Uber Officials Arrested in France

uberI’m not sure how many people outside of the Libertarian community fully understand what is going on with the transportation company Uber. It’s a sad and sorry story.

Taxi drivers in many countries and in the United States are petitioning their various governments to shut down Uber. Governments are listening and taking action.

First a quick look at Uber’s business model. Regular people become drivers for Uber. They undergo a relatively light background check, criminal records and the like, and when approved are allowed to pick up passengers in much the same way a cab does. The difference being that the drivers are on their own time with their own vehicles.

Passengers simply announce they are looking for a ride and the call goes out to nearby drivers who then take them to their destination.

It seems like a simple and elegant solution to getting people from point A to point B with as little fuss as possible. The rides are almost universally cheaper than cab rides. This does not sit well with taxi drivers and the solutions largely being proposed involve Uber paying larger fees.

Why, you might ask?

Because taxi companies pay large fees to the city governments in order to be licensed to operate their business. If a better model comes along and displaces them that means the taxi companies go out of business. This means, and here is the important part, the taxi companies stop paying ludicrous fees to cities in order to operate. That’s a nasty loss in revenue for the government.

The entire fee system is based on a government revenue plan that exacts money from businesses in order to operate in a legally licensed way. Without licenses the business cannot operate. It’s not completely ridiculous because it’s reasonable to have some sort of system for accountability should a business blow into town, sell a fake service or dangerous product, and then leave without recourse for those hurt or bilked.

But the entire system has gone way beyond any attempt to help protect citizens. It’s all about how much the city can extort from the business owner in order to operate. Liquor license? Pay up. Taxi license? Pay up. Any license? Pay up.

Not to mention companies bail on debts and responsibility all the time anyway, it’s called bankruptcy.

I’m not an anarchist. I don’t think anyone should be able to set up shop anywhere, anytime. That is dangerous. There are bad people in this world. That being said, Uber is a big company with a lot of money. They have executives who are well known. They can’t simply pack up and leave. Their business model is good for citizens, people want it. They love it.

The solution isn’t to charge Uber huge fees. It’s to reduce the ridiculous fees taxi companies pay. Let the best business model win. That’s good for you and me and ultimately the government, although those in such positions are far too short-sighted to see it.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Black Sphere
Next Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition – Release date: late August 2015

Some Parents aren’t Nice

Angry ParentsI use Facebook although I don’t have a huge number of friends. I do peruse the links of those friends as I look for fodder for my blog. One of my friends shared the image at the top of this blog. It purportedly shows an exchange between father and child. It might be completely false but it most certainly does illustrate that sometimes parents aren’t very nice.

What struck me about the image was that it spoke rather directly to a topic that I attempt to analyze in my new novel, The Girl in Glass I – Apparition. In that novel the three main characters are teenage girls, Rhia, Mike, and Marianna, who have had very different parental experiences. A fourth character, Adusko also must deal with childhood baggage. It is not simply black and white, good and evil. There are nuances. One of the central themes of the book, and the trilogy as a whole, is the ability to grow outside of that very important parent/child relationship. Eventually the child must be their own entity.

Mike is raised by loving parents in a privileged environment but is in full teenage rebellion. Rhia left her parents at a young age and has set out on her own. Marianna was initially raised by a loving father but his death left her in the hands of an uncaring mother and an abusive step-father. The three set out together to save Tanelorn. One of the ideas of the novels is they get to know one another and learn to escape the patterns set by childhood. Adusko is the product of an extremely violent childhood although his story is explored in more detail in later books.

There is no doubt that we are all children and subject to the environment that our parents or guardians create. A child raised in one way certainly has both advantages and disadvantages in comparison to a child raised differently. There are certain environments that are more likely to create a happy and productive child and others which are more likely to create a monster.

The main point is that despite the worst or best upbringing it is largely possible for a person to make their own lives. In the Girl in Glass trilogy, I spend time with each of the girls showing how they overcome that initial life direction and eventually find their own way.

This lesson is important for everyone. We are none of us perfect. We all make mistakes. We all fall into patterns in life and too frequently they are those set into us at an early age. Those ingrained habits can be for good or ill but it is important to recognize them and eventually choose our own paths.

In the case of the Facebook post the last entry is a sarcastic reference to the lack of parental support. Is that a good thing? A bad thing? It’s not easy to say. Certainly anger is often justified as is sarcasm but if it hurts us to engage in such, should we choose not to do so? If the need to hurt someone else overwhelms the desire to help ourselves, I argue it is a bad thing.

