on “Waiting for José”, and Harel Shapira

In “Bowling Alone”, [Robert] Putnam’s diagnosis of America’s decline is rooted in the loss of civic engagement and the decline in associated life. What America has lost, Putnam argues, are institutions – ranging from churches to book clubs – in which people can come together and do things as a part of a collective, as members of a shared community; what America has lost are Americans who seek institutions; what America has lost is the spirit that is at the heart of our democracy. It is the spirit that Alexis de Tocqueville noticed in the eighteenth century and claimed as the source of America’s strength. The Minutemen agree. And the Minutemen have that spirit. What they lack is not a democratic ethos. They are what people like Putnam and de Tocqueville and our whole liberal democratic political tradition want out of citizens; engaged, active, concerned.

From “Waiting for José” by Harel Shapira.

I met Harel about a year ago. He was a student in a class I was teaching at KR Training. As far as I knew, he was just another student. Turns out that’s not quite the case. 🙂 He’s also an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Texas, Austin.

Harel’s sociological interest is in guns, gun culture, firearms education, the culture of armed citizens, and the people within. He wants to understand why people join social movements, and a large part of that is the “doing” of those movements – and so, he seeks to immerse himself in the movements and “doing” them as well. He’s still an observer and tries to remain as such, but yet he must also participate. It’s quite interesting.

Harel wanted to speak with me (beyond class) on some topics. In part because of my role as Assistant Lead Instructor at KR Training, and also in part because of the incident I was involved in on January 5, 2015. More recently, we’ve started talking again regarding phase 2 of his research (which I don’t believe I can disclose at this time, but it’s a logical progression of his research). I have maintained I will always speak about that incident, because in doing so others can learn and perhaps the world can become a little wiser, a little better. We’ve had a few long lunches, talking at great length about all manner of things (and I truly enjoy our talks). But that’s not why I write today.

Harel’s PhD dissertation became a book: “Waiting for José – the Minuteman’s Pursuit of America“. Harel gave me a copy. On a long flight to Seattle I was finally able to read it – and I’m so glad I did.

The book is thought-provoking. It caused me to reflect. It made me think deeper, not so much about The Minuteman movement or guns and gun culture – but about modern society, and our humanness. For this alone, I think this book well worth reading by anyone, and hopefully they too can step back from the specific subject matter and consider the grander implications of modern society in the USA as well as that strange thing we call “human nature”.

The Minutemen

Briefly, the book chronicles a lengthy period of time Harel spent with the Minutemen. These are people who volunteer to sit at the US-Mexico border, watching for “José” to cross illegally, and work to assist the Border Patrol in their capture.

In the pages of everything from local to international newspapers were photographs of camouflaged men prowling the desert, seemingly a moment away from committing violence. You have probably read these articles and seen these images. The liberal media describes the Minutemen as “sorry-ass gun freaks and sociopaths,” while the conservative media characterizes them as “extraordinary men and women… heroes”. In some accounts these people are patriots; in others, they are lunatics.

One thing is certain, these men and women, whatever their given labels suggest, have come to play an enormous role in our country’s debates about immigration. The problem is that our standard judgements, whether damning them or praising them, sidestep the complex dynamics of who these people are and what they do on the border.

Liberal media accounts suggest that when it comes to immigration, what the Minutemen and their supporters lack is sympathy. If only they understood the plight of the people coming across the border, they would change their minds. But if we are to understand the Minutemen, we need to understand how anger and sympathy can coexist.

Harel writes direct from his experience – he’s the one telling the story. He tells of his experiences: his first arrival, his getting thrown out, his return and initial gaining of trust, the times going out on patrol, sitting in the comms room, and other stories of his experiences with these men and women. He works to analyze and understand why these people do what they do, and become the people they become as a part of this movement.

For example, he tells the tale of Gordon. Gordon was a man without the same background as so many other Minutemen – no military, no law enforcement. Just someone who felt a pull to the movement, had no idea how to participate, but had a burning desire to do so. Then how seeing Gordon over the course of two years, how Gordon grew, how he changed, and how being a Minuteman defined his life and gave him solid purpose.

It becomes very easy to dismiss these people because they are different from you. It’s not a movement you’d join, and it seems a little weird, right? So that must mean these people are weird too. And so, they are dismissed as weirdos and written off.

But what Harel works to do? To find and show their humanness.

Because they are human, just like you.

