Around Colorado: April 28, 2009

Hsieh on Health-Bureaucracy Push

Thomas Ferraro and Donna Smith of Reuters reported April 24, “Congressional Democrats are near a deal to ram through legislation overhauling the U.S. healthcare system,” imposing so-called “universal” (read: politically controlled) health insurance.

Paul Hsieh of Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine writes, “Americans have already been burnt by the Congressional rush to pass the ‘stimulus’ bill — which many legislators now acknowledge that they didn’t even read before voting for it. Congress should not make the same mistake by rushing to pass ‘universal health care’ legislation.”

Read the excellent letters by Hannah Krening and Diana Hsieh, which Paul reproduces.

Twenty Years for Burglary, Illegal Auto

Congratulations to the AP for getting this point right: “Unregistered fully automatic weapons, sometimes called machine guns, are illegal.”

Unfortunately, various important questions remain unanswered. Jason Muchow, “a Loveland mail carrier faces charges of stealing his ex-girlfriend’s mail and owning a fully automatic weapon… Authorities say they found a fully automatic AK-47 in Muchow’s home after he was accused of breaking into his ex-girlfriend’s home and killing her cat… He faces up to 20 years in prison and $500,000 in fines if convicted of all the federal charges.”

Surely killing your ex’s cat, however horrible and despicable, is not a federal crime. The only reason stealing mail is a federal crime is that the U.S. Government holds a politically-enforced monopoly on first-class mail. Both these things are properly state-level, not federal-level, crimes. If he is proved guilty, he surely deserves significant punishment for stealing, breaking into a house, and killing somebody’s cat.

Does Muchow admit that he illegally purchased a full-auto rifle or illegally converted a semiautomatic rifle to full-auto? Or does he claim that his rifle became “fully automatic” only after it was “tested” by federal agents?

My position is that the federal registration requirements for full-autos, imposed through tax laws, should be repealed. That said, if you knowingly buy or convert an unregistered full-auto, you’re an idiot. More importantly, Muchow should be punished for victimizing another person, if proved guilty, and that is the point that I think all parties can agree on.

Buck Hate Crimes

I was pleased when the murderer of transgendered Angie Zapata was convicted by a jury and sentenced to life in prison. The murderer deserved (at least) that.

But is the crime somehow more heinous because it was obviously motivated by bigotry? I mean, he bashed in an innocent person’s skull with a fire extinguisher. Isn’t that bare fact enough to send somebody to prison for life?

More to the point, if a criminal bashes in somebody’s skull for some other motive, is the crime somehow less abhorrent? Is the victim less deserving of tough sentencing?

“Ikonoclst” over at the People’s Press Collective blasts Ken Buck, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, for praising hate-crime legislation.

However, Republican arguments against hate-crime legislation would go over better if some Republicans were not so shrilly anti-homosexual.

Arveschoug-Bird Safe for Now?

Last month I reviewed some of the details of the Arveschoug-Bird law, which limits general fund expenditures.

According to the Denver Post’s Tim Hoover, the Republicans played a clever political hand to derail the effort to remove the law.

House Minority Leader Mike May, R-Parker told Hoover, “It is extremely disingenuous for the Democrats to remove this spending cap under the guise of creating transportation funding. We proved today just how easy it is to siphon those so-called transportation dollars right out of the bill and put them wherever you want.”