Lu and I had a funny conversation yesterday. There's an old elementary school down the street, the very school Lu attended as a child in fact. It's no longer an institute of learning. When the new one was built, the city took it over and it's a community center now. Hurricane also has a community newsletter they put out once a month. In it they were warning of vandalism to the building and asking neighbors and parents for help. Here's a snippet;
"I call on all citizens to actively participate in efforts to stop this kind of criminal activity. Parents - I especially enlist your efforts......Active supervision - including knowing where your children are, whom they are with and enforcing family curfews can go a long way toward eliminating destructive behavior."
The conversation Lu and I had was about the "vandalism" we had seen at the old school. What we saw last time we were there was some small magic marker graffiti on some of the playground equipment. I made me wonder what they city fathers and residents might think about some of the vandalism at active California schools. That got me to thinking on the differences between this small southern Utah community and most every town or city in California.
As you drive through Hurricane, Utah it's like any other small city anywhere in the country. What's different about this city as compared to those in that state we fled is unnoticed, beneath the surface. It's an attitude.
You will find small signs scattered about Hurricane. It's a representation of a four wheel ATV. It designates those streets open to ATV use. Paved public city streets. And why not? The original idea was to have lanes that ATVs could use to get back and forth to gas stations but I think it's become more than that. I regularly see all kinds of folks motoring along, going about their business with nary a care or a concern. Utah also lacks a helmet law for adults. We still have burn days. The attitude is one of hey, we're all adults here.
As you drive down our streets you will see long stretches of white and stucco walls. Graffiti free. Not painted over graffiti free but never having been defaced at all. The police department does not have a Community Policing program or a community outreach because they don't need either. The community already understands the rights and obligations that goes along with being a citizen and they act accordingly. The police department is expected to do it's job, no more, no less and to leave the rest to the citizens.
Here's a truth. Less government oversight and downright meddling reinforces the idea that we are all sovereign and ultimately masters of our own fate. If we are less dependant on government we will be more dependant on our own God given skills and the work ethic we've developed. We become less dependant on government by having less government. Les government produces a society of independent adults. More government produces a society of needy children.
I've met the Mayor. He's a great old guy. He owns and runs a barbershop on the main drag. Government is his duty not his job. When you go into the city offices you find competent, friendly, helpful people who exercise a minimum of authority. They exist to find a way to help instead of hinder. Lu and I have been going through the permit process to build a garage/ storage building on our property. It's been a breeze. Every government office and every utility we've contacted have been easy to work with with a maximum of "yes sir" and absolutely no hoop jumping. We got most everything done in a day and the only reason we didn't get it all done was because I got lazy and decided to finish another day. Even the police department notarized our paperwork gratis because "The city paid for my Notary Public and since I'm on duty it's free". It's been eye opening.
Let's contrast and compare with a California city. Pick one, it hardly matters. Years ago when we put up a simple 10x12 shed on our property we had to wait a month for the city inspector. If you are required to fix or alter something, and you can bet you will, you'll need to make another appointment, wait another month and pay another fee. It's all revenue driven and they squeeze you for every drop they can. The attitude is overwhelmingly "you're bothering me. I'm in charge. You will do as you're told." You will not find a single open space without fresh graffiti or the painted over signs that the gangs and taggers have been there. It's everywhere and it's just accepted. We had a graffiti abatement program at my city because of the massive scope of the problem. We took graffiti vandalism reports each and every day of the year. We had a Community Policing program because the citizens are so neutered they have no problem solving skills nor are they encouraged to develop any. "Leave it all to us" is the motto for empire building. I've had parents turn their children over to me. Not because they didn't care but because they recognized a lose-lose situation and lacked the willpower and fortitude to do what was necessary and take on the system while parenting their kids. You can decry the parents while still recognizing the root cause; Government regulating away the very rights and obligations that make us who we are supposed to be. Who we can be.
I could go on and on but this is just a modest blog and you all get the idea. We become accustomed to government intrusion into our lives until we forget that we're supposed to be the decision makers and not beholden to political masters. We get the government we're willing to accept until we get the government we can no longer control.
Time is shorter than we think. We're at a crossroads. Do we go the California route or the follow the Hurricane example? Are we Americans or something else? A bastard stepchild of government control and willful ignorance. Now living free, I grieve for my brothers and sisters in California and everywhere that government has been allowed to run amok. Get out while you still can. Free America does exist.
The only question is for how long?