L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 90, September 18, 2000
Howdy again, John,
Just a news note from the Free State of Maryland I found in today's W____ Post (I won't use their whole name more than once in a week).
Police from Prince Georges County, (already infamous in that they have the highest number of brutality charges filed in the DC area) have established another precedent in the use of lethal force. Based upon a "tip" P.G. officers persued a vehicle out of the state to neighboring Fairfax County, where they shot and killed the driver.
This "tip" indicated that there was a gun or other weapon inside the vehicle, prompting the officers to kill the driver after cutting him off in traffic. Details are slowly coming out on this incident, but witnesses state that after the accident, P.G. officers approached the car firing their service weapons, subsequent to being rammed by the suspect. (I never heard what he was suspected of, except possible auto theft)
The scary part is that no weapon was found. Is the story getting clear yet? These officers were in fear of their lives because they thought that someone HAD a gun. Not pointing it at them, not holding one, they just thought he was. I'm shocked they didn't come up with a "throw down" gun, but they probably had too many witnesses. It makes me wonder if there are any good police out there.
Don't worry, the officers are on Admin leave now, with pay. Makes me feel a lot safer knowing that.
Be careful out there,
Jack Jerome firstname.lastname@example.org
While at least two letter writers in TLE#89 comment on spelling, their conclusion was spot-on.
Any government giving their citizens the shaft as hard and deep as "ours" is must be operating under some kind of idea that makes such use of force and fraud seem like a good idea. A "phallus-y" by any other spelling.
When the term makes it into Black's Law Dictionary, we'll have a consistent spelling. :^>
On the subject of taking on the coat of "Republican" to not waste my vote, Bob Graves misses one very important point: When a republican is on a ballot that is actually pro-civil rights, like representative Ron Paul (R, Texas), I will gladly vote for them. I would also gladly run AS a republican, like Ron Paul, if the local republicans would have me and I wanted to run for an office.
Here's the rub: Republicans have so far been killing freedom with the death of a thousand little cuts, while Democrats have been doing so with death of a thousand big cuts. I will not vote for evil, even if it is the lesser of the available evils.
Curt Howland Howland@Priss.com
Re: Your article in The Libertarian Enterprise
Is There a Doctor in the House?
An excellent example of what can happen when good intentions are allowed to run rampant! I find only one complaint with your article, and that is the comment:
In my opinion, the government needs to just get out of regulating the industry -- period. It was the meddling by the politicians that got the insurance companies meddling in the government, which has gotten the rest of us to pay for that regulation.
Just as in the US, the insurance companies have used the government to counter acts instituted against them by other factions out to ensure access to insurance by everyone.
Back before insurance was so accessible by most people, it was primarily used to cover catastrophic illness, and not the minor malady. Back then, being attended to by a GP was a reasonable cost to most people and families.
With the advent of readily available insurance, every Joe or Jane with a sniffle runs to the emergency room and gets their rectal temperature taken, patted on the bum, gets a prescription for an over-the-counter medication, and then charges it to their medical insurance. Guess who pays the real cost?
By my reckoning, insurance ought to cost more than most people are willing to pay. That way, those who do have the insurance are more likely to take better care of themselves, while the rest of us merely pay for what we use, instead of being bilked and over-charged for services that those others over-use on a daily basis.
If the industry were unregulated, then the real costs would be borne by the insured, not the carrier, as the totally unnecessary visits to the doctor would be directed to the insured. Costs would drop, premiums would be lower, accessibility to insurance would likely be greater, and the whole slew of government regulations that saddle the industry would be relegated to the trash heap. And if there is a dispute about what is covered and for what amount, that should rightly reside in a court of civil law where contractual disputes rightly belong, and not the legislature.
E.J. Totty email@example.com
Regarding California and the recent veto of Assembly Bill 273, which would have required licenses for gun owners and registration of all guns - for each and every gun sold. You read that right; AB273 would require a separate new gunowner's license each time a new gun is purchased, complete with new thumbprint and new training.
Lately it seems that the NRA has been spraining its hypothetical arm while patting itself on the back and taking credit for causing the governor to veto this bill. Yep, the NRA got them cards and letters just a-pouring in and scared them polly-tishuns over in Sacramento really bad!
