rule the world... so does the UN. Hitler confiscated firearms from citizens... exactly what the UN wants to do.

A bill is being presented (I forget who authored the bill or it's actual number) that would see the United states withdraw from the United Nations. I think this is the best news to date. I urge all Americans to support the bill and notify their congressmen that they want it supported.

We have our share of political garbage regarding guns up here as well. As in the U.S., liberals tend to distort the facts -- miscompile information so that it jives with their own political anti-gun objectives... and the media naturally which are owned and operated by the same elitist anti-gun liberals feverishly publishes the tripe.

When was the last time you saw a homeowner get media attention when he had to use a firearm for self-defense? I cannot recall even one incident -- and if that isn't political bias...I don't know what is!

Keep up the great work... and for all of you patriotic Americans out there, just remember: "America was built on Freedom by men of freedom. In countless wars men died for freedom, and now that freedom is dependent on you."

Thank You Ari , I hope you will broadcast this message to all of your members!

Sincerely,
Robert A. Mazurek

The Colorado Freedom Report--www.FreeColorado.com