The Question Only You Can Answer (An Excerpt from “Unintended Consequences”)

Monday, September 1st, 2014

An excerpt from the book “Unintended Consequences” by John Ross, which poses a thought-provoking question that only you can answer.

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From the forward from John Ross:

unintended-consequences-john-ross-copblockA friend in law enforcement told me that because of this book’s content, I should not let it be published under my own name. Violent events happen in this story, and our country’s current situation is such that these events could indeed come to pass. My friend’s fear was that this book might precipitate such violence. He told me to expect to have drugs planted in my car during routine traffic stops, or have other similar miseries befall me and my family.

He advised that if I did have this work published, I should use a pseudonym, employ an intermediary for all publisher contact, and in general prevent myself from being linked to the finished work, to avoid reprisals.

I didn’t do that, not only because of free speech considerations, but because I disagree with my friend’s hypothesis. I believe that if the instigators glimpse what may lie ahead, they will alter their behavior before wholesale violence becomes unavoidable. It is my hope that this book will reduce the likelihood of armed conflict in this country…

From pages 337-338:

“And so, Hobbes said that our lives are ‘nasty, brutish, and short’, and he used that as justification for the dictatorial powers of the monarch. Only by granting the State total power will we ever overcome our natural condition, which is to be perpetually at war with one another.” The Political Science course the professor was teaching was listed in the course catalog with a dry-sounding title that no one remembered. Throughout the Amherst campus it was referred to as ‘Right and Wrong’. Henry Bowman liked the class, mainly because the professor who taught it had a very sharp mind.

“Hobbes is just talking about our old friend, the…” and with this, the lecturer gestured with his arm t o show the class he wanted someone to finish the sentence for him.

“Benevolent dictatorship,” a Senior in the second row said quickly.

“Exactly, Mr. Hagner. Hobbes’ Leviathian is just one more scholarly justification for forfeiting your rights and allowing yourself to be subjected by the State. Learned, reasoned, articulate, and wrong. Thomas Hobbes has merely – Mr. Bowman,” the professor said suddenly, “you are shaking your head. That usually means you disagree with something that’s been said. What is it?”

“Professor Arkes, I don’t disagree with the basic principle, but it’s not enough just to say, ‘Totalitarian regimes are wrong, so don’t let the State enslave you’. That’s like saying, ‘Don’t get sick’. The important question is, when do you know it’s going to become enslavement? When is the proper time to resist with force?”

“Please elaborate, Mr. Bowman.” Henry took a deep breath.

“The end result, which we want to avoid, is the concentration camp. The gulag. The gas chamber. The Spanish Inquisition. All of those things. I you are in a death camp, no one would fault you for resisting. But when you’re being herded towards the gas champer, naked and seventy pounds below your healthy weight, it’s too late. You have no chance. On the other hand, no one would support you if you started an armed rebellion because  the government posts speed limits on open roads and arrests people for speeding. So when was it not too late, but also not too early?”

“Tell us, Mr. Bowman.”

“Professor Arkes, I teach a Personal Protection class off campus, where most of the students who sign up are women. I’m seeing some strong parallels here, so please indulge me in an analogy.”

“Go ahead.”

“A woman’s confronted by a big, strong, stranger. She doesn’t know what he’s planning, and she’s cautious. Getting away from him’s not possible. They’re in a room and he’s standing in front of the only way out, or she’s in a wheelchair – whatever. Leaving the area’s not an option.

“So now he starts to do things she doesn’t like. He asks her for money. She can try to talk him out of it, just like we argue for lower taxes, and maybe it will work. If it doesn’t and she gets outvoted, she’ll probably choose to give it to him instead of getting into a fight to the death over ten dollars. You would probably choose to pay your taxes rather than have police arrive to throw you in jail.

“Maybe this big man demands some other things, other minor assaults on this woman’s dignity. When should she claw at his eyes or shove her ballpoint pen in his throat? When he tries to force her to kiss him? Tries to force her to let him touch her? Tries to force her to have sex with him?” Henry took a deep breath and shrugged.

