Sentinel SHOCKER: Teens at Keene High Use Drugs

52a89aa853da0.preview-300[1]Kudos to the Keene Sentinel’s Kaitlin Mulhere for telling some truth about life in the purportedly idyllic New England town of Keene, NH. Guess what? Teenagers use drugs like alcohol, cigarettes, cannabis, ecstasy, heroin, and others. In fact, drug use is common at Keene High School. The drug war is a failure.

Ok, so I added the last sentence to my summary of the Sentinel’s recent detailed piece on a study done regarding drug use at KHS. Mulhere doesn’t come right out and say the drug war is a failure, but her article is just more proof of what anyone who thinks for a short time about the war on drugs knows is true: you can’t stop human beings from altering their consciousness.

The politicians keep passing laws, increase the penalties, add in mandatory minimum sentences, and what do we get? Harder drugs on the streets and no reduction in the number of users. New dealers step in to replace the ones that are taken down by busts. The insanity of the war on drugs has gone on now for generations and destroyed countless lives of drug users, dealers, and even people who don’t use drugs. (For instance, everyone who has ever been stolen from or robbed by a drug addict is an indirect victim of the drug war, since prohibition drives the price of drugs up dramatically past what its normal market price would be.)

One of the ostensible reasons for the war on drugs is to protect the youth. However, the study cited by the Sentinel is proof the drug war has spectacularly failed in this way. What’s the solution from “the state”? Same as always. Cops, courts, jail cells. Oh, wait – now they have “drug court’. All of a sudden “the state” has gotten compassionate? Sorry, don’t buy it. Coercion is not compassion, not matter how much you dress it up. I’ve sat in on drug court in Cheshire county and watched as a single mother was locked up by the robed man because he didn’t believe her answer as to whether she had spoken with a former dealer recently.

A major failure of the Sentinel’s feature story, as well as almost all mainstream coverage of drug use is the failure to differentiate between users and abusers. The Sentinel story uses “abuse” frequently to describe ALL drug users. However, most drug users are responsible users – that’s why despite rampant substance *use*, society doesn’t fall apart. Alcohol, by far the most dangerous and abused drug, is still responsibly used by millions of Americans. (more…)

An Open Apology for Miscommunicating

Wow, have I really blown it. A few days ago I posted this article which was intended to thank the activists who did such an amazing job on the Concord BEARCAT issue. It apparently did the opposite – at least two of the activists who spearheaded the issue are apparently very upset. Why? The answer is in the last paragraph of the article where I said:

The more ridiculous and outrageous the NH state-believers become, the more people will move here and get active. The state-believers are not even close to having learned their lesson about not aggressing against peaceful people yet, so I must thank them for inspiring more influential activists like Dan to move here and concentrate their activism! Yay!

One of the anti-BEARCAT organizers shared my post on facebook, calling it a “backhanded compliment”. She apparently thought I was talking about her in that paragraph. I thought I was clear that I was talking about the government bureaucrats, but apparently I was not at all clear.

Why would she think I was talking about her with the term “state believer”? Well, after the BEARCAT activism, the activists in question were understandably a little frustrated with some of their fellow liberty-loving activists. Apparently there is a group of “anarchists” in the movement who have a habit of deriding political activism and that has frustrated the anti-BEARCAT activists in question, who are political activists and are disappointed that more people did not help with their anti-BEARCAT efforts. Worse, some of the “anarchists” apparently openly insulted the anti-BEARCAT efforts as pointless – these critics are totally wrong – the efforts were a strong success. The anti-BEARCAT activists had indicated that some callous people had called them “statists” for their small-government beliefs. So, when she saw my use of “state-believer”, she thought I was talking about her. At least – that’s what I could extract from the posts one of them made on facebook before blocking me.

I wasn’t talking about the political activists. I was talking about the aggressors – in this case, the people calling themselves the “city of Concord” and police. I can see how “state believers” did not effectively communicate that.

I have nothing but respect for the political activists in New Hampshire. They have done and continue to do amazing work. I myself am a politically active person and did the exact-same-things as did the Concord activists during the Keene BEARCAT situation – why on earth would I insult similar efforts? I hope this message reaches the eyes of anyone who took offense. Your activism was fantastic, as I poorly expressed in my original article. I’m sorry I blew communicating my ideas – I did not mean to upset you. (more…)

Sentinel Locks Down Web Content as Circulation Sharply Declines

Keene SentinelIn an apparent attempt to make themselves even less relevant in the 21st century, and like so many other newspaper websites, the Keene Sentinel is clamping down even further on their content.  Managing Editor Paul Miller wrote a recent piece explaining the changes that went live on their website this week, which include limiting non-subscribers to only viewing ten articles per month.  All this as their paid circulation rate has dropped more than 26% in the last five years.

