Technology is Taxing. So is Driving.

There’s a great new technology in auto insurance where drivers can pay per mile, which rewards lower mileage driving with lower insurance costs, and is surely less boring than insurance-as-usual. Using a device that plugs into the car, data is sent  out to one of these entrepreneurial insurance companies, such as Metromile, to track the actual quantity of miles driven by the insured car, rewarding your good work. In paying for only what is used, infrequent drivers can save some serious money and avoid paying what the “average” user “like” them pays. But you’re better than average, right? Sounds like a great business model – use technology to help people save money on a product they use infrequently but must pay for anyway!

We’re giving it a test drive this month to see how many miles we actually drive. We’ll compare the cost to our current traditional auto insurance and I expect to save a lot. The small device plugs into a port I didn’t even know existed, located below the steering column. I now know I’m averaging about 8 miles a day, having only driven over 20 miles on 6 separate occasions.

But hey, that’s a great idea and so the government is ready to reach between your legs and plug one of these into your car to generate tax revenue! Unsatisfied with the nation’s growing trend towards driving fewer miles (which means less gas purchased and fewer tax dollars paid), the government is looking for ways to make those who pay less – pay more.

I’d like to think most people try to consider the environment before they make choices (some think about it more than others, but it helps when more green equals more $green$). Big Government certainly thinks about the environment and tells us to play nice and drive less. But penalizing drivers who choose to drive high-mileage hybrids and electric cars (and who pay fewer or no gas taxes) with a new kind of tax that removes all the benefits by collecting taxes on a per mile basis is not going to do a lot for promoting gas efficient cars and economical use of resources. Recently the Obama administration mandated new regulations in fuel efficiency “with the goal of slashing greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption.” They even said that “families will save money.” Save the world and save money! Sounds nice, but we knew it was too good to be true. Start riding your bike before they tax the bike lane.

Paying for what you use is better than paying for the average of what everyone uses, if you’re going to have to fork over your first fruits anyway. So much for trying to save money. We might as well stay home and not go anywhere. Until recently we didn’t have a car, so I wouldn’t have cared. I won’t be surprised if they charge a fee, penalty, or “tax” for not participating.

Drone On

To much fanfare, President Obama announced that the Federal Government will scale back the use of drone strikes, with new restrictions on “deciding whom to kill.” Targeted killings have been carried out in Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan and other far off lands (away from American citizen’s concern) for the last decade in a generally secretive manner. The objective is to kill suspected terrorists and as few other people who have nothing to do with terrorism as possible.

The war in Afghanistan, which has no legitimate objective and now exists only as an agenda item to give the military as we know it legitimacy, is scheduled to conclude by the end of 2014. The fact that one can even schedule the end of a war so far in advance (or at all) proves the war exists because someone scheduled it into existence in the first place.  And while the President and his people are brainstorming and graphing out the most convenient time to end this war (and plan the next one), they managed to come up with clever new bullet points about whom to kill and whom not to kill.

Gee, I’m glad they could fit it in.

Foreign Interventionism continues as the de facto method of American interaction with the rest of the world, and despite their arguments about whom to kill, the two largest parties are still arguing over quantities of deaths and who started it in the first place. No one is questioning the deeper issue of whether we should be involved at all, as fingers continue to point, always at others. President Bush started using the drones, but President Obama has continued the practice with generally increasing intensity over the successive years. Still, the Democrats try to project an image of respectability with their timetables for withdrawal and commitment to target terrorists “only when children are not around,” as Secretary of State John Kerry compassionately pointed out (a clever distraction). Mr. Kerry also says that his team has thought about their actions good and hard, so mistakes are rarely made. Republicans like John McCain, who by no means represents his entire party, and probably doesn’t spend much time thinking good and hard, would like to use more force (without a schedule or timetable) – a position that moves bonus points over to President Obama simply by the existence of such an idea. All the President’s has to do is frown and disagree.

The President’s party will applaud his commitment to peace, and using the “least destructive way to fight people…who are conspiring against the United States.” But there are so many things wrong with a government that tries to make itself look good by pointing out how few people it has killed compared to the other faction of the same government, especially when the opposite may be true. Motives can blind us from the truth when we’re told that killing conspirators saves lives.

