Criminal Justice

Her Name Was Breonna Taylor: The Deadly Consequences of No-Knock Warrants

Her Name Was Breonna Taylor: The Deadly Consequences of No-Knock Warrants

mid the nationwide focus on the death of George Floyd, another tragedy has unfortunately fallen by the wayside. We should not forget the death of Breonna Taylor—or the dire need to abolish the “no-knock” warrants that caused her death, trample property rights, and routinely endanger Americans.

Here’s the sad story of Taylor’s death.

On March 13, police officers broke into the Louisville, Kentucky home of Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, unannounced. The police were executing a “no-knock” warrant, which allows them to conduct a search without identifying themselves as law enforcement, as part of a drug crime investigation into a different suspect—not Taylor or Walker—who was already in police custody.

When Walker heard unknown intruders breaking into his home, he did not know they were police officers. So, quite understandably, Walker grabbed his lawfully-owned firearm and fired a shot at the unknown invaders. The ensuing hail of more than 20 police-fired bullets left Taylor dead, and Walker was arrested for attempted murder of a police officer. (The charge has since been dropped).

Police claim that they knocked at the apartment door and announced themselves, yet that is hard to believe. They were specifically executing a “no-knock” warrant, after all, and not just Walker, but multiple neighbors have confirmed they heard no such announcement.

Neither Taylor nor Walker had a criminal history, and no drugs were found in the raid on their apartment.

Taylor’s killing was a grotesque act of police recklessness. It once again exposes the injustice of “no-knock” warrants, which put both police officers and law-abiding Americans in grave and unnecessary danger by creating a situation where a routine law enforcement search can easily turn into a deadly misunderstanding.

And, sadly, Taylor’s death is not as unique as one might think.

Law enforcement officers conduct 20,000 “no-knock” raids a year. We don’t know exactly how many people are killed or injured as a result, but an analysis from the American Civil Liberties Union does provide some insight. As reported by Vox, the ACLU looked into 818 such “no-knock” raids, and found seven deaths (2 were suicides to evade arrest) and 46 civilian injuries. If these figures are at all representative, that means many, many more Americans are injured or killed across all 20,000 raids.

“No-knock” raids have also resulted in horror stories like a flash-bang grenade being thrown into the crib of a 19-month-old toddler and the shooting of a 7-year-old child.

True, these raids usually don’t end in violence. But every single “no-knock” warrant violates the sanctity of the home, the privacy of the individual, and fundamental property rights, all of which are longstanding tenets in the western tradition of liberty and in the founding ideas of America.

As James Bovard wrote for FEE 20 years ago:

Without private property, there is no escape from state power. Property rights are the border guards around an individual’s life that deter political invasions.

Few government policies better symbolize the contempt for property rights than the rising number of no-knock raids. “A man’s home is his castle” has been an accepted rule of English common law since the early 1600s and required law-enforcement officials to knock on the door and announce themselves before entering a private home. But this standard has increasingly been rejected in favor of another ancient rule—“the king’s keys unlock all doors.”

The notion that “A man’s home is his castle,” as Bovard notes, is a fundamental American principle. It is enshrined in our Constitution, particularly through the Fourth Amendment, which recognizes Americans’ right to be free from “unreasonable searches and seizures” of their homes. It is hard to imagine any search less “reasonable” than one where armed-to-the-teeth police officers burst into your home in the dead of night—and don’t even announce themselves as law enforcement.

And conservatives especially should appreciate the insidious way in which “no-knock” raids undermine the Second Amendment and the right to self-defense. After all, Walker did exactly what many Americans who lawfully own guns would do: protect his home and family from armed intruders. For the exercise of this fundamental right, Taylor paid the ultimate price.

Policies like these compromise the sanctity of every American home. How can anyone exercise their right to self-defense to protect their home and family if they don’t know whether or not it’s the police breaking down the door?

This is why Breonna Taylor’s story must not be allowed to fall through the cracks, and “no-knock” warrants cannot be allowed to stand.

The police officers involved in her case still have not faced any charges, and her mother is calling for justice, saying “I need people to know that her life mattered.”

The only way to truly honor Taylor’s memory is to make sure this kind of tragedy never happens again—and that means banning “no-knock” warrants across the board. Thankfully, there is some political support across the ideological spectrum for this reform.

Congressional Democrats have introduced a police reform bill that would abolish “no-knock” warrants for federal drug cases, which doesn’t go far enough, but is at least a good start.

Meanwhile, Sen. Rand Paul, a libertarian-leaning Kentucky Republican, has led the charge against “no-knocks” from the Right. He was one of the first voices to speak out about Breonna Taylor’s tragic death, and has called for reform in no uncertain terms.

“I think it’s crazy that we’re breaking down people’s doors in the middle of the night,” the senator said in a conversation with Taylor’s aunt. “People are frightened. They don’t know what to do. They don’t know if it’s burglars.”

“I want to make sure that we don’t forget Breonna,” Paul continued. “That we try to make it better, so this doesn’t happen again.” The only way to do that is to consign “no-knock” warrants to the dustbin of history.

Brad Polumbo is a libertarian-conservative journalist and the Eugene S. Thorpe Writing Fellow at the Foundation for Economic Education. This article was originally featured at the Foundation for Economic Education and is republished with permission.

‘Defund the Police’: A Libertarian Moment?

‘Defund the Police’: A Libertarian Moment?

The time is now for American libertarians to get together and publicly broadcast “the solution.” It is my belief that almost all long-time libertarians agree on this solution with perhaps slight variations. The internal debate is mostly in the practicality of the solution, not in the principles of the idea. And the idea of course is for voluntary and private police forces to compete freely with other private police forces whose sole job is to provide conflict resolution, peace, and protection1The Law – Frederick Bastiat https://fee.org/media/14951/thelaw.pdf and audio here https://mises.org/library/law-0 instead of filling state and private prisons with people who commit victimless crimes.

Anyone of us who already has a voice in the libertarian community2This person or group thereof could be anyone like Dr. Ron Paul, Dr. Thomas E Woods, Ben Swan, Scott Horton, Dave Smith, Anyone from Cato, “L” LP, Mises, FEE, AIER etc. This person(s) can be just known in libertarian circles and or in mainstream media. Let’s discuss! , and it does not matter who, has to step up to the plate, rally up a few handfuls of other libertarians3Some of the examples that come to mind are, Adam Kokesh (Ex-Marines), Dale Brown (Detroit threat management Center), and many more.  with some police and military veterans to announce a startup or a franchise. We don’t need infrastructure, or money for that matter. A simple video and a landing page for contact information is all one would need. It is likely that upon the success of this idea, more startups will surface in the market. That’s a good thing because competition is the healthiest thing from the consumer perspective.

“How does a private police force work?” a non-libertarian or a newbie libertarian will ask. There is an incredible amount of literature already available from Murray Rothbard4https://mises.org/wire/privatize-policeto current day libertarians 5https://www.learnliberty.org/tag/police/ 6https://mises.org/search-mises?search=police,but I am going to highlight key points7It is my intent to revise this article as more relevant points are discussed amongst libertarians. below and you may do the same. Most importantly, the time is now to invite the “defund the police” movement, the skeptics, and the opposition to this discussion with our bullet proof ideas. Sure, it’s great we spend money on election campaigns, movies, and such but let us all spend $5 to advertise our policing idea to the world so we can get in the middle of the debate and offer frugal and effective solutions. Plus, it never hurts to spread the ideas of liberty.

Here are some of the key point’s below:

  • Private police will not be able to discriminate for the reasons mentioned below, therefore automatically eliminate police related racism problem. Private police will without a doubt have to practice the most civil and peaceful way to handle policing situations or they will automatically seize to exist.
  • Private police will not be involved in the state and government mandated drug war therefore automatically eliminating almost all gang-related violence.
  • Private police will not participate in federal and state level asset forfeiture and confiscation of private property. Private police will not make arrests for things like not paying vehicle registration, tax evasion and parking ticket fines etc.
  • Unlike current police system in America today, a private police department would not have a monopoly of violence. That means any American citizen will be able to opt in and out as they please as a free citizens of a truly free country.
  • “What about the poor?” they will ask. “Cell411” is an alternate, absolutely free community trust based on a self-policing system which people can adopt if they choose not to participate in the above for any reason including financial difficulty. One simply downloads the app to connect with other local community members who are already using the same app. You can try to convince your neighbors and friends in the community to do the same. Similar to life, car, and home insurance, private police will likely have multiple tier membership available for different levels of protection.
  • Technology today already exists for home security and monitoring systems. With advanced IoT, light bulb cameras provide live and censor-based property surveillance at a very low cost compared to what taxpayers have to forcefully pay now to crummy state police departments. Would you rather pay for an unreliable service with no course of accountability and repercussion or would you rather voluntarily pay a small fee for a service you can not only count on but can hold accountable as per contract?
  • Private police have to keep their customers happy in order to be profitable and to sustain themselves. Bad service means losing customers. Unlike our current system, which forces taxpayers to pay for a bad service, businesses can end up failing if they do not serve their customers.
  • It is in the interest of private police to resolve social problems without violence. Private police will be liable for the loss of a life, whether for both police officers or private citizens.
  • Private police forces will carry business and liability insurance, paid for our of their own pockets. In order to keep the premium at the minimum, they will have to run the business extremely carefully. It puts a very serious responsibility on the police force because, unlike police departments today, private police institutions will not be able to pay for the insurance claims from taxpayers’ pockets. They will have to pay for everything themselves and they understand that a lawsuit can take their business to the cleaners.
  • It is not in the interest of a private police force to arrest people for petty, victimless crimes. Private police will have to operate with limited resources and time which does not allow this business model for useless street thuggery. As previously mentioned, a private police force’s job is to provide peace and conflict resolution.
  • Private police forces will have to compete amongst each other to get customers while with current police, people don’t get a choice.
  • Multiple police forces operating in the same area will have to be civil with each other because no one in their right mind would want a lethal conflic; life is precious for all. In fact, most of the daily conflicts between the customers of the two police forces will likely be resolved before there is any need to resort to courts. Again, the liability insurance will force police forces business model to stick to most peaceful form of conflict resolution services.
  • Private police forces are encouraged to adopt the Viper/Detroit threat management center business model, and only if absolutely necessary, they may carry “SALT” (trademark) weapons instead of lethal weapons. Just because it is a libertarian belief that all life is precious and we must do everything to preserve a life, this doesn’t mean the right to self-ownership, the right to protect oneself with weapons, is negotiable.

There is a lot more that can be said in support to the above, but I realize I’d be preaching to the choir. Any one of us can hold a debate on this subject, so I would just conclude by saying this: we have done a lot of talk but the time is now to start the process and lead by example. Do not let the opportunity slip away.

Goshe King and Joe Green are co-hosts of the Angineering Tech Show. King is also associated with Muslims for Liberty and the Libertarian Party of Pakistan

Senator Rand Paul Proposes National Ban on No-Knock Police Raids

Senator Rand Paul Proposes National Ban on No-Knock Police Raids

On Thursday, in a historical move, all 26 members of the Louisville, Kentucky Metro Council voted to pass a ban on no-knock warrants, a measure known as “Breonna’s Law.” The law was named after the former EMT who was gunned down as she slept in her bed by cops raiding the wrong home. The move still needs to be approved by the mayor, but it is revolutionary in precedent.

Image1“This is one of many critical steps on police reform that we’ve taken to create a more peaceful, just, compassionate and equitable community,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said, vowing to sign the bill “soon as it hits my desk.”

While this move is certainly noteworthy and will lead to a massive shift in law enforcement procedure that will undoubtedly save lives, it is reserved solely for the people of Louisville, Kentucky.

So, after this move, Sen. Rand Paul (R) Kentucky, proposed to make this a nationwide ban in one of the most unprecedented anti-police state moves we’ve ever seen.

“After talking with Breonna Taylor’s family, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s long past time to get rid of no-knock warrants. This bill will effectively end no-knock raids in the United States,” Paul said.

As Axios reports, Paul introduced a bill on Thursday that would prohibit federal law enforcement and local police that receive federal funding from entering homes without warning through a “no-knock” warrant, which was reportedly obtained by the officers that shot Louisville resident Breonna Taylor in her home on March 13.

Why it matters: In the wake of nationwide protests against the killing of George Floyd, there’s now a bipartisan consensus that police reform is necessary.

  • Senate Republicans led by Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) are planning a package that would require states to provide data on the use of no-knock warrants, but Paul’s proposal goes even further.
  • House Democrats, meanwhile, have proposed their own bill that would reform police training, make lynching a federal crime, and ban chokeholds and the use of no-knock warrants in drug cases.

As many have pointed out, however, the bill proposed by Democrats is full of questionable language which could end up hindering the already difficult process of seeking transparency in policing. Rand Paul’s proposal we be far more effective at curbing police violence.

Image1 (1)The idea of ceasing the use of no-knock raids is revolutionary when it comes to policing in the United States and its importance cannot be overstated.

Across the country—largely due to the failed drug war—police conduct more than 20,000 no-knock raids a year.

Breonna was murdered during one of them. Countless others are beaten, terrorized, and killed as well, and just like Breonna, cops often act on bad information.

“In theory, no-knock raids are supposed to be used in only the most dangerous situations … In reality, though, no-knock raids are a common tactic, even in less-than-dangerous circumstances,” Vox wrote in an revealing investigation in 2015. Case in point, Breonna Taylor.

A whopping 79 percent of these raids — like the one used to murder Dennis and Rhogena Tuttle in Houston, TX in 2019 — are for search warrants only, mostly for drugs. Just seven percent of no-knock raids are for crisis situations like hostages, barricaded suspects, or active shooters, according to an investigation by the ACLU.

What’s more, the study by the ACLU found that in 36 percent of SWAT deployments for drug searches, and possibly in as many as 65 percent of such deployments, no contraband of any sort was found.

Not only do these raids appear to be mostly unproductive, but they are often carried out on entirely innocent people based on lies, wrong information, or corruption, laying waste to the rights—and lives—of unsuspecting men, women, children, and their pets.

As we’ve seen in the case of Roderick Talley, drug task forces routinely conspire together to raid the homes of innocent people as a means of justifying themselves.

Cops have been routinely caught planting evidence, lying on warrants, and raiding wrong homes, and when we attempt to question this madness, we’re accused of hating cops.

Raiding homes with no-knock warrants was proven so horrifyingly ineffective last year in Houston with the murder Dennis and Rhogena Tuttle, that Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo vowed to end them.

However, unlike the aforementioned bans at the federal and city level, this was the chief simply promising not to do them.

As we reported at the time, in a move TFTP has never seen, the Houston police department is claiming they are taking steps to prevent future scenarios like this from happening—by ceasing the use of no-knock raids.

“The no-knock warrants are going to go away like leaded gasoline in this city,” Acevedo said during a heated town hall meeting on Monday.

“I’m 99.9 percent sure we won’t be using them,” he continued.

Hopefully, this bill receives the bipartisan support it needs to pass and end this violent and destructive practice. It will take us one step closer to one of the most important solutions to ending police brutality, by chipping away at the war on drugs.

Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor-at-Large at The Free Thought Project. Follow @MattAgorist on TwitterSteemit, and now on Minds. This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission. 

Why Did The Police Abandon Their Posts?

Why Did The Police Abandon Their Posts?

The riots and looting that have taken place in the aftermath of a Minneapolis law enforcement officer suffocating a man to death — which was caught on video by a bystander — has people questioning the idea of policing and how it is done. Should police be taught de-escalation tactics? Would it be prudent for them to live in the area they patrol? Why is law enforcement still performing “broken window policing?” In the wake of the murder of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin these are all things to ponder. 

Taking all of this into consideration, people aren’t asking why it is that police are abandoning their precincts, leaving them to the mob, and suffering no consequences for this action. A few have asked why the police aren’t protecting the public and its property but one would think that in the least the cops would protect “their own house,” right? It is apparent that people learned nothing from the Parkland school shooting when it comes to “law enforcement” being the “security force” of the people. Even after it was determined that the officers who cowered outside had “no duty to protect,” the public still didn’t grasp the message the courts were sending. 

The idea that law enforcement is there “to serve and protect” individual members of the public has been ruled against over and over again, and the facts surrounding some of the most famous cases are particularly heinous. 

