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As a newsman of 30 years, I’ve become coarsened to immersing myself in stories that are disturbing, revolting, demoralizing, shocking and disgusting.

Usually, I can vent about the reports to my wife, my radio talk-show audience or you, dear readers of my daily column, and move on.

Talking about these kinds of stories, shouting about them, can be cathartic and good for the soul.

But even though I have a wife with a sympathetic ear, a nationally syndicated talk show and a daily column, sometimes the outrages come so fast and furious, I can’t keep with them.

Last month, one of those outrages occurred – and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. I haven’t been able to get past what it suggests about the direction of our nation. I haven’t been able to comprehend the massive injustice.

And, so, this grizzled old newsman is venting once again – in hopes that it helps me cope and serves to awaken the vast universe of sleepwalking Americans who haven’t a clue yet that we’ve lost our freedoms in this country, lost our property rights, lost our ability to distinguish right from wrong, lost our ability to govern ourselves.

This story is not breaking news any longer, but I dare suggest fewer than one in 100 Americans are aware of it. Maybe we can raise that percentage today.

In March 2003, Casey Nethercott caught two illegal aliens sneaking onto his 70-acre Texas ranch, which he used his life savings of $120,000 to buy earlier that year. Edwin Alfredo Mancia Gonzales and Fatima del Socorro Leiva Medina had trekked through Mexico from El Salvador when they stumbled on to Nethercott’s ranch.

Though the pair admitted Nethercott’s ranch hands provided them with cookies, water and a blanket and let them go after an hour, the illegal invaders enlisted the legal help of Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center to represent them in a suit charging they were abused by Nethercott.

Because Nethercott was in possession of a gun illegally, he got five years at the hands of Texas prosecutors.

And since he was in jail and unable to defend himself against Dees’ civil lawsuit, Nethercott’s ranch was seized and handed over to the illegal aliens.

Two illegals who should have been deported are now living comfortably in the land of the free and home of the brave – the recipients of visas available to immigrants who are victims of crimes and cooperate with authorities. They are living on a ranch they stole, with the complicity of the government. An American is in jail, and illegals who trespassed on his property have taken ownership of his home.

It’s incomprehensible. It’s mind-boggling. It’s a sign of the time.

Americans once looked out for Americans. Our governments – local, state and federal – were designed to protect our rights and our safety. Our laws were made for the benefit of the people, not to victimize and entrap them.

No longer.

I can’t help but think the emerging pattern of government abuse against the people is purposeful and by design.

We are being told, in no uncertain terms, that we the people are no longer in control of our destiny. We are now subjects – our “rights” merely privileges extended by the government and revocable at the slightest whim.

Think about it.

Nethercott was defending his property from invasion. The government long ago abdicated its responsibility to defend our national borders – leaving us all to fend for ourselves from higher crime rates, terrorist threats, higher taxes and a thousand other problems related to illegal immigration. Now he’s in jail and his property in the hands of those who trespassed.

It’s a metaphor for the insanity that is gripping America.

Our most basic rights have been lost.

Justice has been perverted. Truth has been obscured. Morality has been turned upside down.

Maybe you think this just happens to other people?

If it can happen to homeowners in New London, Conn., it can happen to you. If it can happen to ranchers out West who discover “protected” critters on their property, it can happen to you. If it can happen to Casey Nethercott, it can happen to you.

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