Gallery D

Laws Against Survival

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Erosion Of Our Freedom

By James Donahue

It is no secret that American’s have been giving away their personal freedoms in recent years . . . mostly after 9-11. While silly and ineffective, a lot of the personal assaults by government-hired workers, like those troublesome airport searches and police wire-taps, have been accepted because they give people a sense that Uncle Sam is looking out for our safety. But lately it seems that government imposition has gone too far.

Among the more controversial issues now making the news is the arming of local police departments with military weapons, riot gear, and armored vehicles designed for crowd control. Because the police show up at public demonstrations armed to the teeth, things are getting out of hand. Shots are fired. Innocent citizens are being killed. There has developed an “us against them” mentality, with the people battling armed militia with rocks and pitchforks.

The stripping of the U.S. economy by big banks and corporations and the loss of jobs has left a large segment of the population struggling to make ends meet. Consequently people are working long hours if they have jobs, and are doing creative things like home gardening and farming to keep food on the table. But some states and cities are passing laws making things like the growing of vegetables and keeping of chickens illegal.

The Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development recently ruled to prohibit portions of the state’s long-standing Right to Farm Act, which gave residents the right to raise small numbers of animals in their back yard. The ruling bans the keeping of goats, rabbits, chickens and even beehives within 250 feet of another residence, or on any property where there are 13 homes within one eighth mile.

Some cities are passing laws that are almost making it illegal to be homeless. They are prohibiting sitting or lying down on public streets, sidewalks, parks or other public property, using public restrooms to bathe, and panhandling. Some cities are attempting to provide public shelters and meal sites for the homeless, but they are falling short of the growing demand.

As more and more local rules fall in conflict with the way the public is struggling to live, we find more and more public protests occurring. There were the Occupy movements, which are springing up again this summer, and mass protests against police killings of unarmed citizens. Thus the tension between the armed police and the unarmed crowds is rising.

We are watching a dangerous situation beginning to unfold in our nation. Where are leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King, who taught peaceful demonstration in place of violence, when we need them?

Oh, that’s right. We tend to shoot such leaders.