America

We used to get upset with government when pot holes weren't repaired. Guest blogger Bill Husztek sees little things like that as trivialized by government's failures these days.
 On March 30, 1981 President Reagan was shot down by John Hinkley, a lust driven nutcase. At that time newspapers noted that the Secret Service and Metropolitan police couldn’t communicate with one another because their radio systems were not compatible. The Congress decided to act on it and sent out federal monies to correct the problem. Since I lived in Hawaii, it made no difference to my safety.

Let’s assume for a moment that I believed that Government, bigger and better has all the answers to my fears and the troubles of our society. Let us further assume that on September 11, 2001, this Nation had an epiphany. We realized that we were in a crisis which only Government could deliver us from.

That date then became our new starting point for a safer society. I could relax. The Government would handle keeping me safe and secure.

From the unique perspective of one of 100 million citizens who, has been through this all before, I would point out to my Liberal, or Progressive friends a simple fact of reality.  Make no mistake in this. My personal safety is paramount. Whatever Government wants to do is okay by me as long as I am safe to live my life left alone!

If something is broken and, Government as my Liberal friends assure me is the way to fix all problems, then I say to them. Fix it, leave me alone to live my life in peace. But keep me safe! Then I will abandon my Conservative skepticism and  follow you anywhere.

In 2011 on 9-11,  the Pentagon was brought to its knees by a jetliner come missile in the hands of three terrorists. Sitting here at this desk that morning I may well have heard the plane as it flew overhead toward the Capital. It is certain, I felt the shock wave of that impact as it rattled the windows of this office.

From that 9-11 attack  there came a hew and cry about the Metropolitan Washington land of all the Populist Press asking one question.

After the event. Why didn’t the emergency services respond better?

In 2001, it was discovered that local metropolitan Washington emergency services were ham-strung by the fact that each jurisdiction had communication systems which couldn’t communicate with their neighboring jurisdictions or the Federal Agencies or the Military. The quick and simple solution was for them to come together and establish a common communications system over which they could all work and share for my safety.

My Congress and President flung billions of dollars into bringing My Safety up to a level where I could relax and go about my business without further fear.

As they worked to keep me safe, they found they had to take  my shoes off to fly on jetliners. I had to dump my toiletries in airports. They built walls and moats and hired multitudes of people all to keep me safe in my daily life. I could no longer enter any public building except my church without facing a personal search, and a metal detector.

If I set my briefcase or a lunch bag on the public sidewalk in Washington for a minute I could instantly become the center of a blitz of police action. If I were to take pictures of public buildings I became a person of suspicion if the guards didn’t like my look.

With the billions of dollars to spend on improving my safety, local jurisdictions made going to the National Mall for a 4th of July celebration an impossibility for me. No longer could I take my cooler with its assorted foods and drinks, my umbrella and blanket, to any out door venue in the area. My wife’s purse had to become a gallon or less sized transparent baggie. I was now safe from those nefarious evil-doers.

Then last week, while I was fortunately out of town, an un-armed mad woman with her 1-year old child strapped into the back seat drove wildly up and down Washington streets, crashing barriers down at the White House and then the Capital building. Nothing was impervious to her little Japanese built sedan as she wreaked mayhem on the Nation’s Capital. She was finally shot in her back and killed, as she drove away from police by a fusillade of pistol fire! Theoretically those bullets passed close to her co-conspirator 1-year old daughter in the back seat.
How asked the local Populist Press, could this have occurred? After all she was chased down Pennsylvania Avenue from White House to the Capital all the while  pursued  by a whole herd of Secret Service Government Motors black Suburbans. All with their lights and guns blazing. She evaded them. How? Asked the Press. How I wondered?

Why didn’t n the Secret Service phone ahead to the Metropolitan Police, the Park Police, the Capital Police and all the other Police who thrive in the city of Washington. Why didn’t they get on their state of the art communications, i.e. radios, and warn the others that they were in pursuit of an unarmed mad terroristic mother of a one year old?

The police chief of the D.C. cops coldly informed the Press that her officers were so used to seeing the stately massive SUV Suburban GMC vehicles traveling with their lights flashing at outrageous speeds that they believed they were engaged in business as usual.

When the perky little Populist Press reporter asked, “Why didn’t the Secret Service  use their radios to communicate the danger to the Metropolitan police forces? She was answered imperiously.

Our communications systems aren’t compatible. We can’t talk to each other. We will need more money to fix it.

So, to my Liberal friends I pose this question. Do you think that they ever will?
 
