Government is good at one thing: It knows how to break your legs, hand you a crutch, and say, ‘See, if it weren’t for the government, you wouldn’t be able to walk’.
- Harry Browne
A Deseret News article quotes Frank Smith, DEA assistant special agent in charge of Utah, as saying those who grow marijuana on public lands are the “greatest threat to public safety”. He blames them for violent crime, stealing land and water, and “decimating the environment”.
But Agent Smith is wrong.
The act of growing a plant is not a violent act.
The act of providing products or services to peaceful individuals who want them is not a violent act.
The violence is initiated by the State, which intervenes because it has arbitrarily declared a certain substance to be “illegal”. Yet the demand for this substance causes a “black market” to be created to circumvent the State’s attempt at control. Attempts to increase control only result in more desperate means of getting around them. The violence, initiated by the State, escalates because sometimes the targets of this aggression attempt to defend their lives and property from it.
I do not condone the use of public lands or the destruction of the environment, but I think it’s important to place the blame where it truly lies.
If the government had not overstepped its Constitutional bounds, claiming ownership over our bodies and the power to declare what we can and cannot put into them, this problem wouldn’t exist. There would be no costly, deadly, and destructive “War on Drugs”. Agent Smith, instead of trying to violently enforce a bad law, might have instead turned out to be Farmer Smith, growing cannabis on his own land and supplying a product that has legitimate applications in medicine, fabric, and several other areas to many happy customers.
Instead, Agent Smith is engaged in a futile and violent attempt to treat the symptoms of a problem government created in the first place. And if the problem wouldn’t exist if not for the actions of government, who is the true threat to public safety?
Dallin agrees with Murray N. Rothbard: "Freedom is a condition in which a person's ownership rights in his own body and his legitimate material property are not invaded, are not aggressed against." During the 2008 elections he came to the realization that the greatest invader, the greatest aggressor, the greatest threat to freedom is The State. He is interested in learning about and promoting libertarian, voluntaryist, anarchist, and other similar liberty-centered philosophies. He has been working in computer and technology-related positions since 2006 and participates in several blogs and side-projects.
As I read this article about Utah families struggling to find an adequate supply of Adderall, a drug used to alleviate the symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, I couldn’t help but ponder the blaring irony.
In the article we are given an example of an entire family – 2 parents and 4 children – dependent on a mind-altering substance, frantically searching “every pharmacy in town” for any sign of the drug.
Here is the irony: all you have to do is remove the “Stamp of Legitimacy” given to Adderall by the State, and suddenly anyone who buys, sells, or manufactures this drug is a criminal. This family would be torn apart – parents hunted down and caged, children deemed “wards of the state”, separated, and given over to foster care. All because we’ve given the State the power to tell us what we can and cannot put into our own bodies along with a monopoly on violence to enforce it.
There’s another mind-altering substance out there that has been proven to improve the quality of life for many people, but has not been granted the State “Stamp of Legitimacy” in most places.
It’s called Cannabis.
There are thousands of non-violent “criminals” in prison at this moment, thousands of broken families out there, because they dared to handle Cannabis, one of the mind-altering substances the state hasn’t approved (yet). But by all means, step right up and get your (FDA-approved) Adderall and complain about the drug companies and government when there’s a shortage.
And don’t get me started on the government “protecting” us from the pernicious evils of – *gasp* – raw milk.
From the Salt Lake Tribune:
The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office will not prosecute a police officer who shot and wounded an alleged car thief, even though the shooting was ruled “unjustified.”
Salt Lake City Police Officer Matthew Giles may have violated criminal statutes when he fired his rifle eight times, striking the teen driver in the arm and torso, but District Attorney Sim Gill said the case did not “present a reasonable likelihood of conviction at trial.”
“We didn’t think we had either the quality or quantity of evidence that we could meet that burden,” Gill said Tuesday. “I refuse to waste the taxpayers’ dollars or waste the integrity of the office by filing charges that we know we may not be able to prove.”
After a lengthy review, the district attorney determined the car was probably at least 60 feet — and possibly as many as 100 feet — away from Giles when he started shooting or the driver was going much slower than witnesses said.
But while the shooting was deemed unjustified, Gill said his office had to apply a higher standard in deciding whether to file criminal charges against the officer.
“There were certain obstacles, evidentiary and factual obstacles, that created a burden we could not meet,” he said. “We had other officers who were there. We had [radio] traffic that was going on. It was a dynamic situation. When you go into a criminal trial, all those other components become part of it. The circle widens more.”
Translation: the State is above the law.
Reverse the roles in this situation. Suppose a civilian had shot a rifle 8 times at a police officer and claimed he “feared for his life” when his life was clearly not in danger (or even if it WAS in danger). Would he receive the same treatment as this “peace officer”? No criminal charges filed? No. He would most certainly be prosecuted by the State to the fullest extent of the law. But let’s be realistic: in all probability he would be dead now, deprived of the chance to even claim that he feared for his life.
Meanwhile, Officer Giles remains on paid leave – wasting the taxpayer dollars that Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill claims he is not wasting by declining to file criminal charges against a man who committed an obviously criminal act.
I came across this brief news article in the Salt Lake Tribune the other day, which made me literally laugh out loud:
The head of a Utah County marketing business has been ordered to pay $241,000 in restitution for stealing his employees’ payroll taxes.
Between 2005 and 2009, Stephen Zimmerman, 58, did not pay the state taxes his family and employees owed, and he covered up the crime by submitting false tax forms, according to the Utah Attorney General’s Office.
Zimmerman, who was the owner of Professional Marketing Data Services Inc., was sentenced earlier this month to up to five years in prison on charges of unlawful dealing with property by a fiduciary and filing false tax documents.
But 3rd District Judge Randall Skanchy suspended that prison term, providing Zimmerman completes probation and pays back the $241,000 he owes.
Allow me to explain why I laughed at this. Read more >>
We are currently witnessing the fallout from the so-called “Budget Deal” that was arranged by the Washington D.C. establishment. We were told by the “experts” that we were in danger of imminent default (a lie, since we were still able to pay the interest on our debt) and economic collapse, and that if the government didn’t act now (sound familiar? Iraq, stimulus package, et al?), we would be doomed.
But the eventual deal left little hope for any meaningful debt reduction or spending cuts, resulting in Standard and Poor’s lowering their U.S. credit rating for the first time in history. There is now talk of an impending “double-dip recession”, as stock values plummet and investors flee.
Of the Republican candidates for President, Jon Huntsman Jr. was the first to declare his support for the Budget deal, calling it “a positive step toward cutting our nation’s crippling debt”.
Either Huntsman is completely out of touch with reality, or he knows that this deal did nothing to cut our debt and is lying.
As soon as the debt ceiling was raised, the U.S. debt shot up $239 billion in one day – accounting for 60% of the amount approved. We have yet to see any significant spending cuts. How is borrowing MORE and not reigning in spending a positive step toward cutting our nations’s crippling debt?
The answer is simple: it’s not.
The budget deal served one purpose: to perpetuate and expand the power of the State. And, knowingly or not, that is what Huntsman supports.
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