Warren v. District of Columbia (1981) 

Warren v D.C. is probably the most cited case when it comes to the fact that police aren’t mandated to protect the individual. 

The details of the case are terrifying: 

In the early morning hours of Sunday, March 16, 1975, Carolyn Warren and Joan Taliaferro, who shared a room on the third floor of their rooming house at 1112 Lamont Street Northwest in the District of Columbia, and Miriam Douglas, who shared a room on the second floor with her four-year-old daughter, were asleep. The women were awakened by the sound of the back door being broken down by two men later identified as Marvin Kent and James Morse. The men entered Douglas’ second floor room, where Kent forced Douglas to perform oral sex on him and Morse raped her.  

Warren and Taliaferro heard Douglas’ screams from the floor below. Warren called 9-1-1 and told the dispatcher that the house was being burglarized, and requested immediate assistance. The department employee told her to remain quiet and assured her that police assistance would be dispatched promptly.  

Warren’s call was received at Metropolitan Police Department Headquarters at 0623 hours, and was recorded as a burglary-in-progress. At 0626, a call was dispatched to officers on the street as a “Code 2” assignment, although calls of a crime in progress should be given priority and designated as “Code 1.” Four police cruisers responded to the broadcast; three to the Lamont Street address and one to another address to investigate a possible suspect.  

Meanwhile, Warren and Taliaferro crawled from their window onto an adjoining roof and waited for the police to arrive. While there, they observed one policeman drive through the alley behind their house and proceed to the front of the residence without stopping, leaning out the window, or getting out of the car to check the back entrance of the house. A second officer apparently knocked on the door in front of the residence, but left when he received no answer. The three officers departed the scene at 0633, five minutes after they arrived.  

Warren and Taliaferro crawled back inside their room. They again heard Douglas’ continuing screams; again called the police; told the officer that the intruders had entered the home, and requested immediate assistance. Once again, a police officer assured them that help was on the way. This second call was received at 0642 and recorded merely as “investigate the trouble;” it was never dispatched to any police officers.  

Believing the police might be in the house, Warren and Taliaferro called down to Douglas, thereby alerting Kent to their presence. At knife point, Kent and Morse then forced all three women to accompany them to Kent’s apartment. For the next fourteen hours the captive women were raped, robbed, beaten, forced to commit sexual acts upon one another, and made to submit to the sexual demands of Kent and Morse.  

Warren, Taliaferro, and Douglas brought the following claims of negligence against the District of Columbia and the Metropolitan Police Department: the dispatcher’s failure to forward the 6:23 a. m. call with the proper degree of urgency; the responding officers’ failure to follow standard police investigative procedures, specifically their failure to check the rear entrance and position themselves properly near the doors and windows to ascertain whether there was any activity inside; and the dispatcher’s failure to dispatch the 6:42 a. m. call. 

The women sought to sue the District of Columbia and several individual members of the Metropolitan Police Department on two different occasions. The results were: 

“In a 4–3 decision, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals affirmed the trial courts’ dismissal of the complaints against the District of Columbia and individual members of the Metropolitan Police Department based on the public duty doctrine ruling that the duty to provide public services is owed to the public at large, and, absent a special relationship between the police and an individual, no specific legal duty exists. The Court thus adopted the trial court’s determination that no special relationship existed between the police and appellants, and therefore no specific legal duty existed between the police and the appellants.” 

Town of Castle Rock v. Gonzales 

The importance of Castle Rock v Gonzales cannot be overstated since, unlike Warren, this case was taken to the Supreme Court of the U.S.A. for its ruling.  

The events that precipitated the ruling are tragic to say the least: 

During divorce proceedings, Jessica Lenahan-Gonzales, a resident of Castle Rock, Colorado, obtained a permanent restraining order against her husband Simon, who had been stalking her, on June 4, 1999, requiring him to remain at least 100 yards (91 m) from her and her four children (son Jesse, who is not Simon’s  biological child, and daughters Rebecca, Katherine, and Leslie) except during specified visitation time. On June 22, at approximately 5:15 pm, Simon took possession of his three daughters in violation of the order. Jessica called the police at approximately 7:30 pm, 8:30 pm, and 10:10 pm on June 22, and 12:15 am on June 23, and visited the police station in person at 12:40 am on June 23. However, since she from time to time had allowed Simon to take the children at various hours, the police took no action, despite Simon having called Jessica prior to her second police call and informing her that he had the daughters with him at an amusement park in Denver, Colorado. At approximately 3:20 am on June 23, Simon appeared at the Castle Rock police station and was killed in a shoot-out with the officers. A search of his vehicle revealed the corpses of the three daughters, whom it has been assumed he killed prior to his arrival. 

Gonzales filed suit against the Castle Rock police department and three of their officers in the U.S. District Court of Colorado claiming they didn’t protect her even though she had a restraining order against her husband. The officers were declared to have “qualified immunity” and thus, couldn’t be sued. But, “a panel of that court… found a procedural due process claim; an en banc rehearing reached the same conclusion.” 

In this case, the government of the town of Castle Rock took the decision against it to the Supreme Court of the U.S.A. and got the procedural due process claim reversed, finding 

The Court’s majority opinion by Justice Antonin Scalia held that enforcement of the restraining order was not mandatory under Colorado law; were a mandate for enforcement to exist, it would not create an individual right to enforcement that could be considered a protected entitlement under the precedent of Board of Regents of State Colleges v. Roth; and even if there were a protected individual entitlement to enforcement of a restraining order, such entitlement would have no monetary value and hence would not count as property for the Due Process Clause.  

Justice David Souter wrote a concurring opinion, using the reasoning that enforcement of a restraining order is a process, not the interest protected by the process, and that there is not due process protection for processes. 

Lozito v. New York City 

This one was saved until the end because, unlike the previous cases, the officer in this one admitted under grand jury testimony that the reason he didn’t come to the aid of Joseph Lozito is because he was scared that Lozito’s attacker had a gun. 

On February 11thMaksim Gelman, started a “spree-killing” by stabbing his stepfather, Aleksandr Kuznetsov, as many as 55 times because he refused to allow Gelman to use his wife’s (Gelman’s mother’s) car. Gelman would end up killing 3 more while injuring 5, the last injured person being Joe Lozito on a northbound 3-train while on his way to work.  

The facts of the Lozito attack are startling: 

“Joseph Lozito, who was brutally stabbed and “grievously wounded, deeply slashed around the head and neck”, sued police for negligence in failing to render assistance to him as he was being attacked by Gelman. Lozito told reporters that he decided to file the lawsuit after allegedly learning from “a grand-jury member” that NYPD officer Terrance Howell testified that he hid from Gelman before and while Lozito was being attacked because Howell thought Gelman had a gun. In response to the suit, attorneys for the City of New York argued that police had no duty to protect Lozito or any other person from Gelman.” 

Lozito had heard of the previous cases stating that the police had “not duty to protect” but decided to go to court representing himself.  

The court would have none of it: 

“On July 25, 2013, Judge Margaret Chan dismissed Lozito’s suit, stating that while Lozito’s account of the attack rang true and appeared “highly credible”, Chan agreed that police had “no special duty” to protect Lozito.” 

As segments of the country continue protesting, rioting and looting as a “response” to the George Floyd killing, and local governments are questioning funding their enforcement agencies, people should retreat a few steps and take a macro view of their “protection services.” While some are rightly railing against police brutality and aggressive policing, they should go back to the beginning and ask whether any of these “fixes” are going to work if the most basic assumption when it comes to “serving and protecting” is a farce.  

If the police are just there as a clean-up crew, or historians after the fact, why not designate them as such. If in the overwhelming amount of cases they get there after a crime has been committed, it’s time to take that 2nd Amendment seriously and remove the barriers that keep many people, especially those in high crime areas, from protecting themselves. “Armed” with the knowledge that those you have falsely believed were there to protect you are in fact serving another purpose, rational individuals should be looking for realistic options when it comes to protecting yourself from any threat that may come your way; public or private. 

How Libertarians Can Create Order From Chaos

How Libertarians Can Create Order From Chaos

The aftermath of George Floyd’s murder has ushered in a grisly scene of terror for many. All around the country police are attacking peaceful protestors while ideological opportunists loot and riot, destroying private property and burning down cities.

As emotions run high and polarization continues to divide the country, libertarians find themselves bickering over the binary laid out before them by statists of all stripes—are cops the bad guys? Or are the looters the bad guys?

Yes!

For decades libertarians have railed against police and the abuse of power that runs rampant among their ranks. They’ve spent much of their careers desecrating private property, violating citizen’s rights, and imprisoning non-violent members of society for financial gain. On the other side of the argument, anti-capitalist instigators infiltrate peaceful protests to further their ideals of an armed revolution by destroying businesses, churches, and communities. Both sides of this quarrel take advantage of well-meaning individuals to further their agenda(s).

Libertarians have no interest on either side, yet, as Martin Luther King Jr. used violent protests of his era in his favor—deal with them or deal with us—libertarians may use the animalistic behavior of both parties to emphasize market solutions.

As Bastiat is quoted as stating, “Paris doesn’t go hungry.”

It is no secret in libertarian circles that the libertarian response to central planning, which Mises called “planned chaos,” is to utilize the market, allowing competition to separate the wheat from the chaff; creating order from said chaos. During this insidious time that response is needed more than ever.

Lisa Bender, the president of the Minneapolis City Council, was interviewed by CNN about the city’s stance to defund the police. It should come as no surprise that this politician, like all politicians, had no solutions to the problems that will surely arise once the MPD is defunded and eventually abolished. As is the case with all statists, her responses were emotionally driven much like right-wingers’ defense of the police is. If either side were to ask themselves simple questions in regards to defunding the police it’s entirely possible that they may switch sides completely.

Who will enforce arbitrary anti-liberty regulations and prohibitions on guns? Who is to punish those that sin against the environment, like using straws?

Neither left nor right have spent a moment considering the unintended consequences that their reactionary positions would surely cause.

On the other hand, libertarians have spent decades considering, theorizing, writing, and advocating for the defunding and dismantling of police. And though the movement is not addressing the problems that will result from the abolition of police it is leaving a glaring hole in the market for libertarians to fill.

Imagine a Private Membership Association app—we’ll call it Defund and Defend—that costs $2.99/month. For that $2.99/month Defund and Defend offers you a list of vetted security firms they contract with in your area. When you open the app you see the approved list: Threat Management Inc., The Protectorate Co., The Midnight Watchmen, and Safe-N-Secure LLC. You select your firm of choice, choose pay per call or join for a monthly fee, and meet with customer service to ensure your needs are met. If at any time you are dissatisfied with the services of a firm you may leave a bad review to warn other consumers and trial another firm until you find a firm that fits your specific requirements. The market moves in to fill a vacuum and delivers superior service in the absense of a state monopoly.

Anti-capitalists will certainly push back against such ideas, spewing such strawmen as, “You’ll see these firms become violent; warring amongst themselves.” Yet, Apple and Android don’t take up arms in the street fighting over territory. You only see that in black markets, or when the state’s monopoly is challenged. If anti-capitalists wish to opt out the market has no mechanism to coerce them into participation. That’s merely a state solution tankies insist on projecting onto businesses because it’s the only way they can think to attract consumers.

At this point some may be saying this is fantasy. To that I’d only direct you to research the amount of private security firms that contract with corporations and the wealthy. If the state wishes to deem such entities illegal wouldn’t one only have to argue discrimination?

At any rate, I’m not an attorney. There would certainly be some legal challenges as there were with Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb. This probably isn’t even a perfect solution. However, by now there are evil geniuses in our midst calculating risk v reward, and designing brilliant systems that utilize and promote libertarian first principles. That is the goal.

Libertarians should not feel pressured into the camps of left or right during such contentious times. The libertarian line has never moved: there are always market solutions that will serve all people sufficiently, and that is how we find order in the midst of chaos.

Libertarians Should Support #AbolishThePolice

Libertarians Should Support #AbolishThePolice

The protests in response to the murder of George Floyd have brought more mainstream exposure to a radical libertarian position than any other other political movement since Ron Paul’s presidential run. A number of hashtags calling for the defunding, disbanding and outright abolition of local police have propelled the topic into mainstream discourse. Over the past few days, The Star Tribune, Time magazine and today, the NYT have all run articles exploring the notion. A notion for which libertarians have devoted considerable effort, over the course of many decades, towards providing a theoretical and intellectual unpinning.

Due to the cultural development of the libertarian movement since the elder Paul’s presidential bid, however, some high profile libertarians have found it difficult to find fraternity with or even support such calls from urban minority community activists who have recently stolen the attention of the 24 hour news cycle. This is true for many reasons. Questions of the coherency of the narrative (who will enforce leftist laws???), over emphasis on racial issues instead of a focus on the institution of the police, and just the overwhelming growth of power of PC culture in just the last decade has made such libertarians regard this recent development as somewhat dubious.

Even on their own terms, it’s not clear that these views are justified.

First, its unclear as to whether or not this movement even qualifies as leftist, at least in the sense the term is used. If the position itself is leftist, than libertarians need to just accept that they hold leftist views. If by leftist they mean that *every* protester and voice in favor of abolition *also* holds socialist and anti-capitalist views, well that is immediately falsified. A number of libertarians have come out in support of the protests, a number even participated. How many people have to be libertarian for the movement to be libertarian? a plurality? a majority? Are we just going to say those people don’t count? Ok, so *most* protesters, right? What about the hundreds of thousands of participants who hold a complex set of political views that cant be easily summed up in a pithy way?  If what matters is the majority, than the movement has no political affiliation at all. What about the fact that ideas are transmitted through a sophisticated network over a variety of media, and people form their opinions based on a variety of influences. That political movements take on a life of their own, and calls to abolish are potentially as much to do with libertarian yammering as anything else?

Fine. Perhaps then, its the organizers that qualify the movement as leftist. I would accept that if they were calling for the platitudes and fashionable leftist rhetoric of yesteryear, These protesters have one goal. End the reign of terror that police have inflicted on the communities they are supposed to be serving and protecting.

“But it doesn’t make sense! How will they collect their revenue?”

Next we hear the following objection. “They don’t really want abolition, because then they couldn’t enforce their laws”. A slightly more coherent version of this rebuttal is “They haven’t really thought it through.” There is still *so* much wrong with this. Not only is it incredibly patronizing, but it homogenizes the entire movement. Libertarians are supposed to be methodological individualists. Not every protester is uniformly in favor of occupational licensing, zoning laws, business licenses, etc… In fact, most of these people don’t even consider these to be related issues, never mind having overwhelming support for them. Those who are familiar, have probably been victimized by such institutions themselves. What you really mean is that the political class wont let it happen. Uh, ok. Aren’t we all fighting the political class?

“But it shouldn’t all/only be about race”.

Yeah, well it is. At least for the people engaging in meaningful political activism right now. In the United States, urban minorities have a sense of the world in which their “class” such as it is, is perpetually victimized by a political establishment concerned with social control and exploitation. Is that not demonstrably true? Libertarians have historically never disputed that narrative. Our’s has always been a position that urban minorities are not focusing on appropriate causal factors… Which factors may i ask? … THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE INFRASTRUCTURE!!! Leftist are finally dialed in on the exact issue that libertarians have been saying lies at the heart of racial disparity, and now we cant support it because they see themselves as a class.

“What if they replace it with something worse?”

What  if they were screaming End the Fed? Would you be saying “What if they put in something worse?”. Sorry, guys. End the Fed is cancelled cuz there are greenbackers and conspiracy kooks. What if they were saying “End the empire”? It’s a callow angle. It certainly isn’t a priori true that replacing police with social programs would be less libertarian, and certainly reasonable that such programs could be more so. It’s a question of particulars. Each would have to be looked at on a case by case basis and evaluated on its own merit. Oppose those things when they happen. And what the hell can be worse than armed enforcement wing of the state? At worst, a replacement would be everything police already are, minus the guns. But again, nobody is saying you need to support that. Just oppose what you know is wrong. And for those suggesting that the market will not fill the void left by an absence of armed security forces in major cities… That people wont spontaneously organize to solve complex social problems. I have a few books i’d recommend. Starting with this one.

