Monday, November 14, 2011

Another demand for federal intrusion

Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficial… the greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding. — Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis
At Penn State University, Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant to longtime football coach Joe Paterno, has been indicted with 40 charges related to the child sex abuse of eight boys over 15 years. One of the victims was as young as 7. Many of the alleged offenses took place on the Penn State campus. Paterno and University President Graham Spanier were fired because trustees felt they did not do enough to alert law enforcement authorities after an alleged assault by Sandusky in March 2002.

Now enters a courageous Utah woman named Elizabeth Smart. As a 14-year-old girl, Miss Smart was the victim of kidnapping and months of child rape. She was finally rescued and appears to have gone on to live a remarkably healthy life, although I suspect she still suffers deeply from her ordeal.

Today, in response to the Penn State scandal, Miss Smart called for the president of the United States to declare a national emergency to rescue children who are victims of sexual abuse and exploitation.

There is no question that those who abuse children -- especially sexually -- deserve harsh penalties. But, I disagree with Miss Smart that the President or anyone else in the central government has a roll in this issue.

The US Constitution gives authority to the central government to deal only a couple of crimes. Child or sex abuse is not among them. The Tenth Amendment clearly states that all powers and rights not specifically delegated to the central government are retained by the States and the People.

If we, the People, expect to ever regain control of the central government, we all must stop demanding Congress and the President fix every problem for us.

I admire Miss Smart's strength after the horrible crime she suffers from. Instead of asking the President declare a national emergency (which only enables the central government to grab even more unconstitutional power), I suggest she lead a campaign to address the issue with state legislatures and governors nationwide. That is the appropriate level to address this sort of crime.

Be very careful what you wish for, Miss Smart. You might get it.

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