PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY, APRIL 21, 2013) — One of THE PLANET‘s favorite words is “balance.” Generally speaking, we tend toward balance in our lives, it being defined by the middle point between two extremes. When something gets out of balance, the tendency is to lurch in the opposite direction, as on a tight rope — lean toward one side, and your body will immediately flail to shift to the opposite.

Random assaults — be they by organized groups, lone gunmen, or young men with bombs for brains — induce a swerve of societal fear. Teetering off of our center point, we lurch in the other direction. Indiscriminate onslaught produces systematic countermeasures. The uncertainty of fear causes the certitude of protective force. Add it all up, and are you left with balance? That is the question to ask in the wake of the Boston bombings.

Over-reaction, An Attempt to Restore Balance

The over-reaction on the part of officials to the Boston Marathon bombings was a reach to restore balance in a city suddenly wrenched out of the foregone conclusion of the day’s satisfaction and joy. Viewed coldly and analytically, the situation did not require the massive SWAT response that followed the release of photos and videos of the two bombers. Boston and Boston-area local police could well have handled the situation. Viewed emotionally, however, the armed-to-the-teeth military-type armada played to a social need to feel protected. Watertown residents applauded the SWAT teams, even though they stood a practically non-existent chance of being harmed by a wounded, scared, teen-aged fugitive with no escape plan, no aid or sustenance, and facing thousands of big, strong, Humveed condotierri.

They came by the thousands in with their assault vehicles, Kevlar, choppers, machine guns, night vision,  and suits of armor to find … a whimpering, wounded teenager hiding under the tarp cover of a backyard boat. Hardly a fair fight, and hardly worthy of the epithet of “hero.” These were professionals doing a job for which they’ve been trained.

Is the odd chance of the loose canon’s rare firing the reason to induce a police state in America? Officials, politicians, and all those nominally in charge of public safety will say “yes.” Politically, they have no other choice, as evidenced in the manner in which every politician wanting a little wet ink used the situation to their own gain. Officials won’t say it so blatantly, but their thoughtless, emotion-based reactions will say it for them, for example, the knee-jerk calls for more “security” for the Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade. Pittsfield, answer for yourself: Are you mature enough for freedom or not? If so, keep the Fourth security as is. If not, cancel the $85,000 extravaganza and use the money to buy more Kevlar and assault canons for the police department.

The Rise of the Police State

That is the critical question. Can we handle freedom?

When THE PLANET thinks of a police state, we think of such regimes as Pinochet‘s Chile or Sandinistan Nicaragua. Goose-stepping North Korean soldiers marching before their hole-in-one leader also fits the bill. Dramatic usurpation of liberty — people whisked out of their homes in the middle of the night, protesters detained without being charged with a crime, seizure of property — certainly applies. These are easy calls for the political scientists and history buffs.

We tend not to think of what’s happened to America post 9/11, and thus we do not see how “the state” (that is, the federal government and its 50 state capitals) has “imposed its comprehensive vision of economic welfare and correct behavior upon the citizens.” That is the definition of “police state” used by lawyer Richard Stevens, who has studied extensively about national security, terrorism, and justice. That describes the prevailing drift of the American experience since 9/11, a movement toward “economic welfare” based 100% on debt, worthless currency, and the imposition upon We The People of the erosion of liberty.

As in a police state, in America today, the police and security apparatus “takes upon itself to actively enforce the will of the state,” using criminal activity as its pretext. That’s what we witnessed in the actions of police following the Boston Marathon bombings.

Finally, the prime driver of citizen behavior is not altruism but a “pervasive fear of punishment” (Stevens). People are more apt to see moral good in terms of the threat of sanction rather than the efficacious sense of doing the right thing for its own sake. Such a system will keep people perpetually on edge, and as this system introduces more and more laws to circumscribe more and more restrictions on personal liberty, people will see themselves bound by laws that are or will become nearly impossible to fully obey.

‘Police State’: A New Definition, A New Manifestation

Of course, America is not Robespierre‘s France or Hitler‘s Germany. Keep in mind, though, that as society changes, so does the nature of the police state. Neither Robespierre nor Hitler, neither Pinochet nor Stalin, had the greatest tool of all in the establishment, securing, and preservation of a police state: Massive electronic surveillance. Yesterday’s police state is today’s “public safety.”