 

America

Did Harry Reid have to drive himself to the office? Did Al Qaeda receive their rockets? Were assault rifles sent to the Mexican drug cartels? Would the laws of physics prevail? Would water boil? These are a few of the things that troubled my sleep last night. Well, the government shut down and amazingly the sun still rose in the sky this morning. Looking towards the sky, I saw birds on the wing and all seemed right with the world.
Imagine my surprise when I turned on the television and it worked. Every part of the system from the broadcast studies to my receiver at home via the cable network worked. Even more amazingly, there were no reports of mass hysteria and riots. Then, after firing up my computer, I discovered that the Internet was working and I was able to post this message of joy.

Of course, as soon as I checked my email, there was a message from the White House. “The government was shut down.” I was beginning to doubt it since the world hadn't yet spun off its axis. Furthermore, the White House staff proclaimed, “It's the fault of the Republicans.” Now I knew. All was right in the world.

My wife was concerned about our Social Security checks. Those comprise a significant portion of our monthly income. Joyfully she announced that benefits would be paid despite the government shutdown. Also, the Post Office would still be in operation to deliver them. How? Aren't they operating at a loss? How can they continue without the government borrowing more money to keep their doors open and the mail trucks rolling?

So, what does it mean that the government is shut down? I guess we'll have to wait and see. It better be something really bad or people may discover that they're just as happy without it.
 
 

America

If the following sounds disrespectful I have achieved my purpose. The person currently serving as President of the United States has no claim on my respect. I am merely glad that I completed my military service long before he became the Commander-in-Chief. 
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I listened carefully to the President's speech regarding Syria and remain unconvinced that he knows what is going on or what to do about it.

Strategic bombing such as he proposes in retaliation for Syria's purported use of chemical weapons, has never worked, not once in all of history. Only Reagan's tactical strike targeting Muammar Gaddafi personally achieved its intended goal. Only if the Administration can produce compelling evidence of Assad's complicity in an actual violation of International Law would I support such a limited attack.

Moreover, the proposal to take control of Syria's remaining chemical weapons is totally impractical, thus further demonstrating the President's lack of experience and competency. Such weapons are dispersed over more than 50 military installations in Syria, most in the middle of active combat zones. How could any personnel arrive their safely with the equipment needed to secure or destroy those weapons? No, the President is merely grasping the tail end of a poor idea advanced by others to extricate himself from the diplomatic mess that he's gotten himself into.

The greatest damage of this event is that the President has surrendered world leadership to a sociopath in Moscow. What little prestige he had remaining is now lost forever. He should play golf and leave governing to the adults. 
 
 

America

I found the following cautionary tale posted on Facebook by a family member. Whether or not the events described actually happened isn't important. I'm sharing it because it's true...
I was in my neighborhood restaurant this morning and was seated behind a group of jubilant individuals celebrating the coming implementation of the health care bill. I could not finish my breakfast. This is what ensued:

They were a diverse group of several races and both sexes. I heard a young man exclaim, “Isn’t Obama like Jesus Christ? I mean, after all, he is healing the sick.” 

A young woman enthusiastically proclaimed, “Yeah, and he does it for free. I cannot believe anyone would think that a free market wouldn't work for health care.” 

Another said, "The stupid Republicans want us all to starve to death so they can inherit all of the power. Obama should be made a Saint for what he did for those of us less fortunate.” 

At this, I had more than enough. I arose from my seat, mustering all the restraint I could find, and approached their table. “Please excuse me; may I impose upon you for one moment?” 

They smiled and welcomed me to the conversation. I stood at the end of their table, smiled as best I could and began an experiment.
“I would like to give one of you my house. It will cost you no money and I will pay all of the expenses and taxes for as long as you live there. Anyone interested?” 

They looked at each other in astonishment. “Why would you do something like that?” asked a young man, “There isn’t anything for free in this world.”
They began to laugh at me, as they did not realize this man had just made my point. 

“I am serious, I will give you my house for free, no money whatsoever. Anyone interested?” 

In unison, a resounding “Yeah” fills the room.

“Since there are too many of you, I will have to make a choice as to who receives this money-free bargain.” 

I noticed an elderly couple was paying attention to the spectacle unfolding before their eyes, the old man shaking his head in apparent disgust. 

“I tell you what; I will give it to the one of you most willing to obey my rules.” 

Again, they looked at one another, an expression of bewilderment on their faces. 

The perky young woman asked, “What are the rules?” 

