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Colorado News Miner 111

Secular vs. religious homeschooling, legislative updates, crime, TABOR, lunacy, misgendering, abortion, public safety, ski jumps, and more.

Copyright © 2024 by Ari Armstrong
April 17, 2024

Secular Homeschooling

James O'Rourke wrote the April 12 article for the Colorado Times Recorder (which has published op-eds of mine), "Anti-LGBTQ Bigotry Abounds at Christian Homeschoolers' Day at the Capitol."

I especially appreciated O'Rourke quoting me about the secular homeschooling alternative:

Conservative Christianity and homeschooling go back a long way. . . . But in these discussions, it's important to note that the two movements are not intrinsically linked. Libertarian columnist and author Ari Armstrong told the Colorado Times Recorder that "there's also a vibrant secular homeschooling community in Colorado, although without an official organization or a paid lobbyist.”

"Secularists who homeschool do so for various reasons, including quality of education, flexibility of schedule, and inclusivity for neurodiverse and LGBTQ children," Armstrong said.

O'Rourke reveals a number of troubling details about Christian Home Educators of Colorado (CHEC). "Kevin Swanson, as a pastor, has previously called for gay people to be executed. . . . [H]e gave a keynote speech for the Relational Lifestyle Online Summit, run and promoted by CHEC."

At CHEC's April 11 rally at the state capitol, CHEC's legislative director, Carolyn Martin, said that various "anti-discrimination laws" and bills "deny God's created order of male and female, and life and death."

As a secular homeschool dad, I find it extremely unfortunate that CHEC fosters negative stereotypes of homeschoolers. I very much appreciate the Times Recorder mentioning that secular homeschooling is a real phenomenon. Not that Facebook numbers mean a lot, but a popular Colorado secular homeschooling group (where I'm a moderator) has nearly three thousand members.

By the way, I responded to O'Rourke via email on April 12, right after I'd taken my son on a long hike at Garden of the Gods and before we met other homeschoolers at the zoo.

On April 2, I led a small group (ten families) of secular homeschoolers on a tour of the state capitol. This was an invite-only event, not a big public meeting. We met with Governor Jared Polis and had a long meeting with Rep. Brianna Titone, who was extremely gracious and generous with her time with us. Titone is one of the very few legislators with academic credentials in science, and she is a hard-working and effective legislator. It turns out that Polis is gay and Titone is the first and only transgender legislator elected in Colorado. They are both remarkable people and positive role models (despite often being wrong on policy ;), and I was proud to introduce my son to them.

Here's a photo of me with Titone at the capitol.

Ari Armstrong with Rep. Brianna Titone at the Colorado Capitol, April 2, 2024

Legislative Updates

Socialists against Civilian Gun Owners: Three of Colorado's leading Democratic Socialists, Tim Hernández, Elisabeth Epps, and Julie Gonzales, are the lead sponsors on Bill 1292, prohibiting the transfer of arbitrarily defined "assault" guns. Epps also is a self-proclaimed criminal justice "abolitionist," although she's never been very clear about what that means. Notably, looking at the April 14 version, the bill explicitly exempts members of the military and police officers. So, as is usual with the socialists, everyone is equal, except that some people are more equal than others.

Fake Right to Repair: Bill 1121 has made it out of committee. The bill claims to recognize a "right to repair"; what it really does is violate the rights of manufacturers to enter mutually agreeable arrangements. A Colorado Biz headline notes the bill "would require original equipment manufacturers . . . to comply with existing consumer right to repair laws" and "provide software and physical tools to consumers and independent repair providers upon request." As I have said many times, what the legislature should do instead is relieve manufacturers of liability if they choose to make such things available to customers and third parties.

Occupancy Limits: Polis signed bill 1007, overriding most local occupancy limits. Good.

TABOR Change: Some Democrats want to convert some TABOR refunds to a child subsidy.

Legislative Vacancy Change: Sara Wilson: "House Concurrent Resolution 24-1004 passed through committee on a 7–4 vote Monday. It would ask voters to amend the state Constitution by prohibiting an appointed lawmaker from running for a term in their seat immediately following the one they were appointed to fill. They would instead have to wait an election cycle to run." Wow, I wonder who had that great idea?