“It’s just the Mob. Looting is bad”

Here I would offer that somebody can see this movement as something bigger than looting and remain consistent with libertarianism. You don’t have to abandon a value for property rights to support activists protesting transgressions against property (such as all actions of the police on behalf of the state necessarily are). And by the way, it takes as little moral courage to decry looting as it does to decry racism. Not to mention the perfectly reasonable argument (which is born out by the evidence btw) that police response to the protests has done more to cause the looting than anything else.

“If they take power, they will betray us.”

Who? Leftists? Aside from the fact that i remain unsold on the idea that this is a homogeneous leftist movement, I am constantly bombarded with the narrative that they already have all of the power. How does them doing something we agree with put us at more risk than we would be otherwise?

So there it is. My case for embracing this movement. And my frustration at the state of libertarianism today. We should all agree, as we once had, Defund, Disband, Abolish. And if you don’t agree, well than get out of the way, cuz its happening.

 

 

The Solutions To Police Brutality Politicians Aren’t Giving You

The Solutions To Police Brutality Politicians Aren’t Giving You

Since the George Floyd protests began last week, they have since morphed into a much broader movement which is now exposing a problem this country has suffered from for a long time. The system of law enforcement in this country has morphed into a militarized standing army, preying on the poor, and rife with corruption. Naturally, people are pissed.

As we have stated from the beginning of the riots, this reaction was inevitable. Minorities and the poor have been pushed into a corner and ignored as the state preyed on them through a system of extortion and violence. One can only be ignored for so long before they eventually lash out.

Remember when football players were peacefully protesting by taking a knee, and the country—including the Commander in Chief—collectively lost their minds telling them to shut up and sit down? Trump even called for them to be fired for this. Now, because these folks were ignored and told to shut up during their peaceful protests, the inevitable non-peaceful protests have begun.

For decades there has been a perfect storm brewing in this country as minorities and poor people have their doors kicked in and are terrorized by cops during botched raids for substances deemed illegal by the state and watch helplessly as their family members die in video after video at the hands of cops. Now, we have record unemployment, lockdowns, cops murdering people on video and facing no immediate charges, and those in charge sit at the top and point fingers.

Because the system will always refuse to accept responsibility for the situation it has forced onto the people, the blame game always comes next. Instead of realizing the error of their ways, government is now blaming the riots on Antifa, White Nationalists, the Alt-right, “thugs,” and any other scapegoat they can find to blame besides taking responsibility. They are even blaming Russia now. You cannot make this up.

Naturally, this will never lead to any positive change. It will only prolong suffering, create more divide, and perpetuate a system of injustice for decades to come. Those who want to incite peaceful change, however, have been pushing these ideas out for a long time. Now, people may finally listen.

To lower the likelihood of future chaos, America’s system of law enforcement needs radical change. Instead of threatening to execute suspected looters with no due process—the discussion we should be having right now is how to fix this broken system. It is not difficult, it is based in logic and reason, and its effects would be significantly felt almost overnight.

Over the years, TFTP has been proposing these solutions and below we have compiled a list of five main actions that could affect this much needed change, right now.

The first and most significant solution to this pain and suffering would be to end the war on drugs—today. Legalize every substance out there.

Richard Nixon, in his effort to silence black people and antiwar activists, brought the War on Drugs into full force in 1973. He then signed Reorganization Plan No. 2, which established the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Over the course of five decades, this senseless war has waged on. At a cost of over $1 trillion—ruining and ending countless lives in the process—America’s drug war failed, miserably, and has created a drug problem that is worse now than ever before.

This is no coincidence.

For years, those of us who’ve been paying attention have seen who profits from this inhumane war—the police state and cartels.

The reason why the drug war actually creates a drug and violence problem is simple. And those who profit most from the drug war—drug war enforcers and cartels—all know it. When the government makes certain substances illegal, it does not remove the demand. Instead, the state creates crime by pushing the sale and control of these substances into the illegal black markets. All the while, demand remains constant.

We can look at the prohibition of alcohol and the subsequent mafia crime wave that ensued as a result as an example. The year 1930, at the peak of prohibition, happened to be the deadliest year for police in American history. 300 police officers were killed, and innumerable poor people slaughtered as the state cracked down on drinkers.

Outlawing substances does not work.

Criminal gangs form to protect sales territory and supply lines. They then monopolize the control of the constant demand. Their entire operation is dependent upon police arresting people for drugs because this grants them a monopoly on their sale.

It is incredibly racist too. The illegality of drug possession and use is what keeps the low-level users and dealers in and out of the court systems, and most of these people are poor black men. As Dr. Ron Paul has pointed out, black people are more likely to receive a harsher punishment for the same drug crime as a white person.

This revolving door of creating and processing criminals fosters the phenomenon known as Recidivism. Recidivism is a fundamental concept of criminal justice that shows the tendency of those who are processed into the system and the likelihood of future criminal behavior.

The War on Drugs takes good people and turns them into criminals every single minute of every single day. The system is set up in such a way that it fans the flames of violent crime by essentially building a factory that turns out violent criminals.

It also creates unnecessary police interactions—disproportionately carried out on black people—which leads to resentment, harassment, civil rights violations, and even death. When drugs are legal, there are far fewer doors to kick in, fines to collect, profit prisons to fill, and money to steal.

Secondly, we need to end qualified immunity for police.

When it comes to police accountability, one overarching question remains. ‘Do we want to live in a society whereby law enforcement officials can completely violate a person’s constitutional rights and get away with it?’ For our society to be free, the answer to that question must be a resounding, powerful, unwavering, ‘Hell No!’

Unfortunately, however, this is the case most of the time thanks to law enforcement personnel’s use and abuse of Qualified Immunity.

For those who may be unaware, qualified immunity is a legal doctrine in United States federal law that shields government officials from being sued for discretionary actions performed within their official capacity, unless their actions violated “clearly established” federal law or constitutional rights.

The Supreme Court created qualified immunity in 1982. With that novel invention, the court granted all government officials immunity for violating constitutional and civil rights unless the victims of those violations can show that the rights were “clearly established.”

As Anya Bidwell points out, although innocuous sounding, the clearly established test is a legal obstacle nearly impossible to overcome. It requires a victim to identify an earlier decision by the Supreme Court, or a federal appeals court in the same jurisdiction holding that precisely the same conduct under the same circumstances is illegal or unconstitutional. If none exists, the official is immune. Whether the official’s actions are unconstitutional, intentional or malicious is irrelevant to the test.

An example of this would be the family of George Floyd attempting to seek compensation for his death. Because there has never been a “clearly established” case of a cop kneeling on a man’s neck until he dies being declared unconstitutional, a judge in Minnesota could easily dismiss their case.

It is essentially a get out of jail free card for cops and it perpetuates the problem of police violence by giving bad cops a free pass.

After removing a cop’s ability to trample rights without consequence, it is time to hold them liable. That’s where personal liability insurance comes in.

As the Free Thought Project has reported extensively, police officers, even when found at fault for their abusive actions, are almost never held personally liable. It is the taxpayers who foot the bill. However, all that can change overnight by requiring cops to carry personal liability insurance.

Imagine, for a moment, the result of all police officers being held personally liable for their actions and forced to pay their victims. In nearly every other profession on the planet, if someone hurts someone else while on the job, they are held liable — personally. Why can’t cops carry personal liability insurance just like doctors?

As instances of police brutality and police killings continue to be exposed, there is no doubt that the US is in dire need of reform. The simple requirement for police to be insured for personal liability is an easy fix—especially to remove repeat offenders from the force.

All too often, when a tragic death such as George Floyd occurs, later—as was the case with Derek Chauvin—we find out that the officer should have never been given a badge and a gun in the first place because of their past. However, insurance companies, who can’t fleece the taxpayers to pay for problem cops, would have to come out of pocket to pay for them and would make sure that these officers are uninsurable.

If the officer becomes uninsurable, the officer becomes unhirable—simple as that.

There are likely many cops out there right now who would be denied insurance coverage by any company, due to their track records. A requirement for personal liability insurance would, quite literally, weed out problem officers—almost overnight.

The fourth solution to preventing police brutality and violence would be to bring predatory policing to a halt.

All too often we hear the ridiculous statement from the police apologist crowd saying, “If you don’t break the law, you have nothing to worry about.”

However, that statement couldn’t be further from the truth.

Former NSA official William Binney sums this myth up quite accurately, “The problem is, if they think they’re not doing anything that’s wrong, they don’t get to define that. The central government does.”

Attorney Harvey Silverglate argues that the average American commits three felonies a day without even knowing it. Most of these crimes have no victim either—like possessing marijuana, driving a car with dark windows, or a burned out license plate light.

While most everyone in America commits these same infractions designed for revenue collection instead of safety, most of the people targeted by police for these crimes are the poor, minorities, and the mentally ill.

As the 2014 death of Mike Brown in Ferguson exposed, in 2013, African-Americans accounted for 86 percent of traffic stops, while making up only 63 percent of Ferguson’s population.

For those too poor to pay their tickets, routine traffic stops in Ferguson ended up in repeated imprisonment due to mounting fines. Ferguson was running a de facto debtors’ prison.

Revenue collection, persecution of the poor, and debtor’s prisons take place in every county, in every city, across every state. This institutionalized cruelty is little more than a day’s work for the millions of bureaucrats involved in the racket.

Sadly, until this system of wealth extraction is defunded or brought to a halt through radical policy changes, cases of cops preying on the poor will continue at an ever increasing rate until the whole country is one big prison—or, burned to the ground.

Lastly, we should end the monopoly that American police have on law enforcement.

Simply put, police officers can be corrupt, kill with impunity, and are rarely held accountable because Americans have no other choice. We are stuck with them. In any other job market on the planet, if they had a death toll of 1,000 Americans a year, they would be out of business overnight. However, because cops have a monopoly on law enforcement in America, the death toll keeps rising.

By allowing competition in law enforcement, the incentives for policing would drastically shift. Violent police departments would be fired and replaced with less violent ones. Cops would have an incentive to serve their communities by solving real crimes like rape and murder instead of kidnapping and caging people for victimless crimes.

If this sounds like a pipe dream to you, then you’ve probably never heard of Dale Brown.

Dale Brown of Detroit’s “threat management center” has shown that crime can be stopped and lives can be saved by independent people using nonlethal tactics.

In areas of Detroit where police don’t answer 911 calls, Dale Brown took matters into his own hands and started taking those calls himself, and because Dale was not “above the law” as police officers claim to be, he had to solve these crimes without hurting people, because he would actually be held accountable for his actions.

Yes, businesses pay for these services. However, as a side effect of providing businesses with security, Dale has also been able to provideservice in poor neighborhoods for free, by financing his business through providing security for high-income areas.

Instead of policing from a place of fear, self-preservation, and extortion, Brown polices through love. He offers of some timeless advice that we could all use right now. “The cornerstone for protection is love, not violence, not guns, not laws, you cannot truly protect anything that you do not love.”

Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor-at-Large at the Free Thought Project. Follow @MattAgorist on TwitterSteemit, and now on Minds. This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission.

The State’s Priority Is Protecting Itself, Not You

The State’s Priority Is Protecting Itself, Not You

Murray Rothbard pointed out in his book Anatomy of the State how the state is far more punitive against those that threaten the comfort and authority of government institutions and workers than they are against crimes against citizens.

This, according to Rothbard, exposed as a myth the notion that the state exists to protect its citizens.

“We may test the hypothesis that the State is largely interested in protecting itself rather than its subjects by asking: which category of crimes does the State pursue and punish most intensely—those against private citizens or those against itself?” Rothbard wrote.

“The gravest crimes in the State’s lexicon are almost invariably not invasions of private person or property, but dangers to its own contentment, for example, treason, desertion of a soldier to the enemy, failure to register for the draft, subversion and subversive conspiracy, assassination of rulers and such economic crimes against the State as counterfeiting its money or evasion of its income tax.”

Boy how recent events have proven Rothbard right.

For weeks, we saw police aggressively pursuing and punishing peaceful people merely violating arbitrary lockdown orders to go surfing, cut hair, or host a child’s play date.

But in the first nights of the George Floyd protests, police allowed rioters to run amok destroying property, with political leaders dismissing the damage as unimportant.

This stark contrast in police responses dramatically underscores Rothbard’s point.

Take the first nights of rioting in Minneapolis. As reported by the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, the source of the “police stand-down order that allowed his own city to burn,” merely “shrugged off responsibility and minimized the damage.” Moreover, according to the report, “Frey kept repeating that the destruction was ‘just brick and mortar.’”

And consider the example of Raleigh, North Carolina Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown, who said:

When the greater risk is of injury to the officer, and I had five injured last night – a building? A window? A door? The property that was in it can easily be replaced. But for a person who has had officers shot. And more recently than not, I will not put an officer in harm’s way to protect the property inside of a building. Because insurance is most likely going to cover that as well but that officer’s safety is of the utmost importance.

Got that? The officer’s safety is the primary concern, not the property of citizens. Agents of the state whose sole job is supposedly to protect the people and their property instead refuse to do their job at the first hint of danger.

Worse still, as Ryan McMaken pointed out in a recent article at Mises.org, “A failure to protect taxpaying citizens from violence and crime in a wide variety of situations is standard operating procedure for police departments that are under no legal obligation to protect anyone, and where ‘officer safety’ is the number one priority.”

McMaken further notes that it is “now a well-established legal principle in the United States that police officers and police departments are not legally responsible for refusing to intervene in cases where private citizens are in imminent danger or even in the process of being victimized.”

Police absence during riots is nothing new. As McMaken wrote: “During the 2014 riots that followed the police killing of Michael Brown, for example, shopkeepers were forced to hire private security, and many had to rely on armed volunteers for protection from looters. ‘There’s no police,’ one Ferguson shopkeeper told Fox News at the time. ‘We trusted the police to keep it peaceful; they didn’t do their job.”’

As the violence of the riots intensified, mayors instructed police forces in cities across the nation to step up their presence.

But their initial reactions are the most telling.

The contrast between police actions against peaceful lockdown “violators” and the rioters is striking. The instincts of the political class was to haul mothers in parks and hair stylists away in handcuffs, while standing down and allowing private property owned by citizens to burn.

The former involved disobeying a government order, an act which would threaten the perceived authority, no matter how arbitrary, of the state. The latter involved violation and destruction of citizens’ property.

As Rothbard would have predicted, the state was far more interested in preserving the illusion of its authority than the property of its citizens.

Putting a tragic, but fine, point to Rothbard’s point: George Floyd was choked to death by a police officer sent to detain him for the “crime” of using a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes.

The state is not us. It does not exist to protect our person or property. It exists first and foremost for its own benefit and to exert power and control over its subjects.

Events of the past several weeks should make this crystal clear.

Bradley Thomas is creator of the website Erasethestate.com and is a libertarian activist who enjoys researching and writing on the freedom philosophy and Austrian economics. Follow him on twitter, @erasestate

Why Its Hard To Fire Abusive Cops

Why Its Hard To Fire Abusive Cops

What does it take to fire a cop? In comparison to several other high-profile cases in which a police officer has killed someone on video, things have moved remarkably fast in the George Floyd case. The other four officers involved in his arrest were fired from the Minneapolis Police Department the following day. By comparison,

  • Fellow Minnesota officer Jeronimo Yanez, who on July 6, 2016, shot and killed Philando Castille in his vehicle after Castille informed him that he was armed, was not relieved until after he was acquitted for manslaughter and reckless discharge of a firearm on May 30, 2017. He was given a $48,500 buyout to leave the St. Anthony department.
  • Cleveland officer Timothy Loehmann, who shot twelve-year-old Tamir Rice on November 22, 2014, was also fired on May 30, 2017. However, his firing was due to withholding information on his job application rather than killing a child who held an airsoft gun.
  • NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo, who killed Eric Garner over not paying taxes on cigarettes, was not fired until August 19, 2019, a full five years after the latter’s death on July 17, 2014. He plans to file an appeal to get his job back.
  • Philip Brailsford, who shot Daniel Shaver while he lay prone in the hallway of a hotel in Mesa, Arizona, on January 18, 2016, was fired in March of that year. However, he was reinstated in August 2018 for forty-two days in order that he could be medically retired for PTSD (due to his shooting of Shaver) and receive a $2,500 monthly pension.

What I would like to emphasize here, however, is that a police officer being fired is often not the end of the story. Even though the officers involved in Floyd’s death have been fired, they may not stay fired. Many officers, through their collective bargaining agreements and statutes, enjoy the right to appeal their termination to independent arbitration, which often results in their reinstatement.

