Gun Rights and Violence in America

The Vermont and US Constitutions are clear. The right to bear arms is protected for our citizens. The purpose of these constitutional provisions was to ensure the existence of a citizen militia to protect themselves from a tyrannical government. This purpose remains valid, although the existence of a functional citizen militia may be lacking. And, there are many other valid reasons to own a gun or weapon. Marksmanship, gun collection, hunting are amongst the multiple safe and reasonable purposes for gun ownership.

Some politicians are opportunistic to use acts of gun violence as a means of gaining popularity and votes. They seek to benefit from the emotional empathy voters share with victims of crimes. In fact, they even try to spread this feeling further, attempting to make you feel the pain those immediately affected feel. These politicians create a new paradigm for vote-getting by jumping on these feelings . Taking advantage of empathetic voters in this way is its own act of violence. It is emotional bullying. We are all victims through this empathy and taking advantage of the victims is a violent and unethical act.

Killings and mass killings using automatic weapons and other guns do seem to be on the rise in the past decade, but the guns are not at fault. Societal and mental health issues are the roots of these acts of violence and the elimination of legitimate gun ownership will do little to correct these issues and stop the violence. The violence will continue with illegal guns, other weapons or means of harming and killing people. The restriction of legal gun ownership will not stop the violence, but will increase the population that is vulnerable to such violence. More restrictive gun laws may actually cause more acts of violence.

Our society should ask the question, “How can this sort of violence be stopped?” There is an organization called “Wave Trust” that offers some thoughts on the causes and prevention of violence in America. In an article found at Wave Trust identifies too essential conditions that lead people to commit acts of violence: a propensity for violence and a trigger. The propensity for violence is the result of a lack of empathy, frequently resulting from childhood experiences. The propensity violence is prevented in a nurturing family environment, and can be corrected later in life with specific actions. Wave Trust offers a specific plan of action for reducing the incidence of lack of empathy.

 The triggers for violence include: alcohol consumption, violence in the media, overcrowding, and a person being disrespected. Of course, there are many more. Our society can make changes that would reduce the incidence of triggers to violence. Prevention of all sorts of violence should be our government's role, but we should be treating the causes not the symptoms.

Violence in America is a problem and it can be reduced. The taking or restricting the use of guns will do nothing to curb violence, it will only change the type of violence. The bearing of arms and keeping of arms for personal protection, hunting or any other legal purpose does not contribute to violence. It is the means by which America gained its freedom.


Constitutional Govt.

Nearly every Vermonter believes our governments should follow their respective Constitutions. The principles of limited government, individual freedom and personal liberty were the foundation of our Constitutions. These principles are important and relevant to most Vermonters today, regardless of their political orientation. The Vermont Constitution identifies the principles of justice, moderation, temperance, industry, and frugality as necessary to the preservation liberty. Dexter's goal is to adhere to these principles when deciding whether to support new legislation.

A "government of the people, by the people, for the people” is a government that is lead from the bottom up. Today, only approximately 50% of those eligible to vote are registered to vote, and only about 50% of those registered participate in a given election. The result is that only 25% of the eligible population is taking part in our electoral process. This apathy is the result of a sense of loss of power by the voter. The two-party monopoly (duopoly) of government has become a self-serving and self perpetuating machine, with the cooperative help of our mainstream media. Our government has developed into a top-down corporate powerhouse that dominates society in more ways than many of us care to admit. My goal is to restore the power to the individual and increase eligible voter registration and all voter participation. Innovative educational systems will create an informed and empowered electorate, reverse the current top-down power structure and restore the from the bottom up structure envisioned to be the “American Experiment in Democracy”


Health Care Freedom


- No person should be denied basic health care in America. An appropriate role for government is ensuring that healthcare is available and provided to those that need it, but can't afford it.

- Promoting health and wellness, and providing incentives to individuals and providers for achieving the same will reduce the total cost of healthcare.

- Individuals should have the freedom to decide whether to accept insurance as a method of personal risk management and/or healthcare financing.


So, what is Green Mountain Care?

Here, in its own words:

Green Mountain Care is the official State of Vermont website for health insurance. It includes plans such as Catamount Health, Vermont Health Access Plan (VHAP), Dr. Dynasaur, Medicaid, and a number of pharmacy assistance and premium assistance programs.” (

The consolidation of these multiple programs into an umbrellam plan could be implemented to demonstrate whether there is true economy of scale in a single plan, and whether the State can administer such a program with its own staff. The State currently administers none of these programs entirely. Mostly, the administration is contracted to private insurers who compete for multi-year contracts when they are up for renewal, and there is redundant administration within State government.  Let's do this in steps

  1. Consolidate the multiple government programs that exist today into into a single plan.

  2. Transfer the administration of the plan from the private sector to the State.

  3. Demonstrate that the success (or failure) of this model and offer umbrella coverage insurance to others. If it is successful at containing costs, it will be sustainable and attractive to Vermonters as a source of health insurance in a (relatively) free market environment.

