Elbert County Colorado Fair 2015

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Elbert County Fair 2015

I  went to the fair to see what was going on Friday afternoon July 31,  2105 in Elbert County Colorado at the Fairgrounds in Kiowa, CO.  I was  looking for some social commentary from folks at the fair.

I  found Deanna Miller at a booth inside the pavilion.  What  struck me  immediately was the catchy sign of a baby with a bar code on its  forehead!  Deanna is trying to develop awareness of the dangers  presented by Common Core testing in the public school system.  She is  trying to get people activated and educated as to what parents should do  as well as enable parents with information as to how to become active  politically to change the  system to stop Common Core.  She urges  parents to "Opt out of PARCC testing."

Related links:  60 Minutes You Tube video on Common Core.

Coloradans Against Common Core.

I  agree that the Common Core is a danger and that the data mining of  students is a preparation of future job classification and people  control much like that of the recent movie Divergent  in which young people were tested to determine which of five trade  groups young people would best fit into for the good of society.  The  movie reminded me of the communist system of education which exists in  totalitarian states.   Our present school system was designed by John Dewey who cloned the Prussian education system.  

Sitting  next to Deanna was  a nice gentleman (pictured) who was representing  the Republican Party.  He is a home-schooling father of five children  and so his family has opted out of Common Core!  I also opted out as my  wife and I home-schooled our son!

 

I ran into next year's Elbert County Fair Queen.  She is a nice young  lady (I didn't get her name) who I ran into outside the pavilion.  The  current queen Kaila Denton was sitting on a horse getting ready to  compete in the arena so I chatted briefly with this nice young lady.

I  asked next year's fair queen if she had any issues she'd like to talk  about that she felt were important to her today.  She said (I am  paraphrasing her) that "Yes, I think that women should be able to  compete in all the events that the men do."    I understand her  competitive nature but somehow I just can't see pretty young women (or  older and not so pretty for that matter) riding bulls, bucking broncos,  tackling and hog tying steers.    I wish this young lady and all others  success in their lives and happiness but please maintain that God-given  femininity along the way.

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Totten's Letter

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Thoughts on Mr. Totten’s letter in the Prairie Times news Jan.12, 2015(p.22)

This  was originally written as an open letter to Mr. Totten as a response to  his letter in the Prairie Times so that Mr. Totten could receive what I  felt is an important response that he needed to hear.  It also contains  important information that all of us need to be aware of in today's  increasingly totalitarian police state atmosphere.

It  is important to have this discussion about police behavior in our  society as they can and do have an intimate impact on our community.

Being  a policeman is not statistically more dangerous than being a fisherman,  airplane pilot, farmer, trash collector or truck driver.

Chief  Sam Swofford might be the nicest guy in the world as far as I know.  My  original letter appearing in the Prairie Times about Kiowa Police Asking Too Many Questions?  was not intended to be a personal attack on anyone any more than  questioning any public figure or government employee about the manner in  which they conduct their job is misconstrued to somehow be a personal  attack nor is it meant to be an attack upon anyone's personal  integrity.  I have had a couple of brief conversations with Chief  Swofford in the past and he seemed to be a genuinely good guy who wants  to protect the 2nd Amendment.  As to his reasons for possibly asking  irrelevant questions during traffic stops he refuses to answer as do his  superiors.

The intentions of my original letter of  Dec. 2014 edition of the Prairie Times  were to point out;  militarization of police; inappropriateness of questions about weapons  in vehicles; invasion of privacy under the guise of police safety; or  other snooping, irrelevant questioning during routine traffic stops.

The  primary purpose of school zone speed trap is to protect children  according to Totten.  Are the Kiowa, CO police then primarily  nanny-cops?

Robocops now the norm.  Totten’s letter bears witness to this as every cop is now a fully militarized warrior cop.  Every traffic stop is a potential drug bust or potential escalation from ordinary speeding ticket as seen by law-enforcers.

If a speed trap is not about revenue enhancement then give the proceeds to build a pedestrian bridge or push button on-demand stop light  at school crossing and don’t use traffic revenues to finance Kiowa  town, county court and police dept budgets!  It’s for the children’s  safety after all and the school district and police department of the  Town of Kiowa, CO should pony up and build a pedestrian bridge for the  children in my opinion.  The fact that the town spent money they didn’t have on a water tower that bankrupted the town  so as to entice developers to build housing developments to increase  the town tax base and revenues coupled with the fact that school  children are not present in the Hwy 86 school zone crosswalk 99% of the  time that the school zone is in effect means that the town doesn’t think  school child safety is that important!  Now the town supposedly relies  on traffic enforcement to keep the children safe when most traffic stops  occur well beyond the crosswalk which means that speeders would have  already injured or killed school children in the crosswalk before the  town police could do anything about it!  To boot, town police try to  remain as inconspicuous as possible while manning the speed traps.  The  town police are almost never seen outside of school zone hours except on  Sundays during football games.