Mark Iris, a researcher at Northwestern, studied years’ worth of police arbitration decisions in Chicago and Houston and found that in both cities arbitrators overturned disciplinary decisions half the time. Tyler Adams analyzed every published arbitration decision regarding a police officer’s discharge between 2011 and 2015, finding them overturned 46.7 percent of the time. One notable finding from Adams’s research is that an officer’s disciplinary record was raised by one or both parties in nearly every analyzed decision, with those with positive work histories being more likely to be reinstated than those who without them. A potential difficulty with this is that many police union contracts require that misconduct be removed from an officer’s record after a certain period. According to Stephen Rushin’s analysis of one hundred seventy-eight of the largest cities’ police union contracts, eighty-seven (including Minneapolis’s) contain such provisions. Some, such as that of Columbus, Ohio, even prohibit the use of an officer’s history as a factor in determining the propriety of disciplinary action in later investigations.

The ability to appeal to arbitrators has led to many questionable reinstatements. One was Pittsburgh officer Paul Abel, who on one night in 2008 consumed four beers and two shots of liquor. After leaving his wife’s birthday party, Abel claimed to have been sucker-punched in his car while at a stoplight. He retrieved his Glock from the trunk of his car and drove in pursuit of his attacker. Driving around the block, he spotted Kaleb Miller, whom he knew from the neighborhood and believed to be the person who had punched him. Abel then pistol-whipped Miller on his neck and accidentally shot him in the hand. Witnesses testified that the assailant who punched Abel was not Miller. Despite being arrested and fired, Paul Abel successfully appealed his termination. In this respect, Abel is not alone among Pittsburgh police officers:

In December 2009, Eugene1It is interesting to note that Paul Abel and Eugene Hlavac were, respectively, the ninth and first most highly paid employees of the city of Pittsburgh in 2012, according to the Pittsburgh Business Times. was accused of slapping his ex-girlfriend (and his son’s mother) so hard that he dislocated her jaw. And in November 2010, Garrett Brown was accused of running two delivery-truck drivers off the road in a fit of rage—an allegation similar to those made against Brown in at least one other late-night traffic encounter.

Each of these men, who were all Pittsburgh Police officers at the time of the incidents, shares a common experience: They all were fired, charged criminally, cleared of those charges…and then got their jobs back through arbitration. And they’re not alone. Nine officers were fired by the city between 2009 and 2013, but five of those terminations were overturned by an arbitrator….In cases where terminations were appealed by the police union through arbitration, officers got their jobs back close to 70 percent of the time.

We should expect that the officers involved in the arrest and killing of George Floyd will also appeal their termination. Should they be unsuccessful in this, however, they may be able to find employment as police officers elsewhere. Although most states have some kind of standardized training and licensing of police officers, decertification of fired officers can be notoriously difficult, leading to the phenomenon of the “wandering officer” who goes from department to department. I will discuss this in a future post.

Tate Fegley is a 2018 Mises Institute Fellow, and winner of the 2018 Grant Aldrich Prize for Best Graduate Student paper at the Austrian Economics Research Confernce. He is currently a graduate student at George Mason University. His CV can be found at TateFegley.com. This article was originally featured at the Ludwig von Mises Institute and is republished with permission.

Defense Secretary Esper Calls on States to ‘Dominate the Battlespace’

Defense Secretary Esper Calls on States to ‘Dominate the Battlespace’

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper used the term “battlespace” to describe protests in US cities in a phone call with governors on Monday. “I think the sooner that you mass and dominate the battlespace, the quicker this dissipates and we can get back to the right normal,” Esper said.

Over 17,000 troops in 24 National Guard jurisdictions have been activated to deal with the civil unrest sparked by the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. The troops are also being used to enforce curfews across the country. More than 40 cities have set curfews in place.

President Trump also spoke with the nation’s governors on Monday and called on the states to “dominate.”

“The president says he wants to dominate the streets with National Guard, with a police presence,” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said at a briefing on Monday, explaining the president’s comments.

In the phone call, Trump also said he was putting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley “in charge” of the protest response. Gen. Milley is technically the highest-ranking military official in the country. It is not yet clear exactly what his role will be.

“General Milley is here who’s head of Joint Chiefs of Staff, a fighter, a warrior, and a lot of victories and no losses. And he hates to see the way it’s being handled in the various states. And I’ve just put him in charge,” Trump said.

Taking things a step further than bringing in the National Guard, Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) called on President Trump to invoke the 1807 Insurrection Act, which would allow the president to deploy active-duty troops to cities across the country. The act was last invoked in 1992 as a response to protests and looting in Los Angeles after the Rodney King incident.

“If local law enforcement is overwhelmed and needs backup, let’s see how tough these Antifa terrorists are when they’re facing off with the 101st Airborne Division,” Cotton said on Twitter. President Trump retweeted Cotton and said, “100% Correct. Thank you Tom!”

Press Secretary McEnany said the Insurrection Act is an option for Trump. “The Insurrection Act, it’s one of the tools available, whether the president decides to pursue that, that’s his prerogative,” McEnany told reporters.

Speaking at the White House Monday evening, President Trump said, “if a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.”

Trump went on to address his plan to deal with protests in Washington DC, demonstrations that drove the president to seek shelter in an underground bunker on Friday. “As we speak, I am dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel, and law enforcement officers to stop the rioting, looting, vandalism, assaults, and the wanton destruction of property,” Trump said, speaking of measures he is taking in Washington.

This article was originally featured at Antiwar.com and is republished with permission.

Beyond George Floyd: A Look at the 400 Americans Killed By Police in 2020

Beyond George Floyd: A Look at the 400 Americans Killed By Police in 2020

As the nation reels from the horrifying murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN, it is important to remember that there were more than 400 others who’ve lost their lives at the hands of America’s police force. Like many of the folks who had their last moments alive captured on video as they were gunned down or beaten to death, their lives mattered. Sadly, however, their deaths—which were no less or more significant than Floyd’s—spark no protests and are swept under the rug.

Earlier this month, TFTP reported on the story of 42-year-old Michael Ramos whose death was caught on video. Just before he was shot, Ramos had his hands in the air and showed police he was unarmed. Riots never ensued.

“We went back and searched the area, we brought in K-9s that are trained to find firearms and searched the area, but there was no firearm located,” Austin Police Chief Brian Manley confirmed earlier this month.

“Mike Ramos does not appear to threaten but ends up dead. There’s got to be a better way,” Austin Mayor Steve Adler said in a statement at the time. “I’m very disturbed.”

Before Ramos, a friend of the family of 20-year-old Jesse Cedillo shared a hard to watch video with the Free Thought Project showing his last moments alive. While being pursued by police, Cedillo appeared to have his hands in the air before a Pueblo Police officer opened fire on him, shooting a total of 13 rounds, including several after he had fallen to the ground and was not moving. Cedillo was no angel, but he did not deserve to be executed.

In January, William Green, 43, of Washington, D.C., was shot seven times by Cpl. Michael Owen Jr., a 10-year Prince George’s County Police force veteran. Green was in handcuffs and seat belted into the officer’s cruiser, posing no threat whatsoever, when Owen opened fire on him, murdering Green in cold blood.

Before Green there was Randall Goodale, also murdered in January, who was killed in his own home and his death covered up by cops. As TFTP reported at the time, on Jan. 13 police were serving Goodale with an arrest warrant for felon in possession of a handgun. Police claimed that when officers pulled up, Goodale “started ramming into occupied police vehicles.”

At an interview on the scene of the crime that day, SAPD Chief William McManus did not stutter when he said, “Well, he was ramming the cars, for one. And there were officers in the vehicles whose lives were being threatened by that.”

But this simply wasn’t true at all. Goodale’s vehicle never rammed the cars until after cops killed him and he either fell on the gear shift or the accelerator. Also, the cops weren’t even in the vehicles.

What actually happened is clear from the video. Police are seen rolling up to Goodale, who was reportedly working on his truck in the driveway. Within seconds of arriving, police open fire on him—executing him in broad daylight.

The cases are endless and the victims are often innocent—even children.

While some of the citizens who’ve been killed by cops were armed and dangerous and likely deserved it, others were innocent, unarmed, and include small children. Daniel Shaver—who was killed by police in 2016—was one of these people whose life was brought to a screeching halt as he begged on his knees for police not to shoot him. Despite being innocent and unarmed, this father of three was murdered in cold blood by Philip Brailsford who was never held accountable and allowed to retire from the police force with his pension.

Jeremy Mardis was another one of these citizens who was gunned down in cold blood by two killer cops. Mardis was just 6-years-old when he was murdered by these killer cops—one of whom was released last year after serving less than two years for his role in this innocent child’s death—that included putting bullet holes in him.

The list goes on. Yet despite its increasing length, most American citizens think that reining in America’s deadly police problem is somehow “unpatriotic” or “un-American.” Instead of the right realizing the threat to freedom caused by cops who can kill thousands with impunity, they blame the left. Instead of the left realizing the threat to freedom caused by cops who kill with impunity, most of them blame guns.

The result of this complacency and failure to address the actual problem has been less freedom and more killing.

Thanks to independent watchdog groups who have decided to document this number on their own, we have a total number of citizens killed by police and its total is staggering. Given that America has roughly 765,000 sworn police officers, that means the police-against-citizen kill rate is more than 145 per 100,000.

Pew StatsThe police kill rate is nearly 30 times that of the average citizen, yet somehow people still call for disarming citizens and say nothing about the police. And no, the citizens are not becoming more violent. In fact, humanity is at its safest time in history—ever—and, in spite of the lunatic terrorists shooting up public places, violent crimes as well as all crime continues to drop, significantly.

The bottom line is that George Floyd’s life mattered. The outrage over his death is justified and people should be in the streets. This is a natural reaction to watching agents of the state murder a handcuffed unarmed man in broad daylight and the only consequence they faced was losing their jobs. But the 400 other folks whose lives came to an abrupt halt in the first five months of 2020 also mattered.

Every unnecessary killing by police should outrage you. Floyd’s, Ramos’, Goodale’s, Green’s, and the countless others who have lost their lives to senseless acts of police violence all had lives that mattered. We need to start acting like it. If we want to truly want to change this paradigm of police officers shooting first and asking questions later, we need to start talking solutions.

Imagine for a moment, the result of all police officers being held personally liable for their actions and forced to pay their victims. In nearly every other profession on the planet, if someone hurts someone else while on the job, they are held liable — personally. Why can’t cops carry personal liability insurance just like doctors?

As instances of police brutality and police killings continue to be exposed, like Floyd’s, there is no doubt that the US is in dire need of reform. The simple requirement for police to be insured for personal liability is an easy fix — especially to remove repeat offenders from the force.

All too often, when a tragic death such as Tamir Rice occurs, months later we find out that the officer should have never been given a badge and a gun in the first place because of their past. However, insurance companies, who can’t fleece the taxpayers to pay for problem cops, would have to come out of pocket to pay for them and would make sure that these officers are uninsurable.

If the officer becomes uninsurable, the officer becomes unhirable—simple as that.

101308772 2588051481513227 5089621071364096000 NThere are likely many cops out there right now who would be denied insurance coverage by any company, due to their track records. In fact, the cop who put his knee on George Floyd’s neck until he died, Derek Chauvin, was one of these cops. Throughout his career, he had a sustained record of misconduct and multiple deadly force incidents. Yet his department gave him a pass…until he killed Floyd.

A requirement for personal liability insurance would, quite literally, weed out problem officers — almost overnight. And, had it been in place in Minneapolis, George Floyd may still be alive today.

Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor-at-Large at The Free Thought Project. Follow @MattAgorist on TwitterSteemit, and now on Minds. This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission. 

How Members Of ‘Gun Culture’ View The Ahmaud Arbery Killing

How Members Of ‘Gun Culture’ View The Ahmaud Arbery Killing

There has been another controversial shooting of an unarmed man. The Ahmaud Arbery case is currently being litigated on social media by the usual suspects who plan on using this to further their “pet” agenda. Whether it be the “law and order” crowd who have their statistics at the ready to copy and paste, or the “race-baiters” who make their living off incidents like this, they are both champing at the bit to make their point. 

At this point, many libertarian/voluntaryists/anarchists may be confused as how to interpret the incident. Some may have already sided with Arbery, and some may be on “Team McMichael.” When you are trying to interpret an incident that happened within a statist framework, it is easy to get your thinking clouded.  

With all of that being said, the libertarian/anarchist/voluntaryist crowd looks to a future where there is no monopoly on force and violence, one where property rights backed by the non-aggression principle are legitimate as opposed to statutory mandates made by elected officials who suffer no consequences for their actions and mistakes; one where customs and cultural norms would be the status quo rather than diktats handed down from above. 

In the case of people grabbing their guns and hunting down someone they suspect of committing a crime, there already exists a subculture in the United States that has unwritten rules when it comes to such incidences which they follow to the letter. This author’s home state of Georgia has one of the largest gun forums on the internet that includes well over 40,000 members. The members overwhelmingly lean conservative and pro-Trump. Some members would call themselves libertarian. There are even a few who fly the democrat banner proudly, yet are adamantly pro-gun rights (yes, weird).  

Before we get into what this author has witnessed as to gun culture’s take on this situation, it is important to point out that the overwhelming majority of these same people took George Zimmerman’s side in the Trayvon Martin case before, during and after. That is good context for what is mentioned going forward. 

‘An Unwritten Rule’ 

“Don’t pull your gun unless you absolutely have to and only to defend life.”  

The “gun culture” in Georgia is strict about this. A man on the forum mentioned above once bragged that he was in downtown Atlanta when a homeless man approached him to beg for change. He crowed that he pulled his gun and waved it at the homeless man causing him to run off. The braggard was subjected to an onslaught of insults. The majority of them mentioned that he was not in fear for his life and that a gun should never be used to intimidate.  

It’s true that just pulling a gun can make a mugger run away. But in the case of serious gun owners we only pull our gun to protect life. If you pull it because of a robbery, you should be justified in pulling the trigger. Choosing to not pull the trigger is fine, your prerogative, but make sure the event justifies deadly force. 

This rule should be important to people who center their thinking and worldview on the non-aggression principle. Threatening and coercing is what the State does. If it’s not appropriate for a State actor, why is it for the individual? 

What Are These People Saying? 

It’s important here to give examples of how most in this subculture are commenting. This first quote is from a former police officer this author has known for years. Mind you, he left the job because he realized he was doing more harm than good. He explains: 

If there is no more to the story then the two should be prosecuted and jailed for life. The guy was clearly not trying to confront them. He runs miles and miles every day and lived nearby. However, one thing gives me pause is that even The NY Times is hedging somewhat. They stated that the man was seen running from inside a home under partial construction, the home owner called 911. BUT even that wouldn’t constitute the use of deadly force in this case. If this was a LEO shoot, he would have been charged.  

Another commenter: 

The kid wasn’t carrying anything. Those two confronted and went looking for a fight. Definitely not justified in my meaningless opinion. Real sad. 

Again: 

Based on that video, the shooters ought not stand in the sunshine anytime soon. But we know what ‘should’ happen and what does happen aren’t always related. 

Encore:  

Maybe he was takin a leak…? I dunno, this d-bag PI wannabe and his kid sound like some straight up cowbois ta me… “citizens arrest”, and armed pursuit lol… I wouldnta stopped either. 

They keep coming: 

I saw zero justification for use of force in that situation regardless of the jogger’s previous actions. This looks to be some straight up redneck justice profiling bull****. One has to wonder if they’d just shot him in the back had he tried to keep running. 

More: 

I don’t give a damn what the circumstance was. Based on the video those scumbags murdered that young man. 

One last comment: 

I prefer to let relevant and current facts determine the circumstance rather than digging up old articles to try and sling mud to make my predilections justified. The fact he was a high school athlete or attended college or what his specific career aspirations were, are irrelevant to the FACT he was unarmed and shot dead by two redneck wanna be cowboys who thought they had an in on the cover up with one of their former bosses the DA. Their plan sucked, now they get to win stupid prizes. Won’t bring him back but he died pretty quickly. They get to sleep with one eye open for a long, long, time… I’m sure they’ll be well received in a south Georgia prison. 

