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Radical Islam and Active Shooter Incidents.

The recent mass shooting in San Bernardino, California is the latest shocking incident of innocent people being gunned down by murderers for reasons really only known by the attackers themselves, both of which are now dead. The husband/wife team in this last incident is now reported to have been somehow linked to, or at least sympathetic with, the Islamic State of Iraq (ISIS). Federal law enforcement officials say that the wife pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in a Facebook post and that the husband had contact with people from at least two terrorist organizations overseas. Heated debates are continuing regarding how to deal with the possibility of further “active shooter” gun attacks by “radical Islamic terrorists” here in the United States.

We must avoid the tendency of a “knee jerk” reaction and rush into things without critical analysis. There is a natural tendency to take the killing done by only 2 out of a group of close to a billion worldwide and then suggest policy based on the false stereotype that they are all “killers”. 2 out of a billion mathematically works out to such a small percentage that it rounds off to 0%. Even if you add in the numbers involved in all “radical Islam” mass shootings done worldwide in recent times, it is true that nearly 100% are not likely to kill or injure anyone at all. But people fear the shocking and brutal news stories although they are the rare exceptions and not the rule.

Further, there has been talk — even among political candidates — about the use of Federal Government “Watch Lists” where the people (the ones who are characterized as these potential “killers”) would be required to go through a formal registration process and then be subject to Big Government action or intervention as needed. All because of incidents that involve such a small percentage of such a large group. Some have called for either severely restricting and some others — even the outright banning of any more coming into this country.

A surprising number of citizens are calling for a complete prohibition and seizure of those that are already in this country legally (many for generations)and even advocating “rounding them all up” and keeping them in government facilities! If you fail to comply, you will go to prison. This is troubling not only because of the false characterization of them being broadly defined as “killers”, (and what many have loudly proclaimed they do not want having next door to them or in their communities, and certainly never in their own houses) but also because it presents various legal and moral hurdles.

The United States Constitution expressly prohibits exactly what some people are calling for — the total prohibition or even just the mere Big Government registration process. Let’s face it, the vast majority of them will never kill you or hurt you at all. Most are involved in peaceful activities and never bother anybody. Often, the entire subject need not even come up in conversation since it is a personal decision that each American has the right to decide for himself (or herself) and we need not justify those decisions to anyone.

Now, you might think that I am talking about Muslims here. I am not. I am talking about guns.

Let us not rush to judgement until we consider all of the implications.

Google Is Not a Right

The search engine Google has come under fire for keeping track of what its visitors have searched for. Opponents claim that this is an invasion of privacy. Proponents claim that this helps in marketing by showing more suitable ads to a visitor based on his or her searching interests. Some critics of this marketing strategy have suggested laws that should be enacted preventing Google from tracking your search history.

Either way, let us look at the issue at hand.

Google is a company that has a web site made for searching the internet. Because it is a very plain-looking site it loads very quickly into your internet browser. It is really made for just one purpose – to search the internet. It became popular because it delivers very accurate results that many believe to be superior to what other search engines deliver.

The search engine and the website itself were designed by somebody. The computers that host the site and run the searches were bought by somebody. The day to day maintenance and upkeep of the site is paid for by someone. Visitors to the website pay nothing to use the site.

Visitors can use the site if they wish. They can also use another search engine if they wish. Further, they can even choose to use no search engine — or the internet itself. If there is something that a visitor does not like about the site, there is no money to be refunded, no warrantee to be honored, and no basis for any complaint to Google. One can simply refuse to use the site.

Because the Google search engine has made searching the internet so much easier, faster, and more effective, the word “Google” has become a verb that means “to search the internet”. It has become such a part of so many people’s lives that it is often taken for granted. What is forgotten is that it is the property and the business venture of somebody else. It is not a right. It is also not a necessity.

Oftentimes today, people believe that something that makes their life easier and better is a necessity. It is common then for this “necessity” to evolve into a “right”. When one believes that his or her “rights” are violated, what results is often a lawsuit or a new Big Government law. One needs to look no further than the telephone, power, and water companies — other private enterprises that started out as a personal business venture — that evolved into some sort of “right” that people had to receive these services, often with Big Government oversight and regulations.

Big Government has all but ruled that the internet is a basic human right to which every American is now entitled. There is even talk of forcing me to pay for a nationwide broadband internet program that everyone will have access to. Right now, if I choose not to have internet service, I simply cancel my plan and pay nothing, but a taxpayer funded nationwide plan gives me no such option.

The bottom line is that if one is dissatisfied with anything that Google does, simply stop using their services. The company will either succeed or fail on that basis. One does not have the right to encourage Big Government to force a private enterprise into complying with one’s personal wishes. One can either use a different search engine, design and build one’s own, or do without. But don’t pretend that you have the right to the use of Google or any other private services or property.

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