Concord Police, Go and Get Your Bearcat

 

110306-ArmoredTankLedePhoto-hmed-0120p.grid-6x2Recently a great deal of fuss has been made about the police department in Concord, New Hampshire, applying for a grant from the US Department of Homeland Security to obtain a tank. The military apparatus in question is a Lenco Bearcat, an armored vehicle with gun ports. The police of course claim it is only a rescue vehicle, as evidenced by their use of several such vehicles to rescue Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a wounded, unarmed, 19 year old, boy.

 

Much of the controversy centers around the application for the grant, in which police say they have a domestic terrorist problem, including, but not limited to “Free Staters”. Now, I can certainly see why people would get upset about that. After all, in the 12 year history of the Free State Project, I’m aware of exactly zero incidents of Free Stater initiated violence, and the FSP website says rather clearly “Anyone who promotes violence, racial hatred, or bigotry is not welcome.”. I can personally attest to the aversion Free Staters have to any sort of violence, because I was practically run out of town for simply suggesting that people have the right to defend themselves against government agents, and the inevitable outrage that this article will invoke from libertarians may serve as further proof.

 

On the other hand, we have no shortage of violence involving Free Staters. Government agents have repeatedly harassed, assaulted, and kidnapped Free Staters. The next logical step is for police to begin killing these peaceful activists, and the acquisition of military hardware in the name of this group is a rather obvious sign that this is their intention.

 

While I can see why people are getting upset, I’m just not sure why anybody is surprised. Free Staters oppose government violence, and so they have chosen New Hampshire as a place to make a stand against it. But of course, to oppose government violence is to oppose the government itself, since the government is violence incarnate. Violence is the only tool that the government has, and when all you’ve got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

 

Mislead pacifists have told me for some time, that we have to meet government violence with non-violent resistance, and civil disobedience, because government agents don’t know how to deal with non-violent people. Clearly, there is an ever increasing amount of evidence that these people are completely misinformed. Government agents know exactly how to deal with peaceful people, they deal with them using violence, and the acquisition of the Bearcat in Concord is just one in a long line of examples. 

 

  • ·         Adam Kokesh is peaceful, that didn’t stop government agents from kidnapping and caging him.
  • ·         Ian Freeman is peaceful, that didn’t stop government agents from kidnapping and caging him.
  • ·         Derrick Horton is peaceful, that didn’t stop government agents from kidnapping and caging him.
  • ·         Ademo Freeman is peaceful, that didn’t stop government agents from kidnapping and caging him.
  • ·         Rich Paul is peaceful, that didn’t stop government agents from kidnapping and caging him.

Need I continue? Because there’s really no limit to how long I could make this article if I chose to list every example of government violence against peaceful people, this is just a short list of people I know personally, who were attacked in just the last year or so. Imagine if I decided to start digging through old newspapers…

 

The government doesn’t much care if you are peaceful or not, all they care about is if you are obedient. Free Staters are not being labeled as terrorists because they are violent; they are being labeled as terrorists because they are disobedient. Being violent is not a prerequisite for government violence being used against a person, and in the entire history of statism, it never has been. The only prerequisite of government violence is disobedience, and in entirely too many cases, even obedient slaves are harassed, assaulted, kidnapped, or murdered by government agents.

 

Deep down, Free Staters know this, and that’s why they’re Free Staters. They see this injustice, they want it to stop, and so they are coming together to make a stand against it. The only problem is, now that they have come together, they have absolutely no idea what to do, because their vision of a peaceful evolution to a voluntary society is being shattered on an almost daily basis by government violence. That violence is all too sure to escalate, as the government agents of New Hampshire and elsewhere acquire more advanced and sophisticated technology to oppress these peaceful activists, and the population in general.

 

So what to do? It’s a terribly unpopular thing to say, but the answer, at some point, is to kill government agents. The government agents know that, and that’s why they want a tank.

 

Carla Gericke, president of the Free State Project, correctly points out in her letter to the Concord police chief that “most libertarians strongly believe in the non-aggression principle, and choose to disassociate from those promoting the initiation of force”.