Quick Takes

Woodruff on Crime: Chase Woodruff points out that crime rates are falling in Colorado. Good news! Similarly, the Wall Street Journal reports, "Homicides Are Plummeting in American Cities." But one of Woodruff's claims seems not to hold up: "[A]n exhaustive body of criminological research has shown there's no evidence that harsher punishments are effective in reducing crime rates, which are far more dependent on a wide variety of long-term social and economic factors." But, as Cory Gaines points out, the study in question refers to recidivism, not crime rates. As Gaines notes, someone is not committing more crimes (at least against the general population) while in prison. Also, prison has a deterrent effect and so prevents some people from committing a first crime. In a comment to Gaines, Woodruff argues that the "costs outweigh whatever benefits can be derived from short-term incapacitation effects. Any temporary reduction in crime rates is soon offset by what some researchers call the 'replacement effect,' in which the social and economic drivers of crime create new offenders and perpetuate the cycle." I'm sure that's largely right for drug "crimes." But it's definitely not true for, say, serial killers and rapists.

TABOR Victory: Tyler Martinez: "In a major victory for taxpayers, a unanimous panel of the Colorado Court of Appeals agreed with the National Taxpayers Union Foundation's Taxpayer Defense Center (NTUF) that an overnight doubling of the property taxes in a few Northern Colorado counties violated the Colorado Taxpayer's Bill of Rights (TABOR)." See his piece for links and details.

Lunacy: Jennifer Brown: The Golden History Museum has a ledger listing 74 women criminally charged for "lunacy" back in the good ol' days. "And of those women, at least 31 were sent from jail via train to what was then called the Insane Asylum at Pueblo," Brown writes. I suppose the criminal "justice" system of old seems as crazy to us as our system will seem to future generations.

Police Cams: There's no point in making police officers wear body cameras if the footage is not available to the public. Jeffrey Roberts discusses a suit by Yellow Scene to obtain footage from Boulder.

A Right to Misgender? Some people are suing to be able to misgender transgender people in legislative hearings. To me, here is the simple test: Do people have a right to refer to Black people using the "n-word" during legislative hearings? However you answer that should be how you answer the misgendering question. (Note: It should be within bounds to discuss someone's historical gender identification and name, even though obviously a lot of people will be jerks about that.)

Abortion Is Not Murder: Despite Rep. Brandi Bradley's claims. See my arguments.

Arizona Abortion Ban: Some women there will come to Colorado to get an abortion.

Safety and Cherry Creek: Alayna Alvarez: "As downtown Denver's struggles persist . . . Cherry Creek just 4 miles south is thriving." Quoting Matt Joblon, founding partner and CEO of BMC Investments: "The why is one simple reason and it is safety. There is no crime here and there is no homelessness." He means there are no homeless people squatting in public areas. By the way, I spent a couple of days hanging out in Colorado Springs, and the area south of I-25 off Nevada (south of downtown) is overrun with bums. The Sprouts store I went into is quite nice, and it employs a security guard to stand in front (funded by customers). I asked him, "Is the neighborhood really that rough?" He said it is. One fellow with obvious drug or mental health issues played "toro" with passing vehicles, waiving his jacket wildly in front of the cars.

Abuse in School: Allison Sherry: "A Littleton school bus assistant repeatedly abused at least two severely disabled boys during trips to and from a school for kids with autism and developmental disabilities. . . . [S]he hit and physically abused at least two children by pulling their hair, elbowing them in the face, stomach, and back, and flicking their faces." Terrible. 9News has video if you can stand to watch.

No More Potter for You: 9News: The Elizabeth School District is replacing a Scholastic book fair with one run by SkyTree, which promises books free of "LGBTQ content, foul language, Critical Race Theory, and dark magic." The district says it wants "age-appropriate materials without controversial materials being included contrary to the values of our families." We wouldn't want kids reading about anything controversial! Offhand I couldn't find a list of SkyTree books.

Colorado Theocrats: Steve Rabey: "The Family Policy Alliance['s] . . . goals include a war against online porn, 'eradicating' abortion and IVF, and reshaping state legislatures and public school boards."

Transgender School Policy: Suzie Glassman: "Members and supporters of the Jefferson County transgender community are praising the school board . . . for its support of the district's transgender student policy [that] protects students from gender-identity-based discrimination and directs staff to use a student's preferred name regardless of whether their name has legally changed."

Funds in the Sun: Some people responded to the GOP kicking Colorado Sun reporter Sandra Fish out of the Republican assembly by donating to the publication. Corey Hutchins also rounds up commentary.

Crazy Risks: A 21-year-old skier tried to jump Highway 40. He failed. He died. I found that story shocking. But here is the kicker: Trying to ski-jump over roads is "thing." Life is not a video game people!

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