“Those are questions that each woman has to answer for herself. There is one situation, though, where I tell the women to fight to the death. That’s when the man pulls out a pair of handcuffs and says, ‘Come on, I promise I won’t hurt you, this is just so you won’t flail around and hurt either of us by accident. Come on, I just want to talk, get in the van and let me handcuff you to this eyebolt here, and I promise I won’t touch you. I’m not asking you to put on a gag or anything, and since you can still scream for help, you know you’ll be safe. Come on, I got a full bar in here, and color TV, and air conditioning, great stereo, come on, just put on the cuffs.’

“I tell women that if that every happens, maybe the man is telling the truth, and maybe after talking to her for a while he’ll let her go and she will have had a good time drinking champagne and listening to music. But if she gets in the van and puts her wrists in the handcuffs, she has just given up her future ability to fight, and now it is too late.” Henry realized he had been making eye contact with all the other people in the lecture hall, just as he did when he taught a course. Now he looked directly at the professor.

“How do you spot the precise point where a society is standing at the back of the van and the State has the handcuffs out?”

 

Ideas Have Consequences

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Cop Block Surpasses 1,000,000 Likes on Facebook – What’s Next!?

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

Cop Block just surpassed one million “Likes” on Facebook – that’s great, but it is bittersweet. Even better would be for the need for the decentralized project to be nonexistent. How do we get there? One mind at a time.

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Outside Agitators in Ferguson

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Jacob, a longtime Copwatcher and founder of WeCopwatch.org, has been on the ground in in Ferguson, MO, a town of about 21,000, since August 14th. He’s been collecting pictures, videos, and streaming to Bambuser.com/channel/CopBlock

If you have the means to support his efforts to capture and disseminate the truth of the situation contribute to his GoFundMe campaign.

From Jacob:

How many officers imposing Martial Law in Ferguson live inside the city limits? You guessed it, dam near zip.

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Cop Block is Decentralized

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Editors Note: Much love to Nate Cox, founder of Virginia Cop Block, for taking the time to construct this video and weigh-in on what is one of the most important attributes of Cop Block as an idea – it’s decentralization. 

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Police Gas Residents of Ferguson For Over an Hour

Monday, August 18th, 2014

Jacob, a longtime Copwatcher and founder of WeCopwatch.org, has been on the ground in in Ferguson, MO, a town of about 21,000, since August 14th. He’s been collecting pictures, videos, and streaming to Bambuser.com/channel/CopBlock

If you have the means to support his efforts to capture and disseminate the truth of the situation contribute to his GoFundMe campaign.

 

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Ferguson: State Of Emergency! Demonstrators Shot and Gassed!

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

Jacob, a longtime Copwatcher and founder of WeCopwatch.org, has been on the ground in in Ferguson, MO, a town of about 21,000, since August 14th. He’s been collecting pictures, videos, and streaming to Bambuser.com/channel/CopBlock

If you have the means to support his efforts to capture and disseminate the truth of the situation contribute to his GoFundMe campaign.

From Jacob Crawford:

A State Of Emergency was imposed on the residents of Ferguson on August 16th 2014. This curfew set of a mutual aide package of different law enforcement agencies, a mandatory curfew and the power to arrest anyone seen in public space from 12am to 5:30am.

Police promised they wouldn’t use armored vehicles of gas to enforce the curfew but as 12am passed both Armored Vehicles and Gas became publicly visible and utilized.

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Ferguson: New Police Practices are Window Dressing To a Systemic Failure

Saturday, August 16th, 2014

Editors Note: Jacob Crawford of WeCopwatch.org – a longtime Copwatcher who created the first know-your-rights film using on-the-street footage, and who last fall was part of the Police Accountability Tour – is now on the ground in Ferguson, MO, where the video above was captured.

