As promised in a press release earlier this week, Keene liberty activists followed through on a promised Beer Pong event in Railroad Square. Held Saturday at noon, the event was intended to call attention to the oppressive open container ordinance here in Keene. Event organizer Bob Call was interviewed by reporters from the Keene Sentinel and Union Leader and explained how the ordinance targets college students and poor people and doesn’t do anything to actually keep drunk people off the streets.
The open container ban does however transfer a lot of wealth to the state from the victims of the police’s aggression. Enforcing open container means big money for the government, and as event co-organizer Chris Waid points out, it also protects restaurants and bars, giving them the exclusive ability to allow someone to enjoy alcohol on the sidewalk. That means the law is discriminatory in that if you can’t afford to pay for a drink at restaurant/bar prices, you can’t enjoy a drink outside in downtown Keene.
Yesterday’s protest went well and no one was arrested despite the police threatening everyone playing beer pong with arrest. They cited a city ordinance that arguably does not even apply to Railroad Square, claiming playing games involving throwing a ball are prohibited in the area! Either they were bluffing or they didn’t actually read the ordinance, which specifically states that throwing games are banned from Central Square and “on the streets and sidewalks of the downtown area”. I supposed someone could argue that Railroad Square is a street or sidewalk, but there’s a strong argument it’s neither.
Officers Colin Zamore and Andrew Lippincott deliver threats to the beer pong activists.
Plus, the ordinance is clearly intended to address games that could cause interference in the normal traffic of business in the downtown area: “For the safety and protection of participants, pedestrians, passersby, motorists, and property, no person shall, unless authorized by permit, play games involving running, jumping, throwing, catching, or similar physical activity, including but not limited to games of ball”. Even if it could be argued that Railroad Square is a street or sidewalk, it’s pretty clear that no one’s safety is in jeopardy from a ping-pong ball. The ordinance was obviously crafted to stop frisbee and football players’ projectiles from flying into traffic around Central Square, as it specifically prohibits such activities from that area.
Perhaps that’s why Keene police officers Colin Zamore and Andrew Lippincott never returned after threatening the group with arrest if they continued playing after fifteen minutes had gone by. The activists continued to play for about thirty more minutes and then declared victory and went home. (more…)
I had the pleasure this week of seeing James Carroll of Flex Your Rights give a presentation to a couple dozen students at Keene State College. He covered various aspects of how to handle encounters with police and encouraged not taking a plea deal and going to trial rather than just paying fines.
I found it really rewarding to see James’ presentation. It was informative and relevant to the students watching it and I’m glad I had the night off to be able to record it so others who couldn’t attend can benefit. When James started college in Keene, he wasn’t an activist. Now he’s working with one of the most prominent know-your-rights groups in the world, Flex Your Rights. His path to where he is would not have been possible without his time in Keene and the liberty activism here that had a positive, inspirational impact on his life. What an honor to have had a role in that.
Some people don’t understand why I do the activism that I do. Why take risks by standing up for your rights? Why speak out in favor of peace and liberty? Why do activism that could and does offend? Because as an activist and communicator of the ideas of liberty, you never know whose life you’ll touch. When you stay true to yourself, put your message out there, and stand up for yours and others’ rights, the right people will see it and pay attention. When the student is ready, the master appears. Your actions just might be the spark that ignites the next James Carroll.
The epic feature-length documentary was shot and edited during the end of the heaviest period for civil disobedience activism in Keene and does an excellent job capturing the spirit of the times. DJVCS has inspired countless liberty activists of all stripes to move to New Hampshire.
On July 15th members of the Manchester PD and New Hampshire State gangs set up a roadblock on S Willow St near the TD bank and detained drivers and passangers at random. As is usual, several people showed up with signs to warn drivers of the aggressions ahead while there was still an opportunity to turn onto another street. That night however, we were not at site when the checkpoint started. For a while the gang members had always detained people on Bridge street, and that is where we anticipated that they would be, though it was not the only location that we checked. We were beginning to think that the checkpoint had been called off when we heard a call on the scanner (more…)
The livestream will be from 10pm to about 1am EST.
Activists gather at a police checkpoint in Manchester, New Hampshire. Two similar checkpoints this year resulted in 306 total stops and only 2 arrests. Both arrests were for (unspecified) drug possession.
Instead of Bambuser, Shire Dude is testing Facebook live video this evening. The stream will be available here.
Laconia, New Hampshire’s Bike Week is a motorcycle rally that has successfully pulled in large crowds since 1923. Attendance has ranged from 188,000 to 375,000 people. Despite the track record of fatal motorcycle accidents in the area during the event, it has always been relatively peaceful. Until the summer of ’65.
Riots involving around 10,000 people between motorcycle gangs and local police caused the City of Laconia to crack down on the event. Laconia officials no longer saw bike week as a source of tax income, but an inconvenience.
Laconia restricted the event to three days rather than the full week and attendance started to drop. When the city started feeling the loss of money in their pockets in the 90’s, they invited the organization to bring back the week-long festivities.
Here we are today. Bike week at Weir’s Beach in Laconia ran from 1923 to 1965 on its own in peace. A riot, which the state alleges the Hell’s Angels started, brought bureaucratic control to the event.
I was able to attend one day for CopBlock’s week long event at Laconia. Every police department in the area shows up in force. Five departments including state troopers, county sheriffs and even the department at the University of New Hampshire show up for patrol. Small towns who only have a few officers to spare send one or two on a few days out of the week. And the national guard sent around fifteen soldiers in a “non-law enforcement capacity.” According to the UNH officer in the video below.
Credit: Matthew Perreault
Aside from a few crashes on the highways (one fatal), the event was peaceful. Happy, even. Everyone was in a good, talkative mood. Even the groups of officers found on every corner were having fun. But this police presence came at a price.
LaconiaFest, the music festival headlining Ted Nugent, shut down on Saturday early after Nugent’s performance. The festival manager said the city overestimated how many people would show and charged more than expected for first responders.
The police who were in groups on every corner, having a fun time, were costing the festival too much. It raises the question, were they necessary, and how willing was the city to send officers home to keep costs down?
The state lacks the ability to respond to the market in a timely manner. If the City of Laconia had a disagreement with festival managers on this issue, I think the city should have listened. The festival I saw did not require four cops on every corner and it did not deserve to have it’s funding drained by a forced monopoly.