The phrase “police state” is misleading. When we hear the word “police” we think of the local police officer. The word, however, when used as an adjective modifying the noun “state,” refers much more broadly to “security” (the word comes from the Greek politeia, which includes every aspect of public life that would affect the survival and welfare of a citizen). Thus, the major objective of the police state is control of public space, which creepily will come to include one’s very thoughts via censorship. The major tool (and characteristic) of a police state is surveillance. The major justification for surveillance is, ostensibly, public safety. War is the guarantor of a police state.

From the book, The State Vs. The People: The Rise of the American Police State by Claire Wolfe and Aaron Zelman:

War, social upheaval, or fear or revolution gave them their raison d’etre. Here we discover another key characteristic of police states: They grow on crisis. Crises and wars justify their existence and crises and wars keep them in power. As long as their leaders can point to a credible threat – enemies on the border, enemies within, criminals, monopolists, saboteurs, plotters, moral decadence, foreigners. Selfishness, poverty, inflation, unemployment, falling education standards, almost any problem will suffice – the populace is likely to accept the loss of its liberties in the name of public safety, national security, humanitarianism, or law and order.What happens when the crisis ends? It never does. There is no “final solution” to every human problem. When one war ends, or when the public becomes weary of one crusade, another always awaits.

A police state can invariably find a crisis around which to rally. However, the very structure of a police state also carries a kind of built-in “crisis generator,” a self-perpetuating mechanism. It works like this:

The human race is too fractious, too individualized for total mass cooperation. No “experts” have yet mastered the art of perfectly overseeing all citizens and all institutions. Despite the most diligent attempts at social micromanagement, someone, somewhere, will always “misbehave.” So everyone, everywhere, must be watched – and punished as necessary. This requires an ever-escalating force of spies, spy agencies, and informers.

A heavily watch and regulated people tends to become discontent and even more fractious. The ever- greater number of watchers inevitably observes more “unacceptable” behavior – behavior that violates the ever-greater number of laws and regulations. Continued “misbehavior” necessitates more spies and regulators, which fosters more rebellion, or uncovers more infractions, which necessitates more efforts by the government to gain control, ad infinitum. Distrust increases, as does the brutality of the states attempts to exert total authority.

It is a familiar process that we have seen in our own lifetimes. A police state is a self-perpetuating system that will grow until it collapses under its own weight, or until people have reached the limits of their endurance.

—– 00 —–

What? You say that in our so-called democratic system, a “police state” cannot happen? Again, from the book:

The modern authoritarian police state may appear to be democratic in form – holding elections and having a legislature. But within the traditional forms its nature and power have shifted. Typically:

The executive branch gradually comes to dominate the nation. The legislature and judiciary become rubber stamps on increasingly harsh, dictatorial power. Enforcement and rule-making agencies proliferate, independent of any elected body. At the same time, the government as a whole (including the relatively weakened legislative and judicial branches) grows in power and authority relative to the citizens. It is only the authority and freedom of the individual that diminishes in real terms.

A tamed electorate lets the government have its way – perhaps under the ancient narcotics of “bread and circuses,” perhaps under terror. Opposition is allowed, but is controlled by being channeled through organized mainstream institutions such as labor unions, industry lobbies and other quasi-official interest groups.

Individual or small-group opposition is crushed through mockery and demonization, studious non-coverage by the media, infiltration and arrest, or outright brutality. Public opinion is molded via mass education, mass media, and propaganda. Public policy, though it may be voted on in the legislature, is largely made by bureaucrats or other “insiders” – careerists who are not answerable either to public opinion or to votes.

America, we are there. In the aftermath of the Boston bombings, we now have a way to “take the temperature” of democracy since Sept. 11, 2001. We are running a high fever.

America, we are there. The authoritarian state grew to its present size with all of us lovers of liberty watching, helplessly and silently. As citizens dropped out of public participation and politics, the entire premise of America — governance by We The People — became untenable.

America, we are there, off balance and lurching sadly in the opposite direction.


Some folks like to cry. Some folks do, some folks do. Others like to sigh, but that’s not me or you. Long live the merry, merry hearts that laugh by night and day, like the Queen of Myrrh — no matter what some folks say.From a song we learned and used to sing in grammar school.







