Sunday, November 30, 2008

The News Journal finds its Libertarian groove...

Let's see, in today's edition they published Patricia Cavender's op-ed on privatizing or outsourcing DelDot:

We could probably deal with a neighboring state or a private firm for less than we're paying for a poor excuse for engineering.

That, of course, quails in contention with some actual investigative reporting that reveals the Delaware State Police are using their discretionary authority to break Federal law and abuse privacy rights with so-called Superchecks on gun-onwers.

That's unusual in and of itself, but what about this editorial from our usual uber-Statist friends?

The report on today's front page by investigative reporter Lee Williams about the Delaware State Police's use of so-called "superchecks" on gun possession is at least disturbing and possibly a violation of federal law. This is not the kind of information Delawareans want to read about their nationally recognized state law enforcement agency.

Simply because the state police can access mental health records from their portable computers isn't a reason to do it. But that's exactly what it looks like: They do it because they can.

As Drewry Fennell -- executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware -- said, mental health history of citizens is surrounded by "robust protections. There's a clear directive that they're [computer checks] not supposed to be used for general law enforcement purposes." Emphasis on the word not.

And it certainly doesn't speak well for the state police when our neighbors in Maryland and Pennsylvania say their police don't do any such thing like what Delaware does with the confidential mental health records.

The News Journal found that more than 10 percent of background checks denied by the state Firearms Transaction Approval Program were requested by state troopers, not by gun dealers for whom the program was created by the state Legislature. None of the people on whom the background checks were made had signed consent forms, also required by state law.

The state police seem to dismiss these violations of law and personal rights as something they must do for their job. It doesn't look that way to us.

Five will get you ten that we won't quickly find our liberal/progressive friends jumping through hoops to support this patently illegal activity with all the fervor they used to denounce the Bush administration for warrantless wiretaps.

No, I'm not holding my breath.


Anonymous said...

Er, not to be contrary, but this progressive thinks this is a completely draconian overreach by the state police.

If they don't have the authority to make these checks (which they shouldn't in any event) then they should be punished under the law.


Anonymous said...

Joe M,

Good for you.

We libertarians should be less knee-jerk dismissive to all leftists. Some of them will defend civil liberties even when the transgressor is a democrat or in a blue state. As the right divorces us, and vice versa, we will have to look for friends from across the left-right spectrum. Lew Rockwell has a really good piece on this:

I'm glad to see you sticking to your guns, Joe.