They want to belong. They want to feel worthwhile. They want to contribute. They want to make a difference. They want to be meaningful.

Just like you.

Sure, the specifics will vary – and they even vary within this grouping. But what I found compelling about Harel’s research – and remember, that Harel is very much an outsider in almost every way – is his desire to understand. Sure, he can’t totally remove his own bias, his own filters, but it’s that very lens that makes the book the worthwhile read. Harel is naive, green, ignorant of this world, with his own preconceived notions. Sure it’s interesting to read the picture painted about The Minutemen, but it’s also worthwhile to watch Harel’s own evolution through this experience.

For me, it was especially interesting to watch because the Harel I met and know is not the same Harel as in the book. So for me, it was neat to see that further backstory to enable me to better understand where Harel is coming from, and where he’s trying to go to with his continued research.

It all boils down to a simple thing: to understanding. Why people are as they are. What makes us human. And you will find that they may not be like you, yet you are more like them than you could ever imagine.

Beyond José

To that, Harel’s latest research (as of this writing) has been published in the March 2018 issue of Qualitative Sociology, entitled “Learning to Need a Gun”. I was a participant in the research, I’ve read his paper, and while sometimes it was a hard read, I felt it was an accurate picture. Hard read? Because there are aspects of modern gun culture that are hard to accept, but to me that just means there’s work ahead towards improving how things are.

If you want to go forward with Harel, I suggest you go backwards a bit. Here’s an interview he did with the UT Sociology department back in 2013 that explains a lot about where he’s coming from.

And for the record, there’s a number of things Harel and I do not agree on. But I’ve found him to be fair and honest, and earnest in his research. I’ve also found that I really enjoy our lunches together. He’s engaging, thought-provoking, and open. I greatly enjoy talking with him, even if we may not agree (what a concept these days, eh?).

I know a lot of people are into the work of David Yamane and his “Gun Culture 2.0” research. Harel and David know each other, and Harel presented at Wake Forest back in 2016. If you dig what David is doing, you should also be following what Harel is doing.

And a great place to start? Reading Harel’s book, “Waiting for José“.

Why are guns a right?

The fundamental question is “What is a ‘Right’?”

Several people here state that education is a right, or that healthcare is a right.

No, they’re not.

While I’m not an Objectivist, I think Ayn Rand was correct when she stated:

A ‘right’ is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s right to his own life.

As others have stated, “guns” aren’t a right, the right to self-defense – protection of one’s own life – is. The right to keep and bear arms is its corollary, for if denied the tools of that defense, the right is essentially stripped.

Education? You have the right to study anything you wish. What you don’t have is the right to make someone teach you. Health care? Same thing. You have the right to take care of yourself, but not force others to care for you.

Because forcing others violates their rights.

So why is the right to arms listed in the Bill of Rights, but education and healthcare are not? Because the Constitution is a legal document that establishes the limits of power of a governing body. If the Constitution were a document that said only what government could not do, it would be infinitely long. Instead, the body of the Constitution itself lists the powers that the Federal government has, and the mechanism under which those powers are established, maintained and exercised. The Bill of Rights is a (limited) list of things that government is warned explicitly not to trifle with, and a warning that there are other such rights not so listed.

The Tenth Amendment, too, is a limit that basically says “Only powers defined here belong to the Federal Government. Everything else is a power reserved to the States or The People. Hands off.”

So of course that’s the first one that got folded, spindled, mutilated and incinerated.

So what do we gather from this? That EDUCATION and HEALTHCARE are not in the purview of the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. It’s not the job of the Federal Government to provide these things, subsidize these things, or regulate these things except as they affect interstate commerce. (A clause that has been stretched to obscene lengths ever since Wickard v. Filburn)

It doesn’t matter if they seem to be good ideas. Those powers were not given to the Federal Government by the Constitution. They’re (as you observed) not mentioned in that document. They’re among the “powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution.” And they’re not rights.

But they are most definitely powers.

By Kevin Baker, posted here.

Why strip away only this one right?

There’s talk these days about stripping away particular rights of American citizens, all in the name of “safety” and “saving lives” or what have you.

It’s curious tho why only one particular right is discussed as worthy of stripping away.

Should people on a terror watch list be allowed to attend a suspected radicalized house of worship? Why allow them to congregate at all? Why is a person suspected of planning terror allowed to have a Facebook or Twitter account to spew hate and network with other terrorists? If the pen is mightier than the sword, shouldn’t we go after Tweets instead of guns? “Like” or “share” if you agree.

