Sunday, January 30, 2011

This Freedom Thing

We're about to re-enter this battle over the control of assault weapons, or at least the massive clips that allow some loonie in a public place to spray over thirty rounds killing six people and wounding several others in a matter of seconds. The NRA is already massing and joining forces to remind congress - and the nation - that Americans should continue to have the freedom to own assault weapons if they so choose. Perhaps they should, but what about the "freedom" of other Americans to attend outdoor political gatherings and walk their streets without the threat of thugs, gangs, drug-dealers and loonies spraying everything in sight with flying bullets? We'll always thugs, gangs, zealots and the loonies whom we cannot in most cases legally touch until their threat is actually proven by an actual act of violence or mayhem wherein people may be maimed or killed...but must we arm them with the weapons designed only to kill people in droves?
"Your freedom ends at the end of my nose," is a saying as old as the hills - but is this just lip service? Do we really mean it?
The search for freedom is a balancing act; a freedom for one may cause risk to another. And it's all around us; are people free to text while driving at the risk of others? Free to ride a motorcycle without a helmet if a very possible brain injury costs others thousands of dollars for your recovery? Free to forego health insurance, then show up at the emergency room without the ability to pay the high cost of your treatment?
If you allow others the freedom to openly cross your borders, you lose control of the census and the accurate statistics you need to plan for the nation's future internal needs. If you lose control of corporate America, you leave greedy corporations free to milk a hostage populace at every turn - and their freedom to buy the protective legislation they need to continue the rape. If you don't control the banking-bandits, you may well suffer a failed economy and thousands of Americans may lose their homes, retirement or life's savings.
If you allow huge industries and CO2 producing trucks and automobiles to pollute the atmosphere causing your lakes to recede and your rivers run dry, you have Americans drinking water through charcoal and states with common rivers fighting in more than the courts. And if you poison the very air that you breathe, then where are you? If you extend a freedom to speak, assemble or practice a religion to a point where it spills over onto others, you no longer have that freedom.
The "freedom" that the citizens of any nation most need is the freedom from abuse from any source - criminals, financial institutions, special interests or an inefficient or corrupted government; a level playing field. This is the prime function of government. To do less is a fraud on the people, the worst loss of freedom - and crime - of all.
A government controlled by corporations or special interests, accepting acts of fraud and theft as just another cost of doing business, an administration fear-mongering and manipulating facts to send our youngsters off to an unwise war, claiming an "Inherent authority" that places them above the nation's established and cherished rule of law - or a congress more concerned with their own political longevities than with the American Constitution or the welfare and well-being of the American people are acts of treason in themselves...and should likewise be treated as treason by the American people.
In this regard, there is one freedom left for the people themselves to decide and act upon; the freedom to speak out and vote.
Let's use it.
Herb Austin, M.A.

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