Vehicle Inspection State Racket

The state of Massachusetts requires that you have your car inspected once a year. It costs about $30 and the state tells you if that protection money is enough to drive around, or if you must pay more for the privilege of using roads you already paid for.

Last year my dad spent $1,200 and dozens of hours to get his car a valid inspection sticker. The problem? A sensor was malfunctioning that made the check engine light continue to come on. He could have driven safely for the rest of the car’s life, but the state of Mass stole his time and his money in the name of safety.

But if the state is so interested in keeping us safe, you might think they would be accountable when they fail to keep us safe. In February I travelled with my sisters down to Florida in a mini-van that had literally been inspected and passed in the 48 hours prior to leaving.

Belts: check. They are safe. Fewer than 200 miles into the trip, the main belt ripped, and we cautiously drove for a couple more hours until repair shops were open. A few hours later we were on the road again.

Tires: check. They are safe. About 45 minutes after continuing our trip, the front left tire blew, for apparently no other reason than it was worn out. The snow banks were so immense that we were only a foot off the highway in the breakdown lane, and so we called AAA rather than risk our lives trying to fix it. We waited for over an hour as tractor trailers blew by just feet from our vehicle, where one twitch of the trucker’s arm would have killed us all.

Even worse than “keeping us safe” by force, is stealing our money under the pretense of keeping us safe. The state lulls us into a false sense of security by pretending they are taking care of things which they are absolutely not. It happens with security, education, and help to the poor; but it also happens with safety inspections, whether in a restaurant, or on our vehicles.

If the state has taken on the responsibility to keep us safe, why are they not accountable when they fail to do so? In essence, we paid the state $30 to make sure our car was safe to drive. So when they said it was safe, yet it was not safe, don’t they owe us something for their failure? This reveals that like so much else, state vehicle inspections are simply a racket to steal more money.

Now suppose there was a business where we could voluntarily have our vehicles inspected for $30 dollars, and if they pass it is like insurance against something going wrong. Then we would be paid based on the failure of the mechanics to find the problems with the belt and the tires. The state is not accountable however. If I made a big deal out of this, the state might end up shutting down the shop that inspected the vehicle, even though the shop probably thought they were being nice and saving us more money in tires, or on addressing a rejection sticker.

In reality, there wasn’t much indication that the belt would go, though we should have looked at the tires and realized they needed to be replaced. It is our personal responsibility to make sure we are safe. We purchase things like AAA as insurance for emergencies; we don’t need the state to get involved.

All the state does is two things: one, take our money, which makes  it harder for us to afford to look after ourselves. Two, convince us not to worry about certain things “because the state is taking care of it”, when in reality, we should be looking after those things ourselves.

MA Gun Control and the Need for Semi-Auto’s and Big Clips

A bill has been introduced in Massachusetts by Governor Deval Patrick which would increase gun control, put stricter limits on the size of magazines, increase mental health information sharing, and restrict firearm purchases to one per month. Although the bill is supposedly in response to the Sandy Hook tragedy, only the provision about sharing mental health records seems to address the problem. For instance the bill mirrors New York’s new gun control legislation, where permit holders will not be allowed to load their ten round magazines past 7 rounds, and will have to turn in all magazines larger than 10 rounds within a year. A criminal with a ten round magazine will not listen to the law about only loading it to seven rounds, what this does is turn law abiding citizens into criminals if they put more than 7 rounds in a clip.

Furthermore, Adam Lanza did not buy the guns, he stole them, so the one gun a month scheme would have done nothing. Only being allowed to buy one gun a month can only affect people who buy guns legally. Also, if someone was planning a massacre, they would probably start planning early enough so that the one gun a month law would have no effect on the guns they obtain. The one gun a month law is completely aimed at people who obey the law, therefore it will do nothing to prevent crime, and may put some people at risk who have to wait months to properly protect themselves, their families or their businesses.

The bill will also “tighten access to high powered rounds of ammunition”, require private sales to go through a dealer in order to be tracked, and create “tiered punishments for possessing different weapons on school property”. Will the punishment for possessing a gun on school property be worse than shooting yourself in the head? If not, this will not stop tragedies like the Sandy Hook shooting. More likely is that some shmuck who just went to the rifle range goes to pick up his kid after school, and gets the cuffs slapped on him because he forgot to disarm himself before driving into the school parking lot. Yesterday I shared a James O’Keefe video which shows the idiocy of gun free zones–declaring to the world that you are completely unable to defend yourself. These laws put innocent people at risk, while the psycho’s who commit these crimes are unaffected, and sometimes assisted in the fact that this law will increase the defenselessness of people in schools.