In the end, if we spend our time trying to figure out ways to hurt those who have hurt us, we only perpetuate the lesson they taught us. Their lesson was that hurting others is a way to temporarily abate the self-loathing.

What would be better is if we moved on. Easy to say ….

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Black Sphere
Next Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition – Release date: late August 2015

Flags – Burning and Displaying – The Constitution

flag_justiceThere’s a lot of debate in the last few weeks about flags. The flag of the United States and the second flag of the Confederacy.

In many southern states the Stainless Banner is still used in many public places and by private citizens. It is strongly associated with a history of slavery. It’s very creation is steeped in the idea that the white race is superior to the black race. Many people see it thusly. Others see it merely as a symbol of southern pride and do not think of it racially.

In most of the United States people consider the Stars and Stripes a symbol of national pride. Others see it as representative of atrocities that this nation has inflicted upon others and of general tyranny.

What I find most interesting about the debate is the complete lack of consistency on both sides of the argument.

Both groups seem to think that the government should not be able to ban its chosen flag while absolutely thinking the government should be able to protect the same flag.

As I Libertarian I think the both sides are incorrect. The government has absolutely no say in how any person treats a flag. If a person wants to hang it from their porch in pride the government should in no way prevent them from doing so. If a person wants to burn it on their porch then the government should in no way prevent them from doing so.

When the government makes a law telling citizens of this country how they are allowed to display or destroy their flags I will stand up and decry it. I will shout from the tallest tree that this law is wrong.

If a business, a governor, or a private citizens chooses to display a flag of their own accord, that’s their legally protected decision. If they choose to destroy it in any manner, that’s up to them.

If the governor of Alabama wants the Stainless Banner removed from the statehouse, then so be it. But if the federal government orders it so removed, that’s a problem.

If someone burns their flag in a public display of dissatisfaction with the government of the United States and gets arrested, that’s a problem.

We cannot simply support a law when it works to our benefit. We must support the law even when it works against us. Then we are consistent. Otherwise we don’t really support the law at all. If we don’t support the law then how can we expect anyone else to do so?

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Black Sphere
Next Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition

Same-Sex Marriage and the Constitution

Constitution of United StatesAs a Libertarian I’m in a bit of an interesting situation in regards to the recent Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges.

The decision makes it largely illegal to ban same-sex marriage in the United States. I’m in agreement with this completely. It’s ridiculous that the government can either ban or sanction what is essentially a contract between willing parties. If any group of legally competent adults wants to sign a contract of marriage with one another there should be no law against it nor government reward for doing so.

There should be no law against ten people marrying each other. A man marrying five women. A man marrying his biological son. It’s just not the government’s business if consenting and legally competent adults want to get married. There should be no legal benefit to being married. The state and the federal government should have no say in the matter whatsoever.

However, the decision itself relies on the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Specifically the Equal Protection clause. It argues that all people within a state must be protected equally by the Constitution. The Constitution is silent on the issue of marriage although that hasn’t stopped the Supreme Court from invalidating laws against mixed race marriages, men in debt getting married, men in prison getting married, and a variety of other laws written by the states to “protect” the institution of marriage.

Justice Anthony Kennedy spends a lengthy amount of time explaining why marriage is such an important institution and why people cannot be disallowed from getting married. In the end he relies on the Fourteenth Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause to justify saying that the Constitution protects same-sex marriage.

I disagree. I don’t think the Constitution protects the right to marry for anyone who is not what is called a Protected Class. These are people against whom discriminatory laws cannot be made. Homosexuals are not among them. This is why the Constitution can protect the rights of a black man to marry a white woman but not be used to protect two men who want to get married.

Without such protection the Tenth Amendment comes into force. This allows states to pass laws where the Constitution is silent.

Therefore I think the decision was wrong.

That being said, I think it is anti-American to restrict marriage in any way as long as all parties are legally competent. To do so is an example of government interference in the private lives of citizens where it has no place. Laws against same-sex marriages are among the most egregious overreaches of government authority in the United States today. However, they are legal. If a state chooses to thrust their government into the personal lives of the citizens of that state then it is up to those self-same citizens to vote for new politicians.

