1809: Today, slaves from the plantation of Keene came to support their fellow slaves from Jaffrey Plantation as one of the Jaffrey indentured servants, Jean Coutu, had been notified that the masters of the plantation were attempting to prevent him from having a shooting range at his Live Free or Die Rally this year. Even though the property tender, the slaves operating the Grand View Inn, had given permission, the plantation masters are asking their betters at the “superior court” to show the Grand View Inn and Coutu who really owns them.
2009: Alright, enough of that – here’s the story in common day terms:
Keene area liberty activists turned out heavily to support Jean Coutu’s Live Free or Die Rally in the face of an assault from the Jaffrey gangsters in their “superior” court. There were so many liberty activists, it was standing room only in the meager just-over-20 seat 2nd courtroom. An angry-looking bailiff approached the standing activists and told them they had to sit or leave. As the seats were already filled with news reporters, liberty activists, and Coutu supporters, some activists offered to sit on the ground, as there would be no way to experience the trial on CCTV outside the court. Bailiffs returned and the activists chose to leave rather than be arrested. Brief video of this is at the end of the article.
First up was a woman accused of “Violation of Probation”. (The probation system is one of the sick ways they keep poor people poor, and in the system. It’s so easy to VOP.) The bailiffs enter and the “all rise” is uttered. Several activists on the right side of the room remain seated. A bailiff glares at us and utters “all rise” again. The situation doesn’t change, and the robed man comes in. After the trial, the robed man takes a “recess”, and “all rise” is uttered. Bailiffs again take issue with those staying seated, and Free Keene blogger Sam Dodson is sitting closest to the bailiff. Sam steadfastly refuses to rise, noting his Quaker religion. Bailiffs back down again.
Moments later, a white haired man seen earlier conversing with Coutu, approaches Sam and requests that we “behave”. This is confusing, as on the forum thread, in which Coutu participates, it seems clear that he doesn’t mind that people are planning to remain seated for the robed man. Perhaps Coutu’s associates were not aware that this was to occur. Regardless, activists prepared to leave the court rather than stand up for the robed man and inquired with Coutu as to whether we should go or stay. Coutu seemed confused and said he wanted us to stay, but on the other hand his associate most definitely didn’t want us there unless we’d obey. Rather than continue to be the possible source of strife between Coutu (who wanted us there) and his associate (who didn’t), we chose to leave the court. At least five liberty activists joined in the walkout.
It is with a heavy heart that I write this. I am glad I was able to show support for Coutu and his event, and he seemed to appreciate us being there. Unfortunately the white-haired man was acting like a frightened slave back on the plantation. “Behave you disobedient, freedom-seeking slaves! If you don’t, master will punish us all! We are attempting to supplicate our masters, and we cannot do it if you are acting like you are free people! Why can’t you just beg like the rest of us – it’s really a good life, begging to be free. Just ignore the violence and threats against you and your fellow slaves. Go along to get along. Beg. Obey.”
I don’t want to support someone who doesn’t appreciate it. If you don’t want me and my family, friends, and associates acting like the free people we are becoming, you don’t want us at your trial.
Judges are men wearing robes who can tell men with guns and uniforms what to do. As a Quaker, no man is above me. If the robed men were simply dealing with people who harmed others, none of us would ever be in their coutrooms in the first place.
Here’s a brief clip of the activists leaving due to threats from bailiffs over no available seating: