Freedom Updates: October 25, 2002

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

The Colorado Freedom Report--www.FreeColorado.com

Freedom Updates: October 25, 2002

All Freedom Updates by Ari Armstrong unless otherwise noted.


The Politics of Murder
We all owe thanks to the citizens who alerted police about two men in a car at a rest area who are suspected of involvement with the D.C.-area murders. The law-enforcement officials who helped break the case also deserve praise.

So what now? Hopefully the men will face a fair trial, and, if guilty, will face the maximum penalty. But obviously the case will also have political ramifications.

  • Because the suspect changed his last name to "Muhammad," the Islamic community is probably concerned. Some Muslims have faced discrimination and even threats and violence in the aftermath of September 11. Hopefully people will remember that most Muslims in America are peaceful. One lunatic doesn't taint the entire religion, just as Christian criminals do not taint all of Christianity.
  • Fortunately, most Americans have overcome bigotry against blacks. Still, some bigots probably used the murders as a pretext to think ill of all African Americans. Decades ago, such bigotry would likely have boiled to the surface of casual conversations. We should remember the bigotry of the past in order to prevent it in the future.
  • Reportedly, one of the suspects is from Jamaica. Some xenophobes are sure to use the murders as a pretext to politically attack all the peaceable immigrants in America.
  • Some may speculate that military training itself helped create the madman. Yet millions of Americans have served valiantly in the military and continue to be good leaders in civilian life. True, the American military has been ordered to take numerous questionable actions, including actions on U.S. soil. But fundamentally the proper purpose of the military is to defend life and property. Military training, at its best, is a noble enterprise. The actions of one reprobate do not change that.
  • Victim disarmament groups are already clamoring to impose new invasive restrictions on law-abiding gun owners. However, the overwhelming majority of American gun owners are good people who stop and deter many crimes. They do not deserve to be the targets of bigoted stereotypes.

Reasonable people will not lash out against innocent parties. Reasonable people will not rush to enact counter-productive policies that harm civil rights and squander police resources.


NRA Comes to Town
Wayne LaPierre and Charlton Heston of the NRA came to town October 24 to promote two candidates who support the expansion of Sarah Brady's gun registration program. Those candidates are Republicans Bob Beauprez and Wayne Allard. Ironically, NRA lobbyist Chris Cox said he wants to "expose the posers," according to the Rocky Mountain News.

But the news was not all bad. The News printed a photograph of a guy holding two signs: "Gun Confiscation = Government Domination" and "Gun Rights = Civil Rights."

Tom Mauser protested outside. The News reports a couple people told him "too bad" and flipped him off. Bad form! However, the group should not be blamed for the actions of a few people. Another Columbine parent is a member of the NRA, the News reported.

According to the Denver Post, Ted Pascoe of Physicians for Social Responsibility protested the event and held a sign that read, "Ballistic fingerprints jail snipers."

Pascoe's message is intellectually dishonest for several reasons. First, almost all real snipers are life-savers who target criminals. The D.C.-area murderers weren't snipers at all. Second, the D.C.-area murderers were NOT arrested because of ballistic markings. They were arrested because they apparently called in and confessed to a murder at a liquor store where Malvo's fingerprint was found.

Third, there is no such thing as a "ballistic fingerprint" -- though there are ballistic markings which can be altered. Fourth, though Pascoe obviously supports a ballistic markings database to track law-abiding citizens, what was of marginal help to law enforcement was ballistic evidence from the crime scenes. Pascoe told the Post he supports "stronger gun laws," but law enforcement already has the ability to take ballistic evidence from crime scenes, as the present case illustrates.


BIKEPAC Endorses Shnelvar
[From Shnelvar for Governor] Historic Endorsement of Shnelvar for Governor

BIKEPAC announces endorsement of Shnelvar

First time Libertarian candidate for any office endorsed by BIKEPAC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 24, 2002

Wednesday, BIKEPAC, the motorcycle political action committee, endorsed Shnelvar for governor.

According to Mark Buckner, Executive Director of BIKEPAC of Colorado and former national president of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF), "This is the first time in our history that we have endorsed any Libertarian for any office."

Shnelvar said, "There are at least 100,000 motorcycle riders in Colorado. With this endorsement, I can actively go after these people and let them know that there is someone good to vote for.

"I am delighted that BIKEPAC has endorsed me. This year Libertarians will break out of the 'Why should we vote for you?' malaise to the 'Why shouldn't we vote for you?'"

"For freedom loving people like motorcycle riders, we're the only game in town," said Shnelvar ecstatically.

"I urge all motorcycle riders to tell their friends that there is now someone endorsed by BIKEPAC who is good to vote for. I urge all motorcycle riders to vote a straight Libertarian ticket so that all your freedoms are preserved."


Boulder Weekly Endorses Three Libertarians
John Berntson was endorsed for state house by the Denver Post and the Colorado Springs Independent. Steve D'Ippolito was also endorsed by the Denver Post. Margaret Denny, the Libertarian running for Arapahoe County Clerk, was endorsed by the Denver Post and the Aurora Sentinel.