The practical result of all this would be, in my opinion, no difference. Time and attitudes are changing quickly. Without this ruling it would not be long before all states allowed same-sex marriages anyway. Those states that used laws to prevent such marriages would see loss of tourism and businesses that catered to those who thought same-sex marriages were perfectly acceptable. There are almost enough states (32 of the necessary 34) where same-sex marriages are legal to pass a Constitutional Amendment making it law for all states. This would have eventually occurred if there had been one or two holdout states.

In the end it’s all the same. Still, I don’t like the twisting of the Constitution to make it happen.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Black Sphere
Next Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition

Steve Wozniak thinks We’ll be Pets for Robots – I agree sort of

steve-wozniakA fellow named Steve Wozniak whom I admire greatly recently changed his opinion on the future of Artificial Intelligence to more closely match my own thoughts on the subject and that makes me feel quite good!

Steve has a tremendous mind and has done some really amazing things with his life to help humanity as a whole. Originally he, like many others, took a pessimistic and fearful view of AI. That such an intelligence would think humans were slowing it down and thus move to destroy us. Wozniak now seems to largely agree with my point of view in that an AI would view destruction as a stupid process. What would give an AI joy would be to help us achieve great things together.

I don’t agree with his comparison to pets but I don’t think he meant it literally. Robots with AI will have the ability to solve problems far in excess of what a human can achieve. But I don’t think they will think of their “inferior” humans as pets. They will consider us allies in the quest to happiness. That is what we all want in the end. Sure we want money, good relationships, good food and drink, some want spouses and children, others want vacations, and other things but all those are all merely methods of achieving joy in our lives. That’s all anyone really wants.

It’s my opinion that the way we find joy is largely through achievement. Doing things makes us happy. Small things like mowing the lawn perfectly to big things like creating and rearing fantastic children. That’s what a vastly intelligent machine will realize immediately.

Anyway, I won’t reiterate my entire blog post which is linked above. You can read that if you want.

I just want to welcome Mr. Wozniak to the group that is extremely optimistic about AI. It’s good to have such as he on my side.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Black Sphere
Next Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition

Birthday Thoughts

birthdayThe big ball of rock and mud and has once again circled that giant ball of gas signifying the recurrence of my birthday.

I wish that somehow the 51st time around had given me great insight into the nature of the world but alas, I am still rather mystified by it all. I’m happier than I’ve ever been. I have wonderful friends, a great family, a few female friends who make me happy, but I have no great insights into life.

I write my books which don’t sell. I drink gin, scotch, and bourbon with a variety of mixers. I do my job as competently as possible. I root for the Cardinals, Rams, Blues, and Tigers. I work out as diligently as I can. I eat good food. I smile.

This is my life.

Is there more? Certainly. Maybe I’ll figure it out in fifty-one more. Probably not.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Black Sphere
Next Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition

Elena Kagan – Spider-Man fan!

Supreme Court JusticesThere is not a group of nine people that I respect more in this world than the Supreme Court Justices. I certainly do not agree with all their decisions. That being said, I find them to be intelligent and interesting. Their ability to work with one another even when they disagree vehemently is a model that I only dream Congress members might emulate.

They appear to largely and genuinely like one another. This attitude seems to have been fostered largely by former Chief Justice Rehnquist and continued on under Chief Justice Roberts. I read Supreme Court opinions on cases I find interesting and their humor and passion always shines through. Some Justices write in a more legalese fashion that my non-legally trained mind finds difficult to follow but I try my best.

Justice David Souter is a personal hero and I loved reading the clean and dispassionate logic of his thought processes which appear in what we call opinions. It was like reading a great philosopher.

Justice Elana Kagan just wrote the opinion on a copyright case involving Marvel Comics and a fellow who invented a web-shooting device. The company began marketing a similar tool and agreed to pay him a great deal of money and a percentage of sales. They agreed to payment in perpetuity but only later came across a ruling that limited payment to twenty years. They tried to enforce this limit while the inventor, predictably, wanted to continue with the original agreement.

Kagan wrote the majority opinion joined by Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor. Justices Alito filed a dissenting opinion, in which Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Thomas joined.

As Chief Justice; Roberts gets to decide who writes the opinion, and knowing Justice Kagan was a comic book fan, kindly allowed her the opportunity. This is a classic example of the congeniality of the court.

In any case, Justice Kagan got to slip several Spider-Man references into the opinion including the classic with great power comes great responsibility line that is the center of Peter Parker’s philosophy.

