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By Ed Rutledge
Mass shootings, like all untimely deaths, are tragedies. Unfortunately, the gun control hyperbole coming from our politicians is nothing more than a red herring. From a political perspective, gun control has nothing to do with saving lives. Guns are power, and politicians want it. I understand that such statements will upset many people, and I do not say them to be callous. I say them because our politicians should be addressing the root causes of the majority of violence, rather than redirecting our attention in a well disguised power grab.
In an effort to reduce the number of such tragedies, then, let’s put guns on the back burner for a moment and instead consider the role of drugs, both legal and illegal, on violence, an alternative view that our politicians studiously avoid.
Prescribed Drugs – psychotropic drugs have made rapid inroads in our society, particularly among kids. While these drugs may offer some benefits to some patients, they also carry nasty known side effects – mood swings, depression, hostility, hypersensitivity, hallucinations, mania, suicidal thoughts, aggressive and violent behavior… Given the nature of these side effects, and the rapidly swelling number of kids that take such drugs, would it not make sense to consider their societal impact, and to specifically ask whether or not they may play a role in mass shootings? Instead, those records are sealed and hidden from public scrutiny. Our politicians should be asking why, but … the pharma industry is consistently among the 10 largest contributors to incumbent campaigns and, as we all know, money is power.
Proscribed Drugs – several studies suggest that simply legalizing marijuana would reduce the number of homicides in America every year by several thousand. Murder is endemic in parts of America, and the Drug War is front and center. With so many lives potentially at risk, legalization and an end to gangs and their black markets is worthy of at least further investigation. Our politicians should be asking why, but … the War on Drugs, if seen objectively, is nothing more than Body Control. It is just another power grab, a power grab that was successful, and they are not going to give it up without a fight.
So in our topsy-turvy world, our politicians have created a violent black market by outlawing one kind of drug, while supporting the efforts of corporate pushers to pump into our kids another kind of drug that is known to have violent side effects. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!
Gun control would not be a topic for conversation if gun violence all but disappeared. Sadly, though, reducing violence evidently is not on our politicians’ agenda. But reducing the number of privately owned guns is. Guns are power, and gun related tragedies provide an opportunity for them to turn guns into ready-made villains that peaceful citizens will be increasingly (and mistakenly) happy to discard. Unless the root drivers of violence are addressed, however, the violence will not go away with the guns. This kind of subterfuge should not be acceptable to We the People. Lives are at stake. How no longer matters – we should be demanding an answer to Why.
By Ed Rutledge
Obama leads the polls in Illinois by roughly 20%. Illinois is not a battleground state – not even close. Our Electoral College votes are already decided. Like it or not, the Presidential race is over for us, and your vote, Democrat or Republican, does not really matter in Illinois … unless you use it to set the stage for future elections.
If you still believe in individual rights, if you are dissatisfied with State government, if you are frustrated by the lackluster politicians that you are consistently offered in State elections, now is your chance to make a difference. While the Presidential race is effectively decided for us, you can still make your voice heard.
If the Libertarian candidate can get 5% of this year’s Presidential vote in Illinois (not nearly enough to swing the contest in Illinois, mind you), the Libertarians are assured of a place on the 2014 Gubernatorial ballot. Your vote in 2012 can position a Libertarian candidate in 2014 to campaign, rather than fight for a place on the ballot. In other words, rather than throwing away your vote for one of the two major party candidates in this already decided (from our State’s perspective) Presidential election, you can cast your vote for real choice in Illinois politics.
Fortunately, the Libertarian candidate on the Presidential ballot, Gary Johnson, is worthy of a look in his own right. Look him up, and you may well like what he has to say. This may be an election in which you can actually cast your vote without holding your nose.
If you are an Illinois citizen, voting GOP or Dem in this election is like betting on a horse after the race has been run. Don't throw away your vote. Stop playing checkers, and start playing chess. Cast your vote for real choice in 2014 by voting for Johnson in this election. You have nothing to lose, and real choice in 2014 to gain.
By Ed Rutledge
2010 Libertarian Candidate for Lieutenant Governor
This post is a follow-up to my post from a couple of days ago – http://rutledge4illinois.com/blog-posts/ballot-access-laws-snare-a-major-party-candidate/
Despite the legal and general definitions of “reside” and despite the impossibility of being in two places at once, the Illinois Supreme Court has decided to make a circumstantial exception to the law and allow Rahm Emanuel’s name to remain on the ballot for Chicago’s mayoral election. In other words, they are telling us that the law is a matter of convenience, and that it can and should be bent whenever it becomes politically inexpedient. Our political class is once again demonstrating that there are two categories of people in our state – those with clout, and those without.
I have often said that a good law is one which can be applied in every instance, without exception. With a wink and a nod, the Illinois Supreme Court has offered proof that Illinois’s ballot access laws are flawed. But rather than serving as an opportunity to highlight and change a bad law, this debacle will only serve as a reminder of our politicians’ ability to bend their own laws to serve their own needs.
I know first-hand how hard it is to get on the ballot in Illinois. I really did sympathize with Rahm’s plight and, frankly, the plight of Chicago voters. Citizens, not legislators, should be the ones driving the electoral process. This was a wonderful opportunity for all of us to see what is generally hidden, and to make a change. Instead, we are being told to “pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.”
Choice is good, and I am very glad to see Rahm’s name back on the ballot. It is just a shame that the highest court in Illinois had to bend the law to get it there.