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Nuts and your freedoms

April 18, 2013

Every time someone pulls a stunt like the current ricin-laced letters sent to government officials or the Boston bombing, it takes more freedom away from the rest of us. Every time some head case decides to solve a problem with wholesale violence, they don’t just hurt their targets, they hurt us all.

It’s hard to blame officialdom for “targeting” people that express their dissatisfaction with government when a minuscule few step over the line of civil and legal dissent. Whoever “KC” is, whether it is the man in custody or someone else, that person made it that much harder for sincere and involved citizens to express their reservations about government policies via the mail or even to speak out publicly without being considered a threat. Observed and provable threats tend to bring about over-reaction from governments as well as individuals. If the mass shootings had never happened, do you think we would be having the gun control debate now? Bad actions always cause bad results that go beyond the immediate event. 

A lot of people aren’t very satisfied that this country is being run for and by the people. Since we aren’t robots or androids, there will always be some person or group that thinks their way is the only way and eschews even the most basic compromise. That isn’t limited to one side of the political spectrum or the other. That’s just the way it is, a consequence if you will, of being human.

Granted, lately there seems to be a lot of this violence that can be somewhat attributed to individual mental health issues. You could even say that any time anyone resorts to violence that isn’t a result of self-defense they are mentally unstable.

You could also attribute it to general societal pressure or stress. It’s hard to feel good about what appears to be a totally dysfunctional  political process that is hurting vast numbers of people to advance political and personal agendas. If you have been either out of work or working at a job that is far below your educational preparation for years, that’s sure going to color your view of the world. The government can actually contribute to this discontent through bad policies.  HIPPA was well intended, but it makes reporting someone for mental instability a problem. No matter how many politicians try to tell us the emperor is  wearing all his clothes most of can see the nakedness.

Given all of that, there is still a right and wrong way to behave. Maybe we have drifted so far away from values like personal responsibility and the archaic notion that there are boundaries that we are not just hardened but oblivious to the rules of civil conduct. People are by nature self-absorbed, and the impersonal twitter-verse doesn’t give us many boundaries to observe. Blogs that tout themselves as moderate voices while espousing nothing short of absolute victory for their views do nothing to enhance cooperation.

It doesn’t matter which side of an argument you are on, there is a line you just can’t cross. Once you do, you are simply drawing the noose of regulation tighter around your own neck. It’s hard to blame governments for seeking to regulate us when we prove we can’t regulate ourselves.

If you are dissatisfied, there are proper channels to express it. One of them is called a ballot box. If we all act like soccer hooligans, it shouldn’t surprise us when we get our own heads cracked. To put it another way, if you don’t like being forcibly regulated, regulate yourself and demand the same civilized behavior from the people you associate with. Someone knew that these shooters and bombers were more than a bit “off”. Some even told the right people about it. Even in this P.C. world, we shouldn’t confuse individual rights with the right to perpetrate a crime, and we need to stand up for the concept of right and wrong as individuals and citizens. If we don’t, we may lose the American freedoms we value forever. 

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