If you happen to be making excuses for the father and son, and the arguments above are being thrown in your direction, you are probably dealing with someone in a subculture with rules that obviously value safety and justice. As a reminder, these aren’t even big “L” Libertarians for the most part, but run of the mill conservatives and constitutionalists. They just have a set of guidelines that they live by and consider those to be more important that what the actual law is, while at the same time, abiding by it. 

Why is this something that libertarians/anarchists/voluntaryists should care about? Those groups seek a society without a central power. Under this structure customs and unwritten rules backed by the non-aggression principle will be the norm. It is beneficial to look at how subcultures, especially ones that are enforcing the NAP without realizing it, now operate. 

It is readily apparent that while many liberty lovers proclaim their support for gun rights, they are ignorant of what the culture is. A lot of people I know don’t own firearms and It is incumbent upon those of us educated on these customs to communicate them properly. They are not vigilantes who if they believe a thief is in our neighborhood will grab their weapons and go on the hunt. No, that is not how it’s done. The idea that you don’t pull your weapon until you absolutely have to exists for the reasons stated above. They are logical, and NAP consistent. People should look at what the McMichaels did, and ask if it would be acceptable to them in a libertarian social order. The ideas behind NAP-based self-defense already exist and are practiced. It would do many who think they know what those in gun culture are all about to spend some time learning from those living it. Your life and freedom in the current society may depend upon it. 

Supreme Court Rules Against Fourth Amendment

Supreme Court Rules Against Fourth Amendment

The Supreme Court handed down another opinion eroding the Fourth Amendment in a case that should have never gone to the federal court.

Kansas v. Glover revolves around a traffic stop by Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Mehrer. He pulled Charles Glover over after running his license plate and finding that Glover had a suspended driver’s license. Glover entered a motion to suppresses evidence gathered during the stop, arguing there was no reasonable suspicion of an actual crime. The deputy stopped the car based on the assumption that the registered owner was probably driving.

The district court granted the motion. An appellate court overturned the lower court. The Kansas Supreme Court reversed again, holding that the stop violated the Fourth Amendment. According to the Kansas Supreme Court, Mehrer did not have reasonable suspicion to pull the vehicle over because his inference that Glover was behind the wheel amounted to “only a hunch.” The court further held the deputy’s “hunch” involved “applying and stacking unstated assumptions that are unreasonable without further factual basis.”

Kansas prosecutors appealed to the Supreme Court and it overturned the Kansas Supreme Court in an 8-1 decision. Writing for the majority, Justice Clarence Thomas said Mehrer “drew the commonsense inference that Glover was likely the driver of the vehicle, which provided more than reasonable suspicion to initiate the stop … The fact that the registered owner of a vehicle is not always the driver of the vehicle does not negate the reasonableness of [the officer’s] inferences.”

In her dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that the majority opinion “destroys Fourth Amendment jurisprudence that requires individualized suspicion.”

Reason lamented the decision by highlighting Sotomayor’s dissent.

Sotomayor was not wrong.

But this case was not a federal case. It should have never gone to the Supreme Court. And it wouldn’t have except for the bastardization of the 14th Amendment known as the “incorporation doctrine.”

The Supreme Court invented the incorporation doctrine out of thin air 57 years after the ratification of the 14th Amendment to apply the federal Bill of Rights to state governments.

A lot of civil libertarians like the incorporation doctrine because they believe the federal courts will protect our liberty from overreaching, onerous state and local governments. In theory, the incorporation doctrine empowers federal courts to police the states in order to stop state governments from violating individual rights. In practice, it centralizes power at the federal level and allows the Supreme Court to apply liberty-destroying decisions to the entire United States.

The theory falls apart because federal courts rarely hand down decisions that expand liberty. They almost always increase government power and place limitations on individual rights.

Kansas v. Glover provides an example of the tendency in the extreme. The state court handed down a decision that protected liberty and restrained government, only to be overruled by the central authority.

Sadly, the Kansas Supreme Court opened the door to federal intervention by basing its decision on the Fourth Amendment of the federal Bill of Rights. It should have rested its case on the Kansas state constitution. The state bill of rights § 15 reads as follows:

“Search and seizure. The right of the people to be secure in their persons and property against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall be inviolate; and no warrant shall issue but on probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or property to be seized.”

There was no need to invoke the Fourth Amendment. But the Fourth Amendment got invoked because thanks to the incorporation doctrine, everything now qualifies as a federal case.

So, why do so many liberty-minded people possess this impulse to centralize power? What drives their fixation on monopolizing decision-making at the highest level?

In a nutshell – power. They operate on the misguided notion that they can someday gain control of the levers of power and impose liberty top-down.

The problem is it never happens. Centralized government is antithetical to individual liberty. It will never care about you.

And you will never control it.

“But, what if the state courts get it wrong?”  they plead. “State and local governments can be just as tyrannical as the federal government,” they insist. “Are you saying we just have to put up with state or local tyranny?”

Fair questions. State courts often do get it wrong. The judicial branches of both state and federal governments typically side with the government when it comes to the extent of the government’s powers. But a bad outcome at the state level only applies to that state. A bad outcome at the Supreme Court ends up as a judicial precedent that applies all across the entire United States.

Kansas v. Glover illustrates the worst-case scenario. In this instance, the state court got it right. It was a win for liberty for Kansans. But thanks to the incorporation doctrine and the Supreme Court, we now have a judicial precedent that diminishes the Fourth Amendment and applies sets the precedent every single police department in the US will now follow.

We just centralized our way to another loss of liberty.

Centralizing government in the name of liberty will always fail. You might get a few crumbs from the table now and then. The Supreme Court will occasionally issue an opinion that protects liberty. But most of the time, it will hand down garbage that empowers government at the expense of your rights.

This article was originally featured at the Tenth Amendment Center and is republished with permission.

Essential, Yet Illegal?

Essential, Yet Illegal?

The U.S. federal government does a bunch of things that mystify me. They cannot discriminate in conferring benefits based on race, oh, unless it is affirmative action. Government agents cannot search you or your home without first earning a warrant, unless they think they should. I’ve even accepted there is alternative truths: you can keep your doctor, and Bill didn’t inhale. But, in the last few days, it seems they overwhelmed by imagination.

In these days of coronavirus lockdown, mine are spent in cell #107 at the federal prison at Terre Haute, Indiana. I am serving a sentence of life imprisonment, without the possibility of parole. In 2002, I was convicted of conspiring to distribute marijuana. I ponder that one quarter mile from here, in Illinois, marijuana distributors are not restrained by the lockdown orders. Instead, they are “essential businesses.” My indictment reads: “The People of the United States of America versus Craig Cesal,” agreed or confederated to distribute marijuana. The final judgment reads life imprisonment. Who got it wrong—the People of the United States or Craig Cesal? The rules governing that review are quickly evolving.

The thirty-three states that consider marijuana marketing an essential business, they carry on without any intervention by the U.S. government, or even by the people of the United States. How can I accept this from my vantage point of being locked in a seven feet by eleven feet prison cell?

While the marijuana purveyors carry on in their marijuana stores, the local county jails are busy identifying prisoners they can release if they determine they are not a danger to the community. Local jails are working to reduce jail populations to staunch the spread of coronavirus. All but violent offenders, including marijuana slingers, are being released, since they are not a threat to anyone. If marijuana proprietors are not a threat to the community, a community made up of the people of the United States, why are taxpayers spending over $50,000 per year to keep me in this box?

A guy recently left here. He had been caught dumping his “Honey Wagon,” a tanker truck that sucks out septic tanks, along a dirt road in Kentucky. Wouldn’t you know it, that road was next to a dried up creek bed, and therefore a federal waterway. The U.S. court sent him here for 30 months. Okay, the people of the United States don’t want 10,000 pounds of poop lying next to their road. I get that.

Next, a guy down the corridor from me was playing with his new laser pointer one night and pointed it at a helicopter. He later learned it was a Homeland Security helicopter, and the fancy night vision equipment within recorded him standing in his backyard doing it. He’ll be here for the next 40 months. Even though the folks don’t want a pile of poop along their road, others don’t want a flash-blinded helicopter pilot over their houses. In contrast, though, depositing roadside excrement and illuminating helicopters are not essential businesses.

I’m not surprised that all these things are being done or by what the media says about it. Instead, I am befuddled over what is not asked. Thousands of prisoners awaiting trial have now been released from jails because they are of no threat. The truant query is why were taxpayers shelling out hard earned cash to hold them there in the first place? Indeed, if they are no danger to the county, why is so much effort being expended to send them to prison?

A sober peek at who is being held in our jails has resulted in thousands being released. Okay, some will commit new crimes upon being freed, but not the bulk of them. If they never really needed to be held in jail, why were they there? As a prisoner, I know most were jailed simply to keep them from having too much access to resources to prepare a vibrant, and too often poignant defense. Jail is a weapon wielded by the government. Until last month, by and large, the people of the United States weren’t allowed oversight as to who is held in jail and why. The outside attention and review has resulted in massive changes to the U.S. jail population.

The same who, what, and why questions should be cut and pasted atop the prison inmate population. About half of the 174,000 federal prisoners are drug offenders, and 17% of those are serving sentences related to marijuana distribution. Those 24,000 inmates conducted essential business—even if they didn’t have the opportunity to pay the requisite tax. This 60-year-old marijuana offender has consumed over $50,000 per year worth of housing, food, insulin, medical care, and more for over eighteen years. Aggregate the cost of prosecution and the people of the United States have spent over a million dollars of their tax payments to keep this essential businessman in prison and away from his family and his tax-paying job.

When the people of the United States are done scouring the jails for people better off released, I suggest they look closely at the 24,000 essential business people in federal prison.

Craig Cesal is serving a sentence of life without the possibility of parole in Indiana’s Terre Haute prison for marijuana-related offenses. He co-owned a towing company that recovered and repaired trucks for a rental company, some of which were used by smugglers to transport marijuana. He graduated from Montini High School in Lombard, Illinois in 1977. His daughter, Lauren, has obtained more than 300,000 signatures on a petition calling for clemency. 

Trump’s Betrayal of Julian Assange

Trump’s Betrayal of Julian Assange

One thing we’ve learned from the Trump Presidency is that the “deep state” is not just some crazy conspiracy theory. For the past three years we’ve seen that deep state launch plot after plot to overturn the election.

It all started with former CIA director John Brennan’s phony “Intelligence Assessment” of Russian involvement in the 2016 election. It was claimed that all 17 US intelligence agencies agreed that Putin put Trump in office, but we found out later that the report was cooked up by a handful of Brennan’s hand-picked agents.

Donald Trump upset the Washington apple cart as presidential candidate and in so doing he set elements of the deep state in motion against him.

One of the things candidate Donald Trump did to paint a deep state target on his back was his repeated praise of Wikileaks, the pro-transparency media organization headed up by Australian journalist Julian Assange. More than 100 times candidate Trump said “I love Wikileaks” on the campaign trail.

Trump loved it when Wikileaks exposed the criminality of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party, as it cheated to deprive Bernie Sanders of the Democratic Party nomination. Wikileaks’ release of the DNC emails exposed the deep corruption at the heart of US politics, and as a candidate Trump loved the transparency.

Then Trump got elected.

The real tragedy of the Trump presidency is nowhere better demonstrated than in Trump’s 180 degree turn away from Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange. “I know nothing about Wikileaks,” he said as president. “It’s really not my thing.”

US pressure and bribes to the Ecuadorian government ended Assange’s asylum and his seven years in a room at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. After his dramatic arrest by London’s Metropolitan Police last April, he has been effectively tortured in British jails at the behest of the US deep state.
Today, Monday the 24th of February, Assange faces an extradition hearing in a UK courthouse. The Trump Administration – led by a man who praised Assange’s work – seeks a show trial of Assange worthy of the worst of the Soviet era. The US is seeking a 175 year prison sentence.

The Trump Administration argues that the Australian Assange should be tried and convicted of espionage against a country of which he is not a citizen. At the same time the Trump Administration argues that the First Amendment does not apply to Assange because he is not an American citizen! So Assange is subject to US law when it comes to publishing information embarrassing to the US deep state but he is not subject to the law of the land – the US Constitution – which protects all journalists and is the backbone of our system of government.

It is ironic that a President Trump who has been victim of so much deep state meddling has done the deep state’s bidding when it comes to Assange and Wikileaks. President Trump should preempt the inevitable US show trial of Assange by granting the journalist blanket pardon under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

The deep state Trump is serving by persecuting Assange is the same deep state that continues to plot Trump’s own ouster. Free Assange!

Reprinted from the Ron Paul Institute.

FDA Expands Ecstasy Access to Veterans with PTSD

FDA Expands Ecstasy Access to Veterans with PTSD

In 2006, Johnathan Lubecky was deployed to Iraq. While fighting for his country, Johnathan faced constant enemy strikes, one of which resulted in a traumatic brain injury. Exposures to the horrors of war resulted in Johnathan developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Tragically, many soldiers share similar experiences. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs estimates between 11 and 20 percent of veterans serving in the War on Terror develop PTSD. Even for those with no military experience, PTSD is surprisingly common. An estimated 8 percent of the U.S. population (roughly equal in size to the population of Texas) will experience PTSD.

Treating PTSD is challenging, often requiring both medicinal treatment and considerable time spent in therapy. Unfortunately, some patients struggle to relive their traumatic experiences without suffering extreme emotional distress. In these cases, available treatments rarely help.

Many veterans fall into this category.

Read the rest at The Lighthouse.

‘I Was Just Following Orders’

‘I Was Just Following Orders’

“I was just following orders” is the mantra of everyone who has found themselves on the wrong side of history – who is called into account for their actions as an order taker. How is it possible that everyone from corrupt mayors, to murderous tyrants have been able to get so many people to obey them and march in lockstep? When you take into account there are people who are willing to defend them, it’s easy to understand how these organs of the State are allowed to get away with everything from ticketing people for non-violent crimes, to the worst atrocities one could ever imagine. When you have cheerleaders, as athletes do, you are often looked at as a hero. Why else would other people be championing you and your profession? 

From the day they’re born, the overwhelming majority of people are raised in environments that teach them to obey “authority” and never question it.  

A perfect example is unquestioning nationalism. A quote on nationalism by Albert Einstein which he spoke before the rise of Hitler was, “nationalism is an infantile disease, it is the measles of mankind.” That makes sense especially when you consider that people who are unquestioning nationalists are generally taught it from a young age.  

Nationalism doesn’t have to be a negative. To the contrary, many people who identify as such can articulate the difference between having an affection for the people and the society into which they were born, or chose, and their radical distrust of the government they live under. But those who can’t (or won’t) separate the State from their neighbor, have been shown in history to be the ones who either become the order-follower, or blindly worship and make excuses for them. 

The much rarer trait is to see someone raised as a radical individualist. Homeschooling numbers from 1990- 2019 have grown from 275,000 to 2,300,000. Reasons for wanting to keep your children out of government schools can vary. Some of the earliest started out for religious reasons. Today, many people who call themselves libertarians/anarchist/voluntaryists do it because they don’t want their children to grow up in an environment which fosters and actively promotes obedience to the State apparatus.  

Law Enforcement Worship 

From a young age, many parents teach their kids that law enforcement are the good guys and if they ask you a question, you better answer and be respectful. You can be respectful and still understand the nature of the job of the police in this country. They are evidence gatherers. That is their main task since they rarely show up in time to stop a crime. They have rightfully been referred to as “historians.” If a statute has been broken, it is their job to figure out who did it and they do this by detaining or arresting people and asking them questions. 

Any lawyer worth their salt will tell you to never answer questions unless they, or another attorney is present, even if you know you are not guilty. In the must-read book, “You Have the Right to Remain Innocent,” James Duane details by citing case upon case how innocent people have talked their way into losing decades of their lives even though they didn’t commit the crime of which they were convicted. He explains how police can ask you 100 questions, and while you may have answered 98 of them correctly, even proving your innocence, the 2 that you answer in a wishy-washy way can be used to convict you while the other 98 (ones that prove your innocence) will be thrown away and declared inadmissible in court. 

This continues to be a blight on the criminal “justice” system and police officers are aware that this happens. Yet they continue to do their job as they always have with no regard for whether they are contributing to the jailing of an innocent person. They, and their defenders, will often blame it on the prosecutors. Yes, they will pass the buck so to speak. And what is their excuse? It’s just part of the job and we are “just following orders.” “We’re just doing our jobs!” 