Speaking of free markets....

Until very recently, there was practically no federal regulation of the health insurance industry, and until 20 or 30 years ago there was little State regulation. Vermont has gradually imposed more and more stringent requirements on insurers, and predictably, the small market of Vermont has seen a reduction in the number of insurers from a number well into double digits to approximately a handful. The resulting reduction in competition, rapid technological advance and use of mass media to promote specific elements of the medical industry are all contributing to higher and higher health insurance costs. Many Vermont businesses form out-of-state corporations to access lower cost insurance.

But there is a counter solution...

There is little dispute that a lifestyle including proper nutrition and exercise promotes wellness and good health. Natural remedies and treatment for many illnesses and conditions abound, and are effective for many. The cost of health care for those who take care of themselves is astoundingly less than than for those who do not. Yet in Vermont under current State law it is illegal for insurers to provide lower cost coverage to those who adopt healthy lifestyles – this is considered “cherry-picking”. It will soon be illegal and subject to fine for an individual to opt out of insurance and pay cash for health care. Perhaps, the penalty will be small enough that it will be cheaper to opt out than to buy in. Individual choice and freedom with respect to health is a principle to be restored and protected.

Moral hazard created by health insurance...

So, your health care is provided for you; you can grow and eat fresh wholesome food, or you can call for takeout; you can join a gym and workout or you can watch hours of TV. The health implications of these choices are clear. The physical costs are great. The personal financial costs to those with insurance are minimal. Health insurance creates a moral hazard in that the individual with insurance has protection regardless of their behavior and lifestyle. A system that contains incentives for wellness would reduce the total cost of the system.

We get a lot of smoke and mirrors from our leaders in this mattter....

We might not all like all of their systems but they're spending two to three hundred percent less on health care than we are and they have better outcomes, it means that they are healthier than we are," said Shumlin. (VPR)

Sorry, but nothing can be reduced more than one hundred percent. We have the greatest health care available anywhere in the world. We have a corrupted big business system that adds unnecessary costs by allowing abuses and ignoring wellness.

Governor Peter Shumlin: “I think that every businessperson in Vermont has concerns about change. I think that frankly, every hospital and every healthcare provider has concerns about change, because government has gotten this wrong every single time.” (True North Reports)


Supportive Government

Imagine if every time you encountered a State employee, you were greeted with: “How may I help you?”

There is a clear split in attitude amongst State employees between one of service and one of State control. The former attitude is one of “we are all on the same team”, while the latter is one of “us versus them”. Fostering the attitude of service and team effort throughout State government results in a government that is supportive.


How would a supportive government respond to a problem? A supportive government would identify the problem, bring the problem to the attention of the person(s) causing it, directly assist the person(s) in solving the problem and providing follow-up to ensure that the problem remains resolved. Of course there are life threatening, serious criminal activity and certain other instances where this approach is not warranted. But so many times an opportunity to correct a problem in the spirit of support and human kindness is lost to a legal action or punishment that results in greater costs to society.


The same can be said for our legislature. We often see the legislature pass new laws that impose restrictions on all persons in a knee-jerk reaction to a small number of unfortunate incidents. The laws restrict the freedom and liberty of all, but the bad actors continue to act badly. Little or nothing is accomplished by such legislative action. New legislation should be minima. Supportive actions and initiatives are a positive way to correct problems in our community. As much as possible, these actions should be promoted at the local level.


Government has a public relations problem today, Our federal government has especially lost the confidence of the people. State government is in a similar position that is obscured by the gross imbalance in Washington. The national dilemma dominates the mass media. So, what's going on in Montpelier is largely unknown to most Vermonters. A government that is supportive and empowers individuals and local government to progressively deal with contemporary issues will be seen in a positive light by its citizens.


Citizen Participation

Everyone has a voice and an important message in Vermont, and having those voices heard and messages received should be inherent to our government process.  I will reach out to individuals and encourage them to come forward with their voice and their message in public debate. I will foster this process as part of my service to the people of Middlesex and East Montpelier. This is buildiing our government from the bottom up.