Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Last Execution in Texas for 2014

There once was a time when I thought, more because it was what I heard in my community than by my own reasoning, an eye for an eye was the rule of law that should be followed when deciding if a murderer should be put to death. Strangely enough, I applied this almost nowhere else in my life. In most other areas, I would apply the philosophy of turning the other cheek. However, when it came to the death sentence, I espoused things like, “wouldn’t it be cheaper to just take them out behind the courthouse and shoot them?” After climbing out of the bubble of my childhood and evaluating this situation based on my own moral compass, I have fortunately come to realize that this is simply absurd.
                My reasoning is simple enough. The state is fallible and cannot be trusted to determine who should or should not be put to death. The various rulings on the death sentence across the nation indicate there is no consensus among governments as to how, why or to whom the death sentence should be applied. Beyond any reasoning though, I would like to take a look at this last moments and consider what it must be like.
                The story that caught my eye most recently was that of Miguel Paredes who was executed October 28, 2014 here in Texas. The lethal injection was administered at 6:32 p.m. and 22 minutes later, he was pronounced dead. He spent twenty-two minutes strapped to a table with poison coursing through his veins killing him slowly as his family members and those of his victims watched.
                Paredes was convicted of murder over a drug deal gone wrong back in 2001. He was sentenced to death and spent the next thirteen years in prison waiting on his turn for the needle. In the chronicle of his last days, he seems at peace. He sleeps more than anything, but in between he reads, writes, listens to music, visits with family members and ministers, and prays. In his last statement, he takes responsibility for his actions, asks forgiveness from nearly everyone and declares his love for all of them as well. He even smiled for a picture during one of his last visits from family. That is the last picture they will ever have of him.
                While none of his behavior seems atypical of a death row inmate, since this is a story we hear regularly in Texas, I have to wonder what it must be like for his guards. Some of those men have doubtless been there during all or most of his sentence. What was it like seeing to a man who might as well be dead? What was it like knowing that no matter how reformed he was, no matter how much he changed, nothing would change the fact that this man would suffer the same fate as his victims, arguably worse? Did he smile at them the way he smiled in the picture for his family? Did they ever find themselves in conversation with him, as though he were an ordinary person? I put myself in their shoes and feel like I would have found it hard to steel myself as I watched this man truly repent for his crimes despite knowing there was no hope of redemption. I find myself equating it to the idea that if you were damned to hell with no chance at heaven, would you still repent and try to live your life better? Maybe you would; he did. He was damned to hell and still asked forgiveness and tried to find peace.
                On the other hand, his executioner has likely taken numerous lives. How could a person live with that? Can you really convince yourself you’re doling out justice by not just taking them out of society, but taking them out of this world? I have to think that person either suffers immensely from what they’re doing, or is no less twisted than the person whose life they’re taking.
                I guess what I’m trying to say is that no matter what he was convicted of, Paredes was a person, just like the executioner, just like his guards, and just like you and me. That being said, taking his life was as much murder as it was when he took the lives of his victims. We have a mechanism by which violent people can be removed from society thereby protecting the innocent. The added step of murdering them is no less than barbaric.

~~Anastasia Wilford, NOLW Texas Chair
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Sunday, October 19, 2014


There are few topics that cause such commotion within Libertarian circles as abortion, and here I seek to address both sides in hopes, not to solve a dispute, but to open a line of honest, heat-felt, dialogue between both sides. To begin, it should be noted that every piece of the Libertarian platform is based on the non-aggression principle: aggression or force against another person, or group of people is immoral except in the case of self-defense. The other basis for our stances is that government should not interfere in the lives of its citizens except to oversee the settling of disputes, a.k.a. aggressions.

In speaking with people about the Libertarian Party, one sticking point that many people have is the idea that all Libertarians are pro-choice. This is simply not the case. Now, as with any group, there are people who will say that a “true” Libertarian is pro-choice, but I do not believe this to be true. Those people typically do not believe life begins at conception. What I've heard most from them is that life begins at the point where the fetus can survive outside of the womb. That being the case, life wouldn't begin until organs are formed and functioning. They often cite science as their backup. By defining life in this manner, pro-choice Libertarians do not see abortion as an aggression against another human, but rather the avoidance of an unintended consequence of the act of sex.

For those who believe the union of a sperm and an egg is the point at which life begins, I ask you to reconsider the Libertarian Party, because, by your definition of life, yours is a Libertarian view as well. When defining life as beginning at conception, it is believed that the embryo is a human being who can be aggressed against, and abortion is an aggression that results in the taking of life of another human being, and therefore falls squarely within the limited purview of government intervention. Many of the people who share this view are religious members of our party and will cite the Bible (or their corresponding book of faith) as saying “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.” –Jeremiah 1:5. If this, or something similar, is your viewpoint, then no amount of science as referenced by pro-choice counterparts can change what you believe to be true.

Specifically, within the Libertarian Party of Texas, we have swarms of people on both sides of this issue, so I don’t expect us to come to an agreement anytime soon, and I don’t want to. Such a sensitive topic deserves earnest discussion, and I only hope that we can open this dialogue and the door to our party, inviting in differing views even when the arguments aren’t always fun. 