We should also allow the FBI to have unfettered access to their emails and tap their phones so we can ensure they aren’t planning the next massacre. Being on this secret list is reason enough; it shouldn’t require the lengthy process of obtaining a warrant from an obtuse judge. I say quarter a cop in their homes for extra security.

Full article

Indeed. The Founding Fathers never envisioned “assault rifles”, nor did they envision the Internet – or Pokémon Go (and the intensive technology that enables it). And if the Internet can be used as a gateway for pedophiles, to enable child pornography, sex trafficking, terrorist plotting, and all manner of other atrocities well… why aren’t those rights being stripped?

Why just this particular one? Why is this particular one acceptable?

If some person is so potentially dangerous, why aren’t we locking them up? Why aren’t we just executing them on the spot?

I know I’m going to an extreme, but it’s the direction this thinking points towards.

Tell me folks… where does it end?

When it is enough?

And why isn’t it already too much?

Peace… and bullies

I honestly do support peace, communication and compromise.

But I do so not from a position of virtue singling or that these ideas are morally superior. It’s because I truly understand how much violence and hatred suck. I’m talking screaming, blood spatter and bodies ‘suck.’

Unfortunately, we have two contributing problems to the third. One is that ‘peace’ has become a not just a moral issue, but a moral superiority one. “I’m better than you because I believe in peace.’ Two is that this position has expanded into cowardice and inaction. That is someone who uses the excuse of “I believe in peace” so they don’t have to step up or confront something that is spinning out into extremes and heading towards violence.

The third problem is bullies. See in a peaceful, non violent world, the bully is king. He can be as pushy, demanding, vicious and violent as he wants and nobody can stop him. Or to be more precise, nobody will stop him. It’s a win for the violent bully.

That’s what happens when people think that peace is a morally superior position. First, they forget that the negotiating table is the option that sucks less. Second they’re at a loss when someone realizes the inherent weakness of their unpreparedness and exploits it. Third, they’ve lost sight of negotiation without the ability to back it up is begging. Fourth, way too often they start crossing the lines too. (Different tactics, but very much the same strategy and goals.) That last leads to the fifth problem, which is they see no reason not to become bullies themselves.

That works until the shooting starts.

I’d kind of like to get back to the negotiating table with the understanding that peace is not a virtue, it’s survival. Because the alternative is really really ugly.

– Marc MacYoung

Posted by Marc on Facebook.

How to make progress

We will make better progress if we start from where we agree and work with open minds and open hearts, than to start from where we disagree and drive the wedge even further.

 

Does video tell the whole truth?

I enjoy it when my disparate interests overlap in some way. In this case, powerlifting and personal safety.

In recent years, especially the past some months, it’s become a hot topic to have police body cameras. Basically, people want recordings of every facet of police interactions. This is understandable as it generally works to protect all involved because “video doesn’t lie”.

But does video tell the whole truth?

In powerlifting, squat depth is a big deal. To oversimplify, a legitimate squat is one where your thighs are parallel to the ground, or deeper (e.g your butt touches your heels). People putting massive weights on their back and only moving them about 3 inches then claiming awesomeness — that’s not legit. All sorts of videos come out of lifters making “world record squats”, and the first thing people do is gripe if the lifter squatted to depth or not. Granted some squats (and meet judging) are legitimately up for question, but most often the squat is passed by the meet judges but not the Internet armchair judges — because of the video.

The video may be poor. The video may be at a “wrong” angle. The video isn’t likely to see and reproduce what the 3 meet judges see.

And this could be good, this could be bad. It could give you the proper perspective, or it could give you the wrong perspective.

Is the video lying?

Is the video telling the (whole) truth?

What got me thinking about this was the recent posting of the dashcam video of a controversial police interaction. Commenters took the video as objective proof. Interestingly, some commenters took it as objective proof the cop was in the right, and some commenters took it as objective proof the cop was in the wrong.

Objective?

I thought back to the endless debates on powerlifting videos about their “objectivity”, because if video was in fact objective, if video told the Truth, there should be no debate about someone’s squat depth. But yet there is.

