Relentless Pursuit of Wisdom and Liberty

The weblog companion of, dedicated to pondering, "If Patrick Henry could see us now..."

Friday, March 31, 2006

Restraining Order series in weekend Register

The Orange County Register had a Saturday-Sunday series on restraining orders two weekends ago that made some very good points but left others out. The writer Monica Rhor wrote two major articles, one on each day, accompanied by two shorter stories each day highlighting cases where restraining orders failed to protect against the aggressors named in the orders. Those anecdotes certainly do tug the heart-strings of folks (and I'm sure that's what they were meant to do), but the meat of the series is found in the two longer pieces. Hopefully most readers of the series can compartmentalize their attention and sympathize with the very real people highlighted in the accompanying pieces while not giving too much weight to their emotions when they read the facts, figures, policies, and proposals in the feature articles.

I wrote a reader rebuttal and submitted it to the Register - we'll see if it makes it in this Sunday's issue. I would have liked to touch on three major points, two of which relate to victim disarmament - oops, I mean "gun control":
- the lack of legal obligation of law enforcement to protect common citizens
- Ms. Rhor's lack of mentioning the benefits of arming oneself for self-defense
- the potential Constitutional ramifications of disarming objects of restraining orders who have broken no laws

Unfortunately I had to stay under 550 words so I could only address the first two (which I'm sure are more accessible & acceptable to the Register's editors and its readers than the third). If it gets printed I'll link to it here and post a similar piece addressing the last point. If it gets rejected I'll lengthen the original submission to include all three points and post it in its entirety here.

The Fear of Freedom

Cato Institute analyst Radley Balko has a great post today on his blog The Agitator, in which he quotes a couple of very well-spoken sources about how Americans are increasingly turning to a parentalist (as opposed to paternalist) state to make their decisions for them because they fear being free to make bad decisions.

Some choice quotes:
Our submission is absolute: We want to be operated like puppets and provided for like pets.

The terrorists hate our freedom. But we should be comfortable with that. We hate our freedom, too.

And it seems evident that many persons do not want to shoulder the final responsibility for their own actions..[They] want to be told what to do and when to do it; they seek order rather than uncertainty, and order comes at an opportunity cost they seem willing to bear.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

China vs. U.S. in the Human Rights department

China has issued a scathing rebuttal to the U.S.-issued "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices" for 2005. I won't pretend to have read it all, but one or two specific things did jump out at me.

Interesting that the authors are shooting to make the point that the U.S. is an egregious violator of its citizens' human rights, but then cite the government's inability to reduce "the unchecked spread of guns" in attempting to show that the government does not provide safety to its citizens. So in the authors' view, the U.S. must restrict one or more human rights (property ownership, self-defense) in order to attempt to provide a higher level of something that's only arguably a human right (to not be murdered by other private citizens). Nice.

In making their point, the authors actually cite the Brady Campaign as a source. The fact that China, that paragon of individual liberty, agrees with the gun control crowd should be a wake-up call to the gun-grabbers in this country - too bad it won't be.

I do like how in their zeal to show how bad the murder rate is in the U.S. they point out how many murders there were in D.C. and Chicago, only to leave out the fact that it's in the very places where the murder rate is highest that handguns have been completely prohibited (not to mention concealed-carry)! So much for the anti-self-defense crowd's assurances that with less guns will come less violence.

To end on a high note, a new scientific study has been published showing that there is in fact no causal link between the availability of guns and the homicide rate.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Unlikely superstars

And now, for the feel-good moment of the week.

CBS has a spot featuring a NY state high school student named Jason who's the manager for his basketball team and happens to be autistic. He's sociable and articulate, so he may not seem to fit the commonly-accepted definition of autism, but he's obviously very well-regarded by not only the team who know him well but the rest of the school also. In the team's last game this season, he got the opportunity of his young lifetime by getting suited up. Then his coach surprised everyone by putting him in with 4 minutes to go in the game. The crowd (not to mention the rest of his team) went wild just to see him in the game, and as the team engineered a couple of shot opportunities for him, they went even crazier when his third shot went in for two points. But it wasn't over yet - it was Jason's turn to blow everyone away. He proceeded to hit 6, count 'em 6 three-pointers in the final few minutes of the game, including one last one at the buzzer, at which point the team and the crowd rushed the court and mobbed him in celebration. He had never set foot on the court with the clock running before, and he was flat out on fire, dropping 20 points in under 4 minutes. Amazing!

A similar story was in the Orange County Register in February, about a student named Kevin with cerebral palsy. He was the manager of Fullerton Union High School's basketball team, and like Jason, got to suit up and play at the end of the last game of the season. He also scored and got mobbed by fans and - better yet from his perspective - cheerleaders!

And some people don't get the point of sports. Sheesh...