  1. Ed Shepardson
    April 22, 2013 at 8:48 am #

  2. Twist
    April 22, 2013 at 8:57 am #

    Not sure I agree with the assessment that the SWAT response was unnecessary. When explosives are in the mix. Specialty forces should be used. That is what they do.

    I guess hind-sight emboldens the comment… I’m glad they did what they did. I also like the “milk cop” photo. Says something about force and compassion.

    I hope that picture is legit.

  3. Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
    April 22, 2013 at 9:13 am #

    Could we be 100% sure that there wer no other “suspects” helping out “white hat” or that other bombs had not been planted?

    I think not, therefore the response, although I’m the first one to say things were overblown, were appropriate

    • Wilson
      April 22, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

      It’s obvious they were part of a Chechen cell that was able to steal some of the USSRs mothballed nuclear devices, and that the Boston attack was a diversion while these devices are being unloaded at the Port of Boston.

      Obama must authorize a pre-emptive nuclear strike of Boston before it is too late!!!

      • bobbyd
        April 23, 2013 at 5:02 am #

        Reductio ad absurdum. Please. You can do better than that,

  4. Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
    April 22, 2013 at 11:38 am #

    You know how many Watertown Cops were on shift that night when the two brothers were discovered to be in that town? 4….Hey, if the SWAT team and the boys were close by, why not bring em in?

  5. Still wondering
    April 22, 2013 at 12:59 pm #

    Same number as the graveyard shift in Pittsfield.

    • In the know
      April 22, 2013 at 4:59 pm #

      Yet Pittsfield has a larger area and 10 thousand more citizens

  6. Charles Trzcinka
    April 22, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

    I think the response of Boston to the police action was because people wanted the authorities to find the criminals and were willing to cooperate. Police services are an example of “common” services which are services that can’t be allocated by property rights. The people of Boston showed how to govern the commons very well. Its the opposite of a police state. Police could not have accomplished this without the cooperation of the public. The economists who estimated the economic loss (the NBER put it at $330 million) are missing the point. Economic activity cannot take place without a well governed commons. (See Elinor Ostrom’s book “Governing the Commons” for an elaboration). There are many common services and products that need the kind of public cooperation shown by the people of Boston..

    • In the know
      April 22, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

      Good response

    • Scott
      April 22, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

      Charles you make a valid point thank you. One thing I’d point out though is depending on the area and people that populate it as well as the given situation determine how the police response is accepted and embraced. I think we’re lucky here in Pittsfield we seem to have a nice group of guys on the police force.

    • danvalenti
      April 22, 2013 at 6:55 pm #

      Thank you, Charles, for this insight. Police services not only are supplied irrespective of property rights, they are disproportionately given to those at the lower ends of the property scale. “Governing the commons” is an interesting phrase. My point about the police state is that governing the commons can be (and I think will be) used as the pretext to take surveillance and other security tactics beyond the limits imposed by our Constitutional freedoms. That condition is here, right now.

  7. Scott
    April 22, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

    Welcome to the welfare police state! Hey the senate just shot down Obama’s gun control bill so that’s a good thing that shows some of these people still care about the constitution. My opinion is that there are wonderful people in gov’t who are constantly battling the one’s that are not so good and power hungry like Diane Feinstein. The will of the people will always prevail! But only as long as we want it to. Believe it or not for every person who teaches their young to live off the gov’t as a standard norm there should be three more that teach their children about Liberty and the satisfaction of obtaining things through your own hard work. I can not conceive an event like what happened in Boston happening in my area and just sitting there unarmed and terrified while police and lunatics have a shoot out. That’s not for me.

    • Relax
      April 22, 2013 at 3:28 pm #


      Feinstein is not power hungry. She was the person who found Harvey Milk’s body after he was assassinated. She’s been personally affected by gun violence. Her efforts are sincere.

      Keep in mind that a majority of Senators voted for Obama’s gun bill. It is because of the ridiculous 60 vote rule (which is simply a Senatorial rule and not found in the Constitution) that the bill did not go to the House.

      Universal background checks are eminently reasonable. In fact, your local police department maintains a database of every person that’s been issued a gun license locally. It is disingenous to argue that their shouldn’t be back ground checks when the authorities already know who in their area are licensed to carry guns.

      And, I choose not to live my life looking over my shoulder, waiting for the next attack. These are quite rare events. No one can be hyper vigilant all the time.

