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“Today I feel almost the same.” That’s how David Tran, President of Huy Fong Foods, maker of the popular Sriracha hot sauce, recently compared America with the communist Vietnam he left 35 years ago.

He is not alone.

Answering a recent Gallup poll, 74 percent express dissatisfaction with the country’s direction. At every level, government has lost sight of its mission to protect, not trample, citizens’ Constitutional rights. Instead, government worries about protecting itself. When it should be carefully crafting legislation that preserves cherished rights, more and more, it rams through broad, sweeping laws that pull ordinary activities into their orbit and make them criminal. The proposed group assembly law is a perfect example. It criminalizes any group assembly in a private home exceeding 49 people in one day which occurs more frequently than three times in any 40-day period. Never mind that many properties in Fairfax County can easily accommodate gatherings of this size, including parking. In proposing this law, Fairfax County officials are taking the lazy man’s way out of the difficult problem of handling a few repeat offenders. Rather than stripping away the property rights of a million-plus residents, can’t the County find existing regulations (e.g., noise and parking) to address these few offenders? It’s easy to pass laws, but it is not always right.

Mary Mack, Centreville