by John Smith | Oct 7, 2011 |
[Transcribed by Mail-to-Jail. Though Ian has been released from jail, we just received his blog #9 – his last blog from jail – in the mail and we are posting it now.]
By the time you read this, I may be out of jail. I am writing it on Sunday, October 2nd and my early release date is this Friday. In New Ham,shire, a jail must hold a prisoner for at least ? of the sentence. At that point, they have discretion on when to release the prisoner. Since my issues is with the police and “justice” system for aggressing against peaceful people, I do not give the jailers any trouble by non cooperating or being disobedient. My beef is not with them. This decision is even easier considering that the Cheshire jail is one of the better jails and actually has a mostly friendly, humorous, and compassionate staff. Many of them are able to empathize with the plight of the nonviolent, victimless “offenders” that they are tasked with keeping.
Though, not all the jail’s policies are humane. For example, a local activist, Andrew 280″ Mercer recently checked in for alight here due to a speeding ticket. During the booking process he refused to give his address and phone number and was held in a cell in booking without any bedding, socks, shoes, water, or food – with cold A/C – for 24 hours. I’d say that amounts to torture – there is no reason why a non-cooperative could not be relegated to segregation. That is a 23-hour-per-day lockdown where “privileges” are severely limited, but segregated prisoners are fed and given bedding. So, while I have my critiques of the Keene Spiritual Retreat, there is still a lot that sets it apart from many jails, much of which I detailed in blog post #2. (more…)
by John Smith | Oct 7, 2011 |
[Transcribed by Mail-to-Jail. Though Ian has been released from jail, we just received his blog #8 in the mail and we are posting it now.]
“The Greater Jihad”
If you’ve been following these blogs of mine from jail, you’ve probably noticed me referring to the Cheshire “House of Corrections” as the Keene Spiritual Retreat. Like most of my ideas, this one is not original. It was coined by Sam Dodson a couple of years ago when he was imprisoned by Edward Burke for not revealing his name. Sam spent 58 days in the Cheshire jail before being quickly and unexplainably released – still wearing his jail orange! Dig back into the Free Keene archives to learn more about that situation.
At first blush, calling a jail a “spiritual retreat” appears to be a joke, but really, perspective matters. You get to choose how you feel and how you approach the events in your life, so why not look on the bright side? In jail there is plenty of time to yourself. Lots of time to read and no access to the internet. (Amazingly, I did not experience withdrawals, but I do miss easy access to information.)
I have been reading some great liberty-oriented books and graphic novels sent in to me by some wonderful people, and also acquiring books on religions of the world from fellow prisoners and the jail library. One of the first books I read was the Qur’an, which I followed with more on Islam and its prophet Muhammad, in addition to discussions and study with a Muslin in my cell block.
I already knew from my conversations with Muslim callers to my radio show that most Americans’ views on Islam are at best misinformed and at worst, dangerously ignorant, but I wanted to know more. I wanted to be able to say I’d actually read the Qur’an, so I needn’t rely on others’ opinions in the way I had been. (more…)
by John Smith | Sep 27, 2011 |
[Transcribed by Mail-to-Jail.]
“Choose Your Words Wisely”
I’d like to comment on the vernacular of the liberty movement. I’m sure some critics will find this analysis to be trivial, but to me, words are very important. You will be judged by the words with which you choose to express your ideas. In addition, the words you select will reveal your mindset.
I was inspired to write this post, as in several of the kind, thoughtful, and encouraging letters I have received while incarcerated her at the Keene Spiritual Retreat, I noticed the writers chose words that I find counter-productive, mentally. Here are three that appear frequently: “fight”, “struggle”, and “sacrifice”. I understand why these words have been chosen – they are commonly used in activist literature and culture, and I mean all activism, not just the liberty-type. For instance, some national liberty political group sent me one of those multi-page fundraising letters (you know, where they try to make it look like someone went in and underlined words, then signed it, and maybe made “notes” in the margins – but of course, you know it’s just a form-letter) after I had become aware of the :fight” mentality. I took a highlighter and went through the letter and highlighted all the fighting-related terms. “Fight” and “battle” appeared many times. There is probably a reason why these organizations use this conflict-oriented language. They want to maximize the effectiveness of their fundraising direct mail campaign, and what American doesn’t like a good war? Who wouldn’t want to be on the side of the winning team – having vanquished the enemy? Who wouldn’t want to sink a bayonet into – (more…)
by John Smith | Sep 25, 2011 |
[Ian sent this letter to the Keene Sentinel editors from jail via Mail-to-Jail]
825 Marlboro Rd.
Keene, NH 03431
Letter to the Editor (from Jail)
More Police Will Not Stop Robberies, Violence, and Theft in Keene.
Many Keene inhabitants are rightly concerned with the recent incidents of real crimes like robberies, thefts, fights, and even murder. It is understandable that typical response amounts to, “We need more police on the streets!”
Unfortunately, this only provides the illusion of security. The police cannot be everywhere at once. Even they will tell you they usually arrive on-scene after a crime has already ben committed. If they manage to find the money to hire another officer or two, the politicians can pat themselves on the back and pretend they have done something about crime. At best, more police only addresses a symptom – not the root cause of most of these crimes.
What is the root cause? Drug prohibition. Don’t believe me? Any honest policemen will tell you 80% of them want money to buy illegal drugs. The recent tragic murder in Keene wasn’t some random fight between friends, as has been suggested here in the Sentinel. The fight was over $100 in cocaine and the victim was attempting to collect the debt. (more…)
by John Smith | Sep 18, 2011 |
[Transcribed by Mail-to-Jail.]
“Keene – Ripe for Political Action”
I was reading the Keene Sentinel this week and was pleased to see liberty activist, Free Keene blogger, and NH native Heika Courser is in the running for the five “at-large” city council seats up for election here in Keene. Sadly though, she is the only liberty activist in the race – not just for the at-large seats, but also for the ward seats. It’s too bad more activists do not take advantage of this ripe opportunity to get the word out about liberty. More on that in a moment.
First, a little detail. In Keene, there are 15 city council seats. Every two years, ten of the seats are up for election. The “at-large” seats are two year terms and there are five of them. The other ten seats are “Ward” seats. Keene has five wards and each ward has two seats. Ward seats are four years each and are staggered, so every two years, five ward seats are available. Keene has a “mayor”, but it’s a ceremonial position. The mayor can only vote in the event of a tie and can assign councilors to committees. The mayor is elected every two years. The only requirements to run for these seats is that one be a registered voter and pay $2 (or $5 for mayor). Alternatively, one can get 50 petition signatures and not have to pay the fee. (more…)