Commentary

If tragedy strikes due to police defunding, will City be responsible?

Concerned about the looming loss of adequate early morning police patrol coverage due to “defund the police” measures, Tom Licata of Burlington recently wrote two letters to Burlington City Council and city officials. Receiving no response, he shared them with Vermont Daily

Sent February 10: 

Dear Mayor Weinberger & Burlington City Councilors: Should the Burlington City Council and the City of Burlington knowingly and with intent understaff its Police Department; and should a death or tragic accident occur that is linked to this known and intentional understaffing; and should the City of Burlington then be sued for millions if not tens of millions of dollars for its negligence; would Burlington’s insurance coverage for such events be denied – for Burlington’s knowing and intentional act of putting itself and others in harms way – and hence would the City of Burlington’s taxpayers ultimately have to cover this expense? Thank you, Tom Licata

Sent February 14: 

Dear Mayor Weinberger & Burlington City Councilors: Not even a peep. So much for “representative” government. At least there’ll be this paper trail for future victims – and their attorneys – to hold you accountable for your gross negligence. The children are now in charge – that includes you [Progressive councilor and mayoral candidate] Max [Tracy] and your band of  comrades – with their cancerous form of postmodern, illiberal and authoritarian Social Justice Theory. You may get your “equality” but it will be of the Churchillian kind, marinated in ignorance and envy to produce misery, which I suspect many of you would be just fine with. Tom Licata, Burlington


Asked by Vermont Daily to explain the “Churchillian” reference, Licata provided the following quote by former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill: “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”

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26 replies »

  1. Excellent question from Mr.. Licata. However, is anyone shocked that there hasn’t been any response from the ruling class from Burlington? I admire Mr. Licata for attempting to hold these rulers accountable but Burlington really is a lost cause. Slowly sliding into oblivion and non-relevancy. Do what so many others have done while there still is some time. Get out of Burlington and stop patronizing the city. My family and I will no longer visit or patronize the City. I know the surrounding towns and businesses appreciate our increased patronage.

  2. Good perspective, the social equity cause gets the headlines, but there is an undercurrent of sensible people writing this once most livable city off, lost to the protesters and never satisfied crowd. Letting them take over the streets this summer was reckless, and how pathetic even the VT AG could only condone, yes, not condemn, these protesters. Big pit in the city, now let’s allow a free time for criminal activity too, when it is known there are no cops on duty!

  3. This phenomenon is exceeding the realm of mere transparency, accountability, and responsibility. There’s got to be more to this pervasive behavior, now more visible than ever in the public spotlight of our schools and in government. I suspect it’s becoming evident almost everywhere if we take the time to look. I know I’m thinking twice about my part in this discussion.

    This adherence to what Mr. Licata refers to as Socialism appears to be more a symptom of Clinical Depression, the mental disorder brought on by stress, embodied by a lack of motivation, difficulty making decisions, low self-esteem, guilt, anxiety, sadness, hopelessness, and irritability. How else can anyone be triggered into such self-destructive behavior?

    “Depression isn’t contagious in the same way the flu is, but moods and emotions can spread. Have you ever watched a friend laugh so hard that you started laughing? Or listened to a co-worker complain for so long that you started feeling negative, too? In this way, moods — and even depressive symptoms — can be contagious.”

    Those who are finding themselves attracted to the pessimism of Marxist tenants, the assertion that individuals are inherently evil, especially those who can’t bring themselves to trust our ‘first responders’, should be introspective. I don’t see you as the enemy. But you may need professional help. Really. I’m serious. Before you unintentionally harm someone other than yourselves.

  4. It used to be a treat to go to Burlington but now we no longer go there shopping or out to eat or The Flynn. I am still concerned about what Burlington does because it affects the rest of the state. If Burlington votes for higher property taxes the rest of the state follows. We stopped going to Burlington before the virus. We avoid the UVMMC like the plague.

  5. Fantastic letters Mr Licata!
    I absolutely do not shop or eat out in Burlington. Ever since the face suffocator smile destroyer mandates were implemented, I avoid the place like the plague. People need to start getting involved. Start zoom-watching these elected government officials – watch them every day – take note who they are and what they stand for. They will see that you are watching them and ‘maybe’ they will be more thoughtful in what they are doing to serve the people who elected them. They are making decisions without your input and without your knowledge. If you do not get involved, they will make your decisions for you. -Susan Bowen – Shelburne

  6. However, “socialism” doesn’t at all mean only the forms seen in China and the former Soviet Union. Sharing the resources of a country in an equitable way isn’t totalitarianism.
    That being said, giving fair pay and more equal chance to people is an achievable goal.
    Simply “Defunding the Police” will not alleviate underlying social/economic problems.

