After having a wonderful time at Anarchapulco 2019, I was looking forward to coming back to New Hampshire. After being gone a total of twelve days, it felt like too long. Mexico was fun, but I missed “the Shire“. I’d scheduled a red eye flight back to the US via JFK airport and would arrive at JFK not long after 5am. This is generally a good time to speed through customs as the airport is pretty empty of passengers so the lines are very short.
Indeed, there was no line whatsoever in the main intake room with the Orwellian police state kiosks that demand ID and take your photograph, printing out a slip that you’re then expected to take to a Customs and Border Protection agent at a booth. There was only one person in the line at the booth in front of me. Despite having smooth sailing the previous year, this year was very different. After checking my ID, the initial CBP agent told me to report to a room off to the left, aka “secondary”.
CBP’s argument is basically that you don’t have rights at the border and they can search whatever they want. Though their policy was recently updated to clarify they supposedly can’t search your online accounts via your phone, how would you really know? Even though they’re supposed to put your phone in airplane mode when they search it, they are allowed to search it in secret, where you can’t observe. That means they can image your phone, plant something on it, and access your accounts, or they could follow their rules and not do those things. You have no idea.
In my case, I went into “secondary”, located off to the side of the main intake area. It was a dismal room with institutional lighting and a bunch of CBP officers sitting behind a counter that stretched the length of the room. Given the time of day, there weren’t many victims of the CBP’s aggression sitting in the several rows of chairs, but there were a handful. All of them with brown skin, waiting around to be “served” by one of the officious, uniformed CBP bureaucrats shuffling about. As each new victim entered the room and sat down, inevitably the victim would pull out their phone in an attempt to kill the time and would be shouted at by a bureaucrat: “no phones!”. No cell phone signs that looked like they were printed 15 years ago had been posted all over the room. For a group of bureaucrats with camera systems everywhere, they sure are awful concerned about pictures being taken of their drab, boring office.
Actual photo from CBP of the area I was held – you can see one of the no cell phones signs.
Anyway, after waiting for a bit, an overweight Asian female officer called me up and had some questions about my name, like why I changed it. I told her, “I wanted to.” I understand that due to CBP refusing to respect rights at the border, you’re expected to answer questions about your identity and your travel, but beyond that scope you are not obligated to answer questions. She had me go sit back down for more waiting. Eventually an “Officer Uzzi”, also a portly New Yorker male-type, called me up to his counter. We were to go back to the table in the back hallway for a search. Uzzi acted like he’d be able to get this taken care of as quickly as possible. I knew better than to believe him. I’d gone into the office at about 5:30am and though there was no clock on the wall, it was taking a while and I suspected I’d miss my connecting flight to Boston despite it being at 8:00am.
After Uzzi pawed through my backpack and checked bag they’d had the Delta crew retrieve for them, it came time for the device search. At this point, from the reporting we’ve done on the issue on Free Talk Live, I know that you can choose to refuse to allow them to search the devices, but if you do, they will confiscate them. Whether you can ever get them back is another question. So, since most people don’t want to have to buy a new phone and laptop every time they come back into the U.S. and leaving them at home is probably not an option, CBP knows people are stuck in a place where 99.9% of their victims will hand over their devices for the unconstitutional search. (more…)
Man takes highly dangerous selfie in front of SWAT team – the mask was added later to protect his identity.
After resigning from his job at Eversource over being sexually harassed and going through a difficult breakup with his girlfriend, a local man was having a mental breakdown in early November inside his own home in Keene, New Hampshire. The man has asked to have his real name protected, so I will refer to him in this story as “NBR”. Running on very little sleep, stressed from losing his job and relationship, and dealing with an undiagnosed mental disorder, NBR was alone in his house and had been throwing his possessions out the window.
According to NBR, when his parents, who love their son dearly, heard about his behavior they were quite concerned for his safety and well-being. They called to have him involuntarily committed so he could get the help and treatment he desperately needed at the time. Or, so they thought.