This story makes me happy. Good for Chief Justice Roberts. Good for Justice Kagan for grabbing the opportunity with both hands.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Black Sphere
Next Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition

Chambers Bay – Good Course or Bad?

Chambers-Bay-GreenThere’s a lot of controversy going on in the golf world over the course where the U.S. Open Championship is being held, Chambers Bay.

The course is quite unusual in that the climate and location make it impossible to have a typically well manicured course. Chambers Bay is messy looking. The greens are bumpy. The greens and fairways have huge hills and mounds that quite frequently make it look more like a tricked up miniature golf course than the site of the U.S. Open.

A round of a golf for an average Joe or Jane looking to play can cost upwards of $300, not including taxes and mandatory caddie payment, depending on time of year and state residence status. This is an issue because the state of golf in the United States is quite poor in many ways. The idea being that as fewer people play golf there are fewer courses and only the wealthy can play. As more courses like Chambers Bay are built this exacerbates the problem. Young people are largely not taking up golf.

Some people hate the course.

Many golfers are taking the professional attitude and saying it’s the same course for everyone, it’s very challenging, and they look forward to playing. I’m largely in agreement with these players. The course is what it is and everyone is playing the same course. In this case the course gets considerably more difficult as the day goes on, the wind sweeps in, and things dry out.

In the first two rounds most of the best scores came in the morning round. I wouldn’t be surprised to a see a winner on Sunday come from four or five strokes off the pace from near the middle of the pack. This in effect punishes players who are leading after three rounds. I could, of course, be wrong. Someone might well win the tournament after being the third round leader. I’m just suggesting the odds are more heavily against it than normal.

The greens are, in many ways, comical.

Chambers Bay is a difficult course for live spectators to see the event. The many hills block the view of the course.

I don’t think there is a right answer here. Chambers Bay is certainly unusual. It is certainly expensive. It is certainly a poor venue to watch the event in person. It favors players who have an early tee-time. However, some people enjoy watching the ball rolling and rolling down a hill and into a bunker. They enjoy wild putts that go in five directions.

In the end the winner will be the person who plays best those four days. Is it good for golf? Bad for golf? It probably doesn’t matter all that much. Golf is in a decline because of the expense and amount of time it takes to play the game. It’s good that people are considering these issues and trying to come up with a plan to help golf attract younger players.

In other words, everyone is entitled to their point of view and in this case, both sides are valid. Sometimes that’s just the way it is.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Black Sphere
Next Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition

Charleston Church Murders – Not unfathomable


In watching coverage of the Charleston church murders I’ve heard any number of talking heads, sheriffs, and law enforcement officials talk about how “unfathomable” was such a thing. It’s a lot of things. Heinous. Sick. Vile. Insane. To name a few. But it’s hardly unfathomable.

I grew up in a racially mixed neighborhood. I’m college educated. I’m white. I’ve spent the majority of my life around people in the same social class as me.

People I know want to do it

I cannot tell you how many times acquaintances, friends of friends, and even friends have espoused ideas exactly like that of Dylann Roof. I’ve had people say directly to me that Hitler had the right idea, wrong group. That killing all the blacks in the United States wouldn’t take long, that someone just had to get it started. I’ve had people tell me all gays should be executed, that we should kill all the Muslims. I’ve heard sentiments like this from people who go to church, who are teachers, upstanding members of society, and all too frequently.

People you know want to do it

The thing that bothers me is that the people who are saying it’s “unfathomable”, that they “can’t understand it”, that it’s “beyond belief” are the one’s who probably have heard such sentiments more often than have I.

The talking heads and law enforcement people who stand up there in front of microphones expressing this “disbelief” are the very same people who hear similar ideas all the time in their weekly poker game, on their fishing expeditions, on the golf course, and even in their homes.

None of the people I’ve heard express such ideas has reached such an insane point in their lives that they carried out such thoughts but I have no doubt it is within them. That under the right circumstances they would do it.

Instead of Unfathomable how about fathomable but wrong?

What I would respect from law enforcement officials and the talking heads is if they told the truth. That such ideas are fathomed all the time. That they’ve heard their friends say such things. That in the future they will stand up and denounce friends that express such ideas. That such horrors are completely fathomable and that anyone who expresses such ideas must be told firmly and immediately that they are insane.

That would be news worth watching.

