Letters to the Editor, June 11, 2003
What About Right To Work?
I greatly enjoyed your recent email describing the failures of the Republican legislators in the last session. However, I believe you ommitted one enormous failure that has consistently been a problem for these "conservatives" at the State Capitol.
For the seventh consecutive year, the Colorado Senate has failed to follow the lead of the House and pass a Right to Work law for the Centennial State. Despite solid support in Colorado for this legislation and a plethora of statistics detailing how our Mountain West neighbors with Right to Work have better economic growth, the Republican majority in the Senate again failed to act. Four Republicans, Jim Dyer, Norma Anderson, Ken Kester and Lewis Entz joined with pro-union boss Ken Chlouber and all Democrats to vote against individual freedom for Colorado's workers.
Adding insult to injury, Sens. Kester, Dyer and Entz all pledged in writing in their last elections to support Right to Work, and Sen. Anderson has been voting for Right to Work since the late 1980s. Unfortunately, they decided to try and appease Big Labor with hopes that they'll take it easy on them in their next election (even though this never happens).
I can think of no other issue freedom-loving Coloradans should embrace to maintain true freedom of assembly and unleash the full potential of our economy.
James G. Knode, June 5
303.425.7595 (p) 303.425.1615 (f)
Good Lawyers Worth Their Fees
From time to time I have conversations with libertarians who might want my legal assistance - for election law challenges, criminal defense matters, child custody issues (which I don't handle), various types of appeals, or whatever. And too often these libertarians don't like the idea of having to pay me for legal assistance. Many act like they don't "believe in" paying lawyers and some even let me know they feel I should work for them (or for the party) for free. My services are for hire; I am not a charity. What kind of libertarian doesn't understand and appreciate value-for-value exchange, the free market?
Over the years, I have even had prominent persons (yes, more than one) in the libertarian movement hire me, then stiff me for the payment they owe me because they felt I should not have charged for my assistance. I have had more than one "libertarian" hint to me that "I owe them free assistance because of what they have done or are doing for liberty." They usually don't have the guts to say it that directly, but that is their message, the message they communicate when they refuse to pay their bill. It's not what they said up front, when they hired me. You'd be surprised to learn who some of these freeloaders and deadbeats are. And, as far as I am concerned, they are thieves.
I have also seen a lot of anti-lawyer bias in the LP, some from apparently intelligent people, and most of it seems kind of irrational. At least when it is directed at me. I didn't create our legal and political system and I don't endorse it by working as a lawyer. I am a lawyer because I can offer valuable services to freedom lovers in an unfree world. People who try to save a nickel by proceeding in court without skilled lawyers more often than not sabotage their own case.
How do anti-lawyer libertarians expect to survive/escape when caught up in legal wrangles? Since gov't is the main threat to liberty, aren't lawyers potentially useful in fighting the state? When libertarians view the criminal justice system, drug laws, etc., don't they see the value of defense lawyers? When libertarians get charged with a crime, don't they value their liberty enough to pay a skilled, freedom-loving defender who will utilize every skill he has learned to free them from the clutches of the state? It isn't the defense lawyer's fault that the criminal justice and political systems are corrupt.
When libertarians have no chance of persuading the legislature or Congress to protect freedom, but they have at least some chance with a challenge to a statute in court, don't they perceive the value of lawyers?
Paul Grant, June 6
I think one point is being missed in the sentencing of Ed Rosenthal, if he is only sentenced to one day (which will probably amount to time served) he is unlikely to appeal his conviction. I don't think the judge is showing any "common sense" or "human decency" in the way we would like to think he is. I think he is just covering his own ass to avoid his decision being overturned.
Keith Hamburger, June 5
Prohibition (of Guns) Doesn't Work
Whether legal or illegal, it is easy for criminals to get access to guns. The laws of Colorado understand this so it is best for citizens to also get legal access to the best tool for self-defense.
Spenser's specious argument is best compared to the current illegality of marijuana or the availability of alcohol during Prohibition. Just because something is illegal does not make it go away.
Pose an open question to Spenser: Would he rather have the retail gun trade controlled legally or would he rather it be controlled by gangs like Al Capone's Murder, Inc. during Prohibition?
During the period prior to Alcohol Prohibition, tragic stories of people dying of overconsumption of alcohol would pull on the heartstrings of Americans to "do something" so that in 1919 Alcohol Prohibition was ratified as the 18th Amendment.
Similarly we now have tragic stories of murders like McLaughlin's and a large number of woefully misinformed people asking the government to "do something". Unlike Alcohol Prohibition, Gun Prohibition leaves the average American defenseless against criminals.
When guns are outlawed does Spencer think that only his friendly police will have guns?
What civil libertarians and economists understand is that prohibition makes problems worse. Would Gun Prohibition have stopped McLaughlin's murder? Maybe. Would Alcohol Prohibition have stopped a particular incident of someone driving drunk? Maybe. But the lesson of Alcohol Prohibition and the historical lessons in other countries about Gun Prohibition (e.g. Australia and England) tell us that the Prohibition of the Thing is worse than the Thing.
Here's another argument. In Colorado it is the law that every automobile must carry insurance. There it is, a multi-ton vehicle running down the highway as plain as day. Yet according to several sources (e.g. www.car-accidents.com/pages/uninsured_drivers.html) 34% of Colorado's automobiles are uninsured.
If we can't regulate something as simple and "out there and obvious" as car insurance, how can we possibly regulate guns?
Roughly 1/3 of Colorado's drivers are - by the definition of the insurance laws - criminals. Does Spenser propose to license drivers? Does he propose that we have a database of all vehicles so that we can tell which are legal and which are not?
We have all that already and we still have 1/3 of the vehicles on the road that are technically illegal.
Ralph Shnelvar, June 10
Defensive Gun Uses
From Brian Schwartz
You might want to link to http://www.sierratimes.com/selfdefense.htm when you mention newspaper coverage of defensive gun use. They list a June 6 article in the RMN.