The fictional TV  show characters Barney and Andy present a contrast in the way police  approach their job.  Andy represented the peace keeper friend of the  community who believed in the spirit of the law while Barney represented  the over-zealous, militarized thinking, letter of the law, law enforcer  Robocop.  So the use of the former TV series the Andy Griffith Show staged in a small rural town was appropriate.

Parental responsibility would solve the school crossing danger issue.

Law enforcer or peace keeper philosophy?

Speed  limits were primarily designed to allow large trucks to safely stop  within a specified distance.  Now speed limits are primarily a revenue  enhancer for police.  Just ask any police agency that plan traffic  violations as part of the annual budget revenue or Kiowa, CO town board  for the same.

Criticism of police is warranted.  Local police intimately interface with public.

If  you have nothing to hide why not answer questions?  Privacy is  paramount and trumps supposed safety concerns.  This is a basis of our  society and is built into the US Constitution by 4th Amend.   The old ‘if you have nothing to hide’ line of reasoning reminds me of  ‘if guns were outlawed only criminals would have guns’ or ‘if you have  nothing to hide then submit to a full invasive search of your person and belongings at an airport’,  etc.  Then if you have nothing to hide put a camera in your  bedroom/bathroom to allow people to watch you or allow listen to your  phone conversations or monitor your internet activities, etc. Without a  warrant!

Totten is hypocritical, in my opinion of  accusing me of using the press to ‘launch a personal attack’ then  writing his own letter to counter my letter.  In Totten’s opinion I was  biased with my ‘one-sided view’ in my original letter to the editor in  the Prairie Times of Dec. 2014 while his views are not ‘one-sided or  biased!   Excuse me but Totten admits to being a former ‘law enforcer’  and current government employee but he doesn’t consider that he may be  biased or one-sided in his views.  His position is that anyone who has  not been a ‘law enforcer’ as he has been has no right to criticize or  question law enforcement.  This is a typical elitist law enforcer  attitude which we should all be concerned about.  Those who consider  typical non-law enforcement citizens to just be (derogatively)  'civilians', is typical of the current warrior cop mentality.

Let the chief’s actions speak for them. If the chief  has nothing to hide then why won’t he answer questions posed to him  about these kinds of traffic stop questions?  Also, why won’t the Kiowa  town administrator Michelle Oeser?  They prefer to let someone else like Mr. Totten do their 'splaining' for them.

Would  it bother a policeman if an ordinary citizen approached their vehicle  with the same military equipment displayed as does a police officer?  Of  course!

Totten in his letter in the Prairie Times  completely ignores the militarization of police in America.  He then  says he’d be glad to have Kiowa Police Chief Swafford writing speeding  tickets in front of ‘his’ park(Casey Jones Park?) by County Road 17.

Do  children have a ‘basic right’ to expect to not be run over by a  speeding car?  Not really.  They and all people have a right to life,  liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Children need to be careful like  all of us no matter what we are doing or where we are going.  If a child  is deemed old enough to walk to school or anywhere unescorted, then  that child assumes or is given by his or her parent the personal right  of self-protection.  At what age is this right transferred by the parent  to the child?  Ask the parents of those children but I have to assume  it has been done by the parent if the child is walking or driving  unescorted to and from school.

If it is so  dangerous that a child could lose their life crossing a busy highway on  the way to school then why would any responsible parent allow the child  to go unescorted by the parent or their adult designee?  Are the parents  of unescorted school children turning their backs on their parental  duties?  Are those same parents willing to take the risk that their  precious children could be ‘run over’ by some speeding car?  Are those  parents hoping and relying on the police to protect their children for  them and thus transfer their parental duties to police and government  officials?  Why not?  They have already transferred their responsibility  for educating over to the government by sending their  child off to the  public school system.  Do the parents then blame the public schools for  not properly educating their children?  Of course!

