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“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” – President Reagan
More than a quarter century has passed since the Berlin Wall fell. The average American college student was born years after the subsequent reunification of Germany. How many Americans under 30 have a living memory of the “Soviet Union”?
In 1974 the federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) was passed mainly for the purpose of deinstitutionalizing juvenile status offenders. Most states initiated the act over the next few decades. Wyoming did not.
Last week wasn’t the first time I’ve run into stories advocating for harsher treatment for juvenile offenders. In all fairness, the story out of Oregon was shocking and horrifying but even with the indications of poor management of their juvenile probation program it does not prove that all kids should be locked up no matter how minor the infraction.
What can state pension reform advocates learn from Masutatsu Oyama?
A great deal. Mr. Oyama - or Sosai Oyama as he should properly be referred to - was the founder of kyokushin karate, one of the toughest striking styles of martial arts ever invented. To prove just how tough his style was, Sosai Oyama fought full-grown bulls using nothing but his hands, his feet and the devastating techniques that constitute kyokushin karate.
Needless to say, only a few top experts in kyokushin karate would ever survive an encounter with a bull, let alone defeat it. But what Sosai Oyama proved is that you can overcome even the toughest challenges, so long as you have the right training and the desire to rise to the challenge.
As citizens we all want our communities to be safe from violent crime no matter who is committing it. At the same time, we shouldnt sentence our juvenile offenders of minor non-violent crime to a lifetime of institutionalization.
As we go forward in reform efforts let us not forget that Wyomings overall violent crime arrests for either juveniles or adults are very low.
Wyoming is not trendy. We are not generally the first state to adopt anything new. In issues of juvenile justice, we have not adopted very many of the rehabilitation-based non-punitive measures used for juvenile misbehavior in much of the country for the last few decades. Generally when we state facts like this we are indicating that Wyoming’s lack of conformity to modern standards is a bad thing.
The American welfare state is alive and kicking, with steady growth in spending in typical welfare-state areas such as welfare, health care and education. During the Great Recession America's welfare state has proven to be impervious to the general macroeconomic conditions of the nation's economy.
Wyoming is no different. Our welfare state is clearly on the generous side, with welfare programs paying an enrollee up to 96 percent of non-minerals jobs in the private sector. Of total state spending, 66 percent is for entitlements and income redistribution.
Yet Wyomingites pride themselves of being fiscally conservative and independently minded. Does this mean that traditional limited-government values have lost their meaning?