The Gail Gerlach case came to its conclusion by Thursday of last week. Mr. Gerlach was found “not guilty” of manslaughter when shooting and killing a thief who drove away with his car. Given what I know of the general crime situation in Spokane, Washington and the fact that the police budget for investigating property crimes was drastically slashed; I don’t figure that Mr. Gerlach had much choice in what he did next. To me, it wouldn’t have mattered if Mr. Gerlach had done all the right things: turning off his car engine, locking his car door, while going inside his home to get whatever else he might need before going to work. If the thief wanted to steal his car, he’d do it anyway.
What happened that day, when the thief was shot and killed while driving off with Mr. Gerlach’s car, was effectively a crime of opportunity. How people on Facebook or elsewhere chose to react, was quite another matter. So, I will turn to Job and the fact that God made certain arrangements with Satan, to test the limits of Job’s belief and piety. Job loses his health and wealth. Job loses his children. His wife turns on him. Instead of his friends offering sympathy and support, they become his accusers. “Stuff” mattered to Job too. Without the “stuff” that gave Job some measure of meaning in his life, he didn’t want to live and further, did not wish to be born.
No one knows Mr. Gerlach’s financial circumstances. Could he have afforded the insurance to replace a stolen car? Would the insurance company have been prepared to replace a stolen car, upon reports that perhaps Mr. Gerlach was momentarily “careless?” Regardless, I found myself appalled at seeing people defend a dead thief, and wanting to hold his victim accountable, for defending his household and property. That somehow, he must be forced to bear more “guilt” for wanting to defend his “stuff,” even after the Jury’s decision was reached, than the Jury was willing to give him. After all, he was declared “not guilty” in the eyes of the law.
This has no comparison to the George Zimmerman case, where he shot and killed a teenage boy; he willfully chose to confront at the time and fought. Regardless, on far more shaky grounds than was evident in the Gerlach case, Mr. Zimmerman was acquitted: “not guilty” in the eyes of the law. Mr. Zimmerman wasn’t defending “stuff,” because the teenager hadn’t stolen anything of Mr. Zimmerman’s. But Mr. Zimmerman had far more defenders, it would seem, than Mr. Gerlach does. From what I can see, these two cases present the two sides of liberalism, at its worst!
The Nevada rancher, whose name I don’t have here, has been grazing his herds of cattle on public land for several years. Well, the operative phrase is, “public land,” and the Nevada rancher is a business owner. As a business owner, he did not wish to pay the grazing fees for running his herds of cattle on public land, for the last two years. I am quite sure that the fellow wanted to make some asinine political point out of it. However, while he might be an “owner” of what is called public land; he isn’t the sole owner of that public land. It is the rest of us paying the taxes, who subsidize his wanting to graze his cattle for free, on those very same public lands. As this story developed, now BLM is rounding up the rancher’s cattle and the private militia groups gather, to provoke an armed confrontation. Meanwhile, this Nevada rancher is enjoying his fifteen minutes of fame, by declaring that he is a victim of “tyranny.” Maybe he should have just paid his grazing fees.
On Facebook, there was a fellow who had some yelping to do about the government. Well, the government he only voted for to represent him. Then he goes on to defend this radical Nevada rancher… What is there to defend? In effect, the John and Jane Does of Facebook, are the people that this rancher is supposed to be paying the rent to. He has refused to do so over the last two years. So, the people who want to know why Mr. Rancher isn’t paying his dues, who finally insist that he needs to do so, find themselves facing an armed confrontation instead. That is the real world, and the rancher is engaging in radical politics, to justify what ought to be criminal behavior.
Finally, the Hal Dixon letter in “The Inlander.”
Wealthy Conservatives Aren’t to Blame
In “Inside the donut” (4/3/14), Robert Herold paints with a very broad brush with his critique of wealthy conservatives and supply-side economics. He mentions “Romney-world—where it is right and fair that much more goes to far fewer.”
Yet, Mr. Romney has not been our president for the past five years, while middle class income has dropped at its highest percentage ever. This happened on Barack Obama’s watch, and he is not a supply-sider. Supply-side economics worked for Kennedy, Reagan, and even for Clinton, but over the past five years throwing over a trillion dollars into our economy has provided us with the worst recovery from a recession in history. Is it still Bush’s fault?
Most knowledgeable people agree that the main reason our middle class is shrinking is due to jobs fleeing to other countries. Is it greedy CEOs looking for more profits, or is it greedy unions striking for ridiculous wage and benefit packages, or is it that we cannot compete with countries like Vietnam and China? Probably some of each, but don’t lay it all on wealthy conservatives’ doorstep. There’s enough blame to go around. When’s the last time you went shopping for “made in America” goods only?
When Ronald Regan pushed “Supply-side economics,” because President Kennedy in his lifetime never did so, President Reagan had shifted his liberal Democrat focus from “the people” to the corporate office. At the time he did so, he also moved to protect American companies from foreign competition. In a word, Mr. Reagan saw the activist government he could very well love, as long as he could use it to defend deep pocketed special interests. People, at the head of research and development, who could have fashioned the better widget, and preferred to use that money to buy influence at the federal level instead.
About a decade later, NAFTA became law at Clinton’s hand. NAFTA came about because wealthy CEO’s didn’t want to spend the money to build a better widget. They’d rather spend the money pushing laws like NAFTA, and later, CAFTA. And while it is easy enough to “blame the greed of unions” for why American companies moved entire factories to Vietnam and China; I wouldn’t suggest that American CEO’s couldn’t have “competed” with China and Vietnam. No, they didn’t want to pay for an American workforce, period. And that was true from the time of Clinton through Bush 2. Ultimately, what I call wanting the profits, without actually putting any effort into it.
Then there is the off-shore bank accounts where wealthy corporate CEOs keep their money, on a presumptively “tax free” basis. Mr. Dixon of Spokane, Washington neglects to mention that. Money that is put into off-shore accounts and kept there, isn’t being utilized in an American economy. It isn’t being used to pay salaries or hourly wages, it isn’t being used to develop “made in America” widgets. Under the circumstances, I would not call such people “conservative.” Even further, they expect their profits to be further subsidized by the taxpaying citizens of this country.
The other liberalism: when you make excuses for what isn’t right.