If you’re in Ferguson and have information that should be made public, or have a crash space in town, please reach out to Jacob via: (510) 328-3803 or wecopwatch@gmail.com

If you are in a position to help Jacob offset his transportation and on-the-ground costs, click here to donate to his GoFundMe campaign.

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This morning Jacob posted to IndyBay.org these pictures and captions:

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8.15.14
The coverup is well underway in Ferguson.  White cops and their armored vehicles and assault rifles have been pulled back and replaced by State police.

Succumbing to political pressure, the Chief of Ferguson released the name of the shooting officer of Mike Brown, named Darren Wilson. In that same stroke, a smear campaign was launched that suggested Mike Brown had just been involved in an armed robbery.

From all accounts, this story, like all Police narratives coming out of Ferguson is full of holes and deception.
Aside from incidents here and there, it’s been more quiet on the police front, but they are working tirelessly on the coverup, and of course attempts to pacify the people is in full effect.

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 8.16.14

QuikTrip W. Florissant

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Search warrant is executed on Market where alleged robbery took place, PS. No Store Owners called the police in this alleged incident

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Jacob is still in Ferguson, and will continue to capture content, and stream to Bambuser.com/channel/CopBlock

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Stray From The Path Represents!

Friday, August 8th, 2014

Long Island-based Stray From the Path has been outspoken – infusing their hard-hitting, hardcore music with ideas that both question the Statist Quo and seek to empower the individual.

Couple Stray’s on-point message, and the fact that they spent the past few months on the Van’s Warped Tour, playing the Monster stage and sometimes the main stage, it’s not surprising that their reach is growing.

stray-from-the-path-vans-warped-tour-copblockConnect with Stray From the Path

Earlier this week Jake Denning posted to AbsolutePunk.net his interview with Stray guitarist Tom Williams. That write-up was prefaced with:

There are few bands in the scene that are as polarizing as Stray From The Path. With singles such as “Badge & A Bullet” and “Black Friday” that create dialogue about police brutality and consumerism respectively, there just aren’t as many bands (especially on the Warped Tour) that are aggressive about educating their fans about the social ills that plague our society. After a couple days of trying to make it work, I finally sat down with guitarist Tom Williams to talk about the Warped Tour, their involvement with the organization Cop Block, and more.

Below are a couple questions Denning posed to Williams specifically related to the conversation of police accountability. Click here to read the full interview

Denning: Let’s talk about the Cop Block literature you guys have at your merch table this year. Why this group in particular?

stray-from-the-path-facebook-june-07-2014-copblockWilliams: Because the law enforcement is getting pretty scary and I follow Cop Block pretty closely, and when we put out our video for “Badge & A Bullet”, one of the guys that works for Cop Block, his name is Pete hit me up and said “Saw this video, huge fan, love it. Just wanted to say that we’re watching.” So on this tour, I wanted to do something where we’re handing out some stuff that is spreading some sort of information. So I hit up Cop Block, told them about the tour and they of course know what Warped Tour was, and they were totally into it.

When we posted about them, we got a lot of shit for it, and I knew that was going to happen because that’s just the way America is. I posted something the other day about the gallon smashing thing on Facebook, and some kids were like “Grow up guys, someone has to clean that up!” I’m like “Yo…have a fucking sense of humor!” Everyone sees something, and they think “Why do I hate this?” and they think of a response. So I knew someone was going to say something about Cop Block, like “Who are you going to call when someone robs your house?” and I’d be like “Well, honestly I’d call the cops because I need a police report to get an insurance claim” but I’m not expecting the cops to do fucking anything, because they never do. People have stolen our shit before, and the cops do nothing. We’ve gotten into accidents, and cops do nothing.

Denning: You got hit with a fine one time, right?

