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52


L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 52, July 31, 1999

Trust the Government?

by Joseph Farah
jfarah@worldnetdaily.com

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

           Some people in America today say rights such as those enumerated in the Second Amendment are no longer necessary in our modern society because the government will protect us from criminals and our advanced state of freedom, equal protection under the law and representative government will safeguard us from abusive and repressive government.
           Now I could argue the point. But, instead, let me tell you about an incident that took place last year in Alturas, Calif.
           On Jan. 16, a fireman for the city fired 16 rounds from a .223 rifle into an occupied bowling center owned by Norm Lakey. Two of the rounds entered the building in a spot where the owner had been standing just moments before.
           Lakey did what most civilized Americans would do in such a situation. He called the cops.
           The Alturas police investigated the incident and found that the shots had been fired by fireman Wayne Chester Bethel. But the cops did not arrest Bethel. Nor was he given a sobriety test, though they were aware he was intoxicated. Instead, the officers gave their good friend a ride home and reported to Lakey that a couple of teen-agers had shot up his bowling center.
           Those are the facts as laid out in the Alturas Police Department report.
           Again, Lakey did what any red-blooded, law-abiding, taxpaying citizen would do at that point. He went to the district attorney. He says he was told the DA would have to take the case to the state attorney general's office because the fireman, a city official, was close friends with the cops involved and the local judicial officials. That never happened.
           Instead, Bethel was charged with a misdemeanor, served no jail time and even got his gun back. This, by the way, after he demonstrated no remorse for his shooting spree, which he admitted was one of a series in which he had participated. He admitted to having a grudge against the owners of the bowling center and even threatened more serious violence if he didn't get his gun back.
           Now, I guess you can say this is just an isolated incident in a small town and is not relevant to the gun-control debate or evidence of widespread government corruption.
           I say it is relevant. I hear about stories like this every day from my readers. We can't begin to pass them all along. They only begin to make sense when you see them in context.
           What is the context? The context is that government is no longer a servant of the people -- not at the local level, the state level and certainly not the federal. It has instead become the master of the people. Whom you know means everything. Equal justice under the law has become a joke.
           If you think I'm exaggerating, just try shooting 16 rounds into a government building -- perhaps the local police station or maybe an occupied federal building somewhere. Not only do I feel certain this is not a crime for which you would get a ride home from the law enforcement authorities, I doubt very much if you would survive such an attack.
           You would very likely be portrayed on the national evening news as some kind of anti-government, militia nutcase and charged with hate crimes and terrorism if you were fortunate enough to live through the day.
           And that's why it is more important than ever for Americans to wake up to the threat they face from government at all levels today. They are coming for your guns -- your last line of defense. Once you put your fate in the hands of government, all freedom is lost. Your self-determination is a distant memory. You are now a ward of the state, a subject, a serf.
           Now I don't think it would have made any difference to Mr. Lakey that night whether he was armed. He probably wouldn't shoot back under the circumstances anyway. But the fact that government officials -- whether they are drunken firemen or members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms -- know they can get away with this kind of behavior because of their connections illustrates where America is headed in 1999.


Joseph Farah is editor and founder of the Internet newspaper WorldNetDaily.com


Quiz Answer:
1. Israel
2. Egypt
3. Colombia


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