Back in 2014, the well-respected Force Science Institute published a list of “10 Limitations of body cams you need to know for your protection”. Original PDF here, article reprint here. You should read the article for a complete explanation, but here are the 10 points:

  1. A camera doesn’t follow your eyes or see as they see.
  2. Some important danger cues can’t be recorded.
  3. Camera speed differs from the speed of life.
  4. A camera may see better than you do in low light.
  5. Your body may block the view.
  6. A camera only records in 2-D.
  7. The absence of sophisticated time-stamping may prove critical.
  8. One camera may not be enough.
  9. A camera encourages second-guessing.
  10. A camera can never replace a thorough investigation.

I know some are going to read that list, especially because the article is titled “for your [police] protection”, assume there’s bias and these are just trying to give police “outs”, and then dismiss the article.

So let’s go back and look at this list in the context of powerlifting videos.

The camera does not follow the eyes of the judges nor does the camera see what the judges see. There may be bodies blocking the view (happens all the time when the video comes from audience members and there are lots of burly guys crowding around the squatter to spot the lift). One camera isn’t enough, when there are 3 judges precisely to judge multiple angles. Cameras only record in 2-D, and if you’ve seen some powerlifters, these guys are certainly bulging out in many places. Cameras certainly encourage second-guessing (look at all the armchair judges).

It doesn’t matter what you’re filming, these limitations apply.

We must also remember that these videos are often interpreted through the bias of the viewer.

Let’s go back to squat depth. Brandon Morrison wrote an article examining the rulebook of 10 powerlifting federations to compare how they defined legal squat depth. What you find is while everyone strives for the same basic idea, there’s a lot of variance in definition.

One thing that will be the same across all feds is the fact that the line which separates the champ from the chump, the white lights from the red lights and 9/9 from bombing out is an imaginary and invisible line whose axis through disputed points is in the heads of the three individual judges who preside over your lift. No, it’s not perfect; it’s subjective. Deal with it.

Emphasis added.

Often the armchair judges insert their own interpretation of the rules or what they feel is right or wrong. A great example is Shao Chu’s 400# bench press:

Is that a legit bench press? Sure is, because it’s within the rules of the game. But hopefully even if you don’t know much about lifting weights you can see why that lift might be considered controversial (was it even a lift? did the bar even move?).

And so it goes with police interactions, because everyone is a lawyer and legal expert, right? And even if you know the law, do you know all the laws? That video may have been filmed in a different city, in a different state, in a different country, where laws are different from what you may know. As well, do you know the police’s operating procedure and rules and regulations they must abide by (beyond the law)?

When you view the video, are you viewing it through an objective lens, or the lens of your personal bias, (lack of) experience, and/or (lack of) knowledge? I hate to tell you, but it’s probably the latter no matter how much you strive for it (or believe it to be) the former. Doesn’t matter if it’s a dashcam video or a powerlifting video.

I think video is a good thing. I think video is a solid tool towards helping us preserve history and protect ourselves. Given the proliferation of cameras, either because our governments are putting more out “on the streets” or simply because everyone’s got a smartphone in their pocket, we’re going to see more and more video and relying more on video to help us find Truth.

But in doing so, we must take video for what it is. It is not The One Source, it is not (unbiased) Truth. It has limitations, and we must remember that in our quest for Truth.

Hello Amazon

Saying goodbye to Sprouts is tough. You know the saying, “don’t you what you’ve got, ’til it’s gone”? Well, now that Sprouts is gone, I realize it was a larger part of our groceries than I realized (I knew it was a primary, but it’s even more than I knew). I didn’t realize how many Sprouts-branded things Wife bought. Everywhere I look in the fridge, in the pantry, I see Sprouts, Sprouts, Sprouts.

But in time, our stock will dwindle. And in the meantime, I can hope Sprouts will reconsider their decision, basing upon facts and not emotion.

The hardest part was thinking what to do as an alternative. There’s a lot of things we bought that we can’t find at other stores in town, or to do so would become difficult, with Wife running all over town to collect all the things we use. That’s a big sink of gas money, and most of all… time.

You know the saying about closing a door and opening a window? Well… I think in this case, what was opened was a laptop computer lid. 🙂

I’ve shopped at Amazon for many years. I mean, what CAN’T you find there? Very few things. And Amazon works at expanding its offerings all the time.

I’ve never bought Amazon Prime tho, because I never felt like I ordered enough in a year to have Prime offset the shipping costs. I mean, most things I order from Amazon I can wait a week or two for, so I’ll always pick the cheapest slowest option, which often yielded free shipping anyways. So it was just difficult to justify Prime. And things like Kindle and movies? Meh.

