I would like to extend a special thanks to the Keene District Court, Superior Court, and New Hampshire Supreme Court. My name is Sam Dodson, and on April 13 I was arrested for filming on public property, the lobby of the Keene District Court. Since then I’ve been denied the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, the right to a speedy and public trial, the right to due process of law, and the right to be “formally and substantially” presented with the charges against me (as required by the New Hampshire Bill of Rights).
By order of judge Burke and judge Lane of the Keene District Court, I am currently being held indefinitely without trial. To protest what I believe to be an unlawful and illegal detention, I have refused solid food since my arrest, currently over 28 days ago. Several motions and writs have been filed with the aforementioned courts. They so far have only denied, delayed, and hid behind their procedures despite the clear understanding, from the courts’ own written order, that I am being held indefinitely without trial.
Through their actions, they have demonstrated utter contempt for the oath they swore to uphold, the rule of law, and civil rights fundamental to the founding and history of this country. Essentially, they have engaged in civil disobedience, and for this I thank them. As a voluntarist, I, too, believe in and understand the power of civil disobedience to bring about social and political change.
Unfortunately, what the courts have done and what governments typically do, is to use civil disobedience to punish and oppress out of fear. Fear of losing control; fear of the challenge to their authority; all of which are rooted in a fear of change itself. Governments have historically feared change they don’t control. After all, government at its core is a group of men and women who are willing to use the threat of force – or actual force – to achieve their ends. They desire to control their neighbors by enforcing their laws upon them. What’s wrong for one neighbor to do to another, suddenly becomes justified and “necessary” if you get a group of friends together and call yourself a government.
So my new challenge is to explain to the courts how civil disobedience can be used more effectively to bring about positive change. When liberty activists engage in civil disobedience, the goal is to educate and enlighten others, motivated by love. Love for what could be; love and compassion for those abused at the hands of the state.
What’s it going to take to convince government to stop using violence against our friends, families, and neighbors? I don’t know, but you can count on liberty activists like me to continue using peaceful means to educate and enlighten the masses with reason and logic, until one day we’re all looking back amazed that we didn’t figure it out sooner.