 

If anybody needs a refresher course in the English language, aggression is the initiation of force, and the non-aggression principle does not condemn the use of defensive force, even if the cult of the omnipotent State does. I believe in the non-aggression principle, which is why I believe in using defensive force against aggressors.  It’s not a terribly complicated concept. If someone uses violence against me, I am within my rights to use whatever level of force is necessary to repel the threat, and the non-aggression principle doesn’t make exception for shiny badges or letters from men in robes. The mere mention of this fact necessarily gets people in an uproar, because “whatever level of force is necessary to repel the threat” leads to a rather serious conflict when you face an aggressor like the State, who will use whatever level of force is necessary to oppress their victim. When two sides of a conflict both feel they have the right to use “whatever level of force is necessary” to accomplish competing goals, we’re necessarily talking about a very rapid escalation of violence where one or both sides could take heavy casualties, and material costs quickly skyrocket out of control.

 

Nobody in their right mind wants to see something like that happen, so we tend to do as we are told, fill out our paperwork, pay our taxes, and go on about our daily lives with as little conflict and discomfort as humanly possible. When our friends are kidnapped, instead of breaking them out of prison, we visit them there. When police set up a road block, instead of barreling through it, we complain verbally. This of course, does nothing to prevent the government from building its arsenal and making more and more belligerent threats against us, because government agents are not in their right minds.

 

Some will accuse me of helping the Concord PD obtain their Bearcat by writing this article, but Free Staters need look no further than Keene (prior to my arrival) to see where this is going. No crime to speak of in the area, the activist faction that calls Keene home are perhaps amongst the most radical pacifists on the planet, and the public was largely against the acquisition of the KPD’s Bearcat. But, there it sits in their parking lot, collecting dust, just waiting for someone crazy (brave?) enough to take the “Live Free or Die” motto, or Article 10 of the NH Constitution seriously…

 

The best advice I can offer to people who are concerned about this type of militarization of police forces, is to build their own militarized forces. While not stylish, it’s not terribly complicated to up armor your own vehicle, and nothing you say is going to convince predators not to prey on you. They will stop when it is no longer in their interests to do so, and as long as you take it lying down, as long as the most resistance you are capable of putting up is holding a sign, filing paperwork in their court, or self-righteously waving your finger at people, aggression will be a rewarding career choice for anyone who is so inclined.

 

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  • David

    Chris, you are right on the money with this assessment of the situation in NH. I’m a Free State Project signer and a Free Talk Live podcast listener. I’m staying abreast of the developments in NH, and my logic leads to the same conclusions as your logic stated above.

    Maybe I’ll be removed from FSP too?

    They will build a lot more jails, before they even consider giving up power.

  • David

    On a related note: I live in a college town in Central PA. Our gung-ho Police chief got one of these and he was challenged by our local newspaper. He said, he applied for the Bearcat because of the scurge of Meth, and not to control the local college students at their yearly big street party. He said, “this is a serious piece of equipment, and we need it to keep our officers safe from these crazy drug makers.” He went on, “It’s not like were spending this money for a piece of equipment for a parade.”

    But, come college party weekend: there it was in all it’s Bearcat beauty. It was used in an attempt to break up an otherwise uneventful beer party where kids where playing beer pong and other drinking games. But police had to get involved.

    The good news is, the kids were pretty much able to disable this expensive piece of equipment using beer bottles and a rock. I’ll post a link to the video where you can see this happen. The kids are basically toying with the bearcat.

    Now the Bearcat is most often seen in parades, and the Chief has moved on to another college town. The biggest victim in the entire comedy was the taxpayers.

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  • Jax

    Chris – non-violent revolutions are twice as likely to depose the old government as violent revolutions. That’s why non-violence.

    So sure, use violence if you wish, but don’t expect it to be more successful than non-violence. Look it up.

  • http://billmcgonigle.com Bill McGonigle

    Hi – I’m here by way of the Streisand Effect. You raise some interesting points, and nobody should be afraid to discuss interesting points, even if they disagree with them – that’s a cornerstone of reason.

    Jax makes a good point – it’s not hard to point to the Indian Independence movement or the Civil Rights movement as examples of successful non-violent actions. The political revolutions Velvet and Orange are better models than those in Tunisia or Egypt. And nobody expected the Soviet Union to fall with less than three hundred casualties, though perhaps that can be counted as an example of very precise use of force being superior to nonviolence.

    The strategy of the non-violent movements, though, isn’t to keep Adam, Ian, Derrick, Ademo, and Rich out of prison, it’s to change the public opinion of the issues for which they went to prison, in a way compatible with the public’s thought processes. It’s not fair to say that they failed because they went to prison, if that’s part of the strategy. It may be fair to criticize a lack of follow-up by those outside of the prison for not captializing on their sacrifice.