Unfortunately, the reality is that Governor Davis, a Full Bull-Goose Looney Liberal Democrat told the author of the bill, State Representative Jack Scott (another FB-GLLD), that the bill was headed for veto. Gov. Davis was already on record as saying that he would sign no more gun control legislation in 2000, because he's already signed three major pieces of gun control legislation. Since the Democrats control California's legislature, California's Supreme Court, and California's executive branch, then Gov. Davis' reason for not signing AB273 could only be that he did not want to arouse the fury of any pro-gun people this close to elections.
Make no mistake; Gov. Davis will sign AB273 (or whatever it's called in 2001) just as soon as the California elections are history and it's presented to him again.
Californians be warned. The only way to defeat this legislation in 2001 is to vote pro-gun in 2000. Remember when you vote that there are Republicans in both the assembly and senate who voted for AB273, and will do so again. Don't vote by marking the ballot everywhere where you see an "R". The only difference between "D" and "R" is "L", so vote pro-freedom and start by marking all the "L's" !
Brian Claypool firstname.lastname@example.org
Bob Graves said:
>This fall, either the Republicans or the Democrats will win the
No argument there!
>Third parties have no real chance.
Basically still agree, although a congress-runner might slip in somewhere ...
>The Socialists took on the cape of the Democratic Party back in the
Yep ... the Demoncraps an the Republicoids both!
>Unless Libertarians choose to take on the cover of the Republican
Wrong! Taking on the cover of the GOP is not the answer. Exposing both parties as wings of the same vulture is needed, while pushing issues of liberty further into the light. We have been doing this, although not as effectively as we might have, for 30 years now (reference the Clark campaign in 1980, and others over the years, which initially raised issues like privatizing social security, abolishing the IRS, ending the Drug War, school choice, real gun rights, etc).
>As it is, any third party vote only amounts to at best a non vote
Nope! A true third party vote is a vote that says No! to the status quo. A significant number of such votes (assuming no massive vote fraud?) adds up to a measurable percentage of the voters who must be acknowledged and pandered to by BOTH arms of the Uniparty. Pandering to libertarians means bringing issues of human liberty further into the light, in hopes of luring us into the spider's web of status quo. Continued voting for pro liberty third parties both influences those issues AND leads to MORE pro freedom movements. ... As people see that it is NOT hopeless, they are more willing to vote their consciences. ...
>I'm sure there is some ego value in running as a third party
True, there is an incentive for some to run for ego reasons. ... They usually either give up after one run or go try to co-opt the Reprocrats; either way, the cause benefits. But running to educate, and to enlighten, and to push activism in a hardcore campaign ... without making promises of "taking over Congress in ten years" or other such nonsense ... is a positive act of responsibility ...
>Of the two real choices to win Republicans will certainly reduce the
Bullshit! The GYP has done at least as much to thwart real reduction in government as the Demoncraps, consistently -- through Presidents from both sides, and even with majorities in both houses ... They are just as corrupt, just as pork-laden, just as venal as their "aisle-mates".
>That's your real choice.
No choice at all, Bob! ...
One final note:
On the Presidential level, there is NO reason to vote for either of the front-runners, EVEN IF YOU VASTLY PREFER ONE OVER THE OTHER! Here's why:
- Unless you live in California, Michigan, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Florida or Illinois (there may be at most one or two other states), YOUR VOTE DOESN'T COUNT for President ... Not enough electoral votes to make a difference. The only way you show up is if you and enough of your friends and neighbors vote Third Party (one would hope Libertarian ... I urge either LP or Green, depending on one's understanding of what liberty really means ... No other option is more than a sop to more of the same with new faces and Federal funds in hand...) so a few percent registers on the statewide tally.
Sometimes there's an ulterior motive. Here in TN a 5% showing for Browne this time would give us official party and ballot status; otherwise we go back to being "Independents" on November 8th.
- If you DO live in those states, the only chance your vote for Gush or Bore will matter is if it actually decides the election in that state. Even then you'd have to be in one of those states which is not only big enough, but hasn't already been conceded to one or the other. (Texas is pretty sure for Bush, Illinois is probably Gore, etc.) And even if your vote WAS on the winner's side, and he won by ONE vote ... they'd immediately ask for a recount if the electoral votes mattered ...