At the end of the day the President has suggested that using drones to target and kill suspected terrorists is probably not a good idea, and we should have some stricter guidelines in place. He wants the government to be more responsible, and even though he has the power to stop the practice like a bad habit, he’s going to keep droning on with his global assassination campaign anyway. At least we now know he has a conscience to reject.

Eminent Domain and The Keystone Pipeline

Get ready for the next great land grab! You might be surprised at the beneficiary and the accomplice.

The beneficiary is none other than Canada, our unassuming large friend to the north.  While not actually Canada itself,  the Canadian company TransCanada is looking to put up a nice tidy oil pipeline through the heartland of the United States. Based in Alberta, this corporation wants to build the next leg of the Keystone pipeline, extending thousands of miles south of the border to Texas. Once President Obama signs the appropriate paperwork, all they have to do is acquire the land and start digging.

But who does the land belong to, and how does the Government acquire such land? The answer is eminent domain. How does a foreign corporation acquire land that absolutely does not belong to it? It uses the American Government to manipulate the meaning of the Constitution and Natural Law, so the answer is still eminent domain.

Imagine a scenario where the humble Canadian businessman knocks on your door. He seems like a nice guy, but alongside him is his hired muscle the American Government. The frowning accomplice offers you a sum for which he thinks your property is worth, lettuce garden and all. He demands to buy your land and hand it over to his friend the Canadian businessman because there is some money to be made for everyone. Do you feel resistant? It’s for your own good, Citizen. The common good.

There may be valid arguments for eminent domain, as the practice is an inherent attribute of state sovereignty. Whether the state is Oregon, Ohio, Oklahoma, or the Federal Government, they all lay some claim to this privilege. However, Canada should not be in a position to meddle in the middle of Oklahoma.

The Constitution and judicial precedent lay the groundwork for ways in which the government may take the land of a private citizen; providing there is just compensation, and that the land be used for the common good. Over the years, the Fifth Amendment and the common good has become such a broadly interpreted position that it is now good enough that one person simply wants the land because the grass is greener there and everyone should be able to enjoy green grass. They do not recognize that if the owner does not want to sell, no matter the end use, eminent domain simply is theft by force.

With abuses such as this proposed land grab in their pocket, the interpretive ponderings of the American Government toward the use of eminent domain may grow deeper and wider than previously imagined. The Government can take your property away from you and give it to a corporation in another country. We’re not talking about building an irrigation ditch so local farmers have access to nearby river water. We’re not talking about tearing down dangerous slums to build a tree-filled city park. We’re not even talking about building a strip mall to liven up the neighborhood to attract more consumers with fat wallets. This is a situation where a company in Canada can lay a pipe through your lettuce garden to make it easier to move oil.

When a government feels entitled to take what does not belong to it, it can succeed through politics, strong marketing, and fear. We’ve heard about “the public good.” Now we’re hearing cries for “critical energy security,” and “strengthening the American economy.” Other excuses include the claim that someone else will build it if we don’t, and that we’re being as careful as anyone possibly can be, and that the construction of the pipeline is a job creating extravaganza! Who could be against that?

This is not to say foreign individuals or companies should not buy property in this country, but only that they should not benefit from the use of eminent domain. A private company should negotiate with individual land owners to purchase the properties with free will exercised on both sides.

There is plenty of pipe already in the ground. It carries oil to every conceivable corner of the country. This particular pipe is enjoying fifteen minutes of fame as it violates our natural rights for the sake of the common good. Sure hope it doesn’t leak.

Brush Your Own Teeth

The people of Portland will vote with their toothbrushes this May.

Last August the City Council voted to add fluoride to the city’s drinking water, as Portland is one of the largest cities in the country that has not yet done so. Anti-fluoride activists were up in arms, bristling at the thought. Signatures were gathered and a referendum will now be set before the people. Voting was originally scheduled for 2014, but the vote has been moved to the upcoming odd-year election when participation is low due to the absence of any national concerns on the ballot. Your individual vote couldn’t be more important.

I divide the disapproving into two groups, both frowning. Some are opposed to fluoride, the actual physical element, and others are opposed to digressing individual rights and might not care much about scientific debate as much as misplaced executive order (or city council order anyway). I identify more with the government oppression crowd, but see value in brushing my own teeth. I happen to be going to the dentist tomorrow morning.