Military Members are Beyond Reproach 

At this point in the “War on Terror” it’s impossible to argue that those fighting it are expected to be held up as heroes by the government and general public, even to the point of excusing the worst atrocities and war crimes imaginable. 

Recently, president Trump granted clemency to war criminal, special operations chief Eddie Gallagher. Gallagher, a Navy Seal and platoon leader, is described as, “a “toxic” character who was “OK with killing anything that moved”, according to fellow Iraq veterans who reported his conduct to military investigators.” “In the interviews, conducted by navy investigators looking into Gallagher’s conduct during a tour of duty in Iraq in 2017, fellow platoon members told of a ruthless leader who stabbed a captive to death for no reason then forced his troops to pose for a photograph with the corpse.”  

At his court martial Gallagher was acquitted of murder but lost rank because of the pictures posing with the dead body. “In a lengthy criminal investigation report, the navy detectives laid out other allegations against Gallagher, including shooting a schoolgirl and elderly man from a sniper’s roost. Members of Alpha Platoon’s Seal Team 7 alarmed by their leader’s conduct said they were initially shut down by military chiefs when they first spoke up, and told their own careers would suffer if they continued to talk about it” 

“The guy is freaking evil,” special operator first class Craig Miller, one of the platoon’s most experienced members, told investigators in sometimes tearful testimony. “I think Eddie was proud of it, and that was, like, part of it for him.” 

This is the man Trump gave clemency from any future charges to. And when he did, Gallagher’s defenders came out of the woodwork to defend him from anyone who dared make the claim that this man not only deserves to be locked up, but that his sanity should be called into question. Trump went so far as to hint that he would take Gallagher out on the campaign trail with him. 

Eddie Gallagher was the platoon leader, the one who gave the orders. But he also took them. Testimony shows that these military chiefs did everything they could to protect Gallagher. Even threatening those under his command if they spoke of this. It’s hard to judge from afar whether those men who posed with the dead body wanted to, or they were just following orders and feared retribution. When you see that Gallagher’s bosses actively sought to protect him, is it unreasonable to ask whether Gallagher was “just following orders” when he committed these atrocities? 

As was stated at the start, “order-followers” have found themselves on the wrong side of history when it comes to decency, not to mention liberty. Their defenders are vocal and can rarely be reasoned with. They see people in these positions as heroes and will make any excuse for actions that could be stood right next to the worst atrocities committed by Pol Pot. As we progress into a future where it is clear that the overwhelming majority of people intend to grow the size and scope of government, those who value individual liberty and justice may have to decide whether they will stick it out and attempt to change this culture, or look for alternate solutions lest they wake up in a State in which their every deed and word is under the purview of the unthinking automaton. 

The Louisville Metro Police Department Child Sex Scandal

The Louisville Metro Police Department Child Sex Scandal

Civil libertarians and police corruption watchdogs have much to celebrate these days. The fact that most people are walking around with high definition video cameras in their pockets has done much to shine a light on what these groups have been talking about for decades; that the “occupation” of law enforcement in the United States ceased being about protecting and serving, and has morphed into intimidating and subjugating.  

Whether it be turning a traffic stop for a burned-out brake light into a drug search, or it actually becoming a “head stomping” opportunity for a Gwinnett County sheriff, even people who formerly considered police to be heroes, are starting to question why as individual violent crime is decreasing, police violence is increasing.  Of course, many have become accustomed to these stories as sites such as The Free Thought Project chronicle them daily, but the scandal that has come out of Louisville, Kentucky involving two police officers’ sexual abuse of children in their Explorer Program should sound alarms and question whether policing in its modern form is an anachronism. 

Allegations of Sexually Abusing Children  

Former Louisville Metro Police officers Kenneth Betts and Brandon Wood were accused of criminal charges “in Jefferson Circuit Court stemming from their alleged sexual abuse of teens under their supervision as part of a program for young people interested in law enforcement careers.” The allegations against Betts stretched from his first year in the department, 2006, through 2016. Federally, he was charged with sending pictures of his penis to someone under the age of 16 and attempting to have sex with males and females who were not yet 18. 

In U.S. District Court in Louisville on December 6, 2018, Betts pleaded “guilty to charges of knowingly distributing child pornography, possession of child pornography, transferring obscene material to a minor, enticement and attempted enticement, among other charges.” 

In addition, the State of Kentucky charged Betts with two counts of sodomy involving two alleged victims. The indictment in state court alleged Betts engaged in “deviant sexual intercourse” with one of the victims through the use of “forcible compulsion” over a five-month period in 2007. Betts was also accused of committing sodomy on July 26, 2013 with a minor “he came into contact with as a result” of his position as a police officer. Betts pleaded guilty to these charges on July 8, 2019 and received “five years for two counts of sodomy in the third degree. That sentence is on top of the 16 years he was handed down by a federal judge. The five-year sentences will run concurrent to the time he’ll serve in his federal sentence.” 

Officer Brandon Wood was charged, and pleaded guilty to attempted enticement, United States Attorney Russell M. Coleman said on January 28, 2019. “According to a plea agreement, between 2011 and 2012, Wood attempted to entice John Doe 1, who had not reached 18 years of age, to engage in sexual activity. Wood met Doe through the LMPD Explorer Program during a camp held in Bullitt County – where Wood was a counselor and sworn LMPD officer.” 

“A federal judge sentenced Brandon Wood, 33, to 70 months in prison on a felony attempted enticement charge on May 28, 2019.” 

“When he pleaded guilty in January, Wood reached an agreement with federal prosecutors for a 60-month sentence, but U.S. District Judge David Hale rejected that agreement Tuesday morning saying it was too lenient.” He was sentenced to 70 months in jail.  

Civil suits against the two officers are ongoing. 

The ‘Bombshell’ 

In the case of Kenneth Betts, as if his actions against minors wasn’t enough, in November of 2019, a fellow officer identifying himself as “Darryl,” came forward on a FOX-WDRB podcast to make the claim that he had been raped by Betts.  

“It was almost like a super power came over (Betts),” an accuser, identified only as Darryl in the podcast, told FOX News Reporter Andrew Keiper. “He had a hold of my ear, and he was still exposed in the front of his pants. We’ll just say he, yeah, he forced me, yeah.” 

Darryl describes himself as older and bigger than Betts but he has decided to not pursue a lawsuit. He hopes that by coming forward it will help others to do so. 

The interview took place in the first of a four-part podcast called “Derby City Betrayal.” The series details the investigation into the sexual abuse case against Betts and former LMPD officer Brandon Wood, as well as their subsequent arrests. 

In the same podcast series, one of the victims from the Explorers identified as C.F., now an adult, went into detail about what he experienced: 

“It was on a regular basis. (Betts) would ask for nude photos, ask for me to come over, all sorts of things,” C.F. said. “Some messed up things happened.” 

Considering the depravity involved in this story it’s easy to write it off as an anomaly but that doesn’t answer the question that if these two “bad apples” can find themselves in the same department (and a third officer to help them cover it up as well as a fourth accused of sexual abuse), how rampant is this activity amongst those that are seen as authority figures and our “protectors?” And how many of these go unreported due to fear of reprisal by “good guys” with guns? 

The argument has been made that to hand mortal men the kind of power that comes along with the profession of law enforcement officer will certainly attract those with evil intent. What better way for a sociopath or deviant to hide his crimes than behind a badge? As long as the government holds a monopoly on violence and force expect this to become more rampant, but as the information age progresses, anticipate that these malefactors will be exposed for who they really are. Looking at the damage being currently done by this vocation, we can only hope that people awaken to the realization that they are a danger to us all. 

Law Enforcement Respects The Constitution?

Law Enforcement Respects The Constitution?

With the 2nd Amendment rally scheduled for Richmond, Virginia’s “Lobby Day” now completed, those who warned against “agent provocateurs,” and other possible hazards, get to breathe a sigh of relief and be thankful for being wrong. The narrative that this was going to be an event dominated by “white supremacists” was proven empirically false by photos that came out showing a racially and politically diverse crowd of people who showed up to communicate to the world that they have one thing in common; their belief that the right to own firearms to protect themselves is a universal idea that only seems to be bemoaned by the most loud and obnoxious “coastal elites” on Twitter, as well as those who believe they are the rulers of the people because they won a popularity contest.  

Among the photos that have been circulated from the event is one that shows unidentified law enforcement officers carrying a banner with the American flag on it that includes the words, “We Support the Second Amendment.” To those who closely monitor the State’s enforcement arm, this is a confusing message. The question needs to be asked; do you? 

Virginia’s New Gun Laws 

As was discussed in a previous article, the Virginia senate has passed three gun bills that are now being sent to the house for consideration that would see it become one of the most restrictive states in America when it comes to firearms ownership. 

Bill SB35, which would “allow localities to ban guns from public events, would actually repeal the current law that restricts localities from enforcing ordinances that would prohibit the purchase, possession, transfer, ownership, carry, storage, or transport of firearms or ammunition.”  

Bill SB69 “amends the current law, only allowing Virginia residents to purchase one handgun a month, or in a 30-day period.”  

Bill SB70 “requires a background check on all private transfers of firearms.” 

If these bills pass the house, and the governor signs them into law (as he has promised he will), will Virginia law enforcement do as their sign claims and support the Second Amendment over their boss’ own mandate? Will they enforce these three bills, the worst of which amounts to a gun registry? 

Why is the Second Amendment a Bridge Too Far? 

Anyone who has spent any time around groups that promote the “American Gun Culture” has heard the claims from not only law enforcement (they are represented mightily), but from their acolytes that police are defenders of the Constitution and would never enforce gun control laws. “They would quit before they took an American citizen’s God-given right to own firearms!” When you point out occasions where law enforcement has not only shown up to take someone’s guns, but killed them in the process, you’re met with everything from excuses about how that was done in a liberal area, to the inevitable back pedaling about how maybe some people shouldn’t be trusted with guns.  

When one points out that they already violate the Constitution by not only trampling over the First Amendment, but especially the Fourth, that’s when the dancing really begins. 

The First Amendment 

The First Amendment to the United States says: 

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. 

Article 1, Section 12 of the Virginia Constitution states:  

That the freedoms of speech and of the press are among the great bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained except by despotic governments; that any citizen may freely speak, write, and publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right; that the General Assembly shall not pass any law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press, nor the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for the redress of grievances. 

Both the US and Virginia Constitutions give people the right to “peaceably assemble.” Is that in fact true? According to the ACLU there are conditions upon which one may have to acquire a permit to do just that in Virginia.  

Do we need to get a permit? The need for a permit depends on the type and size of event, as well as the locality in which it will be held. Generally, events requiring a permit include: 1) A march or parade that does not stay on the sidewalk and other events that require blocking traffic or street closure; 2) A large rally requiring the use of sound amplifying devices; or 3) A rally at certain designated parks or plazas. 

Properly understood, a permit is when the State takes a guaranteed “right” away, and sells it back to you by either requiring a fee, or for you to ask permission from them. At this point your “right” has been transformed into a privilege, something you must ask permission for.  

And if you did decide to bypass the “permit” process and declare your rights, who is going to be there to enforce these statutes? No, not the people at the window who take the fee and paperwork you have so dutifully filled out; it will be the law enforcement officer. You will be confronted by a man/woman with a gun and they will stop you from exercising your “rights.” 

Privacy? 

The Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution reads: 

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. 

One need only to go to YouTube and search “traffic stop” videos to know that the Fourth Amendment’s right to be secure in your person and possessions is a thing of the past. An individual’s vehicle, which many states have extended “Castle Doctrine” to, can be rifled through after the officer utters the phrase, “I smell marijuana.” It doesn’t matter if they actually do or not, the courts have interpreted privacy out of existence and local and state law enforcement happily use these phrases to gain access to your private spaces. 

The most egregious of these laws is “Civil Asset Forfeiture” in which you do not have to be convicted of a crime, only suspected, and local law enforcement can seize your bank account, home, anything they deem to be part of a criminal “conspiracy” or “drug nexus.” In the event you are found innocent you do not automatically have your property returned to you; you must petition to get it back. 

It was determined that in 2014 that the property taken from individuals by law enforcement was greater than all burglaries by criminals combined that year. And law enforcement uses the seized belongings for their benefit 

 

Many will no doubt applaud Virginia law enforcement for showing up to the January 20th rally to proclaim that they support the Second Amendment. It has been proven that State policy enforcers will enforce gun laws and already do when it comes to the National Firearms Act of 1934, et al. Yet, most fail to consider how they so easily enforce other laws that blatantly violate protected Constitutional rights such as assembly and privacy. One should afford people respect and consideration when it comes to their word but prior action is always a better gauge when taking into account people’s future behavior. 

Virginia Second Amendment Advocates Beware!

Virginia Second Amendment Advocates Beware!

The Virginia senate has passed three gun bills that are now being sent to the house for consideration that would see it become one of the most restrictive states in America when it comes to firearms ownership. A reading of the laws would put Virginia close to New Jersey from a legal standpoint when it comes to the ease at which one will be able to procure property guaranteed by its own state constitution. 

Bill SB35 which would “allow localities to ban guns from public events, actually would repeal the current law that restricts localities from enforcing ordinances that would prohibit the purchase, possession, transfer, ownership, carry, storage, or transport of firearms or ammunition.” 

Bill SB69 “amends the current law, only allowing Virginia residents to purchase one handgun a month, or in a 30-day period.” 

Bill SB70 “requires a background check on all private transfers of firearms.” 

In response to the three bills that went to the house, the NRA (who has grown out of favor with many pro-2A people in recent years over their non-response to the Philando Castile shooting, but mostly due to their willingness to cave to lawmakers) issued the following statement: 

“Regrettably, Virginia lawmakers approved a series of measures today that will make it harder for law-abiding Virginians to protect themselves, while doing nothing to stop criminals. We are pleased one of the most egregious gun confiscation bills was pulled from consideration. The NRA will continue our work with lawmakers to find solutions that address the root cause of violent crime, rather than punishing honest, hardworking Virginians.” 

The “Boogaloo” Bill Has Been Canceled 

The most controversial of the proposed bills, SB16 “was struck from the record, which included the ban on assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, bump stocks and silencers.”  

This is the bill that was seen by most pro-2A activists as an act of aggression by the Governor Northam led, Democratically-controlled, Virginia legislature. In no uncertain terms, Northam let it be known that this bill meant that anyone in possession of any weapon/accessory under the statute’s purview (inevitably the lawmakers could make any weapon/accessory fall under the jurisdiction of this law), would be confiscated by state agents.  

As one might imagine, Virginia gun owners immediately started planning what they would be willing to do to stop this tyranny from happening. Terms such as the “boogaloo” started to be seen everywhere on social media. The term has been taken to mean a second Civil War or another American Revolution. In this context it specifically references gun-grabbers but can easily be tied to either of the previous descriptions. 

With this one bill being eliminated the fight against what essentially creates a gun registry in Virginia continues. 

A Planned Rally and the Governor’s Response 

The Virginia Citizens Defense League is planning a lobbying day and rally for Monday January 20th at the state capitol grounds in Richmond. Gun rights supporters will meet to protest the new laws. 

In response, Governor Northam has declared a “State of Emergency” claiming that “officials” have heard reports of “out-of-state militia groups and hate groups planning to travel from across the country to disrupt our democratic process with acts of violence.” He continued saying, they “are coming to intimidate and to cause harm.” 

“Northam is raising concerns about a reprise of the deadly violence surrounding the white supremacist march in Charlottesville in August 2017. He said state intelligence analysts have identified threats and rhetoric online that mirror the chatter they were picking up around that time.” 

The New York Times reported on Thursday, January 16th, that the FBI arrested three suspected neo-Nazis of purchasing guns with the intention of attending the Richmond rally 

Taking all of this into consideration, Governor Northam banned the carrying of any weapons at the rally. That decision was contested but upheld by a judge. 

This “racist” narrative is to be expected and one that protesters must take into consideration; almost accept as a given. 

White Supremacists, Racists and Radicals 

This is how the protesters will be painted in the press. It won’t matter if half of the activists there are black and Hispanic; the corporate press has reported before on someone carrying an “assault weapon” at an Obama appearance but conveniently omitted a picture revealing that he was African-American.  