- Meanwhile, any vote you cast for Gush (your declared preference in the letter) is not a vote against Bore, just an affirmation of the status quo ... It will not be counted as anything else. However, a vote for Browne (if counted at all) must be seen as a protest of what's up there already; for all his shortcomings, and I admit they are there, his message has been pretty clear so far in this campaign, and he has spoken for liberty as well as anyone in a long time.
One more thing: If you are really interested in voting your conscience, you can take the truly radical step of voting for the ALP/WLA ticket of Smith and Suprynowicz. I would do the same myself (and may yet?), although if there seem to beprospects for gaining state ballot status through the Browne effort, I will have to cast my vote that way. The potential upside is too great, and the negatives are manageable. Since I don't expect this effect to be widespread enough to create a mandate for the Browne machine again in 2004, I see no problem with voting that way this time....
Steve Trinward email@example.com
Regarding the letter from Bob Graves in the recent TLE. Mr Graves argues the standard argument about third party candidates in a winner-takes-all election system, which is, that by taking votes from the (slightly) more amenable of the two main parties, a person voting for a third party is voting against his own interest.
This argument is valid, but only in the case of a single, one-shot election. However, it is never the case in America that we will have only one more election. We have elections every two years, or four in the case of the president. Therefore, there is the possibility for strategic behavior in voting: sacrifice now for gain later.
And in this case, there is a very plausible good that can come from your vote defeating the (slighty) more amenable candidate. That is, that one (or both) of the big parties will look at the voting numbers and realize that the libertarian vote is a swing voting block. Then in the next election, one (or both) parties may change to be more libertarian. Indeed, they may begin to be (slightly) more libertarian immediately (in the Congress) in order to set themselves up for the next election.
Remember that the socialist party of the US never got more than 10% or so of the vote, and yet got a healthy chunk of its 1928 platform implemented as law, mainly by Democrats. A quick web search reveals this:
What the socialist can do unto others, perhaps we can undo. I would urge anyone reading this to vote for Browne, not as means to elect him, nor as a means to elect Bush, but to make your opinions known where it counts. We can hope to throw the election to Gore, and in doing so make it plain to Republicans that they cannot ignore the freedom wing of their party.
- Leonard firstname.lastname@example.org
Children have already been used as the pretext to severely restrict tobacco sales and pass oppressive gun laws, and now the feds are closing in on free speech by saying everyone from television networks to the music industry (?) "markets violence" to children. (The number of people killed by having their throat sliced with a CD held steady at 0 last year.)
How much longer do we have before the government just drops the piecemeal approach and indignantly declares that "it's time for Big Freedom to stop marketing reckless individual decision-making to children?"
-- Matt Weiner email@example.com
Well, that just about wraps it up boys. The Penis-in-Chief is "quite troubled" over the handling of the Lee case. The spy who was able to move some of the most sensitive info America posesses to the Red Chinese (yep those deep pocketed campaign contributors), spent some quality time in federal stir. The PIC thinks that is deplorable. Now he can waggle his finger at the feeb heading justice and say "that one day he's a terrible risk to the national security and the next day they're making a plea agreement for an offense far more modest than what had been alleged." and "I don't think you can justify in retrospect keeping a person in jail without bail when you're prepared to make that kind of agreement," the president said, speaking with reporters outside the White House after a speech. "It just can't be justified. ... So I too am quite troubled by it." He even has the temerity to say this "... embarrassed our entire nation ..." as if playing hide the cigar, lying to his boss (us), and being impeached wasn't?!?!?!?!?
This does wrap it up though. He's so slimy-slick, misconduct with an intern slid off. He's so gooey-smooth he dodged culpability in the death of Americans in Waco (made possible by the same feeb at justice and the very possible removal of a certain Infrared expert in the People's Republic of Maryland). And finally, the oogy-obvious payoff for all those alledged campaign contributions for which there was no controlling legal authority, a bag man goes free with the "promise" of cooperation with the boobs who couldn't or wouldn't make the case stick in the first place.
Three for three sounds like a good track record to me. Now if the white-knotty-pine who could follow him is as smart, he will keep the freebs in justice and just slide right into the goo puddle his former manager has left for him.
God help America cause "vox populi, vox dei" is as false a statement as ever was!