    Yet, on the other hand we have the Stonewall Riots (among other examples). There are some differences there – perhaps it was the group size, or the general level of public bigotry. No doubt others have studied the issues more clearly, I’m just a part-time observer.

    Were the Stonewall Rioters unjustified? I’d like to hear anybody upset about “promoting violence” make that argument.

    But, alas, this may be just about PR and not about moral philosophy. Perhaps those who would prefer non-violence but would begrudgingly accept it as a last resort will find some sympathy for those who would begrudgingly use Machiavellian PR as a defensive posture.

    • Stephan

      “… Jax makes a good point – it’s not hard to point to the Indian Independence movement or the Civil Rights movement as examples of successful non-violent actions…. ”

      ———————

      The civil rights movement was “solved” (and I put that in quotes partly because I deride that claim that the problem was actually solved) in large part due to government coercion, so I’m not sure what you are talking about it being a non-violent movement. Most activists were not appealing to the community for change, they were appealing to the government for change. And to the extent that some civil rights advocates were appealing to the general public, it was entirely for the contextual purpose of getting those members of the public to subsequently appeal to the government to use force to solve the problem.

      Virtually every supposedly “non-violent” movement can be summarily debunked as not being non-violent upon closer examination. The hidden hand of force, or threat of force, is not always as readily apparent. Very often, the tide of “public opinion” obfuscates the fact that ‘public opinion’ does not bring about governmental change, but is caused by the backing of force, or threat of force, by those who are part of that “public opinion.”

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  • Jay Strange

    I had a long time to think about this and I agree with CC, 100%. When I first read the article I was not sure but after about a month of soul searching, thinking, trying to argue my way out of it. I have to agree. The “States” existence is violence against you me and others. Do they really have to point a gun at you for you to feel justified in trying to defend yourself? If this is what you need then it’s already too late. Do you need them to pull up in your driveway with a bearcat full of armed police? If that is what it takes for you to feel justified in defending yourself, it’s to late, you are commiting suicide at this point. As Mao Tse Tung said, ” All political power comes from the barrel of a gun.” You may not believe this, but Mao was correct. And as uncomfortable as it makes me, and I’m sure, you, CC is correct.

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  • mclinn

    Pretty obvious but another point that underscores what you are saying is: North Korea vs. Iraq: has nukes (or just nuke?) = not attacked. No nukes = attacked, invaded, executed.

    An excellent analysis with all kinds of deeper meanings, and I agree with the conclusion. The refusal on the part of most of the public to see the issue clearly is the most powerful weapon, by far, that the parasites have in their arsenal.

    Besides, the nukes, Apache gunships, tanks, all that, are mainly needed to repel the other gangs, i.e. States. Kinda like in the movies when one psycho confronts another. The “citizens” are already well controlled thanks to their largely passive attitudes.

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  • http://www.socionomics.net/press/book_reviews/Calderwood_TomorrowsHeadlines.html David C.

    Dear Mr. Cantwell, I think I understand your position and wish to raise two thoughts about it, not knowing for sure where you stand on them.

    1. We get the (political) government to which our neighbors acquiesce. As Etienne de la Boetie wrote, every political system exists only when it enjoys consent (tacit or explicit). The reason I tend to reject violence, even defensive violence against agents of the state, is because in effect it is “the neighbors (and their consent)” that are doing the attacking. Using even justified violence to repel such attack is tantamount to being attacked by the entire tribe and choosing to slaughter them. It may be philosophically justified but a classic case of winning the battle but losing the war, a Pyrrhic Victory.
    2. Every act undertaken in a social environment does not exist in a vacuum; it exists in the context of the consensus interpretation thereof. In this way, a person who cannot show a “reasonable man” explanation for the use of defensive violence will have that violence interpreted badly, regardless of intent or even justification. The justice of such acts holds a somewhat subjective interpretation, e.g., if a woman shoots a man who she invited into her home and she claims self-defense despite no physical evidence of an assault. Therefore, defensive violence against armed agents of the state, a state that enjoys the consent and self-identification of the larger social system in which one lives, will in all likelihood amplify the support of the state by the consenting plurality and paradoxically move the society toward greater state-sanctioned violence.

