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Out Of Fear Print E-mail
by Paul Perry    Tue, Nov 22, 2011, 09:30 AM

Government should limit itself to providing an environment that lets people seek their own happiness on their own terms as long as their activities do not interfere with the rights of others to do the same. That used to be the American consensus even in stressful times.

How is it then that our federal government has over the years continued to expand its powers against the wishes of most of the folks who vote in elections? How do omnibus acts consisting of thousands of pages get passed when issues should be addressed on a more topical basis?

Why do we have a County Emergency Plan in Ellis County and probably many other counties that most of us did not know existed until very recently? A quick thanks to The Ellis County Observer for bringing this situation to light.

The short answer is that such acts are passed not in reaction to reasonable concern but in reaction to fear, mostly unjustified.

The Patriot Acts, which – though Republican-led – had important support in both major political parties, consisted of thousands of pages of new laws that were mostly unread by those who passed the acts. Irresponsible, you bet. But such acts that arguably expanded government power beyond the limits of our foundational documents were passed in response to fear, too much of it.

The more recent Democrat-led attempt to deal with shortcomings in our health care system – an act that former Democrat Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said we would have to pass it to see what was in it – is yet another example of 2000-plus-page act passed in the spirit of fear. "Trust me, I’m from the government," the Speaker seemed to say.

Although the 911 attacks certainly deserved a serious response, are we a better society after the knee-jerk (unlawful) suspension of large sections of the 1st and 4th Amendments through a document no one read? No matter what the courts say in the short run, what will history etch on the American Republic’s tombstone a century from now? I hope we recover our senses.

Will we be a better society after we have surrendered health care choices and treatment options to federal bureaucracy? How about the 21 companion tax increases that are in the mega-bill?

Did we go too far in both cases?

Our enemies are certainly not ten feet tall, nor have they proven themselves extremely competent. Even the disastrous attacks of 911 and the Fort Hood massacre appear to be tragedies that could have been avoided if those who are given the responsibly of security in our nation had exercised lawful diligence that was allowed pre-Patriot Act. Do we really need warrantless searches to deal with a dangerous but often incompetent bunch of adversaries? Underwear bombs that don’t blow-up but scorch the perpetrator’s privates and shoe bombers that get taken down by airline passengers are hardly super threats.

Federal legislation is bad enough, but a document has come into my possession that sets policy in our county in regard to disaster preparedness. The document was released to me after I made a public information request. I was charged $49 for the copies – fair enough, as the document was over 490 pages.

Much like in our Congress, I really doubt the members of the commissioners court read every page of the act. Interestingly enough, large sections of it were blacked out. Someone still thought much of it was too secret for public consumption. Yet the plan was passed publicly but quietly by our county commissioners and judge. Where was the press?

My understanding is that our county officials recently refused to release the document until our State Attorney General ordered them to. Is this open government?

Among many things the document deals with is denying citizens the right to transfer gun ownership in an emergency or even loan a firearm. It also gives the city or county the right to set certain prices and wages, commandeer private property and close or even force some businesses to stay open in the event of an emergency that is declared by your city officials or county judge and commissioners. In effect, a business could be ordered to stay open and run at a loss. Why were these provisions not brought to light?

Much of the released material is still blacked out (redacted) in the official copies that were released in response to my public information request. Is this Ellis County, Washington, D.C. or perhaps Lubyanka?

While we can appreciate an attempt to prevent price gouging in an emergency, we already have state law that deals with those issues.

The County Emergency management which was passed down to the county by the federal government as the National Incident Management System plan was signed in 2005 . Chad Adams, Dennis Robinson, Larry Jones, Ron Brown and Heath Sims signed the document.

Robinson, Brown and Sims are still serving on the court. The question is, why weren’t the most controversial parts of this plan brought to the public by those we have elected and given public trust?

Perhaps none of them or other members of the current court have read the 490-odd-page document, which seems to have been passed down to them by a state and or federal agency.

The fact is it could have been amended in part or even declined, otherwise local approval would not have been necessary.

One still has to ask, Why was this "Emergency Plan" never widely circulated? Why wasn’t it widely publicized? Were our judge and commissioners afraid to encourage discussion? Many of us might want to weigh in before our God-given constitutional rights are monkeyed with by those who make up our county court. I suspect these emergency orders have been promoted nationwide. Check with your county’s information contact. Courage, y’all, courage.

This article was originally published in the Waxahachie Daily Light in a slightly different form.


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Comments (2)add comment
written by buckmeister , November 22, 2011

The author should be a politician, since he talks about brevity but, suffers the same verbosity of those government actors who he attacks. Jefferson said government governs best which governs least but he also held slaves and went bankrupt numerous times. What we really need is accountability of those we hire to do a job. When they lie, cheat and steal [by false promises they have no intention of keeping] then we should hire prosecutors who prosecute them, civilly, if not criminally. This bull about good faith immunity [as if they are all kings] should be thrown on the junk pile of history, just like we did old King George III. If we do not, the legacies of George [Bush] II will surely be telling us to trust them to not build any nations and to keep government off our backs, and; oh yeah, defend our borders. He is the reason so many illegals are here [to bust unions] and so many are willing to die to teach us that torture is not OK. Its time people open their eyes to the fact that the government they get are those same ones among us who we fail to restrain.

written by Brandt Hardin , November 23, 2011

Under the guise of fighting terrorism, the Patriot Act was adopted WITHOUT public approval or vote just weeks after the events of 9/11. Such an unconstitutional set of laws should be abolished seeing as they violate human rights and due process. A mere 3 criminal charges of terrorism a year attributed to this act, which is mainly used for no-knock raids leading to drug-related arrests without proper cause for search and seizure. The laws are simply a means to spy on our own citizens and to detain and torture dissidents without trial or a right to council. You can read much more about living in this Orwellian society of fear and see my visual response to these measures on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot...years.html

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