No, this will be about “white nationalists” “clinging to their guns and religion,” and that “outdated” Constitution.  

Agent Provocateurs 

Anyone considering going to a rally in which it has already been expressly declared by the state that they are expecting violence has to watch out for the agent provocateur. One need look no further than the Oakland, California protest against police violence where it was revealed that California Highway Patrol had undercover officers amongst the protesters for weeks before their cover was blown. When their ruse was discovered, one of the officers pulled a gun on his “fellow protesters.” 

Another tactic that must be brought up is federal law enforcement’s history of infiltrating  groups and pushing them towards violence. Since 9/11/01 this has been a recurring narrative that has been uncovered yet largely ignored by the corporate press. 

All it will take at the Richmond rally is for one “provocateur” to fire off a couple of rounds and the story concocted by Northam and his friends in the media will take hold and mainstream public support will jump right to the state (which is where their sentiments already lean). 

It cannot be argued that the laws going through the legislature in Virginia are not only against the US Constitution, but against that state’s very own. The impulse to fight back against this tyranny is strong and has garnered support throughout the country. The most noxious bill, SB16, (the one that would have the state trying to confiscate AR-15s), has been trashed due to the public’s outcry, showing the power masses of people speaking out and protesting can still have. In 2016 a bill was getting pushed through the Virginia legislature to remove the religious exemption from vaccines but a vocal group protested and it was scrapped.  

Contrary to popular belief, letting the powers that be know that this isn’t going to work and you have something to say about it often makes them stop in their tracks. Protest at the state capital, do it peacefully. Violence should be the last resort, the one you never want to go to except when nothing else can be done. But remember, a rally like the one planned is a powder-keg, and the powers that be hold all of the cards to paint the people as the villains were something to break out. In the struggle against tyrants be careful that they don’t turn the tables and have the public screaming for your heads as they have done so many times before.  

Black America Before LBJ: How the Welfare State Inadvertently Helped Ruin Black Communities

Black America Before LBJ: How the Welfare State Inadvertently Helped Ruin Black Communities

The dust has settled and the evidence is in: The 1960s Great Society and War on Poverty programs of President Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) have been a colossal and giant failure. One might make the argument that social welfare programs are the moral path for a modern government.

They cannot, however, make the argument that these are in any way effective at alleviating poverty.

“We waged a war on poverty and poverty won.”

Lyndon B. Johnsons Great Society: How LBJs Welfare State Helped Ruin Black CommunitiesIn fact, there is evidence that such aggressive programs might make generational poverty worse. While the notion of a “culture of dependence” is a bit of a cliché in conservative circles, there is evidence that this is indeed the case – that, consciously or not, the welfare state creates a culture where people receive benefits rather than seeking gainful employment or business ownership.

This is not a moral or even a value judgment against the people engaged in such a culture. Again, the claim is not that people “choose to be on welfare,” but simply that social welfare programs incentivize poverty, which has an impact on communities that has nothing to do with individual intent.

We are now over 50 years into the development of the Great Society and the War on Poverty. It is time to take stock in these programs from an objective and evidence-based perspective. When one does that, it is not only clear that the programs have been a failure, but also that they have disproportionately impacted the black community in the United States. The current state of dysfunction in the black community (astronomically high crime rates, very low rates of home ownership and single motherhood as the norm) are not the natural state of the black community in the United States, but closely tied to the role that social welfare programs play. Or as Dr. Thomas Sowell stated:

“If we wanted to be serious about evidence, we might compare where blacks stood a hundred years after the end of slavery with where they stood after 30 years of the liberal welfare state. In other words, we could compare hard evidence on “the legacy of slavery” with hard evidence on the legacy of liberals.”

Here’s a peek into how black America has been a victim of LBJ’s Great Society and War on Poverty.

Defining Terms: What Is the Great Society and the War on Poverty?

Before going further, we must define the terms “Great Society” and “War on Poverty.” These are two overlapping, but somewhat distinct terms that are, in any event, not the same as “welfare” as a whole.

The “War on Poverty” refers to one part of the Great Society, namely the part focused specifically on poverty. When the War on Poverty was started in 1964, the poverty rate in America was 19 percent. Seeing an opportunity to recreate the same New Deal magic that had propelled President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to the White House in four successive elections 30 years earlier, Johnson pushed his War on Poverty.

It’s worth noting that the New Deal has some success to boast in terms of lifting some extremely poor communities, particularly those in the rural South, out of grinding forms of poverty. This was through, for example, mass electrification and other similar campaigns, which radically redefined the experience of the poor in the United States. One can argue about the ethics of redistributive wealth programs, but one cannot argue about whether or not, for example, the electrification of the Tennessee Valley elevated people out of crushing and abject poverty – it did.

There are four primary initiatives of the War on Poverty:

  1. The Economic Opportunity Act: This was the flagship effort of the War on Poverty. It created the Community Action ProgramVolunteers in Service to America (VISTA) and Job Corps.
  2. The Food Stamp Act of 1964This created a food stamp program that remained largely in place until President Bill Clinton “ended welfare as we know it.” At this time, food stamps were open-ended and could, in theory, be a means of feeding a family for life.
  3. Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1964This is known as the most sweeping legislation impacting education passed by the United States Congress. It sought to level an alleged “achievement gap” in public education. It has been reauthorized by both Democratic and Republican presidents under the names Improving America’s Schools Act of 1994No Child Left Behind Act of 2004, and the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015.
  4. Social Security Act of 1965Created both Medicare and Medicaid.

The Economic Opportunity Act, in particular, was insidious in that it gave broad leeway to create programs without Congressional approval or oversight. An example of this is the Head Start program, which is shown to have only extremely limited and short-term effects on the ability of children to succeed in public schools.

The Great Society refers to a far broader set of programs, some of which still exist today, others of which were casualties of both the massive budget for the Vietnam War, LBJ’s other pet project, as well as the passage of time and subsequent Republican administrations. It’s difficult to summarize the Great Society as a whole, precisely because its scope was so broad. Education, health, welfare, culture (the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, for example, is a product of the Great Society), transportation, the environment, housing, labor and rural development were all areas where the Great Society had some hand.

Whereas the New Deal has demonstrably impacted communities with crushing and severe forms of poverty, the Great Society has demonstrably not only not “worked” by any available metric, it has also created a negative impact, most severely felt in the black community in the United States.

This article will make the case that the Great Society is the greatest disaster to befall America’s black community since slavery.

What Were the Goals of the Great Society?

Some discussion of the goals of the Great Society and its historical context are in order. The Great Society was seen by LBJ as nothing less than the completion of the New Deal as pioneered by his predecessor and mentor, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Lyndon B. Johnsons Great Society: How LBJs Welfare State Helped Ruin Black CommunitiesThe thinking was basically this: The New Deal proved that government intervention could have some impact on poverty. As we stated above, there is some truth to this, albeit in a limited sense. The New Deal was able to lift incredibly poor people out of what were effectively Third World conditions in the United States. Because Johnson had at his disposal “the best and the brightest,” he believed that all he needed to do was apply their technocratic acumen to the problem of poverty and it would be solved.

One of the glaring and immediate differences between the New Deal (where it was successful) and the Great Society was the definition of poverty. Poverty, the kind the New Deal was effective at reducing, was largely an objective condition. For example, people without electricity or running water in their homes. For the Great Society programs, however, poverty was largely defined in subjective, albeit quantifiable, terms like educational attainment and income level.

Here’s the problem with defining poverty in those terms: We now live in a world where the overwhelming majority of people who wish to get one can obtain a college degree. All this has done is devalue the college degree and saddle people with both unmarketable skill sets and a high level of nondischargeable debt. A college degree simply doesn’t mean much anymore because anyone who wants one can have one.

Similarly, consider income in real terms – the ability to buy things. The poorest people in America now have access to more computing power in their pocket than NASA used to go to the moon. Cheap consumer goods are plentiful, even for people with very low incomes – part-time minimum wage jobs, for example.

Poverty, defined as “making much less than rich people” or even “struggling to get by” simply means one is at the bottom of the economic ladder. The bottom of the economic ladder will always exist as long as there is one. Grinding, Third-World-style poverty – in the vast overwhelming majority of cases – is a thing of the past. The United Nations puts the percentage of Americans with access to electricity at 100.

A report estimated that 1.6 million Americans lack access to “clean” water, “clean” here being a weasel word that is undefined. Even if we took the 1.6 million figure at face value (which we should not), this means that approximately 0.48 percent of all Americans (i.e., less than half of one percent) do not have access to “clean” water.

In the absence of significant poverty conditions to attack, the “War on Poverty” was largely about hitting a moving target subjectively defined as “having less than some other people.”

Despite the best intentions (to which, it should be noted, “the road to hell is paved with”), the Great Society was bound to fail simply because there were no clear targets. In this sense, the War on Poverty prefigured other government wars on abstract concepts, such as the War on Drugs and the War on Terror.

The failure, of course, is seen by big government advocates as a sign that not enough has been done. Since the War on Poverty began, $15 trillion has been spent, with negligible impact on lifting people out of poverty. For context, the Apollo program cost $25.4 billion, $146.1 billion in 2019 dollars. Put simply, for the cost of the War on Poverty, America could have funded almost seven Apollo programs.

Unlike the War on Poverty, the Apollo program was a resounding and verifiable success.

The Breakdown of the Black Family

“The black family, which had survived centuries of slavery and discrimination, began rapidly disintegrating in the liberal welfare state that subsidized unwed pregnancy and changed welfare from an emergency rescue to a way of life.”

The biggest problem resulting from the Great Society is the breakdown of the black family. This is a sensitive subject, but one that must be broached to fully understand the devastating impact that the Great Society has had on the black community in the United States.

In 1965, when the Great Society began in earnest following the massive electoral landslide reelection of LBJ, the out-of-wedlock birthrate among the black community was 21 percent. By 2017, this figure had risen to a whopping 77 percent. In some cities, this rate is as high as 80 percent, with most of the unwed mothers being teenagers. We have documented extensively in our article on the death of civil society in the United States the negative effects of the single-parent household on child development and outcomes. The black community is now entering its third generation of single parenthood as the norm, something that rose astronomically with the advent of the Great Society.

To provide some historical context, the out-of-wedlock birth rate in the black community was already rising before the Great Society. In 1938, that rate stood at 11 percent. Still, it’s worth noting the difference between the slow and steady increase of 1938 to 1965, and the explosive growth from 1965 until the present day. In any event, black women were more likely to be married than white women as late as 1950. It’s also worth looking at single parenthood over time: In the 1950s, 52 percent of all black children lived with both parents until the age of 17. By the 1980s, that number had plummeted to 6 percent.

In addition to outcomes, there is also a wide divide between the percentage of black families in poverty when there is a father present. Among married black families, the poverty rate is 8 percent. Among black households headed by a single mother, that rate jumps to 37 percent.

And again, while we outline a number of negative consequences resulting from single-parent families, it’s worth pulling one out in relation to the destruction of the black family in America: There is no better predictor of male criminality than being raised in a fatherless home. 70 percent of all juvenile offenders in state reform institutions were raised in fatherless homes. This includes 60 percent of all rapists, 72 percent of all murderers, and 70 percent of long-term inmates.

Black Participation in the Labor Market

There is another statistic that is significant when it comes to evaluating the role of the Great Society in the destruction of the black family and, by extension, black society: participation in the labor market.

This is an important metric for a very simple reason: Few would argue that it’s better to not work than to work. Data provided by every census between 1890 and 1954 shows that black Americans were just as active – and sometimes more – in the labor market than their white counterparts. In 1900, for example, black unemployment was 15 percent lower than white unemployment. In 2017, it was 30 percent higher.

If the conventional narrative on black American poverty and general social dysfunction were correct – that this was caused by the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, and private discrimination – wouldn’t we expect to see a decline in black unemployment rather than the opposite?

Black Business Ownership

Lyndon B. Johnsons Great Society: How LBJs Welfare State Helped Ruin Black CommunitiesOf course, participation in the labor market is not the only metric of economic activity. Another is business ownership. The years between 1900 and 1930 are known as “the Golden Age of Black Entrepreneurship.” By 1920, there were tens of thousands of black businesses in the United States, the overwhelming majority of them very small, single proprietorship. This in no way diminishes the importance of this sector of the black economy. People who had, in many cases, started their lives as slaves were now, even when “poorer” in terms of income, freer than many of their white counterparts who worked for wages.

There was also a social aspect to this period of black entrepreneurship. Black insurance companies and black-owned banks represent the apex of the economic pyramid in the black community. While the black community was comparatively poorer than its white counterparts, money spent by black Americans could stay within the black community. Thus, the black community could enrich itself from the bottom of the ladder all the way up to the top.

This concept was known as “double duty dollars.” The idea is that money spent at black businesses not only purchased goods for the consumer, but also played a role in advancing the black race in America. This, and not government handouts, was seen as the primary means of achieving, if not a perfect equality with whites, a social parity with them.

Another aspect of why black entrepreneurship was so important in the black community was that national businesses tended to ignore the black market entirely. This, however, began to change in the 1950s and, to a much greater extent, by the dawn of the next decade. No one forced national businesses to begin marketing their products to black America. National businesses simply saw that there was an emerging black middle class with money to spend and didn’t want to get cut out of the market.

Today, black business ownership is in a state of “collapse” according to Marketplace.org. This cannot entirely be laid at the foot of the Great Society. For example, the unlikely culprit of integration is one of the reasons that the black business districts began to fall apart. For example, once the biggest burger joint in town would serve black people, there was no reason to go to “the black burger joint” anymore.

Still, it’s impossible to separate the end of the thriving black business districts from the Great Society. These were once centers of the community, in addition to being centers of commerce. Now they are virtually extinct. While other factors are in play, it’s difficult to not notice the overlap between the rise of the welfare state through the Great Society, the overall decline in the black community’s civil society anchored by the black business community, and black business ownership in general.

The Decline in Black Homeownership

Another area where the impact of Great Society policies is seen is in statistics on black homeownership. The black homeownership rate is basically the same today as it was 50 years ago. There was a spike in black homeownership during the Bush years. However, these were largely a function of subprime mortgages being given out to people who couldn’t really afford them.

Few places saw the hand of government on the scale more than housing. One of the final policy initiatives of the Great Society was the Fair Housing Act, which banned discrimination in housing sales (but not in lending practices). This effectively meant an end to “restrictive covenants,” which allowed a homeowner to specify that their house could not be sold to a black family, not just for an individual sale, but in perpetuity.

As a brief aside, this is, as are many other parts of the Great Society, an egregious attack on freedom of association, property rights, and ability to transact and dispose of one’s property in a manner of one’s own choosing.

Which Way Forward for the Black Community

It’s difficult to ignore that black Americans vote overwhelmingly for the Democratic Party, who champion the policies of the Great Society, which have largely destroyed the black family and black civil society. Why is this?

Lyndon B. Johnsons Great Society: How LBJs Welfare State Helped Ruin Black CommunitiesThere are a number of factors in play here. First, the Democratic Party has little incentive to provide innovative solutions for such a loyal voter bloc. Black Americans have voted at over 80 percent for Democratic Party candidates since 1964. In several elections (1964, 2000, 2008 and 2012) they voted over 90 percent for the Democratic Party candidate. The highest share of the black vote received by the Republican Party since 1964 was 15 percent, achieved by Richard Nixon in 1968 and Gerald Ford in 1976. While Donald Trump’s performance among black voters has been touted for its strength, he received only 8 percent of the vote, reversing a trend where the black vote dropped as low as 4 percent in 2008. Despite the much-touted “Blexit,” 2018 saw no significant exodus from the Democratic Party on the part of black voters – a scant 9 percent voted for Republicans.

The flip side of this is that there is not much incentive on the part of Republicans to court black voters. While the Nixon “Southern Strategy” is slightly distorted when presented, the core of this narrative is true – when presented with various strategies for victory, Nixon chose to appeal to northern, union Catholic workers and Southern Protestant conservatives, both of whom were white. This is simple math: A large increase in the black vote doesn’t represent a whole lot of votes, but a minor increase in the white vote moves the needle significantly. The so-called “Sailer strategy,” named after Steve Sailer, exploits this math: Spiking the rural white vote to record levels while effectively ignoring all other voting blocs is what delivered Donald Trump the presidency.