Unfortunately, then Keene police showed up and took things from bad to worse by responding to the mentally ill man with every cop in the vicinity, plus state police. One neighbor reported counting at least eleven police cruisers on the scene. It was a huge show of force considering NBR has no history of violence, nor had he threatened anybody. In fact, NBR was not charged by the police on the night in question with any crimes whatsoever. The police took him into custody without incident and delivered him to the Cheshire Medical Center to begin his involuntary commitment. There was no legitimate reason for such a large police response.
There was also no reason for several armed men with at least one laser-sighted assault rifle and two full-body shields to break down his front door and terrorize NBR. Though he expressed to the officers that he just wanted to go to sleep, he told me he did not resist their arrest.
The video and photo he took during the break-in by Keene Police, who broke down his front door, is stunning, terrifying, and just sad. In the video, at least one laser-sighted assault rifle is pointed at NBR as police demand he put down the phone in his hand. He makes it clear he is recording, thankfully not being shot to death for holding his phone. People have been killed by police in other jurisdictions when police claimed they thought the phone was a gun. NBR even managed to take an intense picture of the event to share with the world to show how dangerous the police can be and how unnecessary their actions were.
Does anyone actually belive this level of force by the Keene Police Department was appropriate or justified in any way? While it was extremely risky, thankfully NBR recorded the situation so it could be shared with others. It is a terrifying view of the police state on display, in a completely and clearly excessive response to an all-too common situation. Police operating policies and procedures should be changed to prevent this from happening again in the future.
Mental illness is a weak point in the Non Aggression Principle, which is the principle that defines libertarianism. Clearly in a society with no coercive state, something would need to be done about someone who has lost their mind and has become a danger to himself or others, and that something will usually involve some level of aggression. However, an involuntary commitment process should not involve men with assault rifles, shields, and overwhelming force unless the person is actually putting people in danger. In this case, NBR was simply having a breakdown in his own home. He was not a danger to himself or others, he did not threaten others, and he did everything the officers ordered him to do without incident. (more…)
NH’s top cop has resigned over physical abuse of son – Photo from Valley News’ Jennifer Hauck
Enfield police chief Richard Crate, until recently was the longtime president of the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police. He was a regular figure at state house hearings to decriminalize medical and recreational cannabis. Crate publicly opposed those proposals every step of the way – on behalf of police chiefs across New Hampshire. Here’s some of his testimony on cannabis decrim where he predicted a “wave of devastation”. Needless to say, now a full year since decrim – said devastation hasn’t occurred.
Now it looks like Crate should have take up the habit of consuming cannabis. Maybe a joint at the end of his work day would have helped him calm down and deal with his anger issues that appear to have led him to attacking his own son. Crate resigned earlier this year to avoid prosecution by the state’s attorney general’s office, agreeing that he’ll undergo counseling, apologize to his son, and not seek recertification as a police officer, according to the Union Leader.
Keene City Council Voting for Prohibition – Photo by Vincent Freeman
It’s an early step of the ugly political process that may ultimately expand nicotine prohibition up to age 21 in Keene, New Hampshire. As sadly expected, the full city council voted 12-2 last night to order city staff to write up a new ordinance prohibiting the sale and possession of nicotine-related products for under 21s within the arbitrary geographic area known as Keene.
Several councilors spoke with the majority using the spectre of children using nicotine and how dangerous and addictive the chemical is to justify voting in favor of moving ahead with writing the ban, ignoring all the historic evidence of the failure of prohibition. One councilor, Mitch Greenwald, even voted with the majority despite bizarrely acknowledging in his remarks that prohibition hasn’t worked.
Prohibition is a tactic based on aggressive force against peaceful people that has created terrible unintended consequences each time in history it’s been tried. This time won’t be any different. The council will push legal sales outside the city limits and encourage police to harass even more young people than ever before. Tickets will be written just like they are constantly for underage alcohol possession. The tickets will obediently be paid, and the person who got caught will try to be more careful and not be discovered in the future. Oh, and black market sales to 18-20 year olds will expand in Keene.
It was refreshing to see a couple of politicians stand up against the insanity, including both of Ward 4’s councilors, Margaret Rice and Bob Sutherland who not only voted against crafting the ban, but spoke against it. Rice eloquently said, in her speech to the council:
“It’s not my role to tell somebody what they can and cannot do with their own body, provided that they’re not harming anybody else.” (more…)