    • Re: Sharing the resources of a country in an equitable way isn’t totalitarianism.

      Yes it is! When Marx and Engles coined the phrase, ‘from each according to his ability to each according to his need’, who defines one’s ability and who quantifies one’s need? The State does.

      Socialism is a system of government in which the individual has no authority and the state wields absolute control.

      That’s totalitarianism.

    • Variations of Socialism? Agreed — Dispersing (donating, investing) what you have beyond what you need … visions like “from each according to his ability to each according to his need” — this core of communal living (socialist/communist) arose in religious communities in early Christianity. However, this out-reach to others in need was voluntary…this vision before us is compulsory…we’ll make others do your vision of “the good thing” using the majority to command the minority. Can “Love your neighbor” be compulsory and involves submission? Been tried…epic fail.

  7. One must remember that in the Peoples’ Republic of Burlington, crimes always have TWO victims…the person upon whom the crime was directed (formerly known as “the crime victim”) and the “good person who had a bad day” who actually committed the act. The perpetrator of the crime is now known as a “justice involved individual”, and the reason for the act is never their fault. It can always be blamed on their upbringing, societal inequities or the large corporation which manufactured the substance that is at the root of their disease: “substance abuse disorder”. Who is ultimately held responsible for remedying the harm???, that is the Vermont taxpayer.

    • That’s simply twisting semantics. Giving corporations resources that should be shared and are important for the common good is totalitarianism.
      Sharing those resources by regulating corporations isn’t.
      seeing to it that small businesses can stay afloat while regulating big businesses isn’t totalitarianism.
      Reagan rolled back controls in order to force the breakup of the Soviet Union, which succeeded. Time to put higher taxation and Anti-Trust back on the table.

      • No, it isn’t semantics. You don’t ‘give’ corporations anything. They earn it. Unless of course they’re controlled and in bed with the government… i.e. crony capitalism. i.e “Sharing those resources by regulating corporations…” After all, who decides with whom and how much the corporation ‘shares’ it’s resources? The government or the corporate shareholders (we the people).

        It’s clear that you don’t understand what a ‘corporation’ is, or how people in a free-market economy transact business. That’s understandable because free market economics isn’t taught in our schools as it used to be.

        For example: Did you know that a ‘corporation’ is simply a group of individuals who join together for a common purpose, over a given period of time, in accordance with specific bylaws? Are you familiar with business law? Do you know what the Uniform Commercial Code is? Do you know that some corporations are ‘for-profit’ some are ‘non-profit’? Do you know that some organizations are ‘partnerships? Some are ‘sole proprietorships’. Also keep in mind the governments are ‘corporations’ too. The town in which you live is a corporation. Some towns aren’t incorporated. Most are incorporated.

        It boils down to this: If the government owns and controls the means of production (i.e. socialism), individual free markets don’t exist. Socialism is, by definition, Totalitarianism.

        Further, there has never been an instance in human history when socialism/communism has ever achieved the across-the-board improvements our standard of living and creation of wealth as free market capitalism have done. Ever. Anywhere. Period.

    • What didn’t fail was the economic system that taxed the wealthy and the ultra-wealthy more and allowed affordable college. Somehow many people seem to assert that socialism is a concept invented by Karl Marx. This is false. There are countless ways to share the resources of a country without allowing huge corporations to dominate and reap disproportionately excessive profits while ruining the environment. Giving people fair wages and opportunities is a far cry from the totalitarianism that arose in countries such as Russia, China, etc.

    • As I said, semantics:
      I’m aware that govts. are definable as “corporations”. Are YOU aware that “socialism” is a broad term. It doesn’t mean that government controls everything. It means, e.g.: that the Koch brothers have no right to unfair share of profits and ability to cheat Native Americans out of oil revenue.
      We used to have strong anti-trust laws in this country. Monopolies and “crony capitalism” were under more control. More and more people got educated and became better off.
      Maybe you don’t care about masses of deprived people. Some of us do. My own proclivities are “…liberty and justice for all.”

      • Re: “It (Socialism) doesn’t mean that government controls everything.” Yes, it most certainly does.

      • While we’re at it, let’s break this conversation down a little further.

        Re: “Maybe you don’t care about masses of deprived people.”

        This is a classic example of a false dichotomy, ‘a contrived comparison that occurs when a limited number of options are incorrectly presented as being mutually exclusive to one another or as being the only options that exist, in a situation where that isn’t the case.’

        Citing a false dichotomy is a common debate or interrogation tactic. In this case, you imply that because I disagree with you, I ‘don’t care about masses of deprived people’.