Author: Anastasia Wilford,
Cross published @

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Introducing Tom Oxford

Tom Oxford is the Libertarian Party of Texas candidate for Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court serving the entire state of Texas. He has long been a proponent of smaller government, but he became formally associated with the Libertarian Party after the passing of the Patriot Act when he “realized that neither the Democratic or Republican party had the courage to defend our rights.”

His primary political focus has been to protect our right to a jury trial which he cites has been eroded consistently over the years. It is this passion that has prompted him to become one of our staple candidates, running for Texas Supreme Court three times and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals once in addition to his work with the American Civil Liberties Union.

Looking to the future, he hopes that the libertarian principles of self-determination and individual liberty will empower men and women alike to fight those who believe they have authority over the lives of others, so as not to leave an Orwellian future for the generations to come.

Tom Oxford wants to work for you to protect judicial rights, but encourages each person to “take control of your life.” It’s as simple as that.

To get more information on Tom, he can be contacted by email at mailto:oxford@waldmansmallwood.comor on his firm website at

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Introducing Kerry McKennon

Kerry McKennon is the Libertarian candidate for Texas Senate District 28, a special election being held on September 9th. 

"Liberty for all, period." That's what sealed the deal for Kerry McKennon to begin identifying as a Libertarian years ago. He's come a long way since then, starting out as Hale County Chair, finding himself as a delegate to the State Convention, and being elected to be a member of the State Executive Committee. This is his first bid for election and he has big goals when he wins. He will seek to repeal laws that inhibit liberties and introduce laws that secure them, but he feels the primary goal for the office he seeks is ending marijuana prohibition.

When asked what about the Libertarian Party empowers women and what should be attracting them to our party, he says "Liberty for all includes women.  Women are not put into a minority group based on sex to be a voting block to be fought over.  The 'All' is the individual and each women is an individual." I'm feeling empowered already!

He goes on to express the beauties of the non-aggression principle in a way that anyone can understand, "It is not acceptable to hurt someone using force.  Force is hitting someone until they do what you want.  Force is taking away something from you to make it fair.  It is better to share because you choose to do so." 

In a nutshell, Kerry wants to serve Texans by holding our elected officials accountable and both ensuring and regaining our freedoms. 

You can find more information on Kerry at his website and on Facebook.

Women and Guns

I respect the Second Amendment. I love firearms and I'm not ashamed to say it!  This, however, wasn't always the case.  As a child I was blissfully unaware of the dangers of life and my only concern was Barbie, doll houses and who would play "tea time" with me.  In high school my perspective of guns was somewhat negative, probably due to my only exposure being TV, Movies and the occasional D.A.R.E. program.  This all changed however, after I met my loving husband.  Guns were never thought of but when he started working night shifts, my safety became a concern.  Of course, calling 911 was an option, but how would I survive the response time if an intruder was at the foot of my bed?  Next thing I know my husband is walking through the door with a Mossberg 500 Shotgun.  I was speechless.  A few days later my husband and I headed to the local gun range.  We had ammo, protection gear and some targets, and he went over the safety rules for handling a gun.  He then gets behind me and hands me this huge gun trying to show me how to aim.  Once I fired that very first shot, I was hooked.   "Love at first shot."   The power I felt behind this gun was empowering, especially for a little 120lb woman.  This is what opened the door for me in regards to firearms.   I then started doing some research on guns and what the true meaning is behind them.  A few months later I ran across an online group called Open Carry Texas (OCT). Shortly after that I started studying up on our U.S. Constitution and our Bill Of Rights.  I started falling in love with everything this group was trying to accomplish, so the next step was to become a full blown member and join the movement.  The more involved I got, the more I began to learn about our government, gun control and Moms Demand Action (MDA).

This is why I believe more women should stand up and fight for gun rights.  Open Carry Texas is mostly men, however if more women got involved people might understand the movement better.Not all people trust a bunch of men walking around with guns but if you have women out there as well, people would look at it differently. Women have a certain sense about things, we can feel danger in our gut a mile away.  The Second Amendment will stand or fall depending on the way women vote.  FACT: Women make-up about 52% of the population.  If women are not encouraged to support firearms and instead rely on the stigma that guns are bad, they will vote against the second amendment and they will not be protected.  It is much more important to teach girls how to use guns than boys because girls will grow up to be women and are more likely to be victims of crime.  If someone is going to be raped, mugged or robbed, it will more likely be a women and the attacker will more likely be a man.  A woman needs a firearm to make her equal and more powerful than her attacker.  Our Second Amendment is our greatest freedom, the one that makes all other freedoms possible since nothing else matters if you're dead.  Yet when it comes to guns and the second amendment, you're more likely to see a campaign against guns than one for guns.  Pick up a magazine, any magazine and you're more likely to see anti-gun propaganda from Cease Fire or the Ad Council telling you to use a gun lock than beautiful full-page ads from Smith &Wesson.  Gun Manufacturers themselves only place ads in gun magazines, there's little help for someone who's never owned a gun or who doesn't understand that "assault weapon" is just a scary term for "semi-automatic" and who might consider owning a gun but has never been lucky enough to meet a pro-gun friend.  The future for the second amendment depends on increasing the number of gun owners, but mainly women gun owners.  They say too many people have guns in this country.  I say we need 150 Million more gun owners. We need so many gun owners that it becomes political suicide for any party to propose gun control.  For people to embrace the second amendment, they must be given a personal reason.  For me it was not wanting to be home at night alone, and later on, not wanting to be a slave of the State. Free men bear arms, slaves don't, yet does the mainstream media care?  We cannot rely on them to promote the second amendment, instead it is our duty to share pro-gun stories on Facebook and social media.  The fact remains that they still oppose concealed carry, which means they're perfectly okay with women being unarmed and defenseless.  It's ironic that these so-called "feminists," these "war on women" folks, are actually waging a war against all women who want to defend themselves from rape or other crimes.  (FACT: The University of Colorado's response to rape-prevention tips- 1. Urinate 2. Claim you're menstruating 3. Vomit 4. Faint 5. Blow a whistle.)