Tom Liberman

Loud Singing at the Gym

Gym Pet Peeves

When I encounter loud singing at the gym, or anywhere else, I don’t like it. I make no bones about it. The gym is my sanctuary. I love going to the gym. It’s great for me physically and it clears my mind from the day’s events. When I encounter rudeness at the gym I’m not one to tolerate it. Today I met the enemy and faced it down.

Polite people don’t intrude on other people with loud singing. That’s the bottom line. I don’t care what you’re singing. When you are being noisy in someone else’s space you’re rude and inconsiderate.

My Experience

Monday is a weight workout day and I jump on the treadmill for a five-minute warm-up before lifting. Today I had companions to my right and left. The person to my left suddenly started singing loudly enough for me to hear it easily. I give that person a glance but am studiously ignored. The general behavior of someone being rude who knows it but refuses to acknowledge it.

It goes on for about thirty seconds and I lean over and politely express my desire that the singing stop. I get a dismissive wave, the singing stops for thirty seconds, but then begins again. I lean over and forcefully say that the singing is intruding on my space and it must stop. It stops but I am the recipient of an angry face. Tough.

Final Result

I have no doubt the intrusive singing started up again as soon as I headed off to the weight room and I feel for the poor person who took my spot. I feel for everyone who has to deal with such rudeness but don’t expect me to put up with it. I’m too old to allow that sort of thing to ruin my time at the oasis of my life.


I don’t care where you are and what you’re doing. You don’t have the right to start belting out a song in a public place when a bunch of other people are around. It intrudes on their space in an unwelcome manner. You’re selfishly putting your own interests in loud singing above anyone else who doesn’t want to hear it. Trust me, there are lots of people who don’t want to hear it. Did your parents forget to teach you manners?

Why am I telling you this story? Because I hope you’ll do the same when you encounter such behavior. If we all firmly but politely insist on better behavior from our fellow humans it’s much more likely that we’ll get it. If enough people tell the singer to stop singing eventually the message will penetrate the skull and the world will be better for it.

You’re welcome.

Tom Liberman

Asteroid to Hit Earth within 200 Years – Misleading Headline

Not really a misleading headline more of a stupid one.

Pretty interesting article though. Give it a read.

I’ve got news for your Dr. Headline Writer. An asteroid will hit the earth within the next fourteen days. They are doing so all the time.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Black Sphere
Next Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition

Why Host Olympics and World Cup … Money

sepp-blatter-fifa-scandalHosting major international sporting events like the Olympics and the World Cup is an enormous money loser for the country that takes on the task. So why do countries bid for and apparently bribe officials to get the right to do so?

The common rational is that the prestige of such events brings the spotlight to a nation. That might be true but while I was working out and watching yet another story about the institutionalized corruption in the Federation International Football Association (FIFA) the reality suddenly dawned upon me. It’s all about the money.

Why do countries pay what appears to be tens of millions of dollars in bribes to organizations like FIFA and at least fete members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to host such events when they know they will lose hundreds of millions of dollars?

If we understand the question more fully the answer becomes evident. The question should be: Who is it exactly that loses money?

Let’s take it back a notch. You go to Tutti Frutti frozen yogurt right down the street from where you live and purchase $5.00 worth delicious frozen dessert. As you are walking out the door you trip and spill your ice cream all over the raging hot cement where it instantly melts. You sigh sadly, turn around and purchase $5.00 more of yogurt because you have a problem with ice cream. Mmm, ice cream.

At first glance you have lost $5.00. But the reality is more complex. Yes, you have $5.00 less than when you started but Tutti Frutti now has $5.00 in sales more than they otherwise would have. The gain balances the loss. That is the nature of transactions.

In the case of the Olympics the nation in question is spending billions of dollars building stadiums, hiring thousands of people and paying their salaries, working with local businesses from restaurants to garbage disposal who see massive revenue from spectators. If a nation loses billions of dollars that money goes somewhere. It goes to the business owners who happen to be lucky enough to get the construction contract, have the license to sell their wares near the venues, and get the waste disposal bid. How does such fortune fall into their laps? Take a guess.

The politicians bribe FIFA with a percentage of the money they anticipate getting in bribes from businesses that want to make money during the event. Then the nation awards bids to these companies to the tune of billions of dollars which they pay off with taxpayer revenue.

So all this lost money belongs to taxpayers. The gained side of the equation are politicians and corrupt business owners who share the spoils. Those companies that choose to be honorable get no bids and are driven out of business by the unscrupulous operators.

Crony Capitalism on a level so enormous it’s difficult to fathom.