    I don’t have an answer to these challenges. If an intruder kicks in the door and one is sitting with an AR15 on one’s lap, if said intruder is an agent of the state hitting the WRONG ADDRESS one would be faced with a choice between almost certain death at the hands of the cop (who sees the gun and goes predictably trigger-happy) or mowing down every agent who appears, hoping to live long enough to explain to a jury the dilemma and hope for the best. Not an enviable situation, and an argument for stronger doors, to be sure.

    Today I conclude that if the neighbors consent to a Stalin, a Mao or a Pol Pot there is no choice but to flee. To stay and non-violently protest is to invite the fate of Germany’s White Rose, but to stand and throw lead strikes me as equally anti-life (my life) as the tribe simply pours in to crush me like a cockroach. If you’ve considered this view and reject it, I’d be pleased to see your reasoning and consider it myself.

    • paendragon

      1. moral cowardice. 2. Might-makes-right, or maybe just the critical thinking logical fallacy known as the Argumentum Tu Quoque [“evil isn’t evil and crime is isn’t crime because we (i.e: you) all do it, too! Whee!”]. i.e: You have no real position.

      • http://www.socionomics.net/press/book_reviews/Calderwood_TomorrowsHeadlines.html David C.

        If I have no real position, why don’t you criticize it instead of spouting platitudes and descending to a level of debate three sub-basements below ground level?

        Where did you read me type that might makes right? Just ONCE I’d like someone on this impersonal medium to buy a clue and explain his position, or is someone with “dragon” in his alias simply taking some time out from “dungeons and…” after he got home from middle school?

        • paendragon

          I clearly criticized your lack of position by enumerating your points and deconstructing them to their most basic levels: all you’ve said is it’s better not to defend one’s self &/or innocent others when the results would be in doubt because you feel outnumbered.

          In other words, your wholly vapid and inane inadequate position is you are trying to avoid principle by pretending cowardice is far more practical – “he who runs away lives to run away again another day!”

          You have no real position because advocating for a position of habitual cowardice isn’t to take a position, it’s only promoting the ‘principle’ of always avoiding having any principles. Jello is not a solid position, even merely philosophically.

          It’s you who are now replying with empty lying metaphors and slanderous ad-hominem personal attacks.

          Obviously, you are a liberal (criminal) because slander is merely fraud, and lying is the most basic form of theft – it’s the theft of the Truth. And all crimes are forms of theft.

          Re: “Middle school” – are you a Brit? Because any Brit worth his salt should know the etymology of the name “Paendragon.”

          If not, pay particular attention to it’s ACTUAL meaning, not just its history, and consider your cowardly self duly cognitively skewered.

          • http://www.socionomics.net/press/book_reviews/Calderwood_TomorrowsHeadlines.html David C.

            OMG, I’m so sorry. I had no idea I was fencing with an intellect so superior to my own (as you deconstructed my inane, cowardly positions down to the molecular level, too small for me to recognize).

            Perhaps someone who is not so superior to me will answer my question at a level I can grasp. In the meantime, by all means do please pull a gun on a cop somewhere, maybe Prince Georges County or somewhere in TX. I might enjoy it if in doing so your death is colorful enough to be nominated for a Darwin Award.

          • paendragon

            You’re just intent on digging yourself in ever deeper, aren’t you? Look back (I know, you “progressives” are “ever-moving forwards” lemmings, because looking back only ever means admitting you were wrong – again) and see that I had originally addressed only your (lack of) position, not your self, to which – having no position to defend, and all – you then had nothing left but critical thinking logical fallacies such as the ad-hominem personal attack to use in reply (to wit: “Oh, yeah? Well, I may have no position, but you have a funny username! So there! Nyah!”)

            But it’s funny how those of us with facts, don’t have to resort to using fallacies, isn’t it?

            ;-)

            PS:

            “Tolerance becomes a crime when applied to evil.”

            -Thomas Mann-

            Enjoy submitting again and again to whatever self-proclaimed ‘authorities’ show up to extort you for the rest of your life. Because no matter how much they pretend to enjoy getting sheared, most sheep end up in the cooking pot anyway.

            And you can proudly share your own Darwin with the rest of your flock, because we all know that cowardice loves company!

  • dustjunky2000

    CC just said everything I’ve been thinking. Laid out perfectly. It’s sad but true; in the end, it does indeed come down to force vs force.