Mugged by the State

By Blanchette, Jude | Freeman, April 2005 | Go to article overview

Mugged by the State


Blanchette, Jude, Freeman


Mugged by the State by Randall Fitzgerald Regnery Publishing * 2003 * 155 pages * $27.95 hardcover

Most Americans believe that if they raise their kids well, attend church, work 9 to 5, and pay their taxes, they can pretty much go about life unhindered by the government. Certainly there are the annoyances and trivialities that occur when visiting the department of motor vehicles or the post office, but grisly tales of life in the old Soviet Union and modern-day tyrannies remind us how safe and good things are in America. Many of us believe that images of armed federal agents smashing through doors and windows, conspiratorial stories of black government helicopters, and tales of corrupt and avaricious bureaucrats are products of media hype and desperate publicity hounds. Randall Fitzgerald's Mugged by the State shatters this naive belief.

Fitzgerald, a former Reader's Digest reporter and contributing editor, presents a compelling and emotional series of stories that highlight the bad things that the American government does to good people.

Take the case of Blair Taylor, whose new Italian restaurant in Denver had been open one week before he received notification that he was not in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). A second letter to Taylor informed him of the problem: eight of his tables were on an elevated platform without any wheelchair access. Although the majority of his tables were accessible, all had to be so. Rational thought would suggest that ramps would fix the problem. Yet Taylor soon found that he would have to obtain permits for the entire building even though he was putting the ramps only in parts of the building. In April of 1994 a federal lawsuit was filed against Taylor for further noncompliance. As Fitzgerald writes, "The lawsuit detailed a mind-numb' ing list of actions Taylor had to undertake to bring [his restaurant] into 'full' compliance with the law." On top of this, Taylor was forced to pay $1,500 to each of four "protesters" who had picketed outside his restaurant demanding he build the ramps sooner. After shelling out over $100,000, Taylor finally met all the ADA requirements.

Mugged by the State is filled with such cases, showing that ordinary, law-abiding citizens can easily be victimized by government. …

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