Freedom Updates: March 4, 2002

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Freedom Updates: March 4, 2002

All Freedom Updates by Ari Armstrong unless otherwise noted.


Warrantless Drug Raid

Agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation broke into the home of Dan and Rosa Unis of Pueblo August 19, 2000 and dragged their two sons off to jail. The story recently made the papers because the ACLU is helping the family sue the agencies involved. Mark Silverstein of the ACLU said,

Once again the war on drugs misses the target and instead scores a direct hit on the Constitution. These government agents had no search warrant, no arrest warrant, and no lawful authority whatsoever. They carried out this armed home invasion in flagrant disregard of the Fourth Amendment, which forbids unreasonable searches and arrests without probable cause." (Rocky Mountain News, February 21)

I'm proud to be card-carrying member of the ACLU. Republicans claim to value the Bill of Rights, but they have treated it with disdain. Of course, I wonder if the ACLU would have sued if the case had been a warrantless gun bust. Sometimes it seems like the only article in the Bill of Rights the Republicans can remember is the same one the ACLU always forgets. If more members of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners join the ACLU, and more members of the ACLU join Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, maybe we'll reach the point, someday, when the various civil rights groups work in tandem to protect the entire Bill of Rights.


English Crime Wave

Great Britain has stripped its citizens of many fundamental civil rights, including the right of self-defense, and it has continued its war on drugs. The result has been a crime wave in that country.

David Bamber writes in a February 24 article for the Telegraph,

Gun crime has almost trebled in London during the past year and is soaring in other British cities, according to Home Office figures obtained by The Telegraph. Police chiefs fear that Britain is witnessing the kind of cocaine-fuelled violence that burst upon American cities in the 1980s... Detectives in London say that the illegal importation of guns started after the end of the Bosnia conflict and that they are changing hands for as little as 200. During the 10 months to January 31, there were 939 crimes involving firearms in the Metropolitan Police area compared with 322 in the 10 months to the end of January, 2001 - an almost three-fold increase... Gun crimes during the first 10 months of the annual period have trebled in most of the urban areas which have so far submitted statistics to the Home Office. Sir John Stevens, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, said gun gangs were spreading across the country whereas, until recently, they were confined to a handful of London boroughs... The new gun crime figures also show that handgun crime has soared past levels last seen before the Dunblane massacre of 1996 and the ban on the weapons that followed. The ban on ownership of handguns was introduced in 1997... It was hoped that the measure would reduce the number of handguns available to criminals. According to internal Home Office statistics, however, handgun crime is now at its highest since 1993. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2002/02/24/nguns24.xml)

I will always remember the English immigrant who testified at Colorado's state capitol that there is no longer gun crime in England because that country banned guns. It is that kind of ostrich-politics that led to England's crime wave, and it is what will destine America to a similar fate unless civil rights activists win out.


The Abominable Tax Man

According to an AP story reprinted at http://www.nandotimes.com/nation/story/263462p-2442101c.html, Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill said U.S. tax laws are "an abomination" replete with "absurdities." The article relates, "[T]he sweeping tax law enacted last year is making taxpayers grapple with dozens of changes. One new line alone has caused over 1 million errors."

O'Neill's comments are obvious to every American taxpayer, though it's nice to hear somebody in government acknowledge as much. Somehow, though, I doubt taxes will become less abominable next year. It's like crying "The Emperor Wears No Clothes" in a nudist colony.


Brady Checks Deny Civil Rights

More people were denied their basic civil right of self-defense because of a paperwork error made by the ATF. The AP reported the story in the February 20 Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A39116-2002Feb20.html). The story was rewritten for a February 22 Rocky Mountain News. "A minor change in a form for federal background checks blocked gun sales across the country this week because the new paperwork didn't reach dealers on time."

That's what happens when a right is reduced to a privilege. Now our fundamental civil rights may be violated simply because some bureaucrat didn't file the "correct" paperwork.

The Brady gun registration law must be repealed. The phrase, "shall not be infringed," means what is says.


Legal Wars: Attack of the Clones

Representative Shawn Mitchell, whom I otherwise love, wants to ban human cloning. According to the February 22 Rocky Mountain News, "Mitchell's bill would ban baby cloning as well as so-called therapeutic cloning, the creating of cloned human embryos for research purposes." As an affront to American federalism, Mitchell's bill, so I understand, also provides criminal penalties for Coloradans who seek cloning research out of state.

Now, if a legislator wanted to ban the cloning of legislators and bureaucrats, I might be tempted to go along. But there's simply no legitimate reason for the government to get involved in health care at all, other than to help enforce contracts and prevent fraud and negligence. A "clone" that consists of a few undifferentiated cells, the purpose of which is to save lives, is an affront only to those with strange mystical views and unexamined prejudices, the likes of which have threatened to halt technological progress for hundreds of years. It could be that other types of technology might prove more effective at saving lives, but this is not a decision that can be made wisely by legislators.

In terms of baby cloning, there is no valid ethical argument against the legality of the practice. It might be that cloning babies is currently too prone to error, but again this is a problem for researchers, not legislators. If it's true that some people might want a cloned child for reasons of vanity, the same can be said of some who want children through normal sexual reproduction. I do not see any advantage to cloning over, say, the use of sperm or egg donations or, better yet, adoption. The notion of having a cloned child strikes me as silly, but not everything which is silly -- or even unethical -- should be illegal.


The Virtues of Immigration

Two excellent articles were published recently that explain the virtues of open immigration. Ken Schoolland published Immigration: An Abolitionist's Cause at http://www.fee.org/vnews.php?nid=232. Jacob G. Hornberger published Keep the Borders Open at http://www.fff.org/comment/com0202h.asp.

Schoolland makes a two-pronged argument in favor of open immigration. First, immigrants are a net benefit to our society, and people tend to leave welfare states and move to relatively free societies. Second, the argument that immigrants should be forbidden because they might take welfare benefits is fallacious. The correct answer, of course, is that nobody should get government welfare benefits. If we ban immigration because of the existence of welfare, then that logic implies government should ban any activity (or mandate any activity) that may lead to government subsidies. Thus, while the welfare state was intended to free poor people from poverty, the result was to enslave all people to the state.

Schoolland also points out that some immigration is artificially created by U.S. policies that help foreign tyrants and hurt foreign economies.

Hornberger writes, "The American abandonment of open immigration in the 20th century has had negative consequences, both morally and economically." He argues that the problems will immigration are either illusory or the direct result of big-government policies.


Nanny Bill Voted Down

On February 20, the nanny-state seat-belt law proposed by Republican Ken Arnold was defeated in the Senate. The February 21 Rocky Mountain News says Arnold "has had a tough time convincing colleagues that the measure wouldn't mean more government or more policing." Penfield Tate argued the bill might lead to increased racial profiling. So let's thank the Senators who voted against the bill, and encourage them to follow similar principles in the future.

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