      You want to keep a gun in your home to protect your family, that’s fine, though the statistics are pretty scary when it comes to gun accidents in the home.

      And, I fail to see the connection between welfare and the Second Amendment, let alone what happened in Boston.

      • Scott
        April 22, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

        If you don’t see it then I can’t explain it to you. That’s good you keep in compliance with Ma law. Don’t you think though even if it wasn’t the law you’d still follow a similar set of rules? I have the ten commandments of gun safety of my refrigerator so what???

        • Relax
          April 22, 2013 at 10:12 pm #

          Because there is no connection. These thugs were driven by a radical ideology. That’s it. That they were on Twitter and youtube is simply incidental to what happened.

          And, where does this constant focus on guns come from? Why are you so consumed with it? Surely, there are other pursuits that interest you.

          • Scott
            April 23, 2013 at 3:44 am #

            The connection to the welfare police state has to do with as Dan said societies reliance and embrace of big gov’t.

            Yes these two were influenced by a radical ideology I agree and I also think it’s tacky when westerners or in this case Europeans convert to Islam maybe I’m just ignorant a little on the whole Islam thing because I don’t really understand it but at any rate it’s goofy. I have nothing against the religion and people who practice it peacefully I’m talking about the radical aspect. Don’t you think it’s kind of crazy two people caused this much terror? No one ever said gun control was about not liking guns it’s only about taking them out of the hands of regular people and keeping them in the hands of those who will use the power to control. So you’re telling me if this happened here you wouldn’t grab your shot gun and or a pistol and go watch a movie in the basement until the whole thing ended? I think it’s disgusting people cowered in their homes unable to protect themselves and were at the mercy of theses guys had they decided to go in someone’s home. I’m glad the senate voted the way they did. I have nothing against background checks and keeping guns out of the hands of people on anti psychotic medication but I’m not getting on the bandwagon and endorsing any new laws. I like VT law.

  8. In the know
    April 22, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

    Scott I have guns in my house under lock and key. My son is 18 and he hunts (just like me) I didn’t give him the combo to my safe until he turned 18. I’m a democrat and I used to belong to the NRA. The NRA has gone too rogue. I believe no one needs to own a Uzi Between my self and my son we own 15 guns. All legal I’m not against waiting a few days to buy a gun I know we have lots of gun laws but we have to start some where. By the way I’m not the same guy on topix

  9. Rivetor
    April 22, 2013 at 5:33 pm #

    I think that DV raises excellent questions. People seem to miss his point that the purpose of the massive response was to create the feeling, feeling, that people were what they were: essentialy safe. Thats part of the balance mentioned.

  10. Joe Blow
    April 22, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

    Obama is sinking this once great nation. There has been chaos and crisis since his election. He has gotten a pass on many issues the left was screaming about with his predecessor. He said he was gonna bring us together…HA! He doesn’t want compromise,it’s his way or the highway. I lean to the right for sure but the Republicans aren’t any better. He is driving us apart and a house divided will not stand. Saul Alinsky taught him well!

    • In the know
      April 22, 2013 at 5:48 pm #

      Sorry Joe. Disagree with you .George Bush is still the dumbest pres ever. He let Chaney make him look like a fool. Who the hell ran this country?

      • Joe Blow
        April 22, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

        Who says I was a fan of him? I was saying Obama is getting a pass on stuff Bush was being hammered for.Who the hell is running this country now? You people? We are fellow Americans! I think BOTH parties are full of shit and coming together means real compromise not blind blind obedience. This is my last reply to you….your goal is to troll and argue…peace out!

        • Scott
          April 22, 2013 at 6:11 pm #

          I agree being called a republican because I don’t agree with Obama’s policy is the biggest insult. I don’t believe in Obama/Bush it’s all the same in terms of what direction the country is headed that’s why you don’t hear about the real issues.

    • In the know
      April 22, 2013 at 5:50 pm #

      Unfortunately you people don’t want to come to tether!

  11. Giacometti
    April 22, 2013 at 8:52 pm #

    I noticed in USA Today that our governor just allocated millions of dollars to pay for the cost of the ” man hunt ” in Boston last week.

    Perhaps we could have used those funds prior to last Monday to prevent the situation that unfolded.