I smiled and said, “I don’t know. I have not yet defined them. However, it is a free home that I offer you.” 

They giggled amongst themselves, the youngest of which said, “What an old coot. He must be crazy to give away his home. Go take your meds, old man.” 

I smiled and leaned into the table a bit further. “I am serious, this is a legitimate offer.” 

They gaped at me for a moment. “I’ll take it you old fool. Where are the keys?” boasted the youngest among them. 

“Then I presume you accept ALL of my terms then?” I asked. 

The elderly couple seemed amused and entertained as they watched from the privacy of their table. “Oh yeah! Where do I sign up?” 

I took a napkin and wrote, “I give this man my home, without the burden of financial obligation, so long as he accepts and abides by the terms that I shall set forth upon consummation of this transaction.”

I signed it and handed it to the young man who eagerly scratched out his signature. 

“Where are the keys to my new house?” he asked in a mocking tone of voice. 

All eyes were upon us as I stepped back from the table, pulling the keys from pocket and dangling them before the excited new homeowner.

“Now that we have entered into this binding contract, witnessed by all of your friends, I have decided upon the conditions you are obligated to adhere to from this point forward. You may only live in the house for one hour a day. You will not use anything inside of the home. You will obey me without question or resistance. I expect complete loyalty and admiration for this gift I bestow upon you. You will accept my commands and wishes with enthusiasm, no matter the nature. Your morals and principles shall be as mine. You will vote as I do, think as I do and do it with blind faith. These are my terms. Here are your keys.” 

I reached the keys forward and the young man looked at me dumbfounded.

“Are you out of your mind? Who would ever agree to those ridiculous terms?” the young man appeared irritated. 

“You did when you signed this contract before reading it, understanding it and with the full knowledge that I would provide my conditions only after you committed to the agreement.” 

The elderly man chuckled as his wife tried to restrain him. I was looking at a now silenced and bewildered group of people. 

“You can shove that stupid deal up your a** old man. I want no part of it!” exclaimed the now infuriated young man. 

'You have committed to the contract, as witnessed by all of your friends. You cannot get out of the deal unless I agree to it. I do not intend to let you free now that I have you ensnared. I am the power you agreed to. I am the one you blindly and without thought chose to enslave yourself to. In short, I am your Master.” 

At this, the table of celebrating individuals became a unified group against the unfairness of the deal.

After a few moments of unrepeatable comments and slurs, I revealed my true intent. 

“What I did to you is what this administration and congress did to you with the health care legislation. I easily suckered you in and then revealed the real cost of the bargain. Your folly was in the belief that you can have something you did not earn, and for that which you did not earn, you willingly allowed someone else to think for you. Your failure to research, study and inform yourself permitted reason to escape you. You have entered into a trap from which you cannot flee. Your only chance of freedom is if your new Master gives it to you. A freedom that is given can also be taken away. Therefore, it is not freedom at all.” 

With that, I tore up the napkin and placed it before the astonished young man. “This is the nature of your new health care legislation.”
I turned away to leave these few in thought and contemplation -- and was surprised by applause. 

The elderly gentleman, who was clearly entertained, shook my hand enthusiastically and said, “Thank you, Sir. These kids don’t understand Liberty .” 

He refused to allow me to pay my bill as he said, “You earned this one. It is an honor to pick up the tab.” 

I shook his hand in thanks, leaving the restaurant somewhat humbled and sensing a glimmer of hope for my beloved country.
"Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the American Government take care of him; better take a closer look at the American Indian."
                                                                 -- Henry Ford
 
 

America

Once upon a time, we had choices worth making. Truman or Dewey. Eisenhower or Stevenson. Kennedy or Nixon. Johnson or Goldwater. The lines were distinct. The parties were well differentiated. Then something happened. The lines blurred. Both major parties abandoned their principles and values, and focused on building collations of voters, promising to champion groups with agendas so diverse that a promise to one is as good as a threat to another. As a result, many voters abstain out of dismay and those who attend the polls hold their noses as they cast their ballots.
I began to suspect that the problem begins long before election day. Someone appears to be making choices for us, deciding which choices we will have. This past Monday, I went in search of them. I attended a county-wide central party committee meeting.

I wasn't alone. There were many first-time attendees there. It seems that I'm not the only one beginning to suspect that there's a problem that needs fixing. We were welcomed with warm smiles and firm handshakes by the party stalwarts. Two party hopefuls pitched appeals for party support in next year's elections.