Williams: Yeah, we flipped our van and we waited on the side of the road in -10 degree weather and the cop finally shows up two hours later and he writes me a ticket because and I quote “If you flipped your van, you must’ve been speeding.” So the guy wasn’t even there, and he gave me a $400 ticket on the assumption of something. They just generate revenue, they’re not even trying to protect anything.

stray-from-the-path-facebook-june-08-2014-copblockSo that’s my thing with the cops, and then everyone comes out with the “All Cops Are Bastards” thing and then someone comes out with “How could you say that? My uncle’s a cop”, and it’s like look, at the end of the day some people can think all cops are bastards, some people can think “I love cops”, some people can think “I think cops are crooked”, whatever. At the end of the day, what we’re handing out is literature for people to know their rights when they encounter the “bad cops” as people like to call them. That’s all we’re trying to do, we’re always looking for solutions and never talking about the problem, and I feel like that’s a good step towards that.

Denning: Let’s talk the first song on the album, “False Flag”. What is the background behind that song?

Williams: This goes back to the thing about cops – you can have your opinions about whatever you’d like as far as “I think cops are good”, “Cops are bad”, “Cops are the fucking worst”, whatever. The truth is, there are rights that everyone should know, and that’s the way I approach “False Flag”. You can think that Osama Bin Laden attacked America on 9/11, you can think that the government conducted an attack on our own country, or you can not think either of those are correct and you can have some sort of other theory. But the only thing that is true out of everything is that what we’re being told is not the truth and that worries me that the people that who are supposed to be looking out for me, my family and my friends are lying to us. And that goes back years, from JFK to the chemical attacks in Syria. I have my views, and some other people in the band have their views and maybe the only thing that we’re unsure of is that we’re not being told the truth, and that’s terrifying, and that’s kind of what the song’s about, like “Okay, maybe this country ISN’T looking out for our best interests” – that’s where the “Red, White, and Blue won’t look out for you” lyrics stems from.

I love America, I’m an American and I’m from here, and I love this country for what it brings. But there’s also a terrible tyrannist way about it, and it’s scary.

Denning: For those looking to be more informed about what’s going on around them, where should they go?

Williams: When we did the Anonymous campaign, we set up WhereIsOurLiberty.com, and we actually just set it up to where we’re going to have links, blogs, videos, and other stuff people can check out. We’re going to post stuff about our opinions and views, and what people should check out on our page. I think in the next month it’ll come into fruition as far as being more established and having more content. But check out WhereIsOurLiberty.com, Cop Block, there’s a lot. I think if you check out website in the coming months, you’ll find cool shit.

The latest Stray From the Path album, Anonymous:

Come winter, Williams says he and the Stray crew will start to dig into a new album. When asked where it will go lyrically, he noted:

Way more extreme…to the point where – I mean, I still have a lot of topics that I spoke about in this interview, as far as my views on situations that have happened in this country in the last 15 years. The educational system, the financial system…I’m trying to find a way to do it tastefully, but I feel like a lot more of the backlash stuff is ready to come – seeing as how the Cop Block stuff went, I’m not scared to release this album, but I’m definitely interested to see what people think of what we’re going to be saying next.

Much love out our friends at Stray From the Path for choosing to use their time and talent to start conversations and spread ideas thought sound.

RELATED: CopBlock.org/Music

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“The Male Black is Actually Fleeing”… Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

A young man was shot and killed Sunday Morning by an Alameda Sheriff assisting Oakland Police in a search yesterday morning in Oakland.

Oakland Police say the vehicle and Jacorey Calhoun, 23, the person driving it, matched the description of an armed robber from an incident two weeks ago. Oakland Police claim they initially tried to stop the vehicle. An alleged chase ensued, ending in deep east oakland with the car being abandoned and a hours to house search being conducted.

An Alameda Sheriff and their K-9 assisted in the search and just before 6 am they found Jacorey and shot and killed him.

According to the dispatch, Jacorey was fleeing at the time shots were fired.
You can hear “And the male black, he actually fleeing. .” and then 8 shots.

There in no mention of Jacorey having a gun, or attempting to cause any individual any harm. Just that he was “actually fleeing.”

According to Attorney John Burris who is representing the family, Jacorey was unarmed and shot in the head.