    As an attorney I know once told me…” Perhaps a fence at the top of a cliff is far better than an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff ”

    Dan your column here tells the hidden truth nobody wants to hear

    • Scott
      April 23, 2013 at 3:59 am #

      Giacometti, I agree. The only people who say others are paranoid and this and that are just the ones who like big gov’t and feel as if the gov’t is on their side with all their guns, tanks, planes and drones. Yes a certain amount of law enforcement presence is good and cops do a thankless job most of the time but when you have organizations like the CIA, DHO, DOJ doing all kinds of crap with no accountability to anyone that’s a problem.

      @ relax Harvey Milk was assassinated by a former city government employee and part time police officer he went there to kill George Moscone the mayor. He only received five years in prison for the double murder then killed himself. if Feinstein is so passionate about guns why is the DHS buying up so many rounds of ammo??? Is there a zombie Apocalypse coming??? She is about big gov’t and the police state period and I was delighted to see her proposed bill defeated.

      • Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
        April 23, 2013 at 5:05 am #

        Scott, you can’t have things both ways man…The Bill that was defeated had EVERYTHING TO DO WITH BACKGROUND CHECK AND NOTHING TO DO WITH GUN CONTROL..Even a bipartisan effort to require background checks for weapons sales at gun shows and over the Internet fell six votes short, a 54-46 outcome that included negative votes by four Democrats from rural states with many gun owners. It never had a chance because of unyielding opposition, distortions and outright lies spread by the NRA (which used to support identical proposals) and the even more extreme Gun Owners of America organization.

        Never mind that this most moderate bill exempted sales between friends and family members from background checks. It contained no provision for creation of a national gun registry, as claimed by some who argue that the Second Amendment is inviolate. Note that automobiles must be registered. Why not weapons?

        Never mind that even the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 5-4 ruling in 2008 upholding a strict gunrights interpretation of the amendment stated that “like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.” The opinion was written by the hero of conservatives, Justice Antonin Scalia.

        Never mind that every major poll shows 86 to 90 percent public support for expanded background checks; even the vast majority of gun owners are in favor….Get with it Man, believe me I’m the last one to give my power away to the Govt…Who said people were cowering in their homes BTW except you…?? They cooperated with the order to shelter in place but they could have been sheltering and packing in place…That’s only the perception you use to advance your arguement…

        • Scott
          April 23, 2013 at 5:15 am #

          People were cowering in their homes woman alone with their children remember this is Ma and yes we can have it both ways. As Dan said balance is key. A balance of power within our republic one branch of gov’t watches over the other at least that’s how my 9th grade american gov’t teacher explained it. We are governed by law so it does’t matter this is where the misconception of the US as a democracy confuses and misleads. It wouldn’t matter if you were the only person who wanted a gun you’d be protected by law. How are you going to get a background check when you purchase a gun through a private sale? Like anything big gov’t pits it’s hands on it would be a disaster. Tell me what’s the point of Ma law when you can drive an hour and buy any amount of ammo and magazine capacity for any gun you want. I feel safer already…

          Not that it’s any of anyone’s business I own two guns a pistol and a rifle for hunting. I think it’s lame all the media induced hysteria that has been going on sense newton and has encouraged every nut job to go out and buy an AR and numerous high cap mags. People are nuts. We have excellent laws in place right here in wonderful Mass that’s why the terrorist weren’t able to get weapons right?

  12. Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
    April 23, 2013 at 5:18 am #

    So a common sense background check is a violation of your 2nd ammendment rights?

    • Scott
      April 23, 2013 at 10:56 am #

      Did the two brothers do a background check for their weapons?

  13. Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
    April 23, 2013 at 5:19 am #

    Answer me this Scott, do you believe they are trying to create a National Gun Registry?

    I also note how you didn’t address any of the other statements of facts in my first post…

    • Scott
      April 23, 2013 at 10:56 am #

      A national gun registry is illegal. I don’t know what they are trying to do all I know is the current attempts and assault on freedom were stopped.

  14. Dave
    April 23, 2013 at 10:44 am #

    When the entire herd is blindly running toward a cliff and certain catastrophe, the ones running in the opposite direction are viewed as crazy.

    The poll that indicates that 90% of Americans support background checks is outdated and false. Those using this statistic perpetuate this false analogy for their own political end. When people believe everything they hear, and repeat it as fact, they only show their lack of being properly informed.