Proponents of mass fluoridation, such as Everyone Deserves Healthy Teeth, and many dentists believe that things worth doing can only be done by the government. If we can’t be trusted to brush our own teeth, this typical progressive mindset will soon lead to a ban on personal ownership of toothbrushes themselves.

Once fluoridation is introduced, the matter of regulating the precise amount becomes a central concern. Most who think about it would agree that too much fluoride is bad beans, so the question which cannot be answered is, “How much is too much?”  The pro-fluoridation camp insists that the amounts in question and in use are miniscule, so as to be insignificant. This is probably true, but I’d rather trust my own judgement on what is best for my own body, teeth included.

Rather than force all water drinkers in the city to ingest a potentially suspect chemical, why not reach out directly to the people who really want the benefits of fluoride or need a little help? If the city is going to spend money on something (inevitably spent on everyone equally or on certain people specifically), why not help lower income folks and others for whom the benefit is intended, by providing additional preventative dental services and actual dental care? There’s some of that already going on, so why not do enough to matter? It will surely save us all money and just the teeth that need it.

I’ll leave it to others to argue about the possible negative effects of fluoride, both on the natural environment and to our individual bodies. The unknowns are small uncertainties and thus open to debate, but the matter is hardly proven science one way or another. Even if many dentists recommend mass fluoridation of the city water supply, some experts say it’s not a good idea.

While the science is perplexing to me, removing personal responsibility only increases our tax burden as we all begin to brush each other’s teeth. The tooth brushes will grow bigger and bigger. We might even start using one big brush. The Portland Toothbrush. We’ll fight over what color it is and which medicine cabinet to keep it in. There will be a bristle for each of us, and we’ll all spit into the same sink.

It’s not miracle water. You still have to brush your own teeth.

Unconstitutional Arts Tax

Worse tax ever.

A flat $35 tax is due this April from every adult living in the city of Portland. It doesn’t matter what your income is. You just have to have one. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like art (or sending children to government school). The ballot measure, which was approved by voters last November, is the worse kind of tax as there is no relative relation to your income. The rich and the poor pay the same.

After the $0.99 convenience fee to pay online (a tax on a tax?), I’m down $35.99 and have nothing to show for it except a nifty postcard reminding me to pay. If I need to split it into two payments, they charge an extra dollar for their trouble!

From what I can tell, the only exemptions are for those with income below the poverty line. But you have to prove your poverty.

Even if your income is $34 dollars, you own $35.

Opposition to this tax has nothing to do with art or music and everything to do with non-consensual government plunder sanctioned by a majority (62%!). While this opens a whole other conversation on the funding of public education by those who do not use it, why not tax the parents who currently send their students to public school? Call it tuition. If so many people have no problem paying, why not just have them pay? What if it was $350?

Most laughable, some supporters say that “supporting culture (is) an inherent element of social responsibility. That’s something we can all get behind.”

There is no responsibility in forced taxation. Responsibility requires choice and decision. Call it what it is. There is nothing to “get behind.” We’re just getting pulled under the school bus. And they call that “art.”

USPS: Postal Delivery Fail

This week the United States Postal Service (USPS) announced that they will discontinue most Saturday mail delivery in an effort to save their sinking ship. They will continue to deliver packages, however, and keep the early afternoon oil burning at your local post office six days a week. Some fans are overly distraught at the prospects of receiving less junk mail.

Though the USPS is not fully a government organization, it is the Federal Government’s  fault that they can no longer deliver the mail “rain or shine,” with a fixed commitment to deliver to every address, every day. With well over half a million workers, only the Federal Government itself and Walmart employ more people. Thousands of post office branches process billions of pieces of mail every day. They are really, really big and they don’t do their job very well.

The organization is billions of dollars behind budget, whereas competitors UPS and FedEx make healthy profits. But competitors are limited, as first class mail is protected by legal monopoly and private companies are not allowed to compete. Essentially, they are forced to charge higher prices to deliver the same package, in the same amount of time, to your door rather than your mailbox. Luckily they do a pretty good job.

Major problems with the government run system include a requirement to deliver to every address six days a week for the same cost, the pre-funding of health care benefits for employees, and the ability of Congress to change rates. What does Congress know about the cost to ship a package from Portland to Oregon City? And shouldn’t it be cheaper than Portland to New York City?

