Chatting & Chalking with Keene Police
Yesterday was “Chalk The Police Day” an event put on by my friends at CopBlock.org. Activists from around the country went out to write and draw various messages relating to police accountability with chalk. The event dates back to 2011, where the “Chalking 8” were arrested in Manchester, New Hampshire on graffiti and criminal mischief charges. Since then, it has spawned an annual and national event that has become quite popular.
Here in Keene, activists went to Central Square, a local public gathering space with a gazebo, the State Police Barracks, and the Keene Police department, where I joined in the festivities with Ian Freeman and JP Freeman.
As you can see in the video below, before we began chalking, we invited the Keene Police to join us. The woman at the desk said she would ask if anybody felt like it, and we went outside to begin.
In a reference a piece I wrote a few months back about a heroin bust here in Keene, I wrote “Reductions in supply do not reduce demand, they increase prices. Study economics”.
If that reference isn’t obvious to you, it pertains to the war on drugs. There exists this pervasive myth in society that by taking drugs off the streets, crime will be reduced. Aside from the empirical evidence to the contrary, simple economic reasoning should tell you that this isn’t true.
Indeed, then Keene Police Chief Ken Meola had said of a major heroin bust here in town that he hoped it would reduce property crime. I pointed out, that when supply dries up but demand remains high, prices increase. This incentivises new players to get into the drug trade, and compels addicts to find even more money to pay for their fix, which will actually lead to an increase in crime. The opposite of the purportedly desired effect of the war on drugs.
I wrote on another piece of the sidewalk outside the police station, “Drugs don’t wage wars, this is a war on people”.
I find it so disturbing how comfortable people are with the war on drugs. I’m not even into drugs myself, but this phenomenon really bothers me. People hear “war on drugs” and they think “Well, none of my friends are drugs, you can kill all the drugs you want”.
Obviously however, it is people who wage wars. It is people who go to prison. It is people who suffer when a government decides to violently intervene in the voluntary and peaceful activities of individuals.
In a third message I began to write “I’m not afraid of ISIS. I’m afraid of the government”. That was when the Keene Police Department’s College Liaison Officer, Kyle Macie, came out to join us.
One of the things that really has surprised me about living in New Hampshire, and Keene in particular, is how easy it is to talk to government agents. The Keene Police are entirely too familiar with some of the things I’ve said on the pages of this blog about cops. Despite that, they have all been very good in their dealings with me. I’ve had conversations with Chief Costa, Lieutenant Tenney, Officer Baca, and Sergeant Kopcha, and they have all been very civil and personable. I hadn’t gotten video of any of those conversations though.
Since Kyle Macie came out during an activist activity which we were filming though, we did get video of the conversation. I hope you’ll take the time to watch it. We had a very frank discussion about the nature of government power, alternatives to State monopolies, and our own personal preferences and life stories.
While their actions which involve violently victimizing peaceful people are obviously inexcusable, I gotta say… These guys make it very difficult to hate them.
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