On a similar note the new gun laws passed in New York “contains the “Webster Provision,” in honor of the firefighters killed in Webster, N.Y. The provision mandates a term of life in prison without parole for anyone convicted of killing a first responder in the line of duty”. Well guess what, the guy that lured the two firefighter to a fire he started in Webster killed himself after killing the firefighters… so apparently life in prison was not a concern for him. In fact he had already been let out of jail after murdering his grandmother with a hammer! Maybe the “Webster Provision” should be a law keeping murderers in jail. According to the website, “Of 1,662 murders committed in New York City during 2003-2005, more than 90% were committed by people with criminal records“. Also, take a look at these chilling numbers:

A 2002 U.S. Justice Department study of 272,111 felons released from state prisons in 1994 found that within three years of their release:

• at least 67.5% had been arrested for committing a new offense

• at least 21.6% had been arrested for committing a new violent offense

• these former inmates had been charged with committing at least 2,871 new homicides, 2,444 new rapes, 3,151 other new sexual assaults, 2,362 new kidnappings, 21,245 new robberies, 54,604 new assaults, and 13,854 other new violent crimes

Check out the website and you will find stats on the vast amount of Americans who stop crimes every year with their legally owned guns. Keep in mind that these are just the criminals who are caught and released. Only one person is sentenced to prison for every twelve “aggravated assaults, robberies, sexual assaults, rapes, and murders”. So, many people who have committed crimes have been released to offend again, and many were never caught in the first place. Maybe some of this new legislation should tackle the immense failure of our criminal justice system. As Adam Smith said, “Mercy to the guilty, is cruelty to the innocent”.

Finally, I can’t stand when people say things like “well why would you ever need more than 7 rounds in a magazine”, or “why would you need a high caliber rifle”, or “why would you need a semi-automatic”. People need these all the time. Are all crimes committed by one assailant? No. Also many criminals (at least 30-35% according to Just Facts) carry guns while committing crimes. So this thought of “you don’t need semi-auto” or “you don’t need high capacity magazines” is absolutely absurd. Crimes happen every day, people defend themselves against criminals every day, and it is often extremely beneficial for the victim to be able to fire more than one round without having to cock the gun again or reload, and very beneficial for a victim to have as many shots as needed to stop the assailant or multiple assailants. But if you’re not convinced of the need for everyday protection, consider some instances where things went from good to bad real quick, taken from this article.

Take for example the Los Angeles riots in 1992, when business owners were forced to defend their property from angry mobs causing severe chaos: $1 billion in property damage, 50 dead, 4,000 injured, 3,000 fires set and 1,100 buildings damaged. In this case, a handheld pistol was in no way sufficient, but semi-automatic rifles were.

Business owners in LA’s Koreatown knew what was coming their way, so they armed themselves with shotguns and semi-automatic rifles in order to defend their property. They stood on their rooftops as they watched black smoke pour down the street. The cops weren’t there to help them.

The death toll, injuries, and damage done to the semi-auto-high-capacity-magazine-protected Koreatown was much less compared to other areas affected by the riots. Also, let’s take a look at the chaos which erupted in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

New Orleans became a place of complete anarchy in a matter of hours. In addition to property owners being forced to stave off mobs of people roaming for food, water and shelter to survive as the government failed to provide emergency services, they had to protect themselves against dangerous looters. But not only were New Orleans residents forced to defend themselves against immediate threats to their person and property, residents also had to protect themselves from the government. As the water started to recede, leaving New Orleans a chaotic wasteland, police officers began going door to door confiscating weapons. Who did they take them from? Mostly poor black residents in New Orleans’ 9th Ward.

You know what was also happening in New Orleans at this time? A 31 year old black man named Henry Glover who was unarmed and posed no threat to police, was gunned down by a police officer, David Warren, outside of a strip mall. Apparently realizing that there was no justified reason for murdering this innocent man, two other police officers:

Scheuermann and McRae are accused of beating people who drove Glover to a makeshift police headquarters in search of help. The three men were handcuffed when the officers drove off with the car containing Glover’s body.

The police officer then burned the body of this innocent man in the car to try to cover up the crimes; one of the officers was reportedly laughing as the body burned. I think I will hold onto my semi-auto’s and high capacity mags. If you don’t see the need for them, or that the need could arise at any time, then I think you are living in a make believe fantasy world.

Massachusetts Appointee Comically Unqualified

Sheila Burgess is the Director of the Massachusetts Highway Safety Division, appointed by Governor Deval Patrick’s administration in 2007. “Her mission is to reduce accidents by promoting good driving practices. She oversees public campaigns on the dangers of speeding, texting while driving, driving while impaired, and failing to wear a seat belt, among other hazards”. Although she has no official experience with the subject of driver safety, or highway safety, she has a different kind of experience.