The first candidate was a likely young man determined to be the next secretary of state for California. Not only did he make a good appearance and speak well, but also he had a compelling story to tell. Remember the City of Bell, California? That's the one where five of six elected officials were convicted of multiple counts of misappropriating funds and paying themselves huge salaries while raising taxes on residents. The City Manager was also convicted and became the face of government run amok. Interestingly, the candidate I listened to was hired as a consultant to turn the city around, and he did. Magnificently. Bell now has an excellent credit rating and one of the most transparent budgeting processes in municipal government. This candidate focused on engaging the public in the city's decision-making process. Citizens who used to refer to their city hall as “The Kremlin” now participate regularly in self-governance. He accomplished all this during a time while other California cities are following Detroit into bankruptcy courts.

This candidate for the party's nomination went on to outline how he believes that he can use the power of the Secretary of State to repeat his performance and help the state and other counties and municipalities duplicate the success he had in the City of Bell. It sounded reasonable.

The second candidate is a member of the California legislature who has set his sights on being the next governor. He used his experience tilting at windmills in his present office to incite the assembled party faithful to his cause. Unfortunately, he mistook oratory volume for passion. He began by whipping up the crowd with complaints about the social policies of the incumbent. His message may have had its appeal to many among that audience, but I imagine that this approach will invite the opposition to incite their base by focusing on their particular social agendas while ignoring the larger issues of California's economic woes.

Now, which candidate will the party support in the primaries and which will it not? Those are the questions that will be answered long before you or I reach the polls. Personally, I don't think that I can wait that long. Do you?
 
 

America

Let's not compare President Obama to history's infamous dictators. He is neither infamous nor a dictator. Well, not yet. However, it is safe to say that anyone who lived in Germany, China, or the Soviet Empire during the reign of these infamous dictators would never dare make fun of them. Likewise, it isn't safe making fun of President Obama.
No, the rodeo clown who made fun of President Obama wasn't shipped off to some gulag. Well, not yet. However, he did lose his job and that's pretty serious these days when jobs are hard to come by.  
Why did the rodeo clown lose his job? Fear. Therein lies the similarity between Obama and these infamous dictators. They ruled by fear. Fear, it seems, has become a weapon of this Administration. Fear that the government is monitoring what we say and do. Fear that there will be repercussions for those who oppose this Administration politically. Fear that the law will be applied unequally to those who poke fun at the President or criticize him.

It isn't necessary for the President to direct actions against those who disagree or poke fun at him. Responsibility still devolves to him regardless of who takes action on his behalf. That is the nature of leadership. With power comes commensurate responsibility. It's possible that no one ever explained that to the President. Remember, he has never held any position of executive responsibility before becoming President.
Also, don't think that lampooning a sitting President is anything new. Not by a long shot. However, it seems that those who came before President Obama have thicker skins. That's something else that comes with experience.
Do you think that Americans will have learned their lesson? Will they ever again elect someone without any demonstrable qualifications or experience to lead the nation?
 
 

America

Sweet, charming, gracious – the image of a Southern Belle in her maturity. Racist? Absolutely. Who has she harmed? “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can hurt me.” They hurt me.
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Paula Deen and racists like her have been hurting all Americans for many decades. They perpetuate stereotypes that denigrate our nation and prevent our people from living in peace and harmony. The words she spoke will linger for decades to come, continuing to harm not only you and I, but also the generations that follow us. No apology can unring that bell. It will reverberate in speeches by those who profit from strife.

I am particularly offended by Ms Deen's behavior because it exposes the scars that I bear of having been raised by a racist. My father was indiscriminate in his discrimination. He hated everyone who was different. I don't believe that I heard words like “African-American” (“black” was in vogue when I was a boy), “Asian”, “Italian”, “Pole”, “Chinese”, “Japanese”, etc. All people who were different were identified by racial epithets in our household. All people except Germans. He adored all things Germanic. He self-identified as German even though all his predecessors were Slovak. He was obviously ashamed of being Slovak. 

Unfortunately, some vestige of my father's bigotry persists in my family and I find it difficult to be around them. Even though they have been warned that I will not tolerate hate speech, let alone hateful acts in my presence, there are slips that lead to uncomfortable confrontations.

Thus, it is no surprise that my first novel dealt with racism. Racism rears its ugly head in the main plot line and we learn that it has been the guiding force in U.S. Foreign relations in the Caribbean and Latin America. Apparently, Americans of European descent have little more regard for Iberians than they have for Africans. A subplot in my novel is also an outgrowth of racism wherein my protagonists pursue romance and marriage even though faced with antimisogyny laws that forbid their union.