    Do I believe that background checks will lead to a national registry? Simply put – YES. Background checks are an “Infringement”.

    A recent Gallop poll indicated that only 4% of Americans are concerned about gun control. The poll indicated that Americans are far more concerned about the economy and US foreign policy than gun control.

    Polls are often programmed by the way questions are presented to get a desired result.

    The Second Amendment seems pretty clear when it states “Shall not be infringed”. What part of that is not clear?
    The Second Amendment is not about hunting. The Second Amendment is about protecting “We the People” from a tyrannical government. Think there is no need for a seemingly radical view such as this? You only need to go back a few years to Eastern Europe and see the result of the last time people were disarmed.

    The Second Amendment protects all other human rights. If the Citizens are disarmed, those in power will have all the power and there is no check to abuse.

    • Scott
      April 23, 2013 at 10:54 am #

      Dave your last paragraph says it all. Its a basic fundamental right for a free society. Not about uprising or anything like that more psychological.

  15. pjmh
    April 23, 2013 at 10:58 am #

    Over 2,000 people have been killed by firearms in the United States since the carnage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.


    • Scott
      April 23, 2013 at 11:11 am #

      The world is a violent place how many people have been killed with knives or beaten since then? How much of that would you say is attributed to alcohol use?

    • Dave
      April 23, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

      pjmh Finish your argument!!!!!

      You are only giving us a portion of the facts, You are twisting facts to support your agenda.

      How many of those gun deaths were committed by law abiding citizens?

      How many of those guns were legally owned?

      Better still. How many arrests have been made?

      • pjmh
        April 24, 2013 at 9:22 am #

        Dave, no argument, just throwing the numbers out there. Of course, many variables come in play here.

        2,000. Just saying.

        • Charles
          April 26, 2013 at 3:41 pm #


          Four months passed since Sandy Hook. Therefore, the monthly firearm-death rate since then is 500/month. Multiply 500 by twelve months and you have 6,000 deaths. Since last year’s tally was closer to 30,000, I think your report is great news!

          Also, did you catch 4/28 Eagle report on the hat passed around for the survivors? $7,000,000 for the lot! They are richer than they could ever imagine and some are even demanding their cash without even having to account for need. Do families in inner cities get that treatment each time a child falls to urban terror?

  16. Scott
    April 23, 2013 at 11:03 am #

    Automobiles aren’t protected by law driving is a privilege not a right. Tell me this how can a guy buy a 30 pack of beer get in his truck and get three arrest for operating under the influence still be able to obtain a licence and car drink and eventually kill someone but his right to own a gun was gone on offense #1 for DUI? I’m more worried about being killed by a drunk driver than a shooter in fact my chances for the latter are far less greater. Its media hysteria I don’t buy into it and in fact since newton they have accomplished nothing other than encouraging people to go buy guns and a lot who most likely never would have.

  17. Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
    April 23, 2013 at 11:19 am #

    Here you go Dave and Scott what say ye?

  18. Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
    April 23, 2013 at 11:30 am #

    Clearly you two are in the extremist minority…

    • Scott
      April 23, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

      The same could be said about you. I’m just trying to understand how links that agree with your way of thinking are helping anyone should I find a link that agrees with me and post it? Regardless of majority or minority we’re not a democracy we’re a republic so law trumps. IF we really were the minority don’t you think the 2nd amendment would have been changed by now?

    • Dave
      April 23, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

      Obviously you did not get the drift of my opening statement.

      “””When the entire herd is blindly running toward a cliff and certain catastrophe, the ones running in the opposite direction are viewed as crazy.”””

      I am in the minority but I am far from an extremist.

      Maybe I am though.

      I was raised a Baptist. A US Army instructor recently labeled Fundamentalist Christians as Right Wing Extremists.
      He also labeled Catholics as extremists as well.

      The Department of Homeland Security labeled those that support Gun Owner’s Rights as Right Wing Extremists.

      Maybe this subject needs to be looked at from an entirely different angle.

      Those that have sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America, that would be the President and Congress, took an oath when they were sworn into office, could be labeled as treasonous for actions that are Un-Constitutional..

  19. Dave
    April 23, 2013 at 1:40 pm #

    I look at the source. MSNBC was one of those that speculated that those responsible for the Boston Bombings were right wing terrorists. They were highly disappointed when it was learned that the culprits were Islamic.

