N. David Krouse’s Closing Speech in Nashua District Court
David K was recently in Nashua District Court for his arrest at the Nashua 420 rally during Liberty Forum. He explained to the court exactly why he did what he did that day.
Text of Speech:
I do not expect to be acquitted, so it is very important that I be allowed to explain the events and why they occurred on March 20th 2010. I am accused of what is essentially civil disobedience not for myself, but on behalf of another individual, so this explanation will have some personal beliefs that are philosophical in nature, please hear me out. This will take about 5 or so minutes.
Of course this trial is all about what I did on March 20 2010. But let me start with the following first;
Lewis Labatue was arrested for smoking pot, I believed the arrest was wrong, so knowing I could not stop it, attempted to delay it and to demonstrate the cruelty and violence behind the arrest. I did this by choosing to stand in front of the car that was to transport Mr. Labatue. I chose this form of civil disobedience in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther Kings teachings. I did no violence, made no effort to harm anyone, but the means I chose achieved both ends. It did delay the law enforcers aggression, and the law enforcers over the top reaction to it was classic, and demonstrated the cruelty and violence that lay at the foundation of the war on people who use some drugs better, than 80 years of preaching prohibition era rethoric. In fact, only releasing the attack dog or pepper spraying my eyes would have demonstrated the basic inhumanity of the law enforcers aggression against peaceful people better.
It is a shame to put one man in a cage for a nonviolent so-called crime, that is, to separate him from society, it is tyranny when thousands are put in cages for nonviolent so-called crimes.
The war on people who use some drugs has been going on for all of my 28 years. Every single argument I could make based on logic and fact has been repeated elsewhere ad nauseam since they were used to argue for the repeal of alcohol prohibition some 80 or so years ago. History repeats because humans are a violent species that believes the Utopian ideal that if one uses enough of the right kinds of force all our troubles will be fixed. A sad and common truism of history, is that humans rarely learn from history.
It is a shame that to right any wrong, a great deal of suffering must take place. Every new law is an attempt to ‘fix’ a bad one. Do you ever ask yourself, how many otherwise peaceful individuals were hurt by the bad law, before it was finally ‘fixed’….. How many families were disrupted, how many children cried, how many jobs lost, because it took awhile for a bad law to be fixed?….. Because humans frequently try to remake the wheel in terms of right and wrong, Our law-books are a pile of broken wheels. They are monuments of mistakes, all of them backed up with force. Right and wrong do not change just because a law enforcer tells me if I don’t comply he is going to hurt me. Right and wrong do not change because a majority votes one way or another. How can the people, any people, no matter how big the majority, make the government do what they as individuals cannot do?….. Of course, they do all the time, and that brings us back to the monuments of mistakes and bad laws leading to untold amounts of suffering.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Right and wrong, law and order, and basic societal stability are not new concepts, and are in fact thousands of years old. So when basically violent and stupid humans do occasionally learn from history, they notice customs that when followed tend to produce a more peaceful and prosperous society. These customs came to be called natural law. Natural Law understanding and acceptance was probably strongest in colonial era America, and it is deeply ingrained in the colonial era literature, and custom. Natural law concepts are found in every society and virtually every religion. This commonality is how it came to be called natural law, because it is law that is naturally occuring. Murder and theft are not illegal because some government says it should be, it has always been wrong to harm another. It is not a failure of natural law that in typically male dominated human society that rape was not always considered illegal. It is a failure of people of goodwill to stop those who would harm any women, because it has always been wrong to harm another, it does not matter what some words on paper, or some person in authority says. The same could be said of human slavery, and jim crow racism and segregation. Why on earth did it take so long to put an end to such crueltry?
Where were the law enforcers when women were treated as property, and minorities were treated as animals?….. Unfortunately they were usually upholding the unjust system. More monuments of mistakes, and a trail of tears at the base of the monument.
