Nebraska Dumping Ground
An AP story in the Cedar Rapids Gazette October 30, 2008, discussed the fact Nebraska's legislature is holding a special session to change their Safe Haven Law. It seems a little bit of wording has caused far more trouble than was intended by the law. In addition to the immediate troubles they face, this situation illustrates another serious problem.
Most states have Safe Haven laws. These laws allow the parents of new born children to drop those babies off at a safe place without fear of prosecution. The babies are ready for adoption at that point and it is hoped that this will reduce the number of abandoned new borns. Nebraska's law, due to the technicality of the wording, allows parents to drop off any child under the age of eighteen without prosecution. That's probably not the best way to handle things.
Now Nebraska has people abandoning teenagers at hospitals. It's not just Nebraskan's who are dumping the brats and running. They've now had parents and guardians come from other states just to rid themselves of teens. This has caused concern in the state of Nebraska, and plenty of negative publicity. As a result, their governor, Dave Heineman, has called a special session of the state legislature to amend the bill to specify that only new born babies are eligible for the brush off.
This problem illustrates one of the main reasons we have to have a reasonably strong federal government; are states are far too connected. Let's say that your state does something really wonderful that saves its citizens money and improves services. How long will it be before losers from other states move into your state to take advantage of the good times without necessarily contributing? Can you deport those losers back to their home state? Probably not.
Here in Cedar Rapids, we have a good program to help low income people get cheap housing. It's a good start for those trying to get on their feet. Unfortunately Chicago has a huge waiting list for cheap housing, unless you were on a cheap housing program somewhere else. The result is that we have a huge number of Chicagoans who stick around for about a year, without really contributing to the community, just so they can go back to Chicago and get fast tracked into the cheap seats. You can imagine the impact this has on our local crime rate.
In Iowa, we produce enough food to feed a huge part of the world's population. Do we have hungry people? Yes we do. If we set up programs to let them earn their food at their maximum productivity level we would soon be inundated with the hungry from every other state. Then winter would have them all demanding to be heated. Could we bill their home states for the extra expense? Nope.
Because we say "the United States is" instead of "the United States are" we are going to be faced with the problems of our neighboring states. It is in my best interest to surrender a little more tax money (within reason) to the federal government for them to try to drag some states out of the pits and hose them off. It keeps the denizens of those pits from crawling out and getting mud all over my carpet.
Is it a lack of freedom to require mandatory service for all teens? Yes, but it may be worth it.
Is it a lack of freedom to make everyone go to school until the age of eighteen? Maybe, but it is definitely worth it.
Is it a lack of freedom to do building by building searches of the Greater Chicago Metropolitan Area and remove anything that even vaguely looks like a weapon or drug? That's a tough one, but it is probably well worth it. Just be sure to shoot those who resist.
We form a government so we can put our strengths together to make things better for us all. Unfortunately, we also put our weaknesses together. It is important to be choosy when picking the folks with whom you will form an "us". If they bring more problems to the table than they bring solutions, you're probably going to suffer.
So basically, you've got just a few more weeks to drop off your teenagers in Nebraska before it is illegal again. If you are driving from the south east part of the country to get there, I would ask that you cut west through the middle of Missouri rather than coming a little further north. After all, it's getting to be winter up here and you don't have any heat.