Chalk one up for the 'good guys' as of last Wednesday, September 13, 2000. The Modesto, CA SWAT team, co-ordinating with the Feds during a DEA sweep of known and suspected drug dealers, managed to get a two-fer special at the home of Moises Sepulveda. First, as they fully expected, the DEA successfully served warrants on Moises Sepulveda and were able to subdue him in front of his wife and children. Well, not all of his children.
Herein lies the second half of the SWAT/DEA two-fer special. While barging into the Sepulveda home as part of a 6-man team tasked with entering and securing the premises for the ultimate arrival of the Fed drug warrant servers, Officer David Hawn, an 18-year veteran of the SWAT team managed to scare 11 year old Alberto Sepulveda, one of Moises Sepulveda's three children. Naturally, this terrified seventh-grader bolted and ran. Tough luck Alberto! In, what has been described by the Modesto Police spin doctors as, "... a tragic accident...," Officer Hawn's deadly shotgun accidentally discharged itself straight into poor, young, latino Alberto's back, killing him almost instantly.
Modesto's favorite Police Chief, Roy Wasden, in a press conference held later, announced, "Our entire department is in shock. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to the family of the child, and the officers who were involved in this tragic incident." Notice how adroitly Mr Wasden linked the emotional trauma of the real victims, Moises Sepulveda's family with the imaginary, and trivial, trauma of the officers involved. (I can well imagine the line of thought that produced such a load of hoakum... "If we can somehow transfer the public's perception of experienced trauma from the Sepulveda family to the goose-stepping, murdering SWAT thugs, they may not notice that we've basically given our stamp of approval on the murder of a child.") What really gets me is how calmly and rationally the newspapers are reporting this.
First, let's look at the evidence. Mr. Sepulveda had an outstanding warrant for 'trafficking in drugs, specifically methamphetamines' that the DEA needed to serve him. Second, Mr. Sepulveda was a family man, with a wife and three children. Third, he had a known home address where he could be found on an ongoing basis. Fourth, the SWAT team and the DEA had, given the preceding conditions, ample opportunity to just wait for Mr. Sepulveda to leave the premises prior to serving the warrant. After all, they knew that this was Mr. Sepulveda's family residence and that children would be present. In other words, there was no need to enter the house or to put the children in danger.
Now, you and I know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that had Alberto been playing with a friend who was showing off a shotgun and had that shotgun discharged, shooting Alberto in the back, the local press would be having a field day demanding stricter gun controls and bans on shotgun ownership. If Alberto had been shot in the back as a message from other local drug dealers warning Mr. Sepulveda to leave the business, the press would not only be clamoring for stricter gun control on shotguns but also on stiffer drug trafficking penalties for those who used shotguns during the commission of a drug offense. Had, Mr. Sepulveda gone ballistic and started a shooting rampage against his family, we would have been inundated with demands from far and wide to ban all guns and to add a mandatory 50 years to all sentences involving family violence!
But, no, none of the above happened. Instead, we have a cop sturmtrupping into a family residence with a loaded, shell-in-the-chamber, shotgun, finger on the trigger, swarming through the house, no doubt screaming at the top of his lungs, "Police! Police! Freeze!" which scares the hell out of young Alberto, who bolts, so scared that all he can think about is to get away! Terrorized, he runs as fast as he can. However, having startled Officer Hawn, Alberto doesn't stand a chance. Hyped on power, fear, excitement, testosterone and riding the endorphin high, Officer Hawn recognizes a target and convulsively squeezes the trigger. Bye, bye Alberto!
OK, having read this last paragraph some bleeding-heart SWAT Sturmtruppers might be saying, "Whoa, Nelly! You've got it all wrong! The shells we use, in order to have greater stopping power, are loaded with extra-strength powder and have special firing caps. Why, just the act of swinging the barrel around too swiftly has been known to cook off a shell." (I'd thought I should put in this 'scenario' for those who actually buy the "accidental discharge" theory.) There is no such 'special shell' so this makes one thing clear. The gun did NOT just discharge itself. I mean, let's face facts here. The only way that shotgun went off is if the officer either rationally or irrationally pulled the trigger! There's no 'accidental' to it. Either he pulled the trigger or he didn't and we know he did because Alberto Sepulveda died!