Natural law is taught in the bible, and was socially accepted and generally followed and taught to the next generation, in fact, you were without doubt, taught it as a child, and of course is reflected in the following places:
The Jewish and Christian bible write them as love your neighbor as you love God, do not bear false witness, do not kill, do not steal, Do undo others, etc. Natural law concepts are found in every society and virtually every religion. This commonality is how it came to be called natural law, because it is law that is naturally occuring.
The United States Declaration of independence is a bible of natural law thoughts and affirmations. It refers to “unalienable rights”, and “laws of nature”, and a clear recognition that government can become destructive to these ends.
In the United States Constitution most of the Bill or rights outline principles that are directly derived from natural law, including the most ignored amendment in the US Constitution the 9th amendment that states:
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. Ratified 12/15/1791.
and or course the N H Constitution has the following to say:
Article 1. [Equality of Men; Origin and Object of Government.] All men are born equally free and independent; therefore, all government of right originates from the people, is founded in consent, and instituted for the general good.
[Art.] 2. [Natural Rights.] All men have certain natural, essential, and inherent rights – among which are, the enjoying and defending life and liberty; acquiring, possessing, and protecting, property; and, in a word, of seeking and obtaining happiness. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by this state on account of race, creed, color, sex or national origin.
[Art.] 3. [Society, its Organization and Purposes.] When men enter into a state of society, they surrender up some of their natural rights to that society, in order to ensure the protection of others; and, without such an equivalent, the surrender is void.
[Art.] 4. [Rights of Conscience Unalienable.] Among the natural rights, some are, in their very nature unalienable, because no equivalent can be given or received for them. Of this kind are the Rights of Conscience.
[Art.] 10. [Right of Revolution.] Government being instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security, of the whole community, and not for the private interest or emolument of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought to reform the old, or establish a new government. The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.
With the influence of the great writer Richard J. Maybury, I have distilled the basics of natural law into the following 3;
1. ‘Do not do unto others’ as you do not want done to you. (The basis of Reciprocal Rights, Mercy and Equality)
2. ‘Do not commit fraud’. (Contractual Law, basis of stability and long term planning)
3. ‘Do not encroach’ on other individuals or their property. (Tort Law, basis of peace, goodwill)
Natural law tells you not to harm, it does not tell you to be nice, or to give your money to others, or to do what your mother wants you to do. It is essentially negativist in concept, to harm is an action, or in the case of negligence, unwise accidental action, and if no harmful actions are done, than you have justice, as well as peace, goodwill, and general prosperity. If I assault a person, or threaten to assault a person, or interfere with the peaceful and private activities of another, I am guilty of violating natural law. However, if I interfere with a person who is actively harming another who has harmed no one, I am in fact, attempting to uphold natural law. If government law tells you to harm another individual who has harmed or threatened no one, then defiance of government law is compliance with natural law. This is not anarchy, but rather it is the basis for a profound respect for human rights and natural law.
The destruction and damage to peoples lives far in excess of anything a drug itself does, must stop. Drug prohibition has gone on long enough and must end, and the struggle to end it must start somewhere. Since redress seems to be ineffectual, to quote the NH constitution;
The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind. As the ends will always be influenced by the means used, and frequently dictated by the means, I have chosen peaceful civil dis., openly, honestly, and while it is hard to have brotherly love for a violent oppressor, I hold no malice towards them.
In Summary, the Law Enforcers harmed Mr. Labatue by arresting him for a crime in which there is no victim. In doing so the Law Enforcers were committing aggression against him, thus violating natural law. I believe the individuals who work for the state of NH have been in rebellion of natural law long enough, and that it was time to exercise the Right or Rebellion by doing peaceful civil dis in the form of blockading the car being used to transport Mr. Labatue to a cage.
I am sorry that I inconvenienced the law enforcers, and I am glad that no injury came to them, despite the anger of my friends that day who were witnessing. As part of my civil disobedience I will not pay fines to an aggressive gov’t so that they can continue to aggress, but I will accept jail, or community service that does not benefit any gov’t agency.