The October 20 Post stated, "Voters dissatisfied with Heath and Owens or upset by the excesses of the war on drugs should look closely at Shnelvar. We can't back this doughty idealist over a tested leader of Owens' caliber. But we salute Shnelvar for his eloquent dissents from government policies that needlessly intrude on personal freedom."

Now, the Boulder Weekly has endorsed Shnelvar and two other Libertarians. In its October 24 edition, the paper endorsed Shnelvar for governor and Isaac Davenport and W. Earl Allen for state house.

The paper noted Shnelvar "says he'll work to legalize marijuana, protect the Second Amendment and protect civil liberties... He's a highly educated, articulate and principled man with creative ideas."

Davenport, notes the paper, supports tax rebates for education and "a kind of 'food stamp' system for those who can't afford health care." Also, he "paid people begging on street corners $15 to hold up signs that read 'Vote Libertarian'." The Weekly noted Davenport's "propensity for original thinking."

Allen "believes state government can do less and that if it does, all of us will have more. He wants poor children to have access to private education. He also wants to limit the size of government overall in Colorado, leaving many decisions to local communities and individuals."

The paper paid its nicest compliments, though, to unnamed Libertarian activists. Tom Parker maintains the excellent page for the Libertarian Party of Boulder and he created many of the candidates' web pages. Joe Johnson, Norm Olsen, and others share credit for Colorado's large slate of Libertarian candidates. The Boulder Weekly notes,

There has been amazing growth in the Libertarian Party and Libertarian activism in Colorado. The Libertarian Party fronted a candidate for almost every race, unlike the other small parties, and many candidates offer new ideas and refreshing perspectives our board found appealing... The Libertarian Party also has the best website, offering information not only on their own candidates, but, in the spirit of public service, their opponents as well (www.lpboulder.org). In addition, Libertarian candidates are more likely to have a website than Democrats or Republicans. In this age of global communication, the lack of a website is incomprehensible. Perhaps accessibility explains some of the Libertarian Party's growth.

For Attorney General, the paper endorsed Green Alison "Sunny Maynard."

What about the U.S. Senate race? The Weekly argues Allard opposes abortion rights, protects corporate interests, and is too quick to support military action. Strickland, according to the paper, has a bad environmental record and supports the war on drugs. The paper describes Libertarian Rick Stanley as "impulsive and lacking judgment" and endorses Strickland as the least bad candidate.

Prior to the paper's release, Libertarian Paul Tiger announced he would be endorsed. He responded angrily when that didn't happen.


Republicans Remember Markets
Yes, most Republicans are bad on the issues most of the time. But sometimes even Republicans get it right. For instance, Shawn Mitchell fought hard to pass a law reforming Colorado's asset forfeiture laws. Douglas Bruce and Ron Paul are both Republicans.

Mark Hillman, John Andrews, and Mike Coffman are also relatively friendly to the free market.

For instance, in a recent article Hillman wrote, "I'm not about to apologize for supporting tax cuts. And I'm tired of listening to big-government liberals whose response to every problem is to raise taxes so government can spend more." Hillman's Libertarian opponent didn't bother to create a web page or respond to surveys by the Denver Post or Rocky Mountain News.

John Andrews, who founded the Independence Institute, recently supported "lower taxes." He looks to "parental choice" in education, but of course libertarians are split on the voucher issue. And he wants "medical insurance without all the budget-busting mandates."

And State Treasurer Mike Coffman recently criticized a business property tax:

The BPPT is imposed on property that is not permanently attached to real estate. Typically it includes items such as production machinery and computers... In 1996 the state legislature attempted to ease the burden of the BPPT on small businesses by enacting House Bill 96-1267 which exempts business personal property with an actual value of $2,500 or less. Still critics have found several flaws with the BPPT. First, they believe it creates a high property tax burden on Colorado businesses, especially in suburban and rural areas where business property taxes are already among the highest in the nation. Second, the BPPT targets capital equipment, which makes business investment more costly. These additional costs lead to lowered investment, productivity, and limit the economic competitiveness of high-wage, capital-intensive industries located in Colorado. Finally, critics believe the BPPT detracts from state and local economic development efforts to recruit and retain companies that use equipment subject to the tax. At least one county has acted to reduce the effects of the BPPT. The El Paso County government began phasing out the portion of the BPPT it collected in 1997, and now foregoes revenues generated by the tax entirely.

Andrews is not up for reelection this year. Coffman's Libertarian opponent is the competent Gaar Potter.


LPEP and Community Service
The Libertarian Party of El Paso County is getting involved in the community. The group helped guard an Islamic religious center after 9/11. Now it is helping to put on a Halloween event. Good job! Following is a press release from the group.