Well, if that's the case, then how can Police Chief Roy Wasden call it an accidental discharge? That's easy, Officer Hawn was NOT in a rational state of mind. First, he was on a 'sweep' of drug dealers. (Sweep is a quasi-military term meaning a fast, co-ordinated search of a specific territory for known enemy targets.) Second, upon arriving at the Sepulveda residence, he was tasked with entering and securing the residence. (Again, we're using military terms.) Third, this was just one of a series of targets (Dare I mention the continued emphasis on military thinking.) Thus, Officer Hawn was not looking at a home with a man and his family, but at a structure to be secured and it's occupants neutralized.
Now, let's add in other known factors that may have influenced Officer Hawn's perception. Most drug dealers, as with most military enemies, tend to be heavily armed. Further, knowning what lies in store for them if captured, most drug dealers, again, much like enemy soldiers, tend to shoot back. Also, if they aren't arm, but can get to a weapons stash, many dealers will, like soldiers, attempt to do so. So this adds the strong element of fear to Officer Hawn's behavior and perceptions.
Now we come to the shotgun itself. When using a shotgun on a duck or a goose, the hunter is firing a weapon that scatters it's pellets over a wide area in order to better hit a moving, small target. At 50 yards, a shot from a 12 gauge shotgun will bring down a duck because the pellets have spread wide enough to get several on target. Snapshooting a .38 pistol at the same duck will usually miss as the area covered by a .38 bullet remains the same at 10, 50 and 100 yards while the area covered by the pellets from a 12 gauge shot shell just keeps growing. However, in a smaller, enclosed environment with distances less than 10-15 yards, the pellets from that same 12 gauge shotgun behave more like a very oversized bullet. If Alberto was less than 10 yards (30 feet) away from the gun when Officer Hawn pulled the trigger, the shot probably had spread to a 1 inch to 1.5 inch group. At that range it would have chewed a mighty big hole in some vital organ. Had Officer Hawn been using a 9 mm semiauto pistol, there's a possibility that Alberto might have survived a snapshot, but not against a shotgun.
So, adding all these factors we come to the final picture. Again, this is just a possible scenario, but... As Hawn crashes into the Sepulveda residence (enemy bunker) he's thinking "I am the LAW come to SMITE the Wicked and Arrest the Guilty. I'm a Soldier here to Neutralize the Enemy and Secure the Bunker. I am SCARED SHITLESS 'cause who knows what the Bad Guys have in their Armory... OH SHIT! There's one now and he's not STOPPING!!!! Gotta get him before he gets ME!" And, with one quick pull on the trigger, Hawn blows away an innocent 11 year old child.
Could this have been prevented? Yes, certainly. Was it an accident? No. It was, on the part of Officer Hawn, involuntary manslaughter. On the part of the DEA and the Federal government's continuing "War on Drugs", it was pre-meditated first degree murder.
While I do not expect to see any reprimands, (In fact, from the way this story has been reported, I'd find it unlikely any charges are made.) this is exactly the kind of crime that must be punished. President Clinton, Vice President Gore, and Presidential Candidate George W. Bush all claim that they are doing this for the children. I say here and now, "If this is what our leaders call 'protecting the children' then we need to stop this insanity before more children are 'protected' right out of their lives!" Furthermore, I call for an immediate ban on all use or ownership of any kind of gun by any so-called peace officer!
P.S. Immediately upon murdering his child, the federal agents successfully served their warrants to Moises Sepulveda and hauled him off to jail for booking, leaving his wife and two children to deal with the mess.
Derek A. Benner firstname.lastname@example.org
It's time to take your best shot--- (not the easiest).
How can second amendment organizations not get more involved in politics in an election year? Especially when there is a party (libertarian) [whose] platform is to restore the bill of rights. Specifically, the second amendment.
By voting for G. Bush ([whose] daddy signed the 86 anti gun rights bill) or A. Gore we accept the idea that we really can't win the second amendment fight.
They say [Harry] Browne can't win. But if the entire gun rights activists voted for him, it would at the very least send one hell of a message! And at the most, just maybe, he could have a chance of winning. Isn't it worth a shot?!!
How people can claim to be pro second amendment and not vote their heart, just because it is taking a chance, shows they have already given up before they even try.
It is time for all American citizens to show who supports the Bill of rights, and return to the Constitution. The time is now to stand and be counted.
Swampfox (Joe Verdier)