But I thought about it. Yeah, what can’t you get? Often the prices are competitive or better. So Wife and I sat and searched Amazon for many of the foodstuffs and other products we bought at Sprouts. And gee if we couldn’t find most everything there. In fact, there’s probably a lot of non-Sprouts things too that we could get. I tried to convince Wife to consider Amazon for things like toilet paper, paper towels, etc. (things you know you’ll use and use a lot of, eventually in time), but the idea never really took off with either of us because again, shipping.

But now? Well, we’ve been pushed to try it. 🙂

I signed up for Amazon Prime. When it comes to things like groceries yeah, I’d rather have it in 2 days than 2 weeks. If I can get 2-day shipping “for free”, and we can buy a huge bulk of stuff via Amazon (regardless of container size and weight), well gee… I suspect we could do alright with this. That local grocery shopping could be reduced to things like fruit, eggs, milk, etc.. I mean, we get our veggies delivered once a week….

The biggest win that Wife sees? Time. It’s a big time sink to do all that grocery shopping. But now? She can shop and build her cart in her own time. While she’s homeschooling the kids, they’re doing some work and she can search and click to get shopping done. Kids need attention? she can stop, tend to them, then resume shopping as time permits. She can shop at 5 AM before the kids get up, or whatever. There’s more flexibility, there’s better use of time.

I also think it could be a win because impulse buying might be curbed.

So… this will be an experiment. We haven’t bought anything yet and I don’t know how it will go. But, this should be fun to explore.

Your business, or your rights?

The other day when I attended my Texas Concealed Handgun Instructor certification renewal class, many people arrived quite early (including myself). While in line waiting for the doors to open, I listened to a lot of the conversations happening around me.

One of the big topics was the recent changes to the CHL-related laws: the change in number of hours (4-6 hours for the classroom), and the removal of classroom/proficiency for renewals. There were many comments and much discussion going on about the various aspects and impacts this had, but one line of discussion stood out to me.

There was talk about loss of business. This makes sense. If people had to come to you for renewals but now that need is eliminated, that’s a fair portion of your business killed off. And now if people don’t need to be in your classroom for as much time, you just can’t charge as much money for those classes.

I cannot deny this affects and hurts business, and there were voices expressing how upset they were the law changed in a manner that damaged their business. I cannot fault them for being upset about this.

But what do you want?

If there was open carry and Constitutional Carry in Texas, you wouldn’t have any business at all! Are you saying it’s more important to preserve your business model than your fundamental rights?

I’m not necessarily advocating one way or the other, but just step back from your emotions for a moment and consider your stance.

Meantime, I see many ways in which the change in the law actually opens doors for creative business-folk to offer more classes, more instruction, and work in ways that can improve the class, capability, and confidence of Texas CHL holders. Of course, it might mean you have to get out and expand your business, your marketing efforts, your own skills and résumé so you can offer these things and still grow your business. But isn’t that what America is supposed to be about? You getting off your duff and building the future you want, instead of having the government structure and hand you something?

 

Rights

If you’re moderately intelligent and intellectually honest, you’ll quickly see what separates the rights laid out in the real Bill of Rights from those laid out in FDR’s misguided list — none of the rights listed above require the time, treasure, or talents of another human being. Your right to speak requires nothing from anyone else. Your right to practice your religion requires nothing from any of your fellow citizens. Your right to bear arms means that you are allowed to possess weapons to defend yourself and your family, but it makes no demand that a weapon be provided to you by anyone. A true human right is one that you possess, even if you’re the only person on the entire planet — and it is unconditional.

I saw the above on Marc MacYoung’s Facebook page. Here’s where it came from.

Good for you, Mayor Stothert

The new Mayor of Omaha, Jean Stothert, just got her concealed handgun permit.

Mayor Jean Stothert is now the proud owner of a black, Austrian-made Glock 26 pistol.

But you might not be able to tell when she’s packing. The mayor says she’s awaiting delivery of a state concealed-carry handgun permit.

“It is not an issue of being afraid,” Stothert said Friday. “It’s an issue of not being afraid to protect myself.”

“Because it is the law, I wanted to really understand what went on in that concealed-carry class,” she added. “I thought, as mayor, I needed to understand.”

