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.
Welcome to Free Keene‘s newest blogger Melanie Johnson! Melanie graduated law school and is already getting involved in courtroom activism here in New Hampshire. She’s one of the newest movers to the Keene area. Here’s her bio from the Bloggers page:
Melanie is an anarchist who moved to Keene on November 5, 2015. She believes in the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP), free markets, and holding philosophically consistent positions. In addition to the excruciating task of attempting to reconcile either minarchy or anarchy with the NAP, she spent part of her six years as a minarchist pursuing a law degree in the world’s Prison Capital in a misguided attempt to make it a freer place. She has participated in jury outreach, police checkpoint blocking, appeared on Free Talk Live, and advised other activists on the legal issues relevant to activism.
No, not that Salem. This past Monday I went to Rich Paul’s hearing. I have been in court in New Hampshire before, and have seen videos of court proceedings in New Hampshire. I am fairly sure that most, if not all of these, took place in Keene. I have lived in New Hampshire for a little over seven months and so far my impression of the gang is that they tend to play by their own rules and they are one of the least oppressive gangs I have come across. Not freedom by any means, but better than anything I had ever hoped to see.
That characterization of Keene, NH or NH might not be a fair representation of the entire story. No gang leader wakes up one day and says “Hey, I think maybe I’ll start following at least the Constitution, quit making illegal arrests, and be somewhat less oppressive.” I’m just really happy, and still somewhat in disbelief, about the fact that I can walk around on the sidewalk, drive at night, tell jurors about nullification *on state “property*,” and warn people about checkpoints in complete safety. I don’t have people walking up to me telling me I look suspicious with their gun half-drawn. But you don’t get that way for nothing. Since we don’t have the resources (and some of us don’t have the philosophical consistency) to actually get rid of the problem, people who came before me had to fight issues up and bring attention to problems to the point where the State decided that the best thing to do is retreat.
So it makes sense to me that Keene is less un-free than Salem. When we walked into court one of the guards asked Ian what his camera was (it was in a bag, so it wasn’t obviously a camera). They then asked if there was anything going on that they didn’t know about. In Tammany they would have just not let him in with it, and presently in Keene I’m pretty sure they would have just let him in. In Salem they asked him for press credentials- which is utterly legally irrelevant. The guard at the security checkpoint directed us to a line of people, which was really confusing to me. I had assumed that we’d be walking into a court room. I found out that it was a line to talk to the prosecutor- before making an appearance. One person seemed to me to have an attorney. This seemed highly problematic to me as your first appearance is typically when you figure out what you are going to do about an attorney. People were signing pleas before they ever saw a judge, an attorney, or the inside of a courtroom. I heard the prosecutor tell one person that if he didn’t plea today then the penalty would be higher, and he was generally discouraging people from seeking lawyers or hearings. It would be illegal for a judge to do this.
We got to the front of the line and walked into the room. I was honestly worried about the prosecutor not wanting to let extra people in, but I walked in like I owned the place and that seemed to be what the rest of us did. The prosecutor immediately told Ian that he needed to get the camera out of there. Rich responded that he wanted it to be filmed. At which point the prosecutor refused to talk to him because “I’m not going to be filmed.” He told Rich that he would talk to him “out there.” I’m not sure where “there” is or why its better to be filmed at that location than in the office. More importantly, I’m not sure why the prosecutor would be opposed to having plea offers filmed. Nothing can realistically be taken out of context because courthouses tend to… keep records of things. None of the parties were underage, none of the victims were underage or otherwise protected (or existing) so its not sealed. And prosecutors are lawyers; the law is their job- they don’t have the usual excuse that there is some obscure or asinine law that they don’t know about while doing their job.
Then we went into the courtroom, which had the pervasive appearance of being a revenue stream. (Some government agencies attempt to hide that sort of thing.) I had to watch the camera for a while and two prosecutors, for whatever reason, decided to stand against the back wall and kept standing closer to me. I don’t know for sure that this was intended to be intimidating, but there didn’t seem to be any other reason for it. When Ian got back I went and sat down. Even though I had my phone on silent, the alarm went off. I turned it off as quickly as possible as I have this fear of State agents. If I had been in Tammany, they would have taken the phone and fined me a minimum of $50. To their credit the, I’m assuming he was a bailiff, just told me to take it out and come back once I’m not using it. I don’t think that I saw a single defense attorney in the entire courtroom. In fact, I hope that that’s the case because all of the lawyers that I did see appeared to be operating as prosecutors. (Unfortunately, if you have crappy defense attorneys sometimes it can be difficult to tell the difference.) The charge was dropped to just below New Hampshire’s threshold for requiring a jury.
Welcome to Free Keene‘s newest blogger, Ethan Glover! He’s a longtime liberty blogger who last year jumped headfirst into Cop Blocking across New Hampshire and logged countless hours in the streets. Now he brings his perspective here to Free Keene. Here’s his bio from the Bloggers page:
Ethan Glover moved to the Keene area of New Hampshire at the height of 2015 to be around like-minded people. He describes himself as an anarcho-capitalist. His first major liberty project was building the brand of NH Regional CopBlock. He helped grow the subscriber base 900% in one year. Ethan also does a sporadic podcast that brings online arguments to the real world called, “Fuck It, We’ll Do It Live.” He has a large interest in digital marketing and online media. You can find more about Ethan on his personal website.
On June 7th, 2016 residents of the west side of Manchester NH in the neighborhood of Rimmon Heights joined in a protest at the Manchester City Hall. They were protesting the police militarization tactics and shelter in place order that was issued on May 13th after a suspect was caught in a shooting and lasted for nearly five hours. For one day martial law was in place where police were seen throughout Rimmon Heights patrolling with automatic weapons, road blocks at almost every intersection, and helicopters overhead. Carla Gericke current candidate for NH State Senate and president of the Foundation for New Hampshire Independence did a speech outside of City Hall during the protest about de-escalation and community policing instead of daily lockdowns and heavily armed law enforcement officers lurking everywhere. Multiple west side residents also spoke during the city council meeting to voice their concerns at the actions of the Manchester Police department.
When I embarked on my Presidential Campaign, I did so with three goals in mind: 1) to run the most libertarian presidential campaign in history; 2) to proclaim the ideas of liberty as boldly and as often as possible; and 3) to give as many people as possible the opportunity to vote for an actual libertarian in November.
I am pleased to report I accomplished two-thirds of the goals I set for my campaign. I ran the most consistent libertarian campaign to date, and I took every opportunity, including my well-received Concession Speech, to promote the ideas of liberty.
Recorded June 6th, 2016
In this week’s episode, the Rebel Love Crew covers the protest that took place earlier in the very same night at the Manchester City Hall. The protest was led by Carla Gericke, the president of the Foundation for New Hampshire Independence. The protest focused on the militarization of the Manchester PD and the lock down of the west side of Manchester earlier this year. The Rebel Love Crew plays multiple videos on on air that were recorded at the protest including from within the city council meeting.
The Rebel Love Show airs every Tuesday night 10pm-12am EST on LRN.FM and RebelLoveShow.com/live. Call into the show, skype username: rebelloveshow