Welcome to Liberrants, a blog dedicated to editorials, discussions, and studies of all things libertarian. Don't let the title mislead you; it's merely my attempt to be creative in describing myself as a "hopeful curmudgeon" who embraces the goal of the free, peaceful, economically vibrant society envisioned by America's founding fathers. Jump in! Contribute! Enjoy!

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Location: Tucson, Arizona, United States

A critically thinking curmudgeon whose goal, in addition to creatively venting about the imperfect world in which we live, is to induce critical thinking in others. The ultimate goal is to help bring about a peaceful world in which we can all live in freedom.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Let's Hope SCOTUS Overturns This, PRONTO!

If this isn't an abomination, I don't know what is. Let us hope that the Supreme Court overturns this decision, forthwith, and that impeachment charges proceed against the majority of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals that rendered the decision. If this stands, we are finished as a nation of free people.

Not Enough Cops in New Orleans? Take Some of Ours, Please!

I have a very easy solution for the shortage of cops in the Big Easy – take some from Northern Virginia. A bunch of them. Right now. Please. I can say with absolute confidence that most of these badged bullies would chomp at the bit to see some real police action if given the chance, as they are clearly bored out of their skulls here at home.

Over the last year Fairfax County alone has collected nearly ten million dollars in fines from traffic citations. The figures for the region's other three major counties are almost certainly similar. To anyone who drives in this affluent extended suburb of the nation’s capital, this comes as no surprise. It is not uncommon to see two, three, or even four oinkmobiles sitting inconspicuously in supermarket parking lots, vacant lots, or residential driveways (probably without the owner’s knowledge or permission) within a few blocks of each other waiting like cobras for a stray rodent. Over the course of the last few weeks I’ve counted an average of five motorists pulled over on the shoulders of the major roads during the course of my twelve-mile, thirty-minute drive to and from work. I can assure you that these people have not been pulled over because the cop liked the color of their car and wanted to know where they bought it from or wanted to borrow a pen with which to do a crossword puzzle.

Meanwhile I witness at least a half-dozen cars on the road within any given five-minute interval or two-mile stretch of highway weaving in and out of traffic without the benefit of turn signals, dangerously tailgating commercial vehicles, riding the road shoulder at fifty-plus miles per hour, or pulling out of side streets onto the major thoroughfare to cut off oncoming traffic and nearly cause a pile-up. Amazingly, for all of his alleged vigilance, not one of these highly dangerous activities elicits any notice whatsoever from Officer Cruller, who is usually to be found around the corner on a side street ticketing some soccer mom, working man, or grandma for doing five to ten over the limit (though nearly always with the speed of traffic), ensuring that he fulfills his revenue collection quota (and maybe his chances for a promotion). Clearly there’s no profit to be made in fighting what very little violent crime exists in this region or exerting himself to stop truly dangerous drivers from causing harm and havoc. Nah, easier to write a ticket instead.

It is obvious to any conscious observer that an area as affluent as this one will have relatively little violent crime, particularly if a sizeable percentage of the population owns and carries firearms, as is the case here. I really look forward to the day when regional government stops insulting our intelligence and lets it be clearly known that the police are, first and foremost, uniformed revenue collectors, like IRS agents, only with less stylish clothing. They should also admit that they have too many of these uniformed agents to justify keeping on the county and state payroll and that instead they will contract them out to other jurisdictions around the nation that could put better use to their services, especially if the revenue they take in fails to equal or exceed the cost of their employment.

Here’s where the counties of Northern Virginia can cash in, big time. Send a bunch of these boys down to “Nawlins” and points east to deal with the mayhem of looters, rapists, and armed gangs. Bill the respective states or local governments for the cost of their services. Use that money to reduce deficits in Northern Virginia’s own local government budgets. No, it’s not a real libertarian solution by any means, but it is one that will at least reduce the odds of the local regime picking my pocket to fund their wasteful boondoggles and that will put some of these superfluous cops to something resembling productive use.