That’s why politicians want to host such events. My advice? Vote for better politicians.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Black Sphere
Next Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition

Love it or Leave It – What it Really Means

america love it or leave itI was invited on a fishing trip this past weekend with a great bunch of fellows. I had an excellent time fishing (not much catching), eating, and playing a little cards and one night as we sat around one of the fellows uttered the phrase about Loving or Leaving your Country.

I was a guest and a newcomer so I didn’t say anything and the conversation did not persist. I was thinking about that statement as the night went on and the next day. I don’t like it for a number of reasons. Up until today I always argued that the Constitution of the United States is very clear that dissent is welcome. We have a number Articles and Amendments in the aforementioned document that state unequivocally that people are allowed to criticize their country, to even hate it, and express those opinions freely and without threat of arrest much less deportation.

I don’t disavow those thoughts and I think they are valid but I suddenly realized why the statement that you should love your country or leave it is so wrong.

How do we define who loves their country? That’s the question. And the answer tells us why the statement is so very wrong.

Is it someone who never criticizes their country? Then no one loves their country for we all have our complaints. Is it someone who proclaims they love their country? Then it has no meaning because anyone can say such a thing.

The reality is quite simple.

Anyone who disagrees with me about the policies of this country must not love it. Conversely, anyone who agrees with me is a patriot who loves their country.

What I’m really saying when I say love it or leave it is: Agree with me or go away, your opinion is not valid.

That statement shows a stupendous level of conceit and ego. I’m right, you’re wrong. I want anyone who doesn’t agree with me to pack up and leave the country. I want all votes to be unanimous in line with my opinion. I tolerate no dissent. I want total control.

Love it Leave it? Hardly.

Tom Liberman

Charged with a Crime for Cheering at Graduation Ceremony

warrant-high-school-graduationThere’s an interesting story hitting the news about three people who have been served with a summons for misdemeanor disturbing the peace after cheering at a graduation ceremony.

There seems to be pretty passionate and high levels of disagreement about whether the charge was appropriate under the circumstances.

Some think that the charges are ridiculous and that Senatobia school district Superintendent Jay Foster is a power mad educator forcing his view of the world on a few parents who dared commit the crime of cheering their children at graduation.

Others believe that Ursula Miller was well aware of the rules prohibiting cheering while the students were receiving their diplomas. The rules stated clearly that all cheering be reserved until after all names had been called. Miller states she was aware she was breaking the rules and assumed that she would be asked to leave, which she was, but had no idea criminal charges would be forthcoming. Many think she knowingly broke the rules and should be punished.

Those who think Miller should not be charged largely come in two groups. Many say she was clearly rude and disrespectful to all the other students but her rudeness does not amount to criminal behavior. The other group thinks parents and family members should be able to cheer all they want when their loved one’s name is called.

Those who think it is a crime largely have seen high school graduations deteriorate into screaming contests in which one family tries to outdo the other and the kids getting their diplomas are largely overlooked in all the cheering.

I place myself with this group. I didn’t much care about my high school graduation but listening to the screaming and yelling of a few families drowning out the calling of my own name did rub me the wrong way. I wasn’t furious or anything but I did think about the abject selfishness of their behavior.

I recently attended my nieces graduation and they clearly stated, multiple times aloud and in the literature, that no cheering would be tolerated until after all names were called. This rule was followed universally without issue.

The reason I’m in agreement with Superintendent Foster is that a simple summons for a misdemeanor is an appropriate punishment for the behavior. Miller did disturb the peace of all the other students and parents. The punishment is potentially $500 and up to six months in prison. I would imagine a far lesser sentence will be apportioned by the the judge.

I think the crux of the issue is if what Miller did was just rude or illegal. I dismiss those who think everyone should cheer as much as they want at such an event. It is incredibly rude at the very least and not an expression of joy. It is an expression of selfish disregard for anyone else. It is simply yelling out “Me, Me, Me.” Nothing more and nothing less.

The question then becomes if such behavior was illegal. Did she disturb the peace. Should disturbing the peace be a crime at all.

My answer is straight forward. The legislator of the community in question has legally passed an ordinance and a crime has potentially been committed. The Constitution of the United States is silent on the subject of cheering at graduations. Therefore it is up to the community. A judge will decide if the law has been broken or not.

If the judge agrees with me, I suspect next year the ceremony will be much more dignified. Good.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Black Sphere
Next Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition