A group of about a hundred students took off from school today to attend an event in Prescott Park in Portsmouth, New Hampshire today as part of a larger day of action across the state and beyond. They brought signs, listened to speeches, and signed clipboards offered to them by political campaigners visiting from Massachusetts. Below is the video I captured from the event. It features interviews from young people explaining why they attended today and what they want their opposition to know.
When I heard the first ever Straight Pride Parade was happening just an hour from my house, I knew I had to go. I brought along my video camera and a microphone with the goal of conducting as many interviews with interesting people as possible. No gotchas, just straight questions: “What brought you out today,” and “What do you think of the event?”
While I am pouring through yesterday’s footage, I came across 4 minutes of particularly defining footage. A man walking down the sidewalk gets blocked by a woman, and then a group of people, and prevented from moving. He yells for help but his calls are unanswered. The masked thugs revel in their positions of power and his vulnerability. They have deemed him the enemy. Why? That is unclear. But they have him. And they are going to project all their anger and hatred onto him. He smiles. He does not relent.
It has been 7 years. No arrests, no nonsense. Just normal everyday living. I reached out to a consulting firm to help me with some business I am conducting, and part of their introduction letter informed me that they can’t do business with anyone who has a criminal record that hasn’t been annulled. So I looked into what it takes to do that. It took me about a week to figure it all out from reading the law and the paperwork, filling it out, calling the court clerks, and making sure everything is in order. It boils down to this:
You have to wait a certain amount of time after your final sentence, depending on the severity of the crimes. Then you can file for annulment, meaning they get “erased” from your record. (They still appear when searched, but a note is made that these have effectively been nullified since I have been rehabilitated for several years.)
I can file to annul multiple charges at once, so I filed to wipe out 14 of the charges that I had in District Court, and 2 that I had in Superior Court. It costs $125 per court, so $250 total. Later, there may be a separate fee from the Department of Corrections or other agency if they need to do some work to help get this settled. They tell me the whole process takes about 3-4 months.
At the end of it, though, I should have some kind of certification that I am no longer considered a criminal in the eyes of the State. That is good because it will allow me to do business with more people and afford me more freedom generally. If all it takes is filing some paperwork, paying a fee, and waiting, I say it is worth it. I will keep you updated on how it goes!
There are tons of services that police provide: Elderly check-ins, noise complaints, damaged property, stolen purses, runaway children, etc. They all cost money, and for the most part, communities are happy to pay. Justice is something most people want, and so we pay a group of people to provide it.
But what happens when the cost is astronomical? Like, crazy. Like, incalculably high? So high, no one even knows the number? Is there anyone putting downward pressure on costs when it comes to service from the police, or do they have a blank check on the community bank account?
“I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” – Voltaire
This principle of individual liberty is the foundation of Western Liberal philosophy. If we expect others to leave us alone to do as we please with our property, then we must leave others alone to do as they please. Even if we wouldn’t choose the same. We can talk with them, reason with them, bribe them, try to persuade and convince them, but in the end, it’s the owner of a thing who gets the final say in what happens with a thing.