Totten’s  justification of unwarranted searches for weapons in Terry vs. Ohio is  improper.  In that case the ‘criminal’ was acting ‘suspiciously’ and  carrying a concealed weapon.  Comparing a ‘suspicious’ person who was  supposedly casing a store for a robbery to a person driving an  automobile who may have inadvertently gone over the speed limit  (especially at 20 mph) is a real stretch of reasonableness and the  ‘spirit of the law’ if you ask me  and is not a proper comparison.  At  least two of the justices in this case disagreed and feared that the  majority decision in this case would lead to a violation of rights and  freedoms.  The whole idea that ‘suspicious behavior’ justifies ‘stop and  frisk’ by police without the knowledge of a crime in progress or about  to be committed based on ‘reasonable suspicion’ or ‘probable cause’ is  anathema to our constitutional republic which is based upon God-given  rights which includes the right to self-defense and the ‘right’ to keep  and bear arms.  This puts the determination of what constitutes  ‘suspicious behavior’ in the eyes of the police and opens the door for  all kinds of abuse.  Though police need the latitude to make certain  judgment calls in the process of doing their job, allowing searches for  supposed suspicious behavior and then using that latitude to then  confiscat concealed weapons is unwarranted in my opinion.   Authoritarians and demagogues want to restrict this right and make it a  privilege.  I say hell no!

 Mr. Totten uses the Terry vs Ohio Supreme Court case decision to justify irrelevant police questioning.  In my opinion, Terry vs. Ohio (Setting Us Up For Disaster) was yet another abuse and violation of our constitutional rights and was another instance of the US Supreme Court engaging in judicial activism!   The Supreme Court has been used to degrade and violate our constitution  for a long time and it is long past due for congress to reign in the  out of control Supremes.  According to lawyers who are experts on police  questioning of people during traffic stops you don't have to answer any questions except dob, residence and name to avoid failure to identify.   Remember we all supposedly have a right to life unless you are in the  womb according to the Supreme Court Decision of Roe vs. Wade!  According  to the ‘Supremes’ if you are in the womb you have the right for some  ghoul to suck your brains out and be systematically dismembered and  thrown in a trash can and incinerated!  So much for supreme wisdom!

I  won’t get into the ‘right’ of Americans to ‘keep and bear arms’ as it  is a right and not a privilege!  Driving a vehicle is also a ‘right’ and not a privilege Mr. Totten, even though people like you and other authoritarians want us to think so.  Totten's  claim that driving a vehicle is a privilege is patently false and it is  amazing that a self-proclaimed former 'law enforcer' such as Totten  does not know this and publicly claims otherwise is amazing and a sad  statement of the knowledge many police officers possess.   In America it has long been held that traveling  to and fro is a God-given right and not a privilege and the US  Constitution does not restrict this right in any fashion nor do State  Constitutions.  Certain tests are deemed appropriate as proof of  ability to travel about in vehicles and this is now commonly  misconstrued by authoritarians as turning a ‘right’ into a ‘privilege’  that can be rescinded by the government.  Authoritarians like Mr. Totten  would have us believe that driving a vehicle and traveling is a  privilege to be controlled by the state and that police have a right to  ask any questions they feel appropriate no matter how invasive or  unrelated or inappropriate such questioning may be!  Enough said about  that.

Police nowadays have taken SCOTUS  decisions like Terry vs. Ohio to encroach upon our rights.  The SCOTUS  decision in that case does not alter the US Constitution in this  regard.  It is simply one more unconstitutional decision by the not so  Supreme Court in my opinion.

I could write much more about this topic but I will call it quits for now.

Miranda Rights.

Hypothetical Reasoning by Kiowa Town Officials?

The  town of Kiowa is not in good financial shape.  To keep the police dept.  financed we need a certain amount of revenue from the police dept to  keep it going.  The school zone provides the reason for giving out a lot  of speeding tickets and the speed drops rapidly from 65mph to 50 mph to  35mph to 20mph for vehicles coming from the east side of town and  drivers commonly have a hard time slowing down to the limit.  We keep  the speed limits tightly enforced and not allow even a few miles per  hour over the limit like most people would expect.  We can use the  school zone as our reason for safety for the children as it is hard for  anyone to argue against that.  Kiowa is seen as a Podunk town by most  people so they might not be expecting us to rigidly enforce the limits.   Even though the school zones don’t have children crossing the road  during school zone operation times for most of that time we can take  advantage of that by keeping the zone times as wide as we can.  Even  though we give tickets well beyond the school zone cross walk that is  abeam the school, it takes time and distance to allow the speeder to  stop after they see the police car flashing lights and then the police  are unable to stop subsequent speeders until the current driver  ticketing is completed.  If we set up police cars with flashing lights  on either side of the school zone to deter drivers from speeding  preemptively and thus provide maximum safety for school children within  the school zone it would be cost prohibitive for the town and would  result in a dramatic reduction in revenue for the town and police  department.  So it really comes down to an economic decision.

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