Sheila Burgess has 32 entries on her driving record since 1982. “Her driving record includes seven accidents, four speeding violations, two failures to stop for a police officer, one failure to stay in her lane, one driving without registration or license in possession, and one driving without wearing a seat belt”. In 1999 she failed to show up at a New Hampshire hearing for speeding. Also, due to her failure to pay local excise taxes, her license was on non-renewal status, until the Globe started making inquiries, at which point the taxes were paid. Sheila Burgess’ most recent addition to her highway safety resume came on August 24th of this year, at 1:16pm on a sunny, clear day, driving a state owned vehicle. She veered off the road for an unknown reason, and slammed into a rock outcropping in Milton.

So how did a person with such a driving record get appointed to a position such as Director of Highway Safety? She has friends in all the right places. In Massachusetts politics you do not have to have experience, or relevant skills, you just have to spend enough time in democratic politics. According to a spokesman for the Patrick Administration, Sheila Burgess was hired on the recommendation of US Representative Jim McGovern. He could not comment on why she had been given that particular post, considering her past driving record.

Sheila also worked with Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray:

Her experience was in Democratic Party politics. For almost two decades as a paid consultant and congressional aide, she had raised money and advised candidates for public office, including, according to her resume, Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, who had taken office six months earlier [to her appointment] as part of the new Patrick administration…

Tim Murray has said in recent weeks that he would like to be governor, and is expected to run in 2014 when Deval Patrick vacates the office. Having totaled a state owned vehicle himself while on duty, maybe Murray feels a special connection to Burgess. Despite their similarities however, Murray is not the type of person I would like appointing people to important positions in Massachusetts. With such an obvious political appointment, it is reasonable to assume Murray does not have the safety interests of Massachusetts citizens at heart, but instead his own political ambitions. Massachusetts deserves competent people who are seriously committed to fulfilling the roles of appointed positions; not some random congressional aide who wanted a job in politics.

Appointees should be scrutinized, and not just at a state level. Sheila Burgess has a relatively docile record compared to some of the people brought into the Obama administration. “Some 36 members of Obama’s executive staff owe more than $800,000 in back taxes” (source).

Information and quotations are taken from a Boston Globe Article on Sunday, November 18, 2012. After the Globe broke the story, Burgess was removed from her post as Director of Highway Safety, and reassigned within the department. Apparently she is too well connected to be fired.

A Libertarian “No” on Question 2

By Jen Lade

On Tuesday, Massachusetts voters will face a ballot question that would legalize physician-assisted suicide in the Commonwealth. Question 2 would enact the proposed “Death With Dignity” act, which would allow terminally ill people given less than six months to live the option to get a prescription for a lethal dose of a drug.

Proponents of the bill are giving all manner of emotional arguments for how lovely and dignified it would be if Grandma could off herself at her leisure. Many opponents have an equally emotional response: suicide is disturbing, and its legalization points to a pretty messed up society.

But beyond the emotions of the issue, there are some truths that make the so-called Death With Dignity act a horrible idea.

First, there are the flaws with the law’s safeguards. An heir or caregiver can serve as a witness when the patient makes a written request for the medication. Furthermore, no physician needs to be present when the lethal dose is taken. A patient could easily be pressured into requesting and then ingesting the drugs, or worse, the drugs could be administered against the patient’s will by someone else, since no doctor needs to be present.

Patients do not even need to see a psychiatrist before getting the drug. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that many people who have been given six months to live (and such a prognosis is guesswork, by the way) are going to be depressed. Why not treat the depression first and see if that makes them rethink killing themselves? Why not require a consultation for palliative care, which can eliminate pain at the end of life?

And of course, there are the slippery slope arguments: assisted suicide simply opens the door for euthanasia; for insurance companies denying claims for treatment but being more than happy to pay for a lethal dose of a drug; for a decline in the quality of palliative care; and for state-sanctioned suicide to lead to a higher suicide rate overall, as it has in Oregon, where assisted suicide is already legal.

As someone who identifies strongly with libertarian ideals, I at first struggled with how I could justify opposition to this act on a purely political level. After all, shouldn’t adults be able to decide for themselves how to live their lives (or in this case, end their lives), as long as it does not infringe on someone else’s rights? But the fact of the matter is, this is a poorly-written law that leaves the elderly and the infirm vulnerable to abuse. What is being cast by supporters as the epitome of freedom and choice could in fact become a way for the terminally ill to be killed outright, or at least coerced into killing themselves. Just the fact that assisted suicide is an option could guilt a terminally ill person to conclude that the decent thing to do would be to take the drugs and stop burdening their loved ones.

And, on a very morbid level, committing suicide is already possible, even easy, without this act. Leave it to the government to stick its nose into the business of killing yourself. A hose in the tailpipe isn’t enough for the bureaucrats; it’s not dignified until it’s government-sanctioned.

This Web site has additional information and editorials that add to the body of evidence that this act cannot be allowed to pass.

Massachusetts voters, vote No on Question 2. As for the rest of the country, stay vigilant. You never know when assisted suicide could be coming to a state near you.

[Click here to read about the Congressional race for MA-4: Bielat vs. Kennedy]