More questions than answers 
may be the true legacy of 9/11

Twelve years ago tomorrow. What has become of us as a nation in the dozen years since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001?

Do you feel more secure while pursuing life, liberty and happiness?

I wonder.

Since that fateful day, political leaders from both parties have, through a variety of questionable actions, squandered the unity we forged in the aftermath of the attacks until today we’re as divided a nation as at any time since the Civil War.

A decade of suspicious forays in the Middle East have eroded our national will to the point where President Barack Obama likely will fail to get the concurrence of Congress to respond in Syria. This fact also calls into question what might happen if we faced a real threat closer to home.

Interception of our phone calls and Internet communications in the name of public safety by an administration we’d all agree tilts to the left has most of us upset, rather than grateful.

The same members of Congress who waste time with 40 unsuccessful votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act they allege is a financial albatross see nothing wrong with spending billions on incomplete fences with no proof they make our borders more secure.

Does death by remote control with its attendant “collateral damage,” guided from mysterious buildings across the border in Utah, make us better or worse than those we target in the name of “national security?”

Here in Mesa County, who’d be first to raise their hands if asked they were absolutely confident the drones that have given our sheriff’s office national publicity will always be used for only the “plain vanilla” purposes pledged?

Especially when local law enforcement ignores publicized lawbreaking on the steps of the county courthouse on the Fourth of July as local “patriots” exchange now-illegal gun magazines and while county sheriffs, including our own, challenge and selectively enforce laws and they don’t support.

With apologies to the Chamber of Commerce, the Visitor and Convention Bureau and Grand Junction Economic Partnership, does anyone else wonder why we need about 100 Transportation Security Administration employees and a tall black fence around a relatively backwater airport next to, if not actually in, the middle of nowhere?

Pointing to the lack of attacks as proof of success is akin to saying the absence of giraffes and elephants on the streets of Grand Junction is because our local so-called patriots have wiped out ammo supplies at Cabelas, Jerry’s and Sportsmen’s Warehouse.

For the first few years after 9/11, I helped put together commemorations at Suplizio Field, replete with flyovers by military aircraft, patriotic speeches and deserved honors to those here at home and in the armed services who protect us with their willingness to run toward, not away from, real, not imagined, dangers. 

One of those years, crosses were planted in the Lincoln Park turf, one for each of the roughly 3,000 victims who died at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field. Today, I’m ashamed to admit, I’d have to look up the last names of Jimmy and Michael, two co-workers of my late brother whose names I placed on a couple of those crosses.

Sept. 11, 2001, is etched as deeply in my memory as Nov. 22, 1963. I recall the gasp from my sister-in-law as she saw the second plane hit the towers while talking with her on my cell phone as I drove near Rifle just as vividly as I remember the sobs of my classmate, Bea Schmidt, as she told me in the hallway of Grand Junction High School that John F. Kennedy had been shot in Dallas.

Later this week, I may go down to Sixth Street and Ute Avenue to watch the formal lighting of the acrylic replicas of the Twin Towers that support a piece of metal recovered from the debris of the World Trade Center. Local artist Pat Olson has added that sculpture near his original 9/11 commemoration moved from Seventh and Main streets to the front of refurbished Fire Station No. 1.

It would have been fitting to add this inscription:

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” — Benjamin Franklin.

Jim Spehar’s feeling more sorry than safe, post 9/11. How about you? Let him know at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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Today’s Spehar column, wittingly or unwittingly, gets to the crux of the problem of the intellectual manipulation which passes for so-called “liberal” thought these days. Of course modern liberal thought bears no resemblance to John Stuart Mill’s “On Liberty”, more’s the pity.
Spehar offered the following false premises to the gullible, “Especially when local law enforcement ignores publicized lawbreaking on the steps of the county courthouse on the Fourth of July as local “patriots” exchange now-illegal gun magazines and while county sheriffs, including our own, challenge and selectively enforce laws and they don’t support.”
Those false premises were totally deconstructed by law professor Edwin Vieira, possessor of four degrees from Harvard, including one in law and a PhD in chemistry. Spehar wrongly pretends that what the legal profession SAYS the U.S. Constitution means is what the Founders intended it to mean. Nothing could be farther from the historically provable truth.
Professor Vieira said, “Well the grave difficulty in that method from a scientific point of view is that whereas the constitution can neither be right nor wrong – it simply IS – a decision of a judge can be right, or it can be wrong. So, attempting to determine what the constitution means by reading a decision of the judge has the problem exactly backwards: you determine whether the decision of the judge is valid by understanding the constitution. I’ve always looked at this as not a ... as a method for a better grasp of the meaning of laws, but it was intellectual imperialism on behalf of the legal intelligentsia. Because the legal intelligentsia would then become the ones through whose interpretation of the law we would know what it was, instead of knowing it by reading it ourselves.”
Modern law schools teach by the so-called “case method”, about which Professor Vieira said, “And the premise of that whole structure was that what the Supreme Court SAID (emphasis added) was the constitution. Fascinating thought.”
Vieira continued, “How does it (the Constitution) start? ‘We the judges?’ ‘We the law professors?’ No! It’s ‘we the people.’ And there’s a presumption built into that statement that we the people are capable of understanding this document if we the people are the ones who ordained and established it. And we do not need its meaning to be translated for us by some elitist group that has set itself up for that purpose.”
Law enforcement takes an oath to uphold the Constitution, not what the Supremes SAY is the Constitution — an idea apparently beyond liberals’ comprehension.

ADDENDUM:
The never-ending battle between freedom lovers and the tyrant-minded is perhaps nowhere better found than in the debate between U.S. Supreme Court justices John Jay and James Iredell in the case of Chisolm v. State of Georgia, 2 U.S. (2 Dallas) 419 (1793) (http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/2/419/case.html). (John Jay was the U.S. Supreme Court’s first Chief Justice.)
As for Spehar’s provably incorrect premise that what any given majority of the U.S. Supreme Court says the U.S. Constitution means is what it actually means, it is common knowledge among the legal intelligensia that judges frequently lie about what the law means, which is why it would behoove every citizen to take an active interest in what the law says and means so they can hold judges politically accountable for their lies.
I absolutely love what Antonin Scalia said in one of his speeches at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., on March 14, 2005: “Now, in asserting that originalism used to be orthodoxy, I do not mean to imply that judges did not distort the Constitution now and then, of course they did. We had willful judges then, and we will have willful judges until the end of time. But the difference is that prior to the last 50 years or so, prior to the advent of the ‘Living Constitution,’ judges did their distortions the good old fashioned way, the honest way — they lied about it. They said the Constitution means such and such, when it never meant such and such.”
One of the first huge monetary-policy-motivated lies told by the U.S. Supreme Court was in the case of M’Culloch v. Maryland, 17 U.S. (4 Wheaton) 316 (1819) (http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/17/316/case.html). Of that decision, which de facto eliminated the 10th Amendment, Thomas Jefferson correctly said that if the 10th Amendment meant what the John Marshall and the M’Culloch majority said it meant, the states would never have ratified the Constitution.
Two other huge monetary-policy-motivated lies told by the U.S. Supreme Court were Legal Tender Cases (Knox v. Lee, Parker v. Davis), 79 U.S. (12 Wallace) 457 (1870) (http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/79/457/case.html) and Juilliard v. Greenman, 110 U.S. 421 (1884) (http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/110/421/case.html). Compare those lies with the provable historical truth in Hepburn v. Griswold 75 U.S. (8 Wallace) 603 (Feb 7, 1870) (http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/75/603/case.html).
Always remember: 1) “politics” = manipulation, and 2) elections have consequences.

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