It’s another move in a long series of desperate measures to extend the life of the 200+ year old paper.  Several years ago, the Sentinel cut costs by reducing the width of the paper as well as reducing the total page count.  They also raised prices to $0.75 daily and $1.75 Sundays.  Potential buyers were being asked to pay more for a noticeably thinner paper.  Guess what happened?

According to their certifier, the Alliance for Audited Media (aka the Audit Bureau of Circulations), the Sentinel’s paid daily average circulation numbers are seriously down in just the last five years.  As of March 2013 their average paid circulation was 8,874.  That’s down more than 26% from just five years ago in 2008 when they had 12,119.  In 2003 they had 13,998 and in 1993 the total was 15,704.  That means the paid circulation today is down 36% compared to ten years ago and down 43% to compared to twenty years ago.  Ouch.

Put another way, in the ten years from 1993 to 2003, paid circulation rate dropped about 11%.  In the next five years, to 2008, it dropped almost 14%.  Finally, in five more years to 2013 it dropped nearly 27% – nearly DOUBLING the loss of the ’03-’08 timeframe!   That huge loss happened after they chopped the paper size down and as more options for news opened up due to the proliferation of smartphones and tablets and as their older-age subscriber base continue to die off.  With under 200 digital subscribers as of March 2013, it’s clear that their digital component is not coming close to making up the difference.  The paper’s answer to this quandary is to lock their content down further? (more…)

How I went from atheist to minister in the Shire Free Church.

Ian_FancyThis lengthy post is basically a partial biography and tells my story in some detail about my path to liberty and spirituality:

I just can’t do it anymore.  I have had enough of paying for this inhumane and insane state system.

It’s more than just a system – “the state” is a belief system and a religion.  It is an evil religion that masquerades as though it is good.

Of course, I didn’t always think like this.

I suppose I should start at the beginning.  Probably like you, I attended state-run school while growing up.  They told me I was “gifted” – a designation that to this day I find ridiculous – so I went to the state school where the other “gifted” students went.  School still sucked, but I had no idea how much worse it was at the other schools as I was insulated at the institution that was generally inhabited by the kids of the elite, though there were exceptions, including me.  My family were middle class Presbyterians. (more…)

City of Keene Planning to Enact Illegal Ordinance Against Synthetic Drugs

SpiceDid you see the recent MSFI committee meeting in city hall? Here’s the video and the minutes. Allow me to direct your attention to page 11 of the minutes where a very interesting and revealing conversation takes place between city attorney Thom Mullins and councilor Phil Jones.

In it, the committee members are looking at their options to do something about the synthetic drugs. The attorney proposed a resolution or an ordinance, but admits the ordinance would be subject to challenge in the criminal courts as it is likely unconstitutional. The constitution is treated as though it’s an annoyance, but ultimately Mullins is asked by Jones that if they were to outlaw the chemicals via illegal ordinance, wouldn’t that deter challenges due to people not wanting to go through court? Mullins affirms it would deter challenges and points out that no municipality in NH has yet had such a challenge. However, he reveals, it could present a liability issue.

This entire portion of the minutes is a perfect example of what I’ve said for a long time – the government people do whatever they want and hope they don’t get called on it in court. The court system is ponderously slow and also intimidating, so the various illegal ordinances and statutes that are passed by these control-freaks are never challenged – and they know it. (more…)

City of Keene and The Golden Rule, by James Cleaveland

This post is my response to Steve Gilbert’s column, Free Keene and The Golden Rule, by Steve Gilbert



In a recent column, Steve Gilbert of the Keene Sentinel makes the argument that Free Keene’s Robin Hooders have violated the basic tenet of the golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I agree that the golden rule is a pretty good standard to try to live one’s life by. I do not feel that any of MY actions as a Robin Hooder have violated this tenet.

Unfortunately, the city of Keene does not abide by this principle. The city of Keene engages daily in a form of bullying through its parking enforcers by using the city’s position of power to coerce people into paying for parking in public spaces whether they want to or not. The tickets are a form of extortion that I believe is unwarranted since they are issued to people who are simply parking their vehicles; an act which I do not think justifies the use of force. If a private business left a bill on someone’s vehicle which kept exponentially increasing if it wasn’t paid, sent threatening letters to one’s home regarding the bill, and eventually stole and held someone’s car to coerce them to pay the bill, most would view this behavior as unacceptable and not abiding by the golden rule.