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Big Government Kills


One of the questions that I always get from progressives and liberals is "what's the harm in having more ______?"  Like more gun control regulations.  More government intervention.  You get the idea. 

This past month, we saw two extreme answers to that question:  too much government may get you killed. 


Exhibit A:  This week, the FBI admitted that Dylann Roof, the terrorist that gunned down nine people in a black church in Charleston, SC, should have never been able to buy a gun because a delayed background check turned up a March 1 arrest for illegal drug possession.  So how did he get the gun he used to murder 9 innocents in a hail of hate and bullets?

The FBI examiner didn't see the conviction because it wasn't listed on the "proper" form.  And even then, the background check that would have caught it before he bought the gun didn't happen in time. 

"Proper".  Delay.  As in  bureaucracy, or what my co-host Russell Gallo likes to call the "4th branch of government". Papers passing here, there and everywhere; passing in the night as it were, shuttled to and fro, and hither, thither and yon, to the point where government's work becomes paralyzed by process.  And the solution to the paralysis?  More process to fix the process. 

Bureaucracy exists to implement law enacted by elected government, but often times, it creates a whole other set of  laws, rules, regulations, codes, holdings, administrative precedent, letter rulings, forms, requirements, fees, costs, expenditures, processes, procedures, and policy that in and of itself fills rooms, causes long lines, overly-burdensome obstacles and confusion.

In this case, bureaucracy also cost lives.


Exhibit B:  Everyone by now has heard how Kate Steinle, a young, vital American citizen with her whole life in front of her had her life snuffed out by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an illegal immigrant from Mexico who had not only been convicted of multiple felonies, but deported on five separate occasions.

But if he was deported multiple times, how was he in San Francisco?  To the shock of many, Sanchez was jailed four months ago for illegally selling marijuana and should have been sent to federal immigration officials instead of being set free, according to ICE officials. 

But he wasn't, because San Francisco officials said the city has a longstanding "sanctuary" policy that limits assistance to federal immigration authorities.  You see, San Francisco enacted one of these so-called "Sanctuary" ordinances that  prohibits employees from helping Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with immigration investigations or arrests unless such help is required by federal or state law or a warrant. 

But here's what these San Francisco officials failed to recognize in their own law.  San Francisco's so-called "Sanctuary Ordinance" has a provision which states in part:
[n]othing in this Chapter shall prohibit, or be construed as prohibiting, a law enforcement officer from identifying and reporting any person pursuant to State or federal law or regulation who is in custody after being booked for the alleged commission of a felony and is suspected of violating the civil provisions of the immigration laws.
(emphasis added). To those who need a legal translation: the San Francisco ordinance was never intended to create a sanctuary for criminals. But the bureaucracy - by choosing not to act in this case - did just that.  When Sanchez was in their grasp, San Francisco's law enforcement bureaucracy could have arranged to have had Sanchez deported yet again.  Once could even go as far as saying that reason demand that it should have deported Sanchez yet again.   

But as we know, San Francisco chose not to.  And now, Kate Steinle is dead because not only is San Francisco a sanctuary city, but because it chose to not even use its so-called "sanctuary ordinance" the way it was meant to be used. 

Big government strikes again.  Layers upon layers of conflicting law on multiple levels allowing a municipality to flaunt federal law. Even when its own local law was intended to protect people like Kate Steinle, it failed to do so.  

And now she is dead. 

***

Reasonable people can debate how much regulation is enough.  Reasonable people can debate the utility of background checks.  Reasonable people can even debate the utility of so-called "sanctuary" ordinances and local laws.  

But I think all reasonable people should agree that laws must be sustainable. 

And surely, all reasonable people must agree that government should not be so overly-burdensome as to lead to the death of its citizens. 

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About Behind Enemy Lines Radio

Behind Enemy Lines is a national Award-Winning radio show / podcast broadcasting live out of the belly of the Democratic beast - "The People's Republic of" New York City that airs on multiple radio stations as part of the Talk America Radio Network! The show is also available on multiple networks across the internet, with more being added regularly.