Like Oakland Police, Alameda Sheriff’ss are now equipped with Body Cameras. Anyone have bets on whether that video comes up missing?

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Brady Lists – Another Injustice System Failure

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

In 1963, the murder conviction of John Brady was overturned by the United States Supreme Court, which ruled that that prosecutors had not disclosed all known facts pertinent to the case.

Specifically – that Brady didn’t commit murder. Prosecutors – eager to get yet another conviction – had decided not to share with Brady and his lawyers, a letter written by another man who took sole responsibility for the act.

Since then, the “Brady Rule” has required prosecutors to pass along material related to guilt or to punishment, known as “exculpatory evidence,” to defendants before a plea is entered.

Failure to do so is said to be a violation of due process.

Less than a decade later another case – Giglio v. United States – strengthened the Brady Rule by mandating that defendants and their lawyers had to be told about information that casts doubt on the credibility of government witnesses involved in the case.

Police employees – being political actors – who have questionable integrity, are supposed to be kept on a Brady List.

Qualifications for inclusion include lying under oath – what’s known as testilying, or other misdeeds done when “in an official capacity,” which in plain English means that when a person has on a police costume.

So where are those Brady Lists?

They’re certainly not readily available on the website of your local cop shop or district attorney’s office.

The simple truth is that there is no set process on how this information is to be shared, thus the norm is censorship on behalf of those who keep those lists.

And even though prosecutors are tasked with informing the defendant that a police employee set to testify is indeed, included on a Brady List, that doesn’t always happen. It’s ultimately contingent on the decision reached by a handful of senior prosecutors.

Regardless of the lip service given to “justice” and to transparency, the injustice system and its actors rest filmy on double-standards and censorship.

As said Mary Ellen Reimund, a Washington-based lawyer, “Although the case is 50 years old, how prosecutors and police are complying with Brady in regard to dishonesty and police officers is in its infancy.”

In LA, a process to comply with the Brady List was created only after a massive police scandal – dozens and dozens of police employees active with the Rampart CRASH unit, planting evidence, testilying, dealing drugs, beatings and shooting, and bank robbery, which cost area taxpayers 125 million federal reserve notes for settlements.

Within five years that process had been adopted by a handful of other police outfits in SoCal.

In San Diego, Jeff McDonald of the San Diego Union-Tribune solicited the Brady List from the local attorney.

Since the DA claims to be “dedicated to the pursuit of truth and justice” and to strive for “open and forthright communication,” one would think that the request would quickly be granted, right?

Wrong.

The response received said that “Any information that may lead to the identification of the officers… is confidential.”

As opined Margaret Dooley-Sammuli, from the San Diego ACLU, “If officers are unreliable in court, are they reliable in our communities?”

This default to protect the identities of police employees who have questionable integrity is not surprising.

After all, we’re talking about an institution that does not have to respond to market signals.

All police employees, and their outfits, rely on a claimed legitimate right to extort you to then protect you.

And prosecutors, who are supposed to maintain the Brady Lists, tend to rely on donations and support from police unions to get elected.

Many, therefore, are hesitate to rock the boat, and call into question hundreds or thousands of convictions that relied on testimony from someone known to lie.

Such is the norm when justice is said to be provided by a coercive monopoly. That institution and its actors are inherently unaccountable.

Yet according to Richard Bradley, the president of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, had the audacity to claim, that “in 27 years on the Boston force he had never encountered the practice” of testilying. Sure.

Honesty among police employees in legaland is not absolute. Anyone truthful – including some police employees – readily acknowledges that fact.

Joseph D. McNamara – when head of San Jose Police Outfit, stated, “as someone who spent 35 years wearing a police uniform, I’ve come to believe that hundreds of thousands of law-enforcement officers commit felony perjury every year testifying about drug arrests.”

In fact, during the legaland venture Ademo Freeman and I had a few years ago in Greenfield, Mass., it was a lie by a police employee on the stand that one juror cited as the reason he determined that Ademo and I were “not guilty.”