The original intent of the second amendment was to protect the right of the states to form and maintain a state militia, free of the potential federal incursion created by Article 1, Section 8, Clause 16 of the U.S. Constitution.  Individuals should assert their rights and should NOT bow to an oppressive government.  The states should stand between their citizens and the federal government and halt any attempt by the federal government to interfere. Any interference in the right of the individual to possess, use and exchange firearms is an infringement of those natural rights and should be strongly resisted.  The second amendment of the U.S. Constitution was written to keep a balance of power, keep the prosperity, and the principles of life, liberty, and property in the forefront of society.  When looking at our basest nature, the threat of violence is one of the few things that keeps others civil.  Without this balance of power we are left without our last defense if the law fails us.  So, where are all the women on the front line?  We are involved in instructing men, women, and children in the safe use of firearms. In some cases they have their own blog/websites.  The fact is that the "front line" is everywhere.  We are in your towns and cities. The front lines are in the grocery stores and the schools. Women will determine the future of our right to bear arms.  We are raising the future generation of women gun owners and we can make the practice appear as normal as it is.  I am on the front line in this battle.  Are you??                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              BY: Houston Women For Gun Rights/Misty WittEMAIL:        TWITTER:  @WomenGunRights

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Introducing Rebecca Paddock

Rebecca Paddock is the Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate representing the whole of Texas. Even before realizing she was a Libertarian, she  lived her life by libertarian principles personally and in the workforce. After being disenchanted with the “control-centric” policies put forth by both Democrats and Republicans, she found herself politically homeless until a friend uttered two words that would change her political trajectory. “You’re Libertarian.” She did her research, and came to find she liked that the Libertarian platform is counter to what the two big parties espouse, that it centers on the same ideas as the Constitution.
She was inspired to run for the Senate by John Cornyn’s cloture vote for Obamacare. She decided it was time to put her money where he mouth is and try to do something to right the infringements on liberty imposed by Obamacare. Should she win, Rebecca intends to focus on “putting government back in the box defined for it by the Constitution,” including remedying the egregious attacks on both the second and fourth amendments. Additionally, she pledges that every bill put before her will be measured against the Constitution and turned down if it doesn’t make the grade, and every bill she authors will reference how that bill falls under the purview of government as set forth in the Constitution.
She notes that empowerment for everyone comes from the original design of our government in that its power is in the hands of the people and encourages everyone to become involved and informed in order to upright our country and to remember that living by the Libertarian principle of non-aggression is as simple as “don’t start fights; and don’t back down when a bully starts one.” If we live by this, then we can see liberty grow for our children and grandchildren.

Rebecca Paddock can be found at

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Introducing Irene Johnson

Irene Johnson is the Libertarian candidate for Texas House of Representatives District 52 covering part of Williamson County. After declaring herself an Independent and becoming vocal online about her political views, Irene was approached about a year ago by Pat Dixon, then state party chair, about becoming a Libertarian and running for office under the LP banner.
She felt like she had found her political home and decided the next logical step in her activism was to run for office.  Active in her community and seeing very specific issues that needed a Libertarian hand, she chose to run for State Rep in her district.  If she wins, she will focus on putting more money back in the pockets of taxpayers, building stronger family values to protect children, and defending property rights.
When asked what attracts women to the Libertarian Party, she cited that women can find a home with us in our shared desire to leave a better world for future generations where they can succeed by their own hard work instead of failing in spite of it. She also notes that due to the nature of the party, it is easy for not just women, but everyone, to have their opinions heard and respected. Irene feels that because of this voice, the future of our world will be influenced by libertarian philosophy.  Irene sees increased independence, self-ownership and personal responsibility leading to success as our children become leaders of their time.
To put the Libertarian principle of non-aggression simply, Irene says: “Non-aggression is the only productive, responsible way to get a point across.”

If you find yourself wondering where you fall in the political spectrum, she advises you take the world’s smallest political quiz which can be found at, and vote principle, not party. For more information on where Irene stands on the issues, you can find her on Facebook at