The following is an op-ed published in the Salt Lake Tribune this weekend.
Matthew David Stewart may have hung himself in his prison cell last week, but that does not mean that he alone bears the blame for his premature death. In fact, the government is responsible for putting him in the unfortunate circumstances that led to his desire to escape the grim future that faced him.
Little sympathy exists for the man dubbed by the media as an accused “cop killer.” When members of the Weber Morgan Narcotics Strike Force invaded Stewart’s home using a “knock and announce” warrant, the army veteran was awoken by the sound of breaking glass. Acting on training and instinct, Stewart fought back against the intruders. The ensuing firefight resulted in multiple shots to Stewart, and one officer dying and five others being wounded.
Stewart was not engaged in human trafficking. He was not abusing a family member. He was not plotting to rob a bank or bomb a government building. Instead, the alleged crime for which such a heavy-handed assault was deemed necessary was that he was growing a plant, marijuana, for his own personal consumption.
The following is an op-ed published in the Deseret News today.
Article 1, Section 27 of the Utah Constitution states: “Frequent recurrence to fundamental principles is essential to the security of individual rights and the perpetuity of free government.” As the 2013 general session of the Utah legislature begins next Monday, this “essential” process deserves more attention and much more action.
Along the campaign trail, most candidates claim they will uphold individual rights and promote freedom. Our Constitution suggests that success in achieving these laudable goals will come not from a single vote at the ballot box or in a bill sponsored by a legislator, but by our collective recurrence to fundamental principles.
The following is an op-ed published in The Standard-Examiner today.
Not a single legislative session goes by in Utah without accusations from one end of the political spectrum or the other regarding hypocrisy on the part of politicians in our state. While the label of “hypocrite” carries with it a negative connotation, its origin denotes a specific meaning that should be understood in order to be corrected.
The word itself stems from the Greek hypokrites, a descriptive term applied to an actor playing his part on stage. An early example of its use comes from four centuries before Christ, when the Greek orator Demosthenes derided his longtime rival Aeschines as a hypocrite for using his previous employment as an actor to become an untrustworthy politician.
Stage actors during that time usually wore masks, and would modify their voice and actions to imitate the character being represented. Like the sheep in wolf’s clothing, the hypocrite altered himself as needed in order to come across in a preferred way.
Which brings us to politics.