How can we save the USPS? With this be the downfall of America?

If the USPS is America, we have a problem. Who cares if they collapse? Cut loose the binds that tie the competition and let the moaning beast sink. There are plenty of capable organizations who will successfully compete to deliver the mail if the legal obstacles are removed. And those obstacles must be removed or we really do have a problem. If the Postal Service can figure out a way to come up breathing without tax money or legal training wheels, good for them – they can compete with equal opportunity for my business.

But sometimes failure just needs to fail. 

Congress is understandably outraged at this insubordination. How dare they act without approval! Don’t they know prudent trimming of withered branches is frowned upon?

The American War Policy

“Wars not make one great.” – Yoda

The greatest indiscretion of the American Federal Government may be our War Policy. To varying degrees, most Democrats and Republicans overwhelmingly support a foreign policy of interventionism and perpetual war. Our government is entrenched in the practice of using force. Ever since President Woodrow Wilson announced his intention to, “make the world safe for democracy,” and launched us into the first World War, our nation has sustained a continuous military presence over the planet, facing but a breeze of opposition from a libertarian leaning minority. We have bases and troops in at least 150 countries and are constantly engaged in voluntary combat. Additional forms of War, though more abstract, are fought domestically as the War on Drugs, the War on Poverty, and the War on Christmas. In all cases, the War is simply the use of legalized force against the object selected for destruction by the majority.

When it comes to actual fighting wars, the Constitution requires that Congress declare war, but this power has passed more tightly into the grasp of each successive President. The last Constitutional war was declared in 1942. Since then, American presidents have ordered seemingly endless “conflicts” and “operations” which send troops to distant nations which pose varying degrees of debatable threat. You know them as Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and more.

Former Congressman Ron Paul has called these illegal wars “unwinnable” because, when there is no legitimate cause for involvement, there can be no path to victory. This is not just an American problem, it is an essential element of non-defensive wars that lack clear reason.

The disorganized nature of war in the crumbling post-Soviet fighting between Georgia and Abkhazia is described in Eight Pieces of Empire by Lawrence Scott Sheets; “We (the fighters) didn’t even have a specific goal, and we started looting villages along the way… As a result, in the span of a month, we manged to make enemies of out of the entire population… With such sage military planning (more driven by testosterone than strategy), the end result of the War That Nobody Started would be predictable.”

The most recent maturation of the American War Policy is Barack Obama’s use of predator drones to carry out offensive strikes in the Middle East. Though in use prior to his administration, the drones have been more frequently used by the CIA for covert operations, and though targeting “threats,” have been blamed for civilian deaths and stirring up hostility against the United States. Obama is comfortable enough with this policy to joke about it, but generating blowback is no laughing matter. Retired General Stanley McChrystal said drones exacerbate a “perception of American arrogance that says, ‘Well we can fly where we want, we can shoot where we want, because we can.’”

Even if legitimate threats are targeted, we have gone way beyond anything approximating acceptable behavior. This week, a drone attack killed eight militants in Pakistan. There is no reason for American drones to be present in that country except as the part it plays in the War on Terror, a never ending story which doesn’t have an achievable goal and only amounts to an excuse to kill a handful of suspected terrorists today so that two handfuls can spring up tomorrow. Without precise goals, the success of a vague war which basically relies on the principle of “button mashing” is subjective, politically motivated, and can’t easily be stopped. When the White House announced that they are considering withdrawing all troops from Afghanistan by 2014, they might as well have said 2015, 2016 or 2095, since they don’t even know what they are trying to achieve between now and then. Just waiting for the next war.

I doubt we will remove “all troops” from that country, as we still have about 50,000 troops stationed in Japan, a country that surrendered almost 70 years ago, and whom the United States considers to be one of its closest allies.

Happy New Year From the Fiscal Cliff

Our government has done it again. They’ve made themselves necessary and showed that we need them to save us from themselves. If the war of the week isn’t big enough or the weather isn’t quite bad enough, a fiscal cliff ought to get our attention. I would like nothing better than for Congress to have nothing to do over the holidays.