Now, Ms Deen is sorry, very sorry indeed. She has been fired by FoodNetwork TV. More than the loss of income, she will suffer from the loss of public exposure that has driven her successful enterprises in selling books and kitchenware. Such retribution will escape the attention of those who argue that racism continues to thrive in America. They will continue to fan the fires of racial division and unrest, and all America and our progeny will continue to suffer.

Will bigotry ever be put to rest? Unfortunately, no. It thrives in the dung heap of ignorance. Although we may stifle its influence in our law and our public institutions, we will never completely eradicate it from society. That is why it is not enough to simply refrain from its practice. It is not enough to shun bigots. All people of good will must speak out against bigotry and discrimination and act decisively to stop it.
 
 

America

DESPITE THE CAPTURE of the Boston Bombers, many people have been decrying the infringement on privacy in the techniques used to identify and apprehend the culprits. Thousands of photos and videos were analyzed during the investigation. Virtually everyone in the area of the bombing or transiting it was identified. Was this an infringement on their privacy? Does anyone have a reasonable expectation of privacy in a public place? NYPD Police Commission Ray Kelly doesn't believe there is. He wants more video cameras in more public places. In an interview on WNYC, he opined that the Boston Bombing “takes privacy off the table”. 
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Was privacy in a public place ever “on the table”? Constitutional scholars have been debating the right to privacy for almost as long as there has been a Constitution. An article appearing on the website Exploring Constitutional Conflicts offers an excellent overview of this issue.
The U. S. Constitution contains no express right to privacy. The Bill of Rights, however, reflects the concern of James Madison and other framers for protecting specific aspects of privacy, such as the privacy of beliefs (1st Amendment), privacy of the home against demands that it be used to house soldiers (3rd Amendment), privacy of the person and possessions as against unreasonable searches (4th Amendment), and the 5th Amendment's privilege against self-incrimination, which provides protection for the privacy of personal information. In addition, the Ninth Amendment states that the "enumeration of certain rights" in the Bill of Rights "shall not be construed to deny or disparage other rights retained by the people." The meaning of the Ninth Amendment is elusive, but some persons (including Justice Goldberg in his Griswold concurrence) have interpreted the Ninth Amendment as justification for broadly reading the Bill of Rights to protect privacy in ways not specifically provided in the first eight amendments. 
However, your appearance at a public place is hardly private, is it? If it were, eyewitness testimony might be barred at trials. Indeed, some might argue that eyewitness testimony should be barred. It has been proven highly unreliable. Many innocent persons have been incarcerated on the weight of faulty eyewitness memories and perceptions. 

For best viewing, scroll right and enlarge to full screen after starting the video

A recent program on the National Geographic Channel, Brain Games, also clearly demonstrated this fact. After viewing it, I was seriously left in doubt that I would ever volunteer eyewitness testimony. I can sing commercial jingles that appeared on television in the 1950s, but I can hardly remember what I ate for breakfast. It's a common complaint of my age. No, I think that I prefer having video cameras record occurrences in public places. How about you?  
 
 

America

I RECEIVE REGULAR missives proposing that we rewrite the Constitution. You've probably seen them, too. They come in chain letters passing from computer-to-computer around the Internet. They originate with members of both sides of the ideological divide. I don't pass them on because, more often than not, their concerns are rooted in their ignorance of constitutional law. The problem is that schools today are staffed by teachers who were never properly educated in the Constitution. How can they possibly teach anything they so poorly understand themselves?
There hasn't been much attention paid to the Constitution in our schools since this episode of Schoolhouse Rock, “The Preamble”, was aired in 1975. Civics has disappeared from most school curricula. Today, civics education testing is required in only nine states for graduation from high school. Citizens are urged to vote to fulfill their civic responsibility, but there is no emphasis placed on their responsibility to understand what they are voting for. 

I don't suppose that anyone would be thinking about the Constitution if it weren't for the Tea Party. Much maligned as racist, homophobic, Islamiphobic, etc, the truth is that they have at least brought the Constitution into the public conscience. People are talking about it. Some few may have even read it. In essence, it has come back into our lives. It's been absent far too long.

As a student of law and history, I have frequently been frustrated in discussing anything across the ideological divide because few others know anything about the structure of our government. They want to change what they do not understand. When I ask them to explain their understanding, they become frustrated by their ignorance.