The point here is that neither party is incentivized to offer solutions to black Americans. But black Americans are also not demanding solutions from either political party, as evidenced by the lockstep voting for Democratic Party politicians, despite failing to deliver anything of value in 50 years.

One historical example that might represent a way forward is the National Black Independent Political Party. Formed in 1988, it had virtually no impact on electoral politics. However, its model might represent something of value for black Americans looking to break free of the two-party duopoly and demand actual policy solutions from Washington. The purpose of the NBIPP was not to obtain power in its own right, but rather to form black America into a political voting bloc that could act as kingmaker in elections. This is in the broader tradition of self-reliance in the black community.

Whatever the way forward is, one thing is clear: Social welfare programs ostensibly designed to help the black community have done little more than put the boot of government on the neck of black Americans. Rather than raising up the black community, these programs have acted to – despite whatever their intentions might be – destroy the black family, the black business community, and black social solidarity.

What might “work” depends on what the goal is. However, the evidence is in and the Great Society’s War on Poverty has been a resounding failure.

Black America Before LBJ: How the Welfare State Inadvertently Helped Ruin Black Communities originally appeared in the Resistance Library at Ammo.com.

Eliminating the Horror of Modern Policing

Eliminating the Horror of Modern Policing

If people properly understood the role of police in the American system, they would probably trust anyone standing next to them in the grocery store to have their best interests at heart more than a law enforcement” officer. Theres an important reason for this. According to a Cato study, if you are an American, you are 8X more likely to be killed by a police officer than a terrorist. According to a Reason article, by Dec 9th 2014, police had killed 1,000 people that year. A search couldn’t find stats on unarmed people that police have killed outside of African American groups who keep track of it. The epidemic has reached the point that better data collecting is needed. But, if you just look at the number of unarmed black men (no weapon at all) killed by police in 2015, 104, and compare it to the amount of Americans worldwide in 2014 (including the US)  whose deaths were attributed to terrorism, 32, American police killed over 3X as many unarmed black men in the US as terrorists killed Americans worldwide. Even if you want to say half of them were out of their minds on bath salts thats almost 2X as many unarmed black men killed by police as Americans killed by terrorism all over the globe. 

It is clear why many, including former law enforcement, believe this is such a huge issue. Trillions are being spent to combat terrorism worldwide, yet millions are being funneled to support the bigger threat to us, the imminent one in which uttering the wrong phrase at a traffic stop can change your life forever… and even end it without consequence to the one who steals your most precious possession. Your life, your very existence. 

Those who have had a chance to consume, cover to cover, James Duanes book, You Have the Right to Remain Innocent,” share the same sentiments, mostly anger and despair. The amount of cases he discusses where innocent people lost decades of their lives because they decided to answer a police officers questions is infuriating and sad at the same time. They have a job to do and its not to protect you, it is to gather evidence against you if they suspect youve done something wrong. And the amount of innocent people that gave them just enough information in what they believed was an informal discussion that allowed a flawed and corrupt system to frame a narrative to get their man/woman,” that a jury of people too stupid to get out of jury duty, or ones that know nothing of jury nullification, convicted them on is heartbreaking.  

And then there is the epidemic we’ve seen pop up that really came to the forefront at Waco. The first thing the Federal police did was shoot the dogs. They weren’t guard dogs, they were pets. They were in a pen. Recently a police officer, who was eventually fired even though his police chief said he did “nothing against procedure,” shot a 9-pound dog in the face because his owner wouldn’t come to the road to talk to him. Officer Keenan Wallace, formerly of the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office in Conway Arkansas, did it out of spite.  On July 5th, 2016, The Nation published an article reporting that police nationwide are killing 25 dogs a day. That’s over 9,000 a year. And the courts have ruled they have the right to do this. Why? The system is not your friend and the front-line soldiers are police. 

People who believe this is a grave issue have the ability to fight back against this tyranny by gathering concerned neighbors and implementing a strategy that has proven to drastically reduce the footprint of law enforcement” in their neighborhoods. Some of these youve probably heard of, but a few in particular many have no idea exist, or have existed. 

 Before solutions are presented, history can provide a good deal of context.  

 Colonial Times 

 State law enforcement was not the norm in the original thirteen colonies. Early colonial governments played no active role in apprehending and prosecuting lawbreakers and police departments and prosecutors did not exist as they are known today. Therefore, a crime victim had to serve as policeman and prosecutor who, if he chose to apprehend an offender and initiate prosecution, did so directly and at his own expense. He did not have to rely on government agencies. On the contrary, he could not rely on them even if he wanted to because they either did not exist, or did not perform the function he sought. By the same token, he was obviously not constrained by such agencies to proceed with a prosecution if he chose to withdraw. 

 Public courts were available in most colonial capitals, but distance and poor roads made use of them for many colonists expensive. Thus, government trials could be, and frequently were, simply bypassed in favor of direct bargaining or third-party arbitration or mediation, with restitution to the victim from the offender being the dominant sanction. Again, early Americans held a restitutive theory of justice whereby forced reparations by the criminal to the victim were ordered, but punitive measures taken against the offender to the benefit of the victim were also demanded. 

What would be the benefits of this? One, if you have to take money out of your own pocket to catch someone who has transgressed against you, and there are no police, false allegations would seem to all but disappear except in the case of someone who just has it out for someone; and even in that case, they are probably looking to do violence to the person other than seeking restitution. 

Notice, this isnt about some abstract concept called justice that is carried out by a State” in which they dont care if you are made whole or not. 

Something else to take from this: would neighbors at the time have a stake in making sure this person was caught? Absolutely. The concept of a public protector doesnt exist, so if there is someone going around stealing or damaging property it makes sense that one would want someone caught who had the potential to do the same to them. So, just by putting the word out it would make sense that you would have volunteers joining you in your search.  

Going back to the rank psychopath who may just be seeking vengeance against someone he views as a foe, do you think people who are hearing the story of whatever the accused may or may not have done have a stake in making sure the accusations are accurate? Yes, or they could be the next victim of a false complaint. 

All of this points to something that always makes a community, and especially a tight knit one, open to the ideas of self-policing; and thats self-interest.  

Before real solutions are presented, dont discount the lesson of the previous. With everything mentioned about the colonies, one can see the importance of central power was not deemed important, so how much money could public officials demand. It is clear why they needed to expand their power. Any fines levied would find their way into public coffers and not back to the damaged party. Power as such generates income and one could argue a good free-market security force could demand a high price but that would be voluntary on the consumers part and that should be the goal.  

The ‘Wild, Wild West’ 

What of the widely held perception that the eighteenth-century West was a lawless society dominated by violence, where the strongest and most ruthless ruled by force? It is true that miners, farmers, ranchers, and many other individuals moved westward much more rapidly than government entities could expand the state’s law enforcement system, particularly from 1830 to 1900. But this does not mean that the frontier was lawless. 

Remember who writes the history books. That the West was a wild, violent, and lawless place is not just something that is popularly believed but rejected by researchers. Many simply assume (or assert) that violence was prevalent and then proceed to explain why that should be the case. Is there any real evidence of relatively violent behavior in the West?  

Some historical accounts focus on a particularly notorious event or individual, and these certainly existed. But there appears to be a serious selection bias problem when the entire West is characterized on the basis of the conclusions of such studies. Interestingly, even those studies discover a good deal of social order. When you examine the Texas frontier from 1875–90, for instance, one finds that many kinds of criminal offenses common today were nonexistent. Burglaries and robberies of homes and businesses (except for banks) simply did not occur. Doors were not locked, and hospitality was widespread, indicating that citizens had relatively little fear of invasive violent or property offenses. Shootings did occur, but they typically involved what the citizenry considered to be “fair fights.” Stage and train robberies occurred, but these incidents were isolated from most citizens and caused them little to no concern. 

So again, one must ask whether government, the monopoly on violence, should be in charge of policing. If at a time where the closest “government protector” could be hours away, the crime rate was low. Why is it so high now? Because so much of what is considered a crime is something where there is no injured party. When you see on a charging document, “THE STATE OF….” Vs “so and so”, the damaged party isn’t present. No victim, no crime. Violations of person and property are the only crimes.

 

One would do well to argue that you would want people you are either paying voluntarily to protect you, or people you trust. So, what are a few ways in which that can be done absent government actors. 

To spend time on the concept of the “neighborhood watch” isn’t warranted. Most people are familiar with the concept.  

The Entrepreneur 

There is an example of a good “free market” approach that has been seen in recent decades. Dale Brown, the founder of Detroit Threat Management, started out with the idea that people had to be responsible for their own security. He figured out that policing is not based on protection, but on prosecution. So, if police show up on average less than 5% of the time to stop a crime, what are you to do? Police are historians, they do not work in current events. They are evidence gatherers, and the sooner the masses come to that realization, the better. 

When you start speaking out against modern police techniques, the first response you get, without fail, is, “Well if you get in trouble, call a crackhead!” This is common. And before we proceed further, one thing Dale says that should stick with you is that law enforcement is for people who have broken the law, or CHOSEN to have laws enforced against them. He is saying YOU CHOOSE THIS. 

Dale designed a system in which he was training people, families and groups how to protect themselves from violence. He was doing this in parks, pretty much anywhere he could. An owner of an apartment building let him use an empty space. 

The turn for him was the realization that teaching people to protect themselves was not going to be enough. There were people who just couldn’t do it. He taught pre-emptive techniques like securing your dwelling which is absolutely essential. Something he says which should be considered but most people don’t is that if someone breaks into your home, and you defend it by killing or hurting that person, you’ll probably want to move immediately. People have family and friends, and having them know exactly where you are puts a target on your back. Revenge is very real. So, making sure you secure yourself and your dwelling isn’t an option, it’s essential. Another point he makes is, just because you have a gun, and know how to use it, doesn’t mean anything. Every dead cop had a gun. So, prevention is where you start. Understanding human behavior is more important. Think about the name of his company, Threat Management. It’s about preparation. Getting to the point where you actually have to fight, should be a major outlier. 

It’s easy to see that even though this is about the entrepreneur, or entrepreneurs who may wish to begin an endeavor as such, there is also a lot of info for the individual. In his realization that many people couldn’t protect themselves he decided his strategy needed to evolve. In 1995 he approached, and was hired by building owners to be their security. This was in one of the roughest neighborhoods in Detroit that was rife with rapes, assaults and murders. His goal was easy. If he could make rich people richer (building and land owners having a safer environment to thrive in), he would be paid for his efforts. 

In the beginning he, and those who worked for him, would get part of their pay with “free” housing. As it progressed, he could charge for his service. He now has a huge company, with contracts to privately protect some of the wealthiest and best neighborhoods out there. Mind you, many were not safe to start with, they are ones he cleaned up by letting people know that he was going to make sure they were safe by using all the techniques he found would prevent violence in the first place. 

The Shomrim 

The most realistic example for pushing the government monopoly on violence and force out of the communities’ people live in is the Shomrim society? Shomrim is the Hebrew word for “watcher’ or “guard.” These are probably most famous in NYC although they have groups scattered through America and Britain. Shomrim will “work” with the police, but honestly, it is only because the cops have a monopoly on force. They would prefer to take care of their own, and should be applauded for it because in a truly libertarian society, that is who you’d want looking out for you even more so than any security you may hire.  

The mission statement/message people get when they go to the “Shomrim Crown Heights” webpage: 

Crown Heights Shomrim is a neighborhood patrol organization made up entirely of volunteers whose mission is to help protect the streets of Crown Heights and to give aid to victims of crime. Crown Heights Shomrim is based in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, New York, a neighborhood comprised of ultra-Orthodox Hassidic Jews of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement alongside a large West Indian and African American population. Founded in the 1960’s Crown Heights Shomrim is the evolution of the Maccabees – a first of its kind volunteer patrol – which was founded by residents of the neighborhood who were frustrated with an understaffed and ineffective police department which allowed residents to fall victims to violent crimes. 

During the infamous anti-Semitic riots in 1991, Shomrim expanded its operations and today is the most veteran, respected and responsible organizations charged with providing residents with a reinforced sense of security. Shomrim works closely with members of the New York City Police Department and other branches of law enforcement as well as emergency rescue personal and many of our volunteers have received training by the NYPD, New York City’s Office of Emergency Management and the Department of Homeland Security. 

If you start to run searches on Showrim groups you will find articles on blogs about how they may push people around and a couple of “mainstream” articles on abuses but that is not what should be focused on. Sure, these kinds of things will happen. But they’re not libertarians. What do they know about the non-aggression principle? Of course, you would want to tailor any group formed to the non-aggression principle. 

Each Shomrim group maintains its own dispatcher and 24-hour hotline, whose number is known throughout the Orthodox Jewish community. Shomrim responds to a wide variety of crimes and cases, including reports of purse snatching, vandalism, car and bicycle thefts, and missing persons. Volunteers patrol the city streets in the wee hours of the morning as a deterrent presence. When they are not on duty, they remain on call, and are often summoned to help other Shomrim groups or other Jewish community rescue organizations such as Hatzalah and Chaverim during large-scale search and rescue operations. 

Shomrim has been effective in apprehending suspects of burglaries, robberies, assault, car thefts, vandalism, domestic violence, nuisance crimes, and antisemitic attacks. In an incident in 2010, four Brooklyn South Shomrim volunteers gave chase to a suspected child predator who drew a gun and shot each of them after they had tackled him to the ground. The shooter was later acquitted of all charges except possessing a gun. Following that incident, the Brooklyn South Shomrim were issued bullet-proof vests by the New York State Senate. 

Shomrim volunteers have occasionally been criticized for using excessive force with suspects, particularly non-Jews. In 1996, a Crown Heights Shomrim volunteer was convicted of assault charges after repeatedly hitting a suspect on the head with a walkie-talkie after the man had been subdued. In 2010 a Baltimore Shomrim volunteer was arrested for allegedly striking a black teenager. He was suspended pending internal investigation, with Shomrim confident that he would be vindicated in court, and was sentenced to three years of probation in 2012. In 2011, two Monsey Shomrim volunteers were charged with misdemeanors in a fracas that erupted after a girl hit a passing van with a water balloon. 

Shomrim volunteers, who are unpaid, are mostly members of the Haredi Jewish communities that they serve; however, around 70 percent of the victims they help are not from the Orthodox Jewish community, usually just local residents from any race or religion. In Brooklyn, Shomrim members, according to their coordinator, are fingerprinted and checked for a criminal record before being allowed to join the patrol.  

Shomrim volunteers – who range from a few dozen to over 100, depending on the group – work on foot or in cars. Generally, members work two to a vehicle that is equipped with a radio and a siren. However, the UK divisions of Shomrim do not have audible or visual warning equipment (blues-and-twos) fitted in their vehicles. Some Brooklyn patrols have marked cars which resemble New York City Police Department (NYPD) vehicles, but most use their own unmarked cars. The patrols may also carry walkie-talkies. They wear identifying jackets and yarmulkes on the job. 

The volunteers, says a coordinator, do not carry guns, batons, pepper spray, or handcuffs, and do not have the authority to make arrests. However, they are trained in how to safely track and detain suspects until police arrive, otherwise known as citizen’s arrest. They have been known to quickly mobilize area residents to block off streets in order to stop suspects. 

Their funding comes from donations mostly, although some have been able to get tax-payer money as, especially in their local communities, they are a large voting bloc. A libertarian-type order would, of course, reject this. 

These groups are known to prevent crime and actually solve a few, including missing persons cases. 

Two examples have been presented to show how to drastically reduce the footprint of government police in any neighborhood. When thinking about publicly-funded law enforcement, it is important to remember a few points: 

 1. They are not protectors; they are there to record history and help prosecutors punish “criminals.”  James Duane’s book, “You Have the Right to Remain Innocent,” is required reading.

2. They are hammers and all they see is a nail. Between shooting unarmed people and executing animals, wouldn’t you rather trust someone you know or are paying directly?

3. In the case of Detroit Threat Management, think of it as a business opportunity. Of course, as in all “free market” endeavors, you will only succeed if you do the job.

Governments, and members of their citizenry who were “just following orders,” killed more than 200 million people last century. It’s time for a better way, a more direct way, a way that if people see it working will seek to choose it over the status quo. It’s time to cast away monopolies who don’t care if the job is done well or efficiently. They certainly don’t care about you or your loved ones. 

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