But the bipartisan beast has reared its head again, as the House followed after the Senate to sidestep the disaster they created. The Democrats naturally want to increase funding to feed their bloated bureaucracy, but the Republicans showed up to unite the team after stalling just long enough to point out a few differences of  opinion… and… things… and stuff… and ok we’ll go along with that. Eventually, most Republicans succumbed to media spin and avoided being cast as the ones who might have saved us from the bill to save us from ourselves. Libertarians would have loved the chance.

Clearly the Congress has its priorities somewhere else, evidenced by their being in session on a holiday and involved in this silly exercise to fund the government. Not only should they have figured out how to fund their budgets and agendas a long time ago, there shouldn’t be so much to figure out. This is like getting excited about making the minimum payment on a credit card just to keep it a few dollars under the maximum credit limit. Woo.

They didn’t even pass this bill on time (a day late). President Obama basically said thanks for, “paying the bills guys,” and then headed back to vacation with his family where he should have been all week anyway. I enjoyed his request to Congress for, “a little less drama, a little less brinkmanship and (to) scare folks a little less in future fiscal dealings,” but he is just passing blame that rests equally with his administration as it does with Congress.

Senator Orrin Hatch, the Utah Republican said, “”I reluctantly supported (the bill) because it sets in stone lower tax rates for roughly 99 percent of American taxpayers. With millions of Americans watching Washington with anger, frustration and anxiety that their taxes will skyrocket, this is the best course of action we can take to protect as many people as possible from massive tax hikes.”

Again, Congress is pointing out that they are necessary to save the day. Republicans are reluctant, while Democrats are happy to be of service. Same end result.

Republicans talk about cutting spending, but most will continue their part in feeding the bipartisan beast. Even if not spoken of today, Neocons have their own high spending schemes to fund, such as unconstitutional wars and foreign aid.  A compromise now, “…would avert most of the immediate pain and postpone Congress’ fiscal feud for two months…” Then they’ll do this again and there will be new villans.

Congressman Ron Paul commented that, “They’re arguing over power and… who looks good… but they’re all trying to preserve this system. Whatever they do will just be fluff and will not solve our problems… They’re like a bunch of drug addicts that just want another fix.”

So, if the Fed can just print more money (like it freely does), why do they even bother with raising taxes through an elaborate and drama induced fiscal cliff extravaganza?

Don’t Tax the Church

I saw this meme posted on Facebook recently:

Facebook Meme

Why should the churches be taxed? As a punishment to make them pay their fair share? Though the issue of churches and taxes is most commonly associated with the paying or not paying of property taxes, the popular sentiment on Facebook around this and other images I’ve seen shows an interest in punishing the church simply for being the church. It could be that those who Like this poster don’t know that churches are exempt from certain taxes, and may not know that churches are voluntary associations funded by voluntary contributions from individuals who also pay a portion of their income to the government in taxes. The latter is a non-voluntary contribution.

A common topic thrown around in the media lately is the need to raise taxes on the wealthy to pay for the ballooning scope of the federal government. The big red balloon needs more hot air, so why not target other groups that seem to have a good thing going? The cathedral in the image above certainly gives that impression, but must everything successful be taxed just for existing? The government certainly has no jurisdiction over the finances of the church, no matter which denomination or congregation. The same people who call for ever-increasing taxes might be the same that constantly complain of a lack of separation of church and state, on the grounds that they don’t want to be imposed upon by the church. Apparently imposing on the church is acceptable.

Churches vary significantly in their beliefs, liturgy and involvement in the community, but generally church members voluntarily contribute money as they wish to the local church affiliation of their choosing because that is where they want their money to go. Churches do help a lot of people outside the church, both domestically and internationally, but the church is not required to meet some sort of entitlement quota. That group of individuals can direct their money to whatever cause they choose and do so as a voluntary benefit to the community at various scales.

One condition for maintaining a tax exempt status is that the church must not forward a political agenda. Charitable organizations (religious or not) are said to provide a benefit to society and serve public purposes. If these organizations are taxed, they would not be able to provide those benefits and services due to the excessive financial burden. Government taxation itself can provide similar benefits and services, and does compete directly with charitable organizations. This can lead to churches falling behind in competition to provide services because voluntary contribution surely goes down as taxation goes up. With a tax, the government would be hitting the church on two sides.

