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.
Armed men wearing badges were parked on the bridge in Manchester, New Hampshire. Friday, April 27, 2016. They used bright lights to stun, mesmerize, and intimidate passing travelers into pulling over. Once stopped, the armed men demanded documents and investigated their victims. Finally, they demanded money from the drivers backed by threats of kidnapping.
A watchdog group from Manchester organized a creative advertising effort to warn drivers of the danger ahead. With laser lights, reflective displayboard, and LED programmable signs, they stood by the bridge and informed those passing that it is their last chance to avoid the pirates.
Some went bar hopping, informing patrons of the extortion trap and offered cards with tips for interacting with the badged criminals.
This went from 10pm to 2am. All night, people expressed their appreciation as they passed and diverted their routes. I estimate that 100 cars were saved.
Last November at the Third Annual Keenevention five Copblockers had a lively panel discussion. Video of that talk has been up for a while, but in case you didn’t yet catch it or you balked at its length, this video includes some excerpts.
Props to those involved: JP Freeman, Jessica Phillips, and Steve Daves, all of Keene Cop Block, and Rob Mathias and Ann Leverette, who are based in Manchester, where they create weekly the Rebel Love Show.
And of course, much love to Ian Freeman and other Keenevention organizers for spearheading the event and capturing and sharing the footage. You can find out more about the upcoming Fourth Annual Keenevention, which is happening November 4-6, at http://Keenevention.info
I heard Jason Sorens speak in 2005. He advocated that liberty-oriented individuals around the globe vote with their feet and relocate to New Hampshire (NH) as part of the Free State Project – to pursue liberty in our lifetime. I was intrigued. A month later I drove from DC to Lancaster to attend PorcFest. I was present for less than 24 hours. That was plenty of time to recognize the potential of the idea.
I then got involved with the Mid-Atlantic Free State Project group whilst living in northern Virginia. I valued my experiences there – getting better acquainted with Austrian Economics and its implications, and cultivating other knowledge and skills – but the thought of moving to NH tugged at me. It was appealing to not just talk about liberty, but to actively pursue it.
In 2009 I relocated to NH, which I now call “the ‘shire” for its magical qualities. Keene was homebase for The Motorhome Diaries and Liberty on Tour, as well the place that Cop Block was incubated. It became clear when I was on the road with those projects that, while there are growing pockets of communities who internalize the ideas of self-ownership, the ‘shire was special.
In 2014 – at PorcFest, of course – I met the person who, in 2015, agreed to be my life partner. That fine lady, if you’re unaware, is Amanda B. Johnson. We plan to re-up each year, so long as we’re both still having fun. Based on our frequency of laughs and smiles and songs, I’d say we’re on a good trajectory.
Amanda B. Johnson and Pete Eyre in Tamworth, the ‘shire
In late 2014 Amanda and I left the ‘shire for Oklahoma City where I got top-notch surgery to repair my ripped bicep. The friendly and entrepreneurial folks at the Oklahoma Surgery Center agreed to be paid entirely in Bitcoin and gold. And the anesthesiologist’s own son was super into Cop Block! (more…)
I created this video in the hope that viewers learn how they can gain some accountability for police misconduct. Using this incident to communicate the effectiveness of peaceful, principled tactics is fitting, as today is the three year anniversary of the theatrical release of the epic Derrick J’s Victimless Crime Spree.