        I can, just as easily, infer that, because masses of deprived people exist, demonstrates that you don’t care about them either. Otherwise, you would have remedied their condition by now. I might also infer that you are dishonest when declaring that your ‘proclivities are “… liberty and justice for all.” In this case your vision of liberty and justice for all is indiscernible from liberty and justice for no one. You certainly aren’t supporting my proclivities.

        So, how are we to interact in a civil society when our views are as polar opposite as they are? What form of governance can possibly accommodate these myriad points of view?

        I give you the U.S. Constitution. The most elegant form of governance ever contrived by civilized human beings, allowing equal consideration to the limitations of a commonwealth, as are the limitations with those of individual life, liberty and private property. The Constitution doesn’t guaranty that all people will agree, or that all people will act honorably. The Constitution, and the free market tenants it is designed to protect, insures that we have a road map to coexist, bumpy as that road may be.

        The irreconcilable conflict occurs when one party refuses to accept the tenants of the other. As a free market individual, I say live and let live. If you want to operate in a commonwealth, find one and be my guest. You, on the other hand, appear to be threatened by my proclivity to individual independence. Because, I suspect, if I succeed as an individual, it may diminish (in your eyes) the efficacy of the commonwealth in which you choose to participate.

        In other words, if you don’t try to force me to follow you on your path, I will respond to you in kind, with equal respect. If you do not respond in kind, I’ll see you in court.

    • “Socialism” is such a broad term that it is absurd to talk about it as you do.
      Describe to me the chair in which I’m sitting. If all applications of the concept of “socialism” are identical, then the chair in which you’re sitting is identical to the chair in which I’m sitting.

      • Not so. If its a chair, it’s a chair, not a bean bag, not a couch, not a pillow on the floor. What’s important, however, is that you are ‘sitting’ on it, whatever it is. And that’s the point your perspective perpetually fails to take into consideration.

        Socialism, is by definition, “a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.”

        Your porints on the matter are recondite and pure sophistry.

    • See me “in court” for challenging your ignorance? Both Sweden and Israel consider themselves “socialist”. You have presented the false idea that socialism exists only in the form of totalitarianism. This is simply untrue.
      I have supported the Bill of Rights for decades.
      If I helped masses of people I “would have remedied their condition by now”? That’s absurd. However, I have, since 1987, operated on my own initiative and out of my own disability income a community project. It has installed entire small libraries, and supplied necessities such as clothing, household items, etc., to countless individuals and households.
      “Free enterprise” doesn’t mean the massive abuses of giant corporations.

      • Sweden labels itself socialist. So does Israel. Argue with them.
        Or refer to a decent dictionary or encyclopedia for a definition of socialism. Marx didn’t invent the concept.
        Concerning Cuba, private business ownership has always existed there and still does.
        In fact, as late as the mid-’90’s or later Frank Sinatra owned a casino in Cuba.
        You want to argue semantics without even knowing what the word means.

      • Do you stand by the 5th Amendment when it says “No person shall…be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law;.. nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

        Do you stand by the 14th Amendment when it says: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”…?

        Understanding that David Koch passed away more than a year ago, what laws has Charles Koch breached? What ‘massive abuses’ by ‘giant corporations’ are you referring to?

        While your generosity should not go unnoticed, are you aware that Charles Koch, has given an estimated $1.5 Billion (that’s with a ‘B’) to charitable causes, including but not limited to public television, medical research, higher education, environmental stewardship, criminal justice reform and the arts?

        And this is in addition to the Billions of dollars he’s paid in taxes.

        Are you aware of the fact that Microsoft Corporation’s Bill Gates has given more than $50 Billion in charitable causes over the years? Warren Buffet (Berkshire Hathaway) has gifted half his wealth to charitable causes. Collectively, the donations of the top 50 charitable givers in the U.S. exceeds $173 Billion, in addition to the taxes they have paid over the years.

        Bernie Sanders, in comparison, has given $100,000 over the years to charities. He would have to give $100,000 every minute, of every day, for 200 years, to equal the charitable giving of just these 50 people.

        Do you honestly believe Bernie Sanders, for example, knows better how to invest these billions of dollars than the people who actually earned it? Are you saying you know better how to create this wealth and redistribute it? Are you an advocate, like Bernie Sanders and AOC, of killing the goose that laid the golden egg?

        If so, while it’s certainly your right to think this way, I sincerely hope you reconsider.

  8. People who work 40-80 hours a week also deserve, at least, housing, food and a chance to better themselves.
    What about the Native Americans who were cheated out of a fair share of oil extracted from their land, while the Koch brothers profited billions? What about the tax structures in place until about 40 years ago where corporations could profit immensely but common people also got a fair share of the resources and wealth of this country?

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