If murder is ‘unpreventable’ then why do we have government?

If murder is ‘unpreventable’ then why do we have government?

By Seth Grossman, Political Columnist

(Reprinted from October 14, 2009 Current Newspapers of Atlantic County, http://www.shorenewstoday.com/news.php?id=4893)

?It was a terrible tragedy, although probably unpreventable.?


Atlantic County Prosecutor Ted Housel was talking about last week?s stabbing death of 88-year-old Catherine McGowan by a 65-year-old deranged neighbor. That neighbor had harassed, threatened, and terrorized McGowan, and everyone around him, for years before he finally killed her.

The president of the over-55 condo association in suburban Linwood said neighbors had complained for years and ?were afraid of the guy.? ?Probably unpreventable?? Not to citizens who lived near the killer every day. They knew how dangerous he was.

Catherine was so fearful, she moved out of her home to live with her daughter and son-in-law several miles away. She only came home that day to pick up some clothes. She did everything she could to avoid the killer.

She was viciously attacked as she walked back to her car. She was brutally stabbed dozens of times. Her 60-year-old daughter and an 88-year-old neighbor were almost killed trying to protect her.

It looks like the killer is way too mentally ill to be tried or punished. Instead, he will be examined by doctors, diagnosed as crazy and dangerous, and kept in a mental institution with lots of medication for the rest of his life.

Why wasn?t this done before he killed someone? Wasn?t he just as crazy and dangerous for years? Didn?t everyone who came in contact with him know it? Couldn?t the police bring him to a judge for harassing and threatening his neighbors years ago? Couldn?t that judge then order a mental examination that would have led to his treatment and/or confinement?

Why do we have government? Why do we have laws? Why do we pay roughly 60 percent of everything we earn as taxes to federal, state, county or local governments?

Our Declaration of Independence gives this answer: ?To secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.?

What right is more important than to live safely and without fear in your own home?

For 200 years, local governments in America defended lives, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness against people like the man who killed Catherine McGowan. But since the 1960s the Hollywood, academic and left-wing elites relentlessly told us that everything we Americans had done for 200 years was wrong.

Part of this 40-year war on our culture was Jack Nicholson?s 1975 movie, ?One Flew Over the Cuckoo?s Nest.? That movie convinced us that mental patients were eccentric, but harmless, and should be freed. ?Public interest? activists, lawyers and college professors then lobbied politicians and brought countless lawsuits. Hundreds of thousands of dangerous, mentally ill people were soon roaming our streets and living next door.

I have known Steve Nehmad, the son-in-law of the woman who was murdered, since high school. He is a skilled and knowledgeable attorney. He is liked and respected by almost every official in the county.

Yet when dealing with his mother-in-law?s dangerous and deranged neighbor, what good was the law or his friends in government? The only way he could protect his mother-in-law was to help her move away. I am also a lawyer and I give that same advice way too often these days.

I often advise clients to let criminals have their way and walk away from bad situations. Avoid problems; don?t fix them. Let someone else be the hero ? and the victim. In short, I advise them to act like my grandparents did in the Old Country before they became Americans in this new land of liberty.

About 60 percent of what we earn pays for government. Yet politicians use most of this money to buy votes, help friends, and collect their great pensions and benefits. Very little time or tax money is used to protect the basic rights that matter most to us.

Two years ago, 32 students were murdered at Virginia Tech by another deranged killer. The Review Panel later blamed ?gaps in mental health care? and ?privacy laws.?

The elections for governor and state Legislature are three weeks away. Which candidates promise to change the laws and replace the judges that allow this? Who will give us government that can again replace ineffective ?public servants? as quickly as professional football teams replace ineffective coaches and quarterbacks?

If the answer is ?none,? go to www.libertyandprosperity.org. Make a difference in next year?s elections. Or do nothing, until you or a loved one is a victim of the next ?terrible tragedy? that was ?probably unpreventable.?

For information visit www.libertyandprosperity.org or contact Somers Point attorney Seth Grossman at grossman@snip.net or (609) 927-7333. Breakfast discussion groups are held 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. every Saturday at the Athena Diner, 1515 New Road, Northfield.

  • Seth Grossman

    Seth Grossman is executive director of Liberty And Prosperity, which he co-founded in 2003. It promotes American liberty and limited constitutional government through weekly radio and in-person discussions, its website, email newsletters and various events. Seth Grossman is also a general practice lawyer.

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