The Public Broadcasting System has chosen this moment to stimulate the dialog. They are producing a four-part series, Constitution USA, that will begin airing on May 7th at 9:00 pm EDT (check local listings).

I can't say if the PBS program content will be fair and unbiased. Many argue that PBS management is biased towards a liberal/leftist/progressive ideology, and there is evidence that this may be true. However, in my opinion, any discussion of the Constitution must be helpful. Even if PBS distorts it, those distortions may then serve as talking points from which future dialog can grow.

So, mark it on your calendars – May 7th. Watch the series. We can get together afterwards and debate. However, if you are inclined to argue that the present Constitution is out of date, in need of reform, or should be replaced, you should first understand the one we already have otherwise I won't lend much credence to what you have to say.
PJTV host Scott Ott produced a fair overview of the U.S. Constitution. It can be viewed in eighteen bite-sized pieces of four minutes or less each. Unfortunately, only Chapter 1, embedded above, is available free on YouTube. You'll have to subscribe to PJTV to view the other seventeen. If you can get through them in a month or less, it will only cost you five dollars (US). That's a small investment for such an important subject. However, if you put at least this much effort in learning about the Constitution, you will be better able to form opinions on current events and defend them, especially when you encounter someone like me.
 
 

America

TRADITIONAL WISDOM WAS that anyone caught in a shooting should drop and take cover. That hasn't worked out too well, has it? How many mass murderers have calmly stalked their chosen venue, shooting and killing whomever they found until they met resistance? I know. That's what I told my children, too. Based on recent experience, law enforcement officers have changed their tune. They now advise citizens to run, hide, or fight
They're also advising armed first responders to take immediate action. In the past, the first policemen to arrive on the scene of a mass killing were instructed to secure the area. Don't let other potential victims wander into the killing zone. Wait for SWAT to arrive and deal with the situation. This hasn't worked very well either, has it? Indeed, think of how often we hear of the perpetrator turning his weapon on himself when faced with armed resistance. Better that the first police officers responding enter the killing zone and encourage this outcome before other innocent citizens become victims.

Recently, as crowds gathered for the Long Beach Gran Prix, which occurred shortly after the terrorist bombing at the Boston Marathon, I saw a police official warning spectators to be aware of their surroundings. Report suspicious activity to the nearest uniformed officer. Even though they had taken every conceivable precaution to prevent a terrorist attack in Long Beach, officials were willing to admit that a perpetrator could slip through the safety net and that each person should take responsibility for their personal safety.

Times have changed. Law enforcement officials seem to be recognizing their limitations. “To protect and serve” appears on many of their patrol vehicles, but they would be more accurate if they used the opening line of the popular Law & Order television series.
The police investigate crime. They are rarely on hand to protect us from it. In rural areas, the first responder to a call for help may be a half hour or more away. Even in major cities, where response times may be measured in minutes, the blood has long since stopped flowing from bodies before they arrive. 

I was disappointed when President Bush told us to hunker down following the attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11. Don't worry. He was taking the fight to the terrorists. We attacked in Afghanistan. We attacked in Iraq. The Patriot Act was passed and a new army was loosed on the streets of America. I was prepared to accept the attacks on foreign soil so long as they were directed at terrorists and their supporters. I was reluctant to see our forces hanging around to build new democracies. My disappointment grew into distrust with the Patriot Act. I hardly trusted President Bush with such sweeping powers. I am totally distrustful of the current President with them. He has schooled me to fear that some future President may use them to become a tyrant.

Am I paranoid? We've now seen the Patriot Act perverted. Homeland Security is being equipped with armored vehicles and weapons more commonly found on conventional battlefields. Furthermore, Congress and the President are vigorously attempting to disarm us. Maybe some degree of paranoia is healthy, especially when so many of my fellow citizens are succumbing to fear tactics. I wonder, why can't they see the hypocrisy of these lawmakers. Witness the testimony of Diane Feinstein who has led the most recent charge to disarm us even though she admits that she raced to arm herself when faced with danger.
Local law enforcement agencies appear to have gotten the message. Witness the actions cited at the beginning of this article. Indeed, many sheriffs and police chiefs have publicly announced that they will not enforce efforts to disarm American citizens even if Congress and the President succeed. A few have begun organizing community militias. Thirty-eight states now have chapters. The few remaining states that are willing to submit to Washington, and entrust their protection to others, are those that have already done everything in their power to disarm their law-abiding citizens. Even though these jurisdictions have the worst crime rates, they refuse to accept reality and continue to do what they believe ought to work regardless of any evidence to the contrary.