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?
A few weeks ago in Keene there was a standoff in West Keene to which dozens of cops and state police responded. They brought out the BEARCAT, MRAP, a bomb robot, all kinds of cruisers and trucks, and apparently every state cop from all over – in full camouflage, plus Keene police and Cheshire Sheriffs.
To their credit, the cops didn’t hurt the man in the home this time, but they didn’t need to respond like this. This is a scary level of police militarization and very dangerous to liberty.
Think this was the first time something like this has happened in Keene? Think again. In 2012 police had a similarly ridiculous response to an even less-threatening domestic incident in West Keene where a man stormed off into the woods while armed. Oh and don’t forget the lockdown of part of Downtown prior to that in 2010 over an abandoned backpack full of beer. More recently, who could forget the ridiculous response to the Pumpkinfest Riots the police created in the first place by raiding peaceful day parties.
NH was one of the states that fought hard against REAL ID. That opposition was in character with the “live free or die” philosophy we’re supposed to be famous for embracing. It was in character with our reputation as a libertarian leaning state.
Somewhere along the way we stopped fighting REAL ID and meekly submitted. Sixteen years of indoctrination – a combination of fear based agitprop and training to submit to authority, changed our tune from Just Say No to We Have to do this for National Security. REAL ID means that the state maintains a database of information on people, including Social Security numbers and photos.
She’s right. This year in the state house the supposed privacy nut state rep, Neil Kurk, capitulated after years of holding firm against REAL ID, and endorsed the state’s partial embracing of the federal ID standards. One who wishes to acquire a non-REAL ID-compliant card can still get one, but according to someone I know who visited the DMV this week, the DMV bureaucrats are pushing the new REAL ID version.
NH Internal Border Patrol Checkpoint
I recommend reading Susan’s whole post, it’s well-done and there’s very little she says that I can disagree with. Until the end, that is. She says in the final paragraph:
There hasn’t been a peep out of the liberty and freedumb crowd about this. Not a word from the allegedly liberty loving Free Staters. The folks who do the wailin’ about gummint encroachment on our lives are strangely silent when it comes to “show us your papers” stops. Their interest in gummint interference extends to deregulation and tax cuts. Actual violations of privacy and civil liberties don’t interest them in the slightest.
I may not be a “Free Stater”, but I love liberty and am friends with many of them. I have seen plenty of liberty people upset about these checkpoints and they have posted their outrage online… on facebook. Which means no one hears it except those connected to the person on facebook – such posts only hit the libertarian echo chamber. Sadly, most of the people who are here are not bloggers like Susan and me. They are just as outraged as she, but fail to communicate it effectively to a wider audience. (more…)
As reported over at Photography is Not a Crime today, a veteran of the US Marines, Billy Spaulding, recently attempted to pay a parking fine in pennies at Manchester city hall. Initially, police responded and lied to Billy’s cameraman, claiming he wasn’t allowed to record them without informing them. The cop claims, “You have to advise us that you’re recording us. You can’t record audio.” The reality is that recent New Hampshire court precedent says otherwise – not only can you record police in New Hampshire, but you can secretly record them. Unfortunately the videographer appears to have shut off the camera as a result of the cop’s lies. Based on the comments on the youtube video, he now knows better.
Social media is abuzz as video has been shared of Kristopher Kristolaitis being attacked by police Sunday night at Mr. Mike’s convenience store in Winchester, NH. According to an interview for Free Keene with Kristolaitis, his assailants included officer Michael Paul Laska of Winchester Police, as well as corporal Joshua Murray of Hinsdale police and a third as-yet-unidentified officer. Both Laska and Murray are former Marines. The victim says that WPD’s Laska was the hothead in the video, shouting at the frustrated, angry crowd at one point to “GET BACK!”.
Witnesses say Kristolaitis was arguing with another man, Billy Hillock, when someone called over police. Police eventually responded once Winchester firemen came over to see what was going on. Apparently the firemen were there already on an unrelated situation. As Hillock attempted to leave, police questioned him and let him go, prompting Kristolaitis to ask why. (Hillock is an auto mechanic who happens to work on Winchester PD’s cruisers. Things that make you go hmm…) A Hinsdale officer then asked him his name, to which he responded by saying he’d provide once the officer explained why he let the other man leave. During this interaction, officer Laska approached Kristolaitis from behind and handcuffed him on one wrist without ever telling him he was under arrest. The witness says this is when the video begins. (more…)
Originally launched in August of 2015, Cell 411 has since been installed 85,000 times, worldwide. Its primary purpose is to connect people with their friends, family, and neighbors in any emergency situation, from being pulled over, to a fire, to medical emergency. At that it’s been an incredible success, and it’s free to use. Now, by adding ride sharing, Cell 411 has gone to the next level. They’ve decentralized ride sharing even moreso than UBER and Lyft and Cell 411 did it without a single dollar from investors or publicity in advance. For those who have been watching Arcade City – Cell 411 has accomplished AC’s original vision while Arcade City’s app doesn’t even have ride sharing yet.
I’ve been a longtime supporter of Arcade City. Arcade City’s founder, Christopher David gave a great keynote speech at the 2015 Keenevention and is a blogger here at Free Keene. In its early days and through the summer I promoted AC on my radio show and became one of the top recruiters. However with the early September release of the current software, I was pretty bummed that ride-sharing was not included, and instead it was just a “game” involving earning and giving “karma points” to other people in the network. It didn’t make sense, especially since Arcade City already had ride-scheduling in their early 2016 app. Obviously the code from the first app could have been included in the September 2016 release and allowed drivers to get started giving people rides immediately.
Good-bye UBER, Cell 411 is here.
Arcade City had succeeded and building incredible buzz by moving operations to Austin, TX after the city council there drove UBER and Lyft out of town with their control-freak regulations. They made a facebook group, (since their old app had been pulled from the Android and Apple stores at this point in anticipation of the September-released app) and attracted 30,000+ participants into the group! The Austin facebook group garnered a bunch of media and even a police raid of the Arcade City offices.
Drivers of UBER and Lyft were understandably interested in Arcade City, which promised an app that would truly decentralize ride sharing. The original vision Chris David had was to cut the corporations out of the picture. No longer would UBER and Lyft (and their imitators) be able to control the drivers. Drivers would be able to set their own rates as well as accepted payment methods – cash, bitcoin, credit card, silver, or whatever. This vision would bring a new level of competition to the transportation business, while making it even harder for governments to target those involved with regulation. (more…)