2000 letters to the editor

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RE: TIMELINE, WINTER 200, NUMBER 82 (1/28/2000)
SUBJECT: “Guns” item on page 13.

You blew it when you published the “Sanctity of Life” item on page 9 of the Fall 1999 TimeLines and you exacerbated your position when you published the lame excuse in the Winter 2000 issue.

You claim that the “Sanctity of Life” item referred to “our hypocritical opponents.” Hogwash. It exposes your hypocritical position! Publishing a clear anti-gun position, even to the extent of using the tendentious lexicon and specious statistics of the gun grabbers, then asseverating that “The Hemlock Society takes no position on gun ownership” is blatant hypocrisy.

The gravamen of your woeful defense (“The point is ...”) is that those interested in the sanctity of life should “picket the places where most people go to find a way to end their lives.” Really? And when Hemlock finally achieves the goal of nationally legalized physician assisted dying (enabling physicians’ offices to become “the places where most people go to find a way to end their lives”) are you going to encourage the pickets to march around the physicians’ offices? I doubt it.

Your final protestation that guns are “violent, often uncertain, and traumatic to loved ones” and your conclusion that “This is why gun owners belong to Hemlock” are also off the mark. Given that guns are used successfully in 15000 to 18000 suicides per year, “often certain” is a more accurate description of their effectiveness as instruments of death, than “often uncertain.” And as a gun owner, I can guarantee you that the reason I belong to Hemlock bears no resemblance to your notion of the reason I belong. The reason I belong to Hemlock is the same as the reason I belong to the NRA - because Hemlock and the NRA are both fighting to keep the government’s nose out of my business.

Please, do not take a position on gun ownership then claim that you do not have a position on gun ownership. Leave such dissembling to the politicians.

 

SHOW ME YOUR PAPERS (3/31/2000)


In the case of Carroll v. United States, in 1925, the Supreme Court declared, “It would be intolerable and unreasonable ... to stop every vehicle on the chance of finding liquor; and thus subject all persons lawfully using the highways to the inconvenience and indignity of such a search.” The “Supremes” have since changed their minds, but I haven’t, and I was disappointed to find both a front page story and an editorial in this week’s North Georgia News,, applauding the Georgia State Patrol for forcing law abiding citizens to endure the inconvenience and indignity of concentrated road checks in Union County . The Supreme Court, and the Georgia State Patrol, have managed to completely reverse one of the basic tenets of our justice system - i.e., that we are presumed innocent until proven guilty. A concentrated road check begins with the presumption that we are guilty, and we are obliged to prove (by displaying our license, our insurance, our registration, our sobriety, etc.) that we are innocent. They are the guys with the guns, so it’s prudent to forbear the inconvenience and indignity of their road checks, but we don’t need to like it, and we certainly don’t need to salute them for demanding, “Show me your papers”! That’s how it worked in Nazi Germany, and in the USSR, and now, that’s how it works in the USA. I am ashamed of it, and I am ashamed of the North Georgia News, for applauding it.

 


GOVERNOR CONDEMNS EXTREMISTS (4/14/2000)


As we approach the 225th anniversary of the firing of the “Shot head around the world,” I thought you might be interested (in case you haven’t seen it already) in this “news story” which is making the rounds on the Internet.

GOVERNOR CONDEMNS EXTREMISTS

BOSTON - National guard units seeking to confiscate a cache of recently banned assault weapons were ambushed on April 19th by elements of a paramilitary extremist faction. Military and law enforcement sources estimate that 72 were killed and more than 200 injured before government forces were compelled to withdraw. Speaking after the clash, Massachusetts Governor Thomas Gage declared that the extremist faction, which was made up of local citizens, has links to the radical right-wing tax protest movement.

Gage blamed the extremists for recent incidents of vandalism directed against internal revenue offices. The governor, who described the group's organizers a "criminals," issued an executive order authorizing the summary arrest of any individual who has interfered with the government's efforts to secure law and order.

The military raid on the extremist arsenal followed widespread refusal by the local citizenry to turn over recently outlawed assault weapons. Gage issued a ban on military style assault weapons and ammunition earlier in the week. This decision followed a meeting in early this month between government and military leaders at which the governor authorized the forcible confiscation of illegal arms. One government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, pointed out that "none of these people would have been killed had the extremists obeyed the law and turned over their weapons voluntarily." Government troops initially succeeded in confiscating a large supply of outlawed weapons and ammunition. However, troops attempting to seize arms and ammunition in Lexington met with resistance from heavily armed extremists who had been tipped off regarding the government's plans.

During a tense standoff in Lexington's town park, National Guard Colonel Francis Smith, commander of the government operation, ordered the armed group to surrender and return to their homes. The impasse was broken by a single shot, which was reportedly fired by one of the right-wing extremists. Eight civilians were killed in the ensuing exchange. Ironically, the local citizenry blamed government forces rather than the extremists for the civilian deaths. Before order could be restored, armed citizens from surrounding areas had descended upon the guard units. Colonel Smith, finding his forces overmatched by the armed mob, ordered a retreat.

Governor Gage has called upon citizens to support the state/national joint task force in its effort to restore law and order. The governor also demanded the surrender of those responsible for planning and leading the attack against the government troops. Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, and John Hancock, who have been identified as "ringleaders" of the extremist faction, remain at large.

 


TWEEDLEDUM & TWEEDLEDEE (10/13/2000)


After listening to the debates between Mr. Bush & Mr. Gore, I feel like I was listening to Tweedledum & Tweedledee. Both of them have grandiose plans to spend the budget surplus; both are going to save Social Security; both are trying to take credit for the “great triumph” of welfare reform; both claim their tax cuts will save us money; both claim they will strengthen (or preserve) our national defense; both claim they are for smaller government. Hogwash. The budget surplus doesn’t exist; Social Security will be saved only when it's taken completely away from the politicians; welfare costs are almost 50% higher than they were ten years ago; until we dramatically reduce the shamefully large annual budget, tax cuts are merely a shell game in which nobody wins; and although we have the strongest national offense in history, the Democrats and Republicans have spent $100 billion and 17 years trying to create an effective national defense but we still can't protect this country against any two-bit dictator who gets his hands on a nuclear missile; and finally, neither candidate has proposed any plan to make government smaller - on the contrary, the federal leviathan continues spending almost two trillion dollars per year on managing the amount of water in our toilets, the size of the holes in our Swiss cheese, and on a host of other functions not authorized by the Constitution. But do not despair - there is hope. This year, voters in all 50 states will have the opportunity to vote for a Libertarian presidential candidate. On ballots all across the country, there will be nearly 2,000 other Libertarian candidates, including contenders for a majority of the US House seats. Most likely this will be more candidates than the total of all other third parties combined. Here in Georgia we will have the opportunity to vote for several Libertarians, including Harry Browne for president, Paul MacGregor for the US Senate, plus five candidates for state government positions. If we keep on voting for the “lesser of two evils” the outcome will always be evil. The only way to get what we want is to vote for what we want. If we want to restore individual Liberty, if we want a federal government that is smaller, less intrusive, less oppressive and operates within the limits of the US Constitution, we need to vote for it by voting for Harry Browne. A vote for Liberty is never a wasted vote.

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