Before I go any further, I should give some context.

I was born in Omaha and still have family there. It might be my hometown because of birth, but I no longer consider it so because I’ve lived in Texas for 20 years — far more than I ever lived anywhere else. Austin is home to me. But still, family is there and they have a fair presence in town. I mean, my Dad was US Congressman from Omaha for 8 years, and did spend 6 years as Mayor as well. So there’s some interest in this for me.

Omaha has a lot of violence problems. Lots of gang problems. They worked hard to build things up, to try to combat and deal with it. A recent/former Mayor did a lot to tear down all that hard work and folks tell me things regressed pretty badly under his tenure. Jean Stothert looks to try to remedy things, so here’s hoping. And her getting a permit seems a good step. Because while Nebraska is generally alright in terms of gun laws, Omaha has a lot of weird things because it somehow thought more laws and ordinances would be adhered to by drug gangs. Yeah… people willing to smuggle millions of dollars of pot, heroin, and cocaine somehow care about your ordinance. 🙄 So law-abiding folks get abridged, and this even caused some weirdness for me when I’ve traveled there. Frankly, the laws there are really unclear, especially for visitors. But I don’t want to digress into this, other than to say maybe with this, Mayor Stothert will be able to fix things.

I do appreciate her desire to go through the process to gain first-hand understanding. Wouldn’t it be nice if more politicians gained first-hand experience about matters so they could better do their jobs? And not just doing it for a photo-op.

She does seem to get it:

“People have a right. They have a right according to the Second Amendment,” Stothert said. “And I feel like I want to let people understand that I agree with that right, and I don’t think that restricting gun ownership from responsible gun owners is the way that you address irresponsible (owners), and gun crimes and gun violence in a city.

“You’re not going to be able to restrict guns with responsible people and reduce the gun violence; you’re just not.”

So that’s good.

But this….

“If there is the occasion that I feel like I want to carry it, now I will be able to,” she said. “But I don’t have any intention of carrying it here while I’m at work.”

Members of Stothert’s staff already do. Stothert’s has a rotating security detail of retired Omaha police officers. Chief of Staff Marty Bilek — a retired Douglas County sheriff’s deputy — recently won the right to carry his old service weapon at work.

Because the City-County Building doesn’t allow weapons, Stothert had to seek permission from the Omaha Douglas Public Building Commission for Bilek’s gun.

That bothers me a bit more.

And there’s this:

In her request, Stothert raised the prospect of gunmen targeting random citizens or elected officials in a mass shooting.

“Our request for him to carry a weapon inside city hall is simply another layer of caution,” Stothert said at the time.

Stothert said she’s been threatened before, in phone calls and emails that she declined to elaborate on. The mayor said she hasn’t been threatened since taking office.

“I feel very safe and secure at work. I feel very safe and secure in my home,” the mayor said. “But again, I feel like its a right, and I wanted to exercise my right.”

I’m sure Gabby Giffords felt very safe and secure. In fact, most of us all feel safe and secure, until we get violated.

It’s a question of mindset here. But, I’m not going to totally be mad at her because she admits she did this more for the education than anything else. Plus yes, she has a security detail. Now I recall my Dad having some level of security, but it wasn’t like the Secret Service hovering over him at every moment. Maybe things are different now and she does have more regular security. But if not, just realize, Mayor Stothert, that those holes are when you are more vulnerable.

Yeah, you’ve been threatened. I actually recall my Dad receiving threats. I don’t know the extent of all that he’s dealt with as he chose to shield his children from such things (understandable). But in later years both Mom and Dad have revealed to me they received threats. I have to figure that it’s worse these days… the way things are these days. *sigh*

Anyways, I think what also bugs me is the statement of her security having to “win the right” to carry his service weapon at work.

Since when do we have to “win the right”? There’s something inherently backwards and wrong about that mentality. Just think about it. Should have to win the right to speak freely at the office? on public ground? Should have to win the right to attend the religious service of your choice?

And it’s her security detail. Why should someone tasked with the duty of protecting another have to jump through hoops to do their job? That’s just wrong.

But this is precisely what I hope Mayor Stothert may be able to improve in Omaha. Law-abiding citizens should not have to go through such hassle to go about their law-abiding lives. We need to rebuild a world where good people can live their good lives without abridgement, and only work to abridge those that infringe upon others to freely live their lives.

Good luck, Mayor Stothert.