    Nothing MSNBC says suprised me but I would caution that you should check everything they post.

    Now, would the founding fathers had a clue about the Internet, smart phones. Wireless communication? Are these high tech modern methods of communication covered by the First Amendment? Of course they are.

    If the founding fathers could have gotten their hands on a semi automatic rifle or a full automatic rifle to fight the British and secure liberty do you think they would have chosen a black powder single shot musket instead? No way. Be sensible. They used cannons too.
    The musket arguement hold no water .

  20. MrG1188
    April 23, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

    How did this become a dueling banjos arguement on gun control?!? Dan made some really salient, insightful points about the existence and continued growth of a police state that seem to have been lost. The fact is, most of those senators who “protected” your gun-clutching constitutional rights by voting down the background checks bill turned around and voted FOR CISPA; a program that strips you even further of your right to privacy! Surveillance on steroids!! And the fact is while I am nothing if not liberal, Obama and Bush have been 2 peas in a pod in the permanentizing of the police state Dan cites. Obama’s drones policy is truly spine chilling. His level of secrecy is baffling and as bad as W’s regime. Dan is citing nothing new. For those of you who haven’t read 1984, go get it, and read it before it’s no longer available! They recently deleted it from Amazon INCLUDING reaching into all Kindles and pulling it off. That is the ultimate “vaporization;” it’s just not there anymore, and no one can prove it ever was. Our government creates enemies, and then fights them, because it gives the people something to hate outside the government! And it allows free spending on the war machine to continue. While it didn’t necessarily start with 9/11, that’s where the process was legitimized. Now it picks up steam all the time. Was no one amazed by how quickly surveillance picked up the anomalies that led to identifying the 2 brothers? I’d like to say “wake up and start demanding our freedom,” but fear it may already be too late.

    • Relax
      April 23, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

      Where does this paranoid, malcontented nonsense come from?

      Here’s a link to “1984” available on right now:

      About 4 years ago, Amazon removed some versions of 1984 from Kindles because of a publishing rights dispute. Both 1984 and Animal Farm are available for Kindles right now.

      As for surveillance, you do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy on a public street. Anyone can take your photograph.

      AS for CISPA, the House has passed it; the Senate has yet to act on it, and the White House has threatened to veto it.

      Please get your facts straight.

      • Charles
        April 26, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

        We are not a Police State, yet.

        But we are edging closer with surveillance cameras at store corners and traffic intersections – all available to law enforcement. Add to that the Government helping itself to all electronic communication and peering over your shoulder each time you check a book out of the library, what more power do they need?

        It’s no wonder people are uneasy with the intention to create an artificial imbalance- thanks, Dan, in arms between the State and the People.

        • danvalenti
          April 28, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

          Thanks for your posts.

    • danvalenti
      April 23, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

      MR G
      It’s interesting that my points about the “police state” have been overlooked by many of the commentators.

  21. Giacometti
    April 23, 2013 at 9:51 pm #

    All I said was ” it is better to have a fence at the top of a cliff ( to prevent someone from jumping off the cliff ) than an ambulance
    at the bottom (… in other words we need to prevent the action before it happens… not just police the action after it happens )

    How did gun control become part of that statement ?

    • danvalenti
      April 24, 2013 at 8:14 am #

      Well, good question, but these days, “gun control” becomes a part of EVERY discussion, it seems. That’s how crazy THAT particular topic has become, with ideologues of both far wings defining the debate. The debate has degenerated into a political litmus test. Reason and truth lie in the middle.

      • Charles
        April 26, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

        I disagree.

        Gun Control is the topic of the day with a nationwide organized effort to dismantle the Second Amendment. As a philosophical body, the Bill of Rights stand as the core rights of all people. If someone with a pile of cash the size of Montana creates a Super Pac designed to undermine one of those common rights, don’t be surprised at how easy it will be to go after the others.

        The ACLU is often criticized for knee-jerk response to infringements of Religious separation and suppression of Free Speech. We should all be immediate in any attempt to walk over any of the Bill of Rights. How is that ridiculous or extreme?

  22. Rick
    April 24, 2013 at 12:00 am #

    The assult on the boat looked like the end of Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid………and the guy lived!