Libertarians Team Up with Youth Outreach Center for Safe and Scary Halloween

The Libertarian Party of El Paso County is sponsoring a room in the Youth Outreach Center's yearly Haunted House, the "House of Fear" at the Southern Colorado Expo, at 1801 North Union. Many of the candidates are taking time out of their busy campaign schedules to donate an evening or two so this valued community center can keep their lights on for another year. The candidates that are helping out this year with construction and/or haunting are Biff Baker (US House District 5), Ross Glidewell (State House District 15), Scott Graves (State House District 16), Steve D'Ippolito (State House District 17), Keith Hamburger (State House District 18), Randy Grant (State House District 19), Arthur "Rob" Roberts (County Commission District 1), and Steve Dick (County Commission District 5). Many other members of the Party are also helping out...

The House of Fear will be at the Youth Outreach Center on Union at Constitution; they will be open from the 24th through the 31st from 6 pm to 10 pm.


Holden Campaign
Rand Fanshier sent out the following update on October 24.

Today several activists assisted Mark Holden's campaign against Republican Joe Stengel. Interestingly, Joe Stengel's favorite book is The Fountainhead. Go figure. The Democratic candidate is a lineholder.

What Mark did is called the managers of two King Soopers and one Albertsons in the Littleton area to get us permission to work the area outside the doors. We teamed up two activists per store, and handed out piles of brochures and flyers. Spent from 2-6pm and as a conservative estimate we approached almost 2,000 people who had not already voted and could vote, and passed out at least 3,000 pieces of literature. Sold 5 "Ladies for Liberty" calendars, got one voter registration.

Bette Rose Ryan and sister, seen here with Michael McKinzie, dropped by to give us lots of Margaret Denny handouts which we included with the Holden literature we were handing out. Adam Katz (US House Dist 6) also dropped by to give us more materials to hand out. We were completely out of Katz material.


LP Candidates with Criminal Records
An October 24 story for the Rocky Mountain News reports a number of candidates have criminal records. Scott Graves "served four years' probation for his 1992 conviction for possession and sale of marijuana." Graves wants to legalize marijuana the story notes. Hans Romer was also convicted for drug offenses. I don't see any problem with the LP running candidates with "criminal" records for things the LP doesn't think should be crimes.

Timothy Jacobs was arrested in 1988 "on a charge of cruelty toward a child" -- he says he punched his step-son. Jeff Taton served two years of probation for stealing a bicycle. Flux Neo was arrested on a DUI, but pled to a lesser charge. I think the state LP should at least ask potential candidates about any criminal background so that members can expect related press.


Media Notes

Sell-Out Tom-- The October 17 Rocky Mountain News reports Tom Tancredo supported expanding Brady gun registrations and now is "open minded" about a ballistic markings database. Of course, the NRA cut him a check. In the same story, Michael Moore blamed the NRA for the murders.

Ausie Gun Bans-- Draconian Australian gun laws have not stopped gun crimes there. So now the government is considering an outright ban on semi-automatic handguns, which are now supposed to be registered. But as one news report began, "Banning handguns would have little impact on crime because most handgun crime was committed by those who neither held licenses or registered their guns, a criminologist has said." October 21 murders prompted the debate. The murderer used a semi-auto and a revolver.

British Crime-- Fred Clarke wrote a letter for the October 24 Rocky that concluded, "Having been disarmed for their own safety, the British are experiencing an explosion of violent crime that is seldom reported by our media."

Sunny-- Alison "Sunny" Maynard is an exciting candidate. She rails against corporate welfare and pollution -- great. Unfortunately, she also "would use the antitrust laws to break up what she sees as ski-resort and newspaper monopolies," according to the October 24 Denver Post. But the antitrust laws are fundamentally hostile to free-market competition.

Aitken-- David Aitken wrote a letter for the October 22 Rocky Mountain News in which he warned of potential abuses if Amendment 28 passes to expand mail voting. He said some people might be coerced to vote for certain candidates and issues.

Weaver-- The October 22 Rocky Mountain News printed a Scripps story about Randy Weaver. It quoted Weaver's attorney Gary Spence: "Where there is excess of power there will always be abuse of power... The people of this country are more and more acceding to the intervention of government into their lives."

Dawson-- Kit Miniclier of the Denver Post wrote an October 20 story about Dave Dawson, the Libertarian candidate for governor of Wyoming. Dawson said, "No one in the IRS can, or will, show me documentation which says I have to pay. It is a stupid tax which punishes productivity."

Stop Briggs-- The Colorado Democrats paid for a mailer that reads, "Bob Briggs: Wasting taxpayers' hard-earned money for over twenty years." Yea, why should the Republicans have all the fun?

Cacioppo-- Michael Cacioppo, the publisher of Vail's Speakout! newspaper who defended Rick Stanley, earned a lengthy story in the October 21 Denver Post (1B). Cacioppo sued to toss a popularly approved tax increase. He said, "I think we're losing our freedoms in this country, and I won't allow it to happen without a fight." Unfortunately, Cacioppo has made disparaging remarks about homosexuals.

Sowell-- The Rocky printed an article by Thomas Sowell October 23 that notes, "Gun control simply disarms [law breakers'] potential victims, making crime a safer occupation, and hence one that can be indulged in more widely by more people." Sowell also points out some countries like Russia and Brazil with more draconian gun laws also have higher murder rates.

The Colorado Freedom Report--www.FreeColorado.com