Individuals financially support each other every day, in one way or another. And whether we choose to or not. Taxation is a transfer in the method by which benefits are provided to those in need. Whereas an individual might wish to choose to support a certain mission organization that digs wells in Africa, he may instead decide that because he had to pay a certain amount of taxes this year, that hardship gives him little choice over where his money goes as he decides instead to send the African well money to pay his rent. The tax money goes to fund whatever Congress thinks is a worthy recipient (sometimes this individual agrees with Congress, but often he does not). The result is that we do not control the fruits of our own labor and may be unable to help a group that has a special meaning to us because our money is first going to a cause we personally find inappropriate.

In addition to the right of the individual to direct his finances towards the cause of his choice, another strong reason not to tax the church is that America has a separation of church and state. We do not have an official religion (i.e. government religion). A tax on the church prohibits the free exercise of religion. You cannot have separation and taxation. There is a tension between government regulation and free speech from the pulpit, as a church leader who gives certain political opinions could cause his church to lose their tax exempt status. This can be seen by some as a violation of First Amendment rights, but if the government should stay out of the church, then the church should stay out of the government.

“Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Matthew 22:21 (ESV).

Individuals should give charitably with a personal conscience rather than by forced taxation.

Evil Man Killing Man

This has been a sad week of highly publicized murder. A man killed two people at a shopping mall near Portland, not many miles from where I live. Another man killed 26 teachers and children at an elementary school in Connecticut. Later that same day a man killed a woman at a casino on the Las Vegas strip. All three men then turned their weapons on themselves. Evil man killing man.

Though these criminals cannot be punished any further (they’re dead), they have reignited the debate over guns and who should have them. It’s a difficult debate because there is no common ground. Any attempt to blanket all of society under a single mandate cannot be accomplished without severe loss of individual liberty, but there is clearly too much violence. As we discuss our options as a collective nation, we should cautiously consider what Ben Franklin once said, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

Some yearn for a society where only the government and the criminals have guns, thereby relying on the government for protection from the criminals. Others demand that individuals have the right to protect themselves, both from the criminals and the government, and believe it is the individual’s responsibility to do so. An interesting analysis of shooting rampages shows that we’re safer with armed good guys nearby. But both sides claim various statistics support their position.

What we all really want is for people to stop killing each other. Even deeper than that, we want man to stop being so evil. But we tend to confront whatever is loudly making the most noise and ignore the silent roots of evil that lie beneath us. Maybe we’re basically good and the killers are made of something different, but I don’t think you and I are so far removed from some form of atrocity, and this is certainly not new.

According to the Bible we are all sinners, eternally separated from God; saved only by faith in the grace of Jesus Christ. That’s the Gospel. The first recorded human being to be born on earth was named Cain, the son of Adam and Eve. Unfortunately, Cain’s legacy is that he killed his brother Abel during a rage of jealousy. Murder was not a good start for humanity. Evil man killing man.

Man continued his evil ways and finally God had enough. “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Genesis 6:5 (ESV). What followed was the great flood – God wiped man from the face of the earth. A lot has happened since then, but even though we were given a second chance, Man has continued to walk away from God, away from what is good.

It is not just individuals who continue to kill. The United States government is both indirectly and actively killing people around the world every year, in places they shouldn’t be. Most of the victims are in foreign lands, but even now American citizens themselves are targeted. We go to other countries all the time and bomb their people because their government doesn’t see things our way. This has been going on before and after 9/11. It’s no wonder individuals in our country have a tendency to be violent – our leaders have us continuously at war! Evil man killing man.

Congressman Ron Paul had repeatedly warned Congress that something like 9/11 would happen. A few days after the World Trade Center attacks, he reminded his colleagues that while we certainly need to punish those responsible for that horrific event, we should use caution not to bring war down on an entire group of people for the atrocity committed by certain individuals. They did not listen, and we found ourselves entangled in prolonged wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and other military actions since. One highly publicized day of murder (the attack on the towers) led to the deaths of many people who had nothing to do with it. The loss of both life and liberty was globally amplified.

Though evil is constantly engaged, often just below the surface, we are faced again with a highly publicized incident. Whenever there is a domestic shooting, we will be reminded by the media that something needs to be done to stop the killing, and the focus is more on the weapons rather than the evil man. All this should be studied, but with caution. We’d do well to show more interest in what our government is doing as the policeman of the world before we put our lives solely in their hands here at home.

Our hypocritical government must stop taking our lives in one hand and our liberties in the other.