That police employee – Todd M. Dodge – had been asked by Ademo if he’d ever broken the law. Dodge replied “No.”

There exists thousands of pages of legalese conflated to be law, much of which is contradictory. The average person “violates” a handful of felonies each day, and Dodge claims he’s never broken a law?

Dodge should be included on the Brady List, and maybe he already is – but good luck finding out that information.

As Richard Lisko, a Baltimore Police employee noted in Police Chief Magazine – “Even though the Brady decision is nearly 50 years old, law enforcement agencies across the country are reluctant, if not defiant, to disclose potentially damaging information about police officers within their ranks.”

Earlier this week I called the Attorney General offices for Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York.

For the most part, that communication was fruitless. Despite the passage of almost a week, I’ve yet to hear back from anybody, about how the Brady List kept could be obtained.

Even the one time I was told that I could file a FOIA request, that was quickly followed-up with the statement that it was not-likely to be fulfilled.

Had others experienced more success? I scoured the web, and found only a handful of examples when Brady Lists that were sought, were provided:

In Florida, the Brady List was provided to The Sun Sentinel earlier this year, which listed police employees convicted of crimes, those under criminal investigation, and those being investigated for discharging their firearm.

In 2010, the writers at the Phoenix New Times obtained the Brady list for Maricopa County, which listed hundreds of police employees, including Jeffeory Hynes, then the head of the Phoenix Police Outfit’s internal affairs department, who now teaches about Police Management at nearby Arizona State University.

In The Shire, where I now reside, the Brady List is referred to as the Laurie List.

In 2013 Elizabeth Dinan of the Portsmouth Herald and the Seacoast Media Group filed Right to Know Requests – New Hampshire’s version of the FOIA – with each county’s head prosecutor to obtain the Laurie Lists.

Though much of the information received was redacted, it was learned that more than 60 police employees were included. Said Dinan: “the process tracking them is so secretive it is virtually impossible to identify them or even say for sure exactly how many there are.”

Thanks to a submission made to Cop Block – the identities of a few of those police employees are known – Matthew Jajuga, Micheal Buckley, and Jonathon Duchesne – who all partook in the unjust beating Chris Micklovich (a name that may be familiar to you, if you’re aware with the Chalking 8 incident).

That trio attempted recently to get their names removed from the Laurie List, but their request was denied.

So, with lack of rigor surrounding Brady Lists, and the less-than-willing disposition of prosecutors to share them, why was it thought worthwhile to address this topic?

Because it acts as yet another data point to underscore the failure of a centralized, coercive monopoly to provide safety or accountability or any such idealistic goal.

If a police employee is known to be of such questionable character, shouldn’t that information be made public? Would you choose to hire a known liars and predators to protect you?

Consider:

Anthony Arevalos who, despite being named in a dozen lawsuits that cost area taxpayers millions of federal reserve notes, was still employed as a San Diego police employee when he sexually molested a woman in the bathroom of a 711.

And, just a couple hours to the north, Vince Mater – who worked for the Fullerton Police, the same outfit where the killers of Kelly Thomas are employed – who’s inclusion on the Brady List wasn’t made public until he was quietly dismissed after he destroyed crucial evidence – his department issued audio recorder and the chip that had captured his exchanges with  Dean Gochenour, who was shortly afterwards said to have committed suicide in his cage.

Would you choose to employ a person of such disrepute?

That’s what this conversation is ultimately about – choice.

Today, with the failed “injustice system” there is no choice. There is no accountability. And there never will be, as that institution is based on a double-standard – that some people have the “right” to extort others.

It’s been over 50 years since the Brady List was kicked-off, it’s failed to curtail the very real, and very negative actions done by dishonest police employees.

If you know of a dishonest police employee, let others know. And that includes you too, current police employees. Your silence is acceptance.

To bring about real change, shed any vestiges of legitimacy you grant to that corrupt institution, and to the bankrupt idea that positions some as rulers, and others as ruled.

 

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