Barr: Despite crisis fad, sky’s not falling

Congressman Bob Barr, the 2008 Libertarian Party presidential nominee, writes in this week’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution column on the media’s penchant for blowing isolated problems up into overhyped crises, and the government’s equally-overhyped response.

You may read the full column by clicking here to to go the Atlanta Journal-Constitution website, or clicking here to go to

With all the tools the Internet age has to offer that enable multifaceted, instantaneous communications on any conceivable topic, is it any wonder we perceive everything through the prism of a “crisis”? We flit from one “crisis” to another, with the average life span about one business week.

At the beginning of this month, because there occurred a couple of tragic shootings, we were thrown into another “gun crisis”; two weeks ago, it was the “piracy crisis”; last week, the “torture-memos crisis”; this week, the “swine flu crisis.” Next week, who knows —- perhaps someone in some far-off corner of the world will claim to have contracted the bird flu again, and we will transition seamlessly to that crisis; or another peanut scare; or E. coli.

Far more often than not, most of these “crises” could be reduced to manageable proportions without getting our national pants in a wad…

…We can and should take steps to ensure neither a swine flu nor any other disease epidemic crosses into our territory by having our government commit to monitoring and restricting border crossings from Mexico.

Whether it is swine flu, drug-gang violence or some other malady, more effective, consistent and comprehensive enforcement of border and immigration laws will always help.

Of course, holding press conferences and telling people to wash their hands and cover their mouths and noses when they sneeze is politically less risky.

By the way, what happened to the other crises from this month? Despite the continuing nature of the problems underlying the proclaimed crises in gun violence, piracy and torture, the sky has not fallen.

Murder and mass shootings remain a problem, but not a crisis. And there is a solution —- enforce laws on the books and allow law-abiding citizens to arm themselves if they wish…

…All of these solutions require the political will to implement them; and the recurrent lack thereof actually is a crisis.

Common-sense solutions to real problems?  It sounds like the Libertarians are, once again, the only ones with rational plans.