Published In The Gainesville Sun, February
Read On the Air by Chuck Harder, February
Steven A. Reid, M.
Feb 16, 1997
To Whom it May Concern,
The fascinating article you published about
the Medical Examiner's extensive authority under the Florida Statutes brings
a pivotal question into crystal clear focus. In our society,
does the concept of private ownership have meaning?
Take your car, for instance. You may
think that you own it. You probably agree that to drive it on public
roads it should have a current license tag. But did you know
that under the Florida Statutes and the Gainesville Code of Municipal Ordinances
even if it never leaves your private property, you must have a current
tag on it? (Unless its hidden away in a shelter).
If it is not properly licensed, "your" automobile can be hauled off of
your property and confiscated by the government. So, who really owns
Consider the tangibles tax. If you are
in business you are familiar with this one. You are annually taxed
on equipment and furniture that you "own" , on which you have already paid
the sales tax. If you do not pay the tangibles tax for the privilege
of continuing to use your own property, the government can (and will) seize
your property. So, who really owns your business equipment?
Do you own your home? Unless you pay
"rent" to the government in the form of recurring property taxes,
your assets will be seized. Liens can and will be placed on your
property. If you do not maintain your home in a manner that is pleasing
to public officials, you will be accused of code violations. You
can't even put up a carport or a fence without first obtaining permission
from the appropriate bureaucracy. Any constructed object greater
than 6 inches in height that you place on your property is considered a
"structure" for which you need a permit under the building code (dog- and
play-houses excluded). If you do not comply quickly enough
to the commands of government administrators you will find yourself
facing fines, and ultimately seizure of your property. So, who really
owns your house?
Do you own your labor? The I.R.S. doesn't
think so. Depending on your tax bracket, Social Security and Income
tax will confiscate 40% or more of your productivity. Did you
decide what percentage of your work-life would be handed over to the I.R.S.,
or did the government? If they can arbitrarily claim 40%, could they
not just as easily claim 90%? There are several terms for the ownership
of one's labor by another - "indentured servitude" and "slavery"
are two that come to mind. So, who really owns your labor?
Do you think you own your body? If you,
for personal reasons, wished to sell a kidney to a wealthy recipient who
needed it you would be prevented from doing so by law. If you had
to have a leg amputated, and you wanted to preserve it (perhaps to
hang over your mantle, after all, you've been through a lot together) it
would not be returned to you by the pathologist - to do so is a violation
of the law. Dentists do not give children their extracted teeth for
fear of violating regulations. You must wear a seatbelt when
in "your" car, to protect the state's ownership interest in the continued
physical well-being of "your" body. You cannot legally decide which substances
you can ingest, inhale, inject or otherwise consume, only the state can
make those determinations. And when a loved-one dies, the state can
seize the body, sever the head, and give it to a government-affiliated
researcher who claims to need it. So, who really owns your body?
Our government was created to serve us, We
the People. It has grown into a greedy, arrogant monster claiming
ultimate ownership of virtually everything, including us. If we don't
correct it now, it will consume all we hold dear. Maybe it already
Life Is It?